Bike packing, learning lessons

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The photo illustrates how I started the ride. The drybag at the front contains bivvy bag, with sleeping bag already inside. I then bodged my OMM Trio Chest pouch over the top, with gave me a nice zip pouch in which to store sweets and a couple of other items. The top-tube bag contained a few energy gels and the saddle bag (just) held 2 x tubes, a puncture kit, multi tool, tyre levers, CO2 and zip ties.

I then carried spare clothing and some bulkier food items in my rucksack. As the weather forecast was for a cold one, I hurriedly added a few more items of clothing.

At around the same time as my GPS failing, my saddlebag tore off. The fabric gave way around the velcro straps. Not very impressive, as I’ve only had it a year, and rarely used it. Saddlebag went into the rucksack for the rest of the ride.

Water was carried in one bottle on the bike. There were more than enough streams to refill at. I never ran completely dry.

Lighting was dealt with via a USE Exposure 6pack (thanks Garage Bikes) and my shiny new USE Joystick

I wore:
Craft string vest style base
Scott bib shorts
Craft knee warmers
On-One SS jersey and endura arm warmers
North Face “Dirt Track” jacket with zip off arms
Endura waterproof shorts (was expecting to remove these at some point once I warmed up, but temperatures were never particularly high, and keeping a dry bum helped my comfort levels)
Endura baa baa merino socks
Pearl Izumi midweight gloves
Mavic shoes
I carried:
OMM Kamleika Smock waterproof
Lowe Alpine waterproof trousers
Decathlon roubaix style leg warmers
Finisterre Etobicoke primaloft jacket
Decathlon hooded softshell
Aldi winter gloves
Low Alpine peaked gore-tex hat
Fleece skull cap
I pulled on the winter gloves during my evening hike-a-bike and wore them for the rest of the ride (sweaty hands in the warmth, but not a disaster). The Decathlon softshell was a heavy luxury, and probably not necessary. I pulled it on over my existing layers at the same time I swapped gloves… it did a job at the time, but I had other layers in my bag that I could have used.

At the bothy I pulled on legwarmers, primaloft jacket, big hat, and put my softshell over the top. Waterproofs were used as a pillow. I wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t exactly a comfortable night.

Setting off in the early hours, I kept all my clothes on until I started to warm up, then layers were slowly shed throughout the day.

What I would do differently
Less weight on my back. I’d look to use a decent, large saddle pack and some form of framebag.
Winter shoes. The Mavics just weren’t warm enough.
Spare socks
Fewer clothes if the forecast is milder
Less food
Consider a small back up “point you in the general direction” type GPS in case of failure

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Luxury

One thing that I haven’t need to worry about is my bike for this weekend. The Planet X Dirty Harry is nicely up to the challenge.

Even better, Al at Garage Bikes has given ‘Arry a once over, to make sure he is running sweetly and smoothly. The FSA headset is already on it’s way out. Bit disappointed with that to be honest. It is apparently a £75 unit (it was fitted as part of the full build). I’ve only had the bike since Feb. Admittedly, I’ve done a lot of miles since then, but not that many?

Ah well, here is a photo from Garage Bikes of the fettling in progress.

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