Since I’ve been doing some longer distances and all day rides, I’ve come to conclude that I needed to change the packing configuration of my bike. I gave it some serious thought and looked into different items that I could or prefer to use. The most important thing was the fact that I want it to be modular. Meaning that I have different options for different rides. I want the bike always to be as less bulky as possible. I also know I’m a gear hauler, I probably take too much with me, especially rain and warm gear.
I don’t mind riding in the rain but I do like to stay dry & warm on my body.
The main problem I had during the last couple of rides was shortage of water. I drink a lot during my rides, carrying two bottles of 0,8 litres isn’t enough for me. That ‘ll get me trough half the day maybe three quarters. That’s still a fair amount of the day that needs water. The easiest way is to look for a house or someone outside his house and ask for a refill. That’s how I managed it up till now. But it sometimes took me quit the detour to find someone at home or even someone willing to do so. Corona times didn’t make that any easier.
So I was looking for space to add water. The easiest solution was adding a camel bag, but I don’t like to ride with a backpack, so that one was ruled out pretty quickly.
Initially I was first looking into adding a third bottle cage underneath the diagonal frame bar, under the other bottle. But since all cables for gears and brakes are there, I was afraid to put too much stress on those and damage them. Also that would mean that the bottle cages in the frame where permanent and I also have a frame bag for that bike and I ‘d like to use that for bike packing.
After riding with Ian, I saw that he had his bottle cages mounted on his front fork, that was a great option I concluded. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any screws or mounts there to fix the cages on. That’s where my good friend @belgian.biker pointed out to me that there where modular attach points available for that. So a quick search on Amazon led me to the Topeak Bottle cage mount. I specifically selected this set because the had plastic straps, I was afraid that metal straps would brake my carbon fork. So these plastic mount seemed ideal to me.
I’m not very fond of the look but it’s the best option I could come up with especially with the modular approach of my bike in mind. I fitted the Santos all round carrier so I could use them for strapping other items when bike packing or remove them on shorter rides.
And when bike packing I can remove the frame bottle cages and add my Ortlieb frame bag there. Removing one bottle cage from the frame would probably allow mounting the frame bag, I need to check that.
I already mentioned that I take my weather precautions. Rain and cold are my worst enemies. Being cold and wet on a long ride will result in getting sick, being self employed that is not something to desire. I used to mount the Apidura handlebar bag but after some heavy rain rides I discovered that their level of waterproof isn’t what I expected, so I upgraded to the Ortlieb handlebar bag and toolkit bag. Ortlieb has a proven track record concerning waterproof bags.
The handlebar bag contains a Merino long sleeve jersey, a soft shell for rain and a sleeveless windstopper. There is also a small First Aid kit in there. Yeah, i’m that kinda guy! But I used it more then you would believe and not on myself but mostly on other cyclist and off on course my kids 🙂
I like three things about that handlebar bag:
First it’s really waterproof.
Secondly, it has a plastic bar inside it which keeps the bag nice in place even when the bag isn’t completely full. There are other bags that hang around like a bag of balls from an 80 year old, scratching the tyres every now and then. Now that is something you don’t want to happen with your
And last but not least, the straps are firm velcro’s that are wide and strong, once you attach them, the bag isn’t going anywhere. That’s something that can’t be said of other mounting systems.
The Ortlieb toolkit bag contains the things I use often on my rides. Himalayan salt for when I get tired, some hardboiled eggs and small jar of nuts for hunger, my precious camera for capturing my adventures, sunglasses, an Anker battery pack in case the smartphone or my Garmin Edge 1000 GPS runs out of power … It’s easily opened while riding, waterproof and it can also be attached to the handlebar by itself.
I also just added the cockpit bag for putting my camera in and have even quicker access. I often take photos while riding, so quick access would be nice. We’ll see if this is an improvement or not.
I would say, that’s it but I know most of you would comment: “All of that!?”
The good part is, I can make it a bare bike again in 5 minutes, that’s what I really like about this setup. I only have one bike so I want it to be as flexible as possible for every surface and kind of ride: all day rides on my own, rides with friends, road trips with my kids, evening wanders with my girlfriend, gravel, road, fields, MTB … The Santos Cross Lite is perfect for all of them and my modular setup makes it easy to adapt to each ride. And more importantly, riding a bike is not racing for me, it’s discovering, wandering enjoying and taking your time for that!