Saturday 28 January 2023

Touring gear

My new bike doesn't have mudguard mounts, so I can't attach the rack I've used in the past.

saddle handlebar top tube bags

saddle handlebar bags

There are many solutions. Some are racks that connect to a modified axle, or clamp to the frame. They also need a separate bag. It adds to the cost and weight. Another option is a setup that attaches to the seat post and saddle rails. Overall cheaper and lighter they don't hold as much and may be prone to swaying from side to side.

I went for the latter with the new bike. I only had a change of cycling clothing, something to wear off the bike and the the various cables and chargers for my electronics.

The new setup is from Restrap, it holds fourteen litres. Initial impressions are that, as you can see, it sits very close to road bike wheel. The website does say I need more space under the saddle. Hopefully it won't sag so much that it touches the tyre. One of the straps that wrap around the seat post isn't long enough, it being an aero shape. Should be okay though. No problems with the Kona.

Having the opening at one end means packing needs a little more thought. The other bag is top loading, so I can get to anything easily. With this type I have what I might need during the day packed last. At the end of the ride I remove the bag by undoing one clip. Much easier than unthreading the multiple straps from the rack. And the holder comes off quickly too; the rack needs tools. 

saddle handlebar bags

saddle handlebar top tube bags

The Kona has new handlebars. The bar bag didn't fit on the old one; the cables and hoses get in the way. The extra section on the front gave me lots of room. I also wanted them flatter so these were perfect. I'm not sure if I'll need to trim them, so for now there is a bit sticking out from the grips. It'll need a new saddle too.

The rack was used last year to Cornwall and with panniers in 2011 for Paris and along the South Downs Way in 2012. I packed way too much in those early days, although it did include a full size camera and a mini tripod.  

bikepacking setup rack
my setup for the ride to Cornwall in 2022

Ride to Paris gear
panniers for Paris in 2011, it looked the same for 2012 except for much more mud

I'll get out for a test ride when the roads are more conducive to outdoor riding. Hopefully that won't be too long. 

Saturday 7 January 2023

2024 and beyond

united kingdom bicycle coast to coast

It's early 2023 and my cycling plans for the year are well in hand. I just need a final confirmation then the accomodation for the two trips can be booked.

What to do after that?

I've wanted to venture abroad: Spain and France are reachable by ferry so no flying needed. Northern France will use over a day in each direction, which is okay. Any further will shorten ride time and require train travel. Adding my bike onto a booking in this country will potentially be troublesome enough without a language barrier. Spain is further; using four days.

How can I make it interesting and limit travel?

I could do mainland coast to coast rides; across each of the countries in the UK.

Most C2C's take the shortest distances, England is normally across the northern counties. I'll go from most easterly to westerly. To save you googling; it's Lowestoft Ness to Lands End. Around 430 miles over six or seven days should be okay.

Scotland is Peterhead to Ardnamurchan lighthouse; much shorter at 240 miles, it will take longer to get there and back though.

Wales is a little different, my route will be north to south and won't start at the most northerly point. It's too far away from a rail line to make practical sense. The route will be from Llandudno to Rhoose. Only 175 miles.

Then the hardest travel destination: Northern Ireland. The most direct way to get to Belfast by train and ferry is via Dublin. It doesn't have a western coast line, the border with Eire comes first. So I have a rough idea to travel until I reach the edge and then turn right and ride around the outer extremities back to Belfast. Should be about 277 miles, depending on the final route.

In fact travel to the start and finish of each ride could be tricky. The cycling will definately be the easy bit.

I'll see a lot of the country, which I think we should all do. As long as it causes as little environmental impact as possible.