Happy new year
Just back from 2 weeks in Cuba ……
Lots of photos of bikes from there and a couple of rides we did there were very good….. Even if on crappy bikes
Here is moaner (sic) looking good
From Bikepacking mag:
Apidura has turned the heads of many long distance ultra cyclists across the world. A company based out of London, England, the folks behind Apidura have established a brand that strives to create rackless packing systems that will optimize bike handling and weight distribution for your trip – whether it be pavement, gravel, or trail, Apidura has proven to succeed, and has many athletes to back that up.
The company was built on experience. Apidura was born after owner, Tori Fahey, completed the Tour Divide in 2012. A race like the Tour Divide is never something that is thrown together. It takes months to plan your rig, what you will carry and what bags you will use. No matter how much you train with your set up and dial in the intricacies, you might end up running into issues, or things you wish were different about the gear you chose to bring along. Tori took the 2,700+ miles to reflect on what could be more efficient about her bags, and how they could be designed differently to help with weight distribution, or ease of use. Thus, Apidura came to be.
The company as a whole has a focus on creating bags that are ultralight, durable and functional – but what really strikes me is their mission, which is to promote “unencumbered bicycle touring so that cyclists can spend more time enjoying the ride.” That is really what it is all about, right? We want to feel as close to being on a empty bike as we can while riding on a loaded rig. Not only does it provide the most efficiency, but comfort as well.
We had the pleasure of testing the Apidura Saddle Pack (regular) on an overnight fat bike excursion to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. The pack is designed using a 4-layer laminated xpac fabric for the main body which provides superior waterproofing, and is lightweight and durable. This pack also holds an excellent shape when empty. Apidura uses a hypalon fabric, which is ultra durable in high abrasion and high stress areas, and will help protect against friction or puncture. The straps which connect the bag to the seat post are extremely durable and easy to yank on. They also stay in place very well through rough terrain. It is to be noted that we were testing a sample pack versus the commercial production pack. The difference here was in the buckles – they were different than what you would see on a purchased pack from Apidura. The commercial production packs use Woojin Lion Buckles (below right), which are significantly more durable to tension and strain than the buckles on the pack that we tried (below left).
The regular size pack is relatively large. Although the strap systems allow the pack to compress very well, it is still rather deep. I was riding on a small frame Surly Pugsly, and was cutting it close with about an inch of clearance. I did try this pack on a small frame Rocky Mountain Element, and was not able to use it with the rear suspension without rub.
I was able to fit my entire sleep system in the saddle pack with plenty of room to spare. As we were just going on an overnight and the distance was not too significant, I decided to pack for comfort. In the bag I packed a Grand Trunk Hammock with ropes and carabiners, a Big Agnes 20 degree down sleeping bag, a Marmot Bivy, and finally a Big Agnes Clearview mummy sleeping pad. I was able to fit all of this while still compressing the bag down as far as the straps would take it. This illustrates how high volume the bag actually is. Again, aside from the minimal clearance while using this pack on a small frame, the bag performed exactly how it should and I did not have any rub on my rigid fat bike. If you are riding on a small frame, I would suggest going for the compact bag option, especially if you have a full suspension bike. This will ensure a good fit with plenty of clearance.
While we were riding back to the car after our overnight trip, one of the sample pack edition buckles broke from tension. The buckle was connected to the left strap which connects the bag to the seat rails. It was sagging lower than the day before, so we really yanked on it to gain more clearance. While doing so, the male side of the buckle snapped and was rendered useless. We were able to tape it up and be on our way. Although this is not idea for the long haul, as mentioned above, Apidura had used a less durable buckle on their sample packs, and are using a much stronger buckle for their commercial production bags.
Overall, the Apidura Saddle Pack was extremely well constructed. You can tell there was a lot of thought put behind the construction of the pack.
Through the years, strapping my bags to my bike, loading them up with camping gear, and hopping over my saddle has been described as “the couch.” Maybe it was a reference to watching football every Sunday on the couch, with a beer, food, and your team on the boobtube, everything you need, right? What I’m getting at is that the couch is pretty darn comfortable. A least at the beginning of the game, before your team goes down 14-0, that couch is a pretty cozy place.
When I thought my couch was as comfortable as it could get, I slapped on some 710 Jones Bikes Loop H-Barson my Surly Moonlander. The main reason was to give me a more upright position to cure my unnecessary pains. Not until I actually talked to Jeff on the phone did he convince me that his bars are capable of so much more. Riding my bike down Schafer Road, into the canyons and along the White Rim, I kept thinking to myself, he was right.
The Jones Bikes Loop H-Bars
Jeff Jones has gone through a number of styles with his bars, but has stuck to one major theme, a lot of sweep, 45 degrees to be exact. Also present on all of his bars is a 13mm rise/drop. Starting with his original steel H-Bar with one hand position, all the way to the Loop H-Bar – Jeff understands the need for comfort, and carries through with these innovations.
Jeff Jones designed the Loop bars to make for a better overall ride. The bar gives riders more hand positions, an inherent benefit for bikepacking. The extension bar out front gives space for plenty of fun gadgets, like lights, GPS, SPOT, and other items. The loop feature also stiffens up the bar. Jeff originally started with the 660mm bars, Surly asked Jeff if they would make some longer ones for a hand full of 2014 bikes. The rest is history, even Jeff said he digs the longer bars.
“It’s made from two different tubes that are butted (one is also tapered) then both are bent , mitered and welded together, then heat treated, etc. This is not a normal handlebar that is made from a single piece of bent tubing. And it is not made it giant numbers like most normal bars. It is very well made and works very well” says Jeff Jones.
The Loop H-Bars have been on my Moonlander since June, primarily for the fatty commuter I put together early this summer. But my intentions have always been to use them for long days in the saddle. Recently I have done just that, trying to figure out if these bars are Tour Divide friendly. Although the bars are pretty beautiful naked, I installed extra long ESI Chunky Grips and some red Lizard Skin Bar tape, which doubled as my bag stabilizer and bar protector.
Unless you purchase a custom bar, 45° of sweep is the most you are going to find for mountain biking. A normal bar will typically have about 9° of sweep. Some companies, like Salsa, have bars with more sweep (23° ). Either way, it’s no where close to what Jeff Jones is doing. By using so much sweep, the bars keep you more upright. It also keeps you more centered on your bike, rather than leaning forward which proved to be helpful on descents.
I have noticed the sweep does not hinder my riding performance, it actually gives me more confidence which was hard to believe before my first ride with them. The industry trend has gone towards shorter stems and wider bars. 710mm bars could be considered short now. But the H-bars actually feel much longer than what they really are creating a bar with stability and responsiveness. You don’t have to move the bar all that much to get your bike to do what you have ordered. The bar comfortably kept my hands, and shoulders in a position that I enjoyed being in. I am currently using a 90mm, 10mm rise Thompson stem.
After I got off the White Rim last week, my next ride on my full suspension was rather interesting. I instantly moved my hand from the grips and tucked my hands in closer to the stem of my bars. My body understands comfort, and it instantly mimicked the upright position of my Jones Loop H-Bars. My standard position would be right over the brake clamp, it is a nice middle ground.
While pedaling out of the saddle or in more aggressive terrain my hands would sit at the ends of the bars, giving me full leverage to pull up or crank down. When I needed to have my hand on the brake for descents, I would align my hands with the brake, about 2 inches in from the end of the bars. When I was working against the wind I would lean over the bike, and reach my hands on the loop further away from me. This position makes you more aero while not sacrificing comfort all that much. I also found myself resting my forearms on the loop part of the bars mimicking aero bars.
A few things to note. When I plan on using the bars for more singletrack, I will likely roll with an 80mm stem. I did not notice too much reach out of the 90mm stem, I just want a little more comfort and control on the rough stuff. Your hands naturally want to be placed at the end of the bar when descending, this took some getting used to for me. I could always trim my ESI Grips a bit and move the brake clamp down the bar, but it would create a useless space on the bars, the opposite of what these are meant for.
The Jones Loop H-Bars are the alternative to your standard flat or drop bars. The ability to have so many different hand positions, while creating so much extra space, without sacrificing function of steering is a huge bonus. I keep finding new comfortable positions, which is likley to alleviate the issues with numb hands. Jeff has found the sweet spot between sweep, rise, and length to make a fantastic product, especially for adventure cycling.
OK the niggle i will get out the way first – and this is it. Riding a fat bike on Pavement or tarmac is crap. Granted I only have to do 20min at the start and end of the ride to get into the trail but it isn’t great.
But the good things
Amazing traction – anywhere loose ridged sandy Muddy and Icy you will have great grip. I stood up on an icy fire-road ascent and when the weight moves forward the rear started to loosen and slip but keep seated or your weight back and there is no issue
That wider rubber does need firmer input on the arms – but just think of it as a work out for the upper body.
Mud – Got the joining up with the path wrong and slammed into a wedge of mud about 20cm deep at 30kmh …. the bike slowed jolting me but then popped up and over where my other bike would have flipped me over the bars … ‘great i though saved by my Fat’ I thought.
Anywhere that is more technical is where the bike really shines. I was doing rocky single track without the normal worries about picking a line that i do on the Lynskey 29er.
Here is a short video (using GoPro template) that i edited (in 3 min) so not detailed but gives a flavour of the bike.
The ride here on Strava
this is everything i like about bikepacking
Now that is a great bike and bag setup ….
I need it for Bespoked next month…
Some basic details were discussed, such as colour, number of compartments, overall size and width of the bag and so on. Besides all the usual options, this one would be a little different. Nic wanted it to be bolted to the frame along the underside of the top tube, and to the bottle cage bosses on the down tube. After a bit of discussion over how many bolts were needed to hold the bag in place, we concluded that as the main triangle was quite small, those specified would suffice. Ryan wanted to maintain a certain aesthetic for the bike when the bags weren’t fitted.
The spine of the bag is stiffened with a 2mm plastic panel secured behind a fabric liner, so the inside of the bag looks like neat. The liner was inserted with hook and loop down one seam, so the plastic stiffener can be removed if necessary. Holes were drilled in precisely the right places on the plastic – based on the dimensions provided on the template – and corresponding holes made and sealed in the outer fabric layers.
All this was completed working off a paper template, and it wasn’t until we got to Bespoked we saw how well it had all come together. The Oak Cycles stand generated a lot of interest, both in the bike and the bags that were on it. It provided a good contrast between some of the more traditional touring bikes on show with the progression that has been made toward lightweight off road touring in recent years.
It was a pleasure to have provided the bags that contributed towards Ryan’s creation, which won the Bespoked Bristol 2013 Best Touring Bicycle award.
One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”
Came across this review and got me thinking of possible UK alternatives …..
The definition of bikepacking is different for everyone, and that is what makes it awesome. One thing I think we can all agree on is that it involves strapping cargo to your bike.
I’m sure a few folks are getting ready for a fall bikepacking trip on their fatty or even that winter ultra a few months down the line. As the mercury drops, your pack list grows. Gloves, extra base layers, coats, and even more water. Shifting around gear can prove to be difficult. A few bike manufactures such as Surly and Salsa understand this, and have incorporated 3 bolt mounts into their forks.
Recently I loaded my fork up with some cargo, gearing up for some winter bikepacking and possibly some redemption at a winter ultra this year. After doing some research, there are not many options for cargo loads that attach to the fork bolts on a Surly Moonlander or any Surly/Salsa bike for that matter. The Salsa Anything Cage is the obvious option and the most popular among bikepackers. The other option is the Cleveland Mountaineering Everything Bag.
Salsa Anything Cage:
The Salsa Anything Cage has been around for a while now, giving bikepackers the ability to carry dry bags, stuff sacks, water bottles, sleeping pads, or any roundish piece of gear. The Anything Cage comes with 3 hole mounting points to fit perfectly on a Surly or Salsa fork, or any 3 bolt mounting system for that matter.
Although Salsa does not recommend it, the Anything Cage fits your standard cage bolts, meaning you could easily fit it inside a standard frame to carry some extra cargo. Just don’t run to them when it breaks with a warranty inquiry. The cage functions with two straps (included) that pull your items to the cage itself. Without the two provided straps, it is just a few pieces of metal welded together.
Last year Salsa took the Anything Cage off the shelve because many of the cages were breaking at the welds. Since then, they have re-introduced a stronger, sleeker looking black cage that can hold up to 6.6 pounds of junk. We suggest that you buy two cages if you plan on mounting to your fork, they are not sold in pairs.
Cleveland Mountaineering Everything Bag:
The Everything Bag is another option to carry water bottles, stuff sacks, sleeping pads, fuel bottles, and anything that you can stuff in the bag. Like the Anything Cage, the bag is meant to attach to the Salsa/Surly three bolt fork/frame system. The bag comes ready to mount with 3 installed bolts and 3 washers on the inside of the bag. Also included is 3 washers on the outer part of the bag to provide stability.
Unlike the Anything Cage, the Everything Bag is a 2/3 circular bag with a bottom that is made out of XPac. Attached is two cinch down pieces of webbing, with metal cam buckles that allow you to tighten down your cargo by a tug of the strap. These buckles prevent any loosening while riding and are very easy to undo with the pinch of the clamp.
One of the unique features of the Everything Bag is its ability to work on a standard fork with no bolts. When you make your order with Jeremy, he will ask you what fork you have and provide the proper p-clamps. The p-clamps come with a protective rubber liner to prevent any damage to your fork.
So what’s the best system for your next adventure? That is for you to judge, but we feel that each product has its strengths and weaknesses. Both are unique and innovative ways to carry extra gear. If you don’t mind some weight up front, this system is perfect. If your ride is more singletrack heavy, especially technical singletrack, this option may not be the best. However, both bags were tested on road and singletrack and both held up well – so saying they are not reliable on singletrack is just not true.
One thing we noticed was with the weight comes a bit of self-steering, especially on a relatively heavy fat bike or one with wider tires/rims. No matter what option you use, it’s important to keep each side a similar weight. Otherwise the bike tends to self-steer.
The Anything Cage was tested with a Porcelain Rocket Anything Cage Bag. The bag proved to be the perfect option and fit for the Anything Cage. Stay tuned for a full review of this bag next week. On top of the $3o.00 price point of the Anything Cage, you will likely need to buy something like the Porcelian Rocket bag, or a dry bag to mount to the cage. We think Salsa has fixed its cracking cages, however it’s still a bit scary knowing it has happened. If you are in the backcountry, figuring out a fix could prove to be difficult.
The Anything Cage webbing straps are a nice complement to the cage itself, especially if you are just mounting a water bottle, circular stove such as a Jet Boil, or a rolled up sleeping pad. The simplicity of the cage has its advantages, like being able to customize the way you carry your gear. The weight of the system alone (including straps) is 174 grams contrary to what the Salsa website says, and with the Porcelain Rocket Anything Cage Bag, 238g.
The Cleveland Mountaineering Everything Bag was designed to withstand a bit more abuse, while not compromising weight and functionality. These two products are very similar, but with the simple addition of the ⅔ bag, it instantly gives the Everything Bag more stability. We tested the bag with a water bottle, and loved how easily accessible it was to grab, but more importantly how easy it was to slide back in place without tinkering with the straps. It also proved to be a great stuff sack for a rain coat as well as other quick access items. It can fit a small dry sack and again easily slide in and out of the attached webbing straps.
The weight of the system is 226g, slightly heavier than the Anything Cage, but also a bit more versatile off the shelf. You also will be paying a bit more at $50.00 for the whole system. We did notice a few issues with rusting bolts (provided) after sitting in the rain for a few days.
Either way, both cages are unique in their own way and act as a simple solution to carry more gear. We really like having one of each, as we have found great uses for both systems. If you have some boss mounts, it’s time to consider putting them to good use.
This sodden cold and man-flu have hit hard and i seem to be coughing up what my friend used to call ‘land-oysters’ all the time so i have not kitesurfed or cycled this weekend …. instead making up some fat flat fun with my girls ….
Cyclists in Rome frustrated by the absence of a cycle lane through a tunnel in the city have taken matters into their own hands by painting it themselves.
According to La Repubblica, which has a gallery of pictures of the cycle lane, it took campaigners 45 minutes to paint it in the Santa Bibiana tunnel between Esquilino and San Lorenzo last Sunday.
The tunnel takes riders under the Italian capital’s main train station, Roma Termini, avoiding a long detour, and cyclists are appealing to the city’s mayor install a permanent cycle path there.
In open letter to the mayor, Ignazio Marino, himself a keen cyclist, they said: “We get around without a car, even taking our children to school, at our own risk and danger, in a city made for cars.
“We’re aware of the big problems that the city’s administration has to tackle – and traffic is one of the foremost – and of the scant resources available, of the conflicts that give rise to actions aimed at containing motor vehicles.
“But despite everything, we believe that there are a lot of things you can do for people who choose to leave the car behind and choose to get around by bike.”
In 2011, cycling campaigners in Mexico City similarly took the initiative by painting a 5km “guerrilla” bike path there.
This realisation that things aren’t right with infrastructure and that change with proper insight is needed throughout the UK ….
I love a bit of vision. I mean proper vision. I’m not talking ‘the faculty or state of being able to see‘, but rather ‘the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom‘. Let’s think about two words here.
I think I see both in the video above. I think I see a concrete jungle of high rise buildings and wide boulevards and heavy traffic and increasing population. I think I see the vision to move beyond the accepted norm. I think I see the ability to planout structured and safe routes that use available space with imagination.
I know I seewisdom.
Tell me that you don’t feel NYC is barely recognisable. Having been there a couple of times – and once, memorably, to run the marathon – it is not a city that I would have…
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As I think about kitesurfing Saturday morning down on the west coast ….. with 4degreesC and possible Sleet ….
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