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.
I’ve been working on refining the packing accessories on my bike and getting ready for summer bike camping.
I’ve been wanting to tweak my water bottle carrying options and got around to hunting down the cages that would work for me.
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.
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
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
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.
noun: tool; plural noun: tools
1. a device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function.
I like tools. They help me earn a living, to keep my life in order, give me some independence, and aid creative output. And I like tools just for the design, the form and function. Some are quite beautiful and clever. I know how to use tools, so having them is an extension of my knowledge and ability. I’m smarter with tools at hand, so more is better— maybe.
In a previous post I showed how to make a rack trunk box from a plastic 30 caliber ammo can or dry box. To continue on this theme, I put together a rear pannier using a plastic .50 caliber ammo can.
I have a big head and finding a helmet that fits is a challenge. I’ve been using a Bell XLV XL size that has worked for me, but I was at the annual Seattle Bike Swap last weekend and found a used Bell Stoker model helmet for $20. It fits like a glove, no pressure points at all. It has good coverage in the rear and is rounded rather than having an “aerodynamic” tail sticking out; the side coverage is good as well. It has a wheel-style adjuster and excellent ventilation. I took it for a long ride yesterday and I think it’s a keeper. The only thing I would change is to have a white one for visibility and direct sun. The color on this one is “matte titanium”— that’s dark gray. The headlamp is an addition and discussed below.