Dirtbag Handlebar Bag and Pannier: the Military Buttpack

I was searching the shelves in a thrift store and came across a military buttpack made to use with webbing load gear, much like a civilian “fanny pack.” I immediately saw the potential for use as a bike bag: with all the MOLLE webbing mounts on the back, it could be mounted on a rack as a pannier or looped over the handlebars.

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One Bike to Ride Them All

If you read my previous posts you can review the on-going evolution of my hybridized mountain bike. I decided that I want just one bike for local errands and recreation. I live in Seattle and the region has many rail trails and local governments that promote cycling.  So my bike needs to handle city streets and the obstacles as well as asphalt and gravel trails. Comfort, maneuverability, and load-carrying take precedent over speed.
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Wasn’t it just August? Layering for a cold November ride

Now to start with, I AM a Seattleite (the denizens of Seattle really call themselves that). I’m used to cool, humid, wet, gray winter days. It rarely gets below freezing and very rarely in the teens Fahrenheit (the record low of 0°F was in 1950). We get a big wet sloppy snowstorm once in a while and a couple inches of snow bring this hilly city to a halt.

So today it was sunny and cool and I thought I should get out for a ride. My days on the bike have slacked off since September and it takes some extra initiative to get out. Sunny or just rainless days are rare and I should make every effort to ride when the weather is better. The weather stats are pretty typical for a winter day: 45°F, 50% humidity and it was windy today with winds from the NNW at 15-25MPH. I felt the 15MPH wind at least and had the total pleasure (NOT) of getting headwinds coming AND going on this trip. Note the humidity was rather low today, with high humidity levels being common (and temperatures in the mid-forties Fahrenheit).  Continue reading

Ultralight Kitchen Gear for Hikin’ and Bikin’

I was organizing the gear locker and thought it would be good to show some of my favorite items for preparing food when backpacking or bikepacking. One of the benefits of ultralight hiking gear is that it transfers to bikepacking well and the principles are identical:

  • Take only what you will use
  • Seek out the lightest, highest performance items that you can afford
  • Look for items that have multiple uses

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Bike Rack Hacking: Mounting a Rear Pannier Rack on the Front Fork

I have used the Sunlite Gold Tec front rack on my bike and it works well with a small dry bag or mounting a small basket with zip ties, but a 9.25″ overall length, it is just a bit short for most rack trunk bags.  I do like the mounting system, with one bolt at the rear and one to each of the unused V-brake mounting bosses on my disc brake equipped bike. It is dirt cheap, light and simple to install.

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Suburban Seattle Rail Trail Labor Day Bike Ride

I didn’t get out of town for Labor Day weekend and with the weather improving, I decided to go for a good ride. This time I headed north on the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish River rail trails, entering the trail near Matthews Beach Park in the northeast corner of Seattle and passing though the bedroom communities of Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, a side trip into Kirkland and turning around in the town of Woodinville.

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