Bikes and how they’re set up for touring
“It’s crazy how fast time goes by when you’re having a good time. Usually, you already have some sort of expectations before starting a trip; about places you may visit, or experiences you might live. But truth is, that the journey itself is full of surprises. It’s the people you meet along the way who make the difference. People you can share your passion with, who turn unknown places into a second home.The number of special moments we have lived along the journey have by far exceeded our initial expectations. It has been an unforgettable experience, that pushes us to keep on traveling, doing what we care about most.”
– MARCO GASSER (film, direction & edit)
– FABIO GASSER (film, direction & edit)
– DANI MELO (artwork)
– JUAN GUADALAJARA (founder)
– JUANMA POZO (founder)
– DANI MELO (art director)
– URI BORDES (ceo)
– XAVI FUENTES (roadtrip crew)
– RUBÉN GARCÍA (roadtrip crew)
Friday decided not to work and packed the pouring bike for a ride – a jolly ramble with camera, lunch, spare clothes etc.
not the nicest day – and weather was close cold and misty BUT I was on the bike and had a good ride. Does pass up from aberfoyle and at the other side decided not to carry on to Callandar and instead returned along my route ….
One of my longer rides as i rarely go more that 100km and also on the bike which i weighed on my return at 25kg … ouch. Will need to take this into account when planning my touring. Epsom salt bath on my return.
Sunday – my friend Jim called to suggest an early ride Sunday am. He has limited time now after his wife passed away 6months ago and with the two girls watching Sun morning telly he had a gap of 2 hours … so my him at his place 8:30am on what can only be described as a peach of a day. Over the Crow north I thought my fork had too much play – think the shop didn’t quite tighten it enough … so quick change and back to the top heading South
my legs felt good so gave it some welly both sides of the crow but still 2 min down on my best times ….
Jim was just happy at being out. Coming down the other side we are pelting along 50kmh+ when i hear jim shout ‘SHEEEEEEEPPPPP’ … brake hard … these most intelligent animals wait until you are 20ft away before dashing across the road. Past the corner speeding up and I see yet more Wooly Jumpers on suicide missions (actually more kamikaze as we would be killed) so descent is much more sedate than normal.
But sadly pre sale already sold out … from their blog
What is a Demi-Porteur bag?
Ever since moving to a bike optimized for a front load I started to push the envelope of how much went in the upper bag vs. panniers. The goal being that the upper bag would accommodate 90% of my daily bike trasportational needs, and the panniers only come out for groceries, camping trips, etc. I keep a regular rotation of tools and clothing layers with me all the time. Add to that things that vary per ride like camera gear, meals, coffee gear, post office runs, etc. I needed maximum volume and flexibility. Starting with the basic form of a traditional randonneuring bag, I pushed some of the dimensions and features without going so far that it became a full porteur bag.
While pushing the boundaries of size and volume I also wanted to shave some weight. The first place I made the weight cut was with material. The design is able to use all of the strong points of the Dimension Polyant XPac, and avoid most of the features that are considered the material’s downside. XPac is a three layer laminate, pack cloth on the outer faces, with a mylar center and a cross weave of polyester fiber on the bias for added load capacity and tear resistance. XPac does not like to be forced into compound curves or situation with high abrasion. The boxy shape takes care of the first. Abrasion is generally minor on the bag as it is surrounded by the bars and rack. The material is highly water proof and light for the amount of strength.
The bags being made by Swift Industries came the closest to what I was going for. I reached out to Martina during last year’s trip to Seattle. We hit it off well, and after a bit of back and forth communication, modifications of the overall dimensions and nailing dow the details, the first production sample hit my door. Honestly, it was everything I had envisioned. If the full Docena project never made it off of the ground I would still be using this as my primary bag for years to come. Soak in the picture set, and then I will hit you with the details:
By Rando Bag standards this is a huge bag. It is both tall and wide. Wide enough to fit 1 dozen eggs, and deep enough front to back to fit a second dozen as needed. Overall dimensions of the main compartment are 28cm tall x 21cm deep x 30 cm wide. There is 37cm of space between the inside faces of my break hoods, while I do not have any problems with finger rub, I would not use the bag if yours are any narrower.
The main compartment has a removable partition to keep your loads separate. Tall bags can quickly become cluttered and challenging to get stuff off the bottom. The everyday stuff like pumps, warmers and wind breakers stays on the bottom, things I want regular access too is on the top; snacks, camera gear etc. This could easily split a change of work clothes on the bottom, lunch up top etc. The partition can be removed much like an old hiking backpack to accommodate bigger items as needed. There is also a roll closure front for getting to the bottom load without having to enter through the top. .
Side pockets are standard rando bag style.
The front pocket is full width to fit all your odds and ends including full size road maps (AAA). The width caries over into the top map pocket, again easily accommodating full size maps and or your electronic device. Samsung Note 2 and meeting wallet shown for scale. the vinyl material on the top will also allow for the use of the device touch screen. The lid has two traditional inner flaps as well as top. The elastic closures have been moved from the center to corners. This allows for easier closure while riding. I generally leave one corner open for quick camera access.
The rear facing part of the bag has two traditional small pockets. In addition there is an external lock pocket. No more opening and unloading the bag to find your lock at the bottom.
There are internal stiffeners on the three vertical sides. The bottom stiffener pocket is external. In general I have never felt the need for a stiffener there, but use it as a cutting board slot on longer trips. There are also the four traditional straps Swift uses to secure their bags to a min rack. I have only needed these for rougher roads.
The bag can be secured to most traditional rando racks with the back stop strap and a decaleur system. Some type of upper support will be needed for a bag this size. Working out all of the options in this arena will be a separate post. My current system of an Ortlieb pannier hook and hacked Nitto lamp mount has been fantastic. We are refining the design, but it is not yet ready for market.
I may have skipped a couple of details, and there will be some subtle refinements as we move into production. That said the bag has exceeded all of my expectations, and is 98% perfect. Delivery time, final cost and total number made are still being worked out over the next week or so. Much of that will depend on initial interest. Stay tuned for a presale announcement, Newsletter subscribers will get fist crack at any discounts .
they do nice films they do
WHOEVER YOU ARE. WHEREVER YOU RIDE. WHATEVER THE REASON.
Rapha Core offers the essentials in performance and functionality. Consisting of a cycling jersey and shorts for men and women, the collection is nothing more and nothing less than the basics, perfectly crafted to set the new standard in everyday ride wear.
The technology is there and a few builders are utilizing it for sure, but you don’t often see a 3D printed frame with elegance like Bastion Cycles‘ titanium and carbon road bike.
This thing is a beauty and for me, was a pleasure to photograph. I love the contrast of materials, the 3d-printed NAHBS insignia on the driveside dropout and the mean fuckin’ stance of this road bike.
ORIGINAL The proliferation of GPS bike computers and online ride sharing sites like Strava has seen our cycling habits change a little bit in the past few years.
Instead of carrying an Ordinance Survey map in your back pocket and working out your route like the olden days, we can now get all the information we need delivered right to our face.
That means that sites like Strava are havens for stat fiends, but there are always the same kind of rides on there. They may be from all over the world, but virtually all of them share the characteristics of the examples below.
The club ride
Check your Strava feed on Saturday or Sunday morning and you’ll invariably see that many of your friends have ridden between 35 and 60 miles with likeminded individuals at an average speed that is favourable to everyone.
Club rides are an important part of cycling – they make you feel welcome, they give you something to do at the weekend and they can form the basis of many people’s enjoyment of cycling.
The massive ride
Normally you stick to rides of around 40 miles, but every now and again you’ll post a ride well exceeding 100 miles to the shock of your friends.
As such, the kudos will fly in from all angles, mostly from people who didn’t think you had it in you to be able to ride such a distance without dropping dead.
The ridiculously short ride
For every massive ride there is a ride so short that you might as well not have bothered recording it on Strava. Popping to the shops, or commuting approximately 1600m to work each day would fall into this category.
The out and back
Rather than bothering to work out a nice loop to do you just pick a point and ride there, returning by the exact same roads because it would be too much hassle to find alternative roads in that area.
The same ride as last week
Everyone has their preferred training route and there are many riders who don’t like to change it up at all. It’s not the same as doing a club run, as many clubs tend to mix up four or five different routes in the area.
Instead you simply find a route that provides you a series of different challenges and allows you to get some fresh air. These routes are particularly good if you just fancy a spin without having to stop every mile to look at the map.
The turbo ride
Love it or hate it, the turbo is a great training tool. So much so that Strava now accepts stationary training as a ride option. Set your GPS computer going on your ride and you’ll sometimes finish to find the Strava ‘route’ shows you having moved violently across your living room.
If the GPS doesn’t kick in, Strava just shows that you rode in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, making some people wonder if you’ve popped away on holiday.
The abandoned ride
Ever looked at someone’s Strava ride and seen that they finished absolutely miles away from where they started? They got to the out point, but on their way back it just looks like they packed it in halfway?
It’s something that cyclists dread – getting stranded in the middle of nowhere having run out of inner tubes after puncturing three times on the first three-quarters of your ride.
A quick call to your partner/mate/mum/mate’s mum and you’re whisked off in the broom wagon. Thankfully the excuses are clear for everyone to see in the ride title.
The ride that inexplicably gets mountains of kudos
Remember that 30-miler you did last weekend? Well 40 people gave you a thumbs up for it. You didn’t break any records; you didn’t even cycle particularly fast, but for some reason everybody is loving your work.
Whenever you see this phenomenon it generally means someone has about a billion followers, hands out kudos willy-nilly themselves so everyone feels the need to give it back to them.
The balls-to-the-wall ride
These rides generally occur on the ‘same route as last week’ rides, because sometimes you want to ride your normal route as fast as you can.
You may have limited time to ride, or you may want to try and set a few Strava KOMs – whatever the reason, you decide to go full throttle and set yourself a little challenge rather than just pootling like normal.
Mitch from Map Biycles in Chico, California has always been one of my favorite builders. The dude just oozes a cool, confidence that always shows in his work. From customer builds to his own, Map never ceases to impress. Even when his bikes have digi camo on them.
cobbles and ice – what could go wrong?
Last week the work commitments cleared even if the weather didn’t. Chose to run when the weather was at its worst but then parts of the late week looked peachy if cold.
Went out for a ride on the beautiful Mercian steel tourer. I have been reading articles about whether it was better to load some of the weight rando style into the front panniers which lowers the CoG (centre of Gravity) opposed to rear. Now the forks on the Mercian have a decent rake and it responds well to the front being loaded.
For longer tours I would load all 4 but this was a test shake out with medium load for short tours.
So off I went on cold 2C morning with frosty canal paths. The bike handled well and I relaxed into the ride – most of the time on the Lynskey road bike I have half my eye on the stats on the GPS and find myself getting uptight when the average speed drops below 27kph. Stopped at loch lomond for a pic of Ben lomond over the water covered in snow …This was far more sedate winding my way up to loch lomond then looping out to Helensburgh.
This was far more sedate winding my way up to loch lomond then looping out to Helensburgh.
Friday was a short 7.5km run but Saturday was mixed with a break in the weather forecast.
Munro Bagging and Ben Ledi was in my sights but even on the drive up to Callander it looked like I got the weather a bit wrong.
A bit too much snow on the hill for no crampons – and visibility was a bit short at the top – and there are too many cases of walkers going missing for me to be a knob about having to do it …. This weekend alone 2 of 3 elderly walkers caught out have died in hospital and a young couple on a valentines trip are feared dead and possibly buried by an avalanche in the Ben Nevis range. So a sedate 12km walk around the woods near the base was good enough for us – still got to blame my better half for the weather as every time she comes with me to climb the weather sets in …
Back to Glasgow and out for a ride on my other road bike (one neglected could get jealous)
Over the crow road my normal trip / training ride. Again pretty cold but the Rapha Pro Team jacket I bought has been absolutely fantastic this past winter. In fact, when the temp is above 8C, I think it may be too hot to wear.
They are expensive but so far it has been worth every penny. The only missing chink so far are my gloves – have a very wintry Sealskins MTB pair and then the next are more summer long fingered so getting cold hands if I don’t opt for Sealskins…..
Back to the ride – it was one of those rare perfect wintry days.
And the Crow road actually had snow and slush all over it once you cleared the car park on the bend. But still I mad a new friend at the top even if they weren’t very chatty.
Was very peaceful at the top …
So another ride in and gradually building up the miles – this work business definitely getting in the way of play.
Was drawn quickly using paper 53 app on the iPad mini fingers for drawing so …. So much for my art lessons at school
After the motor in a bike news recently it is nice to see the real reason to race – singlespeed CX as well
Data trackers extraordinaire Strava has published its annual end of year insights for 2015, and there is some pretty info in the report.
Comprising millions of individual uploaded rides, the data offers unique insight into the habits and behavior of cyclists in the United States. For example in 2015, 5.3 activities were uploaded and shared on the social network every second.
This immense depth of data allows documentation and analysis of Strava’s growth in the world of cycling and running in the United States, while also providing direct comparison with the Strava community on a global scale. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most interesting information.
- Globally, Strava athletes uploaded 5.3 activities every second
- Over 26 million rides uploaded in the U.S.
- Average speed for U.S. male cyclist is 14.6 mph, female U.S. cyclist is 12.7 mph
- Average cycling commuter distance in U.S. is 10.5 miles
Across Strava’s global platform, cyclists shared a total of 115.8 million rides in 2015, accruing a total of nearly 2.6 billon miles — almost enough for a one-way trip to Neptune. Strava’s cyclists together accumulated 133 billion vertical feet in elevation gain.
Cycling uploads on Strava continue to grow and grow as riders in the U.S. logged 26,320,103 individual rides throughout the year, logging 539,112,239 miles along the way. Saturday, July 11 proved to be the year’s most popular day for a ride. From the hills of Vermont to the high Rockies of Colorado, riders in the U.S. climbed an 25.6 billion vertical feet.
For average distance, men recorded 23 miles for each ride, while women averaged 20 miles. The average ride time was yet another significant difference, as the men’s 1:54:00 put them in the saddle for longer than the women, who registered 1:38:00 in comparison. Women recorded an average speed of 12.7 mph for an individual ride, with men registering 14.6 mph.
Not known as a traditional cycling state, Louisiana emerged as surprisingly the fastest state, with an average speed of 15.2 mph, joined by flatland Florida atop the ranking for longest average ride with 24.2 miles. Also surprisingly, Vermont topped Colorado and California as the biggest climbers, with 1,460 vertical feet gained per ride.
Strava also revealed that California was the most active state in the U.S., with 7,172,721 rides logged, a considerable margin of difference over its nearest rival, Colorado, where they totaled 1,465,414. Sausalito, California, was home to the most popular segment in the U.S. in 2015, with 15,327 attempts on the “7-11 Bump.”
For many Strava members, commuting is a large part of their daily routine, with an average of 95,878 rides recorded as commutes to and from work every week. A pacey average of 15.0 mph ensured riders made it in on time, tackling an average 10.5 miles door-to-door. Winter was an unappealing affair for many, axing commuter activity by 63.3 percent as people returned to more comfortable methods of transport.
“This latest release of Strava’s data demonstrates once again the great depth of insight which is available when collating the activities of the world’s cyclists and runners,” says Andrew Vontz, Strava brand manager. “The Strava story offers us an unprecedented opportunity to analyze and interpret a broad spectrum of data, helping to understand behavior and habits of athletes in the United States; as well as providing real-world feedback on how people utilize their local roads for both exercising and commuting.”
Steel is a really nice material for making a bicycle frame, but for many cyclists, titanium is an even nicer choice. Once a very rare and exotic material and a luxury choice for those rich enough to afford it – titanium is notoriously difficult to work with – the cost of a titanium frame has dropped significantly in recent years, to the point where it could almost be deemed, if not affordable, at least a viable alternative to top-end steel and carbon fibre frames.
Titanium is desirable because it’s lighter than steel and stronger than steel and aluminium, and its high fatigue strength means a titanium frame should last forever. It’s those traits that have ensured it has continued to be a popular choice with cyclists wanting a fine riding frame that will last the length of time. Plus of course there is the fabled ride quality, which is reminiscent of a steel frame with plenty of spring and high comfort, but it can be used to build a stiff race bike depending on tubing diameters and profiles.
Most titanium frames are made from 3AL-2.5V tubing (where titanium is alloyed with 3% aluminium and 2.5% vanadium) and 6Al-4V, a harder grade of titanium, is seen on much more expensive framesets. Because it’s hard and expensive to make 6Al-4V into seamless tubes, it’s often used for machined parts like dropouts and head tubes.
The unique colour of titanium ensures it stands out against most other road bikes. Various finishes are available, the tubes can be brushed or bead-blasted and can even be painted if you prefer, but many people buying titanium do so partly for its unique and timeless appearance. A titanium frame will still look good in 10 years time.
Titanium has been used to make bicycle frames for about 30 years. In the early days, there was only a handful of brands specialising in titanium, and US brands like Seven, Serotta, Litespeed and Merlin built an enviable reputation for their expertise with the material. Titanium frames are now commonly manufactured in the Far East which has led to prices coming down quite a lot, into the realms of affordability for many.
Here are ten titanium road bikes we’ve reviewed in recent years.
Last year’sCyclocross and Adventure Bike of the Year winner, the On-One Pickenflick, is one of the most affordable 3Al / 2.5V titanium frames we’ve ever come across. A frame costs a frankly astonishing £699. The Pickenflick is a cyclocross bike at heart, but On-One sells it as a bike for adventure riding and sportive use. It has the versatility that a lot of UK cyclists look for, with geometry designed for comfort and features including disc brakes, space for wide tyres and eyelets for mudguards and racks.
One of the newest bicycle brands to launch this year is the J.Laverack, with the debut J.ACK, a titanium frame with disc brakes and internal cable routing. The J.ACK has been designed to conquer any road or off-road surface, with space for wide tyres (up to 33mm) and plenty of clearance around them for mudguards. All cables are neatly routed inside the frame to keep the lines clean.
The new brand of Mark Reilly, formerly of Enigma Bicycle Works, the T325 is the most affordable in the range. His 30 years of frame building experience shows in the frame, which is lovingly designed with neat details such as an externally reinforced head tube, oversized main tubes, space for 28mm tyres and internal routing for a Di2 groupset. At a claimed 1,275g, the frame is a worthy alternative to a carbon fibre race bike.
The Kinesis Gran Fondo is now available with disc brakes, a popular upgrade to a popular bike. We gave the original a glowing review back in 2013, and with disc brakes proving popular on endurance bikes, the update has been a success. With wider tyres getting ever more popular, the new bike will accommodate 32mm tyres without mudguards, or 30mm with mudguards. The cold drawn seamless titanium tubeset has internal cable routing and it’s modular for mechanical and electronic groupsets.
Van Nicholas is a Dutch company that specialises in titanium, and the Chinook is a thoroughly traditional titanium race bike. While modern titanium road bikes are all about oversized tube diameters and fat head tubes, the Chinook is all skinny tubes and slender stays. But it still offers a buttery smooth ride with delicate handling and really wins you over. A very refined ride.
US titanium frame builder Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles hail from Boulder in Colorado, founded by Aaron Barcheck who used to work for Dean Titanium Bicycles. That expertise shows in the RT-1, a finale built titanium frame with custom butted size-specific 3Al/2.5V titanium tubes with a full bespoke option available. The ride performance is, as you’d hope, excellent, with a pleasingly taut characteristic that likes to go fast, all of the time.
The Sabbath September Disc is an audax bike that’s right at home on the daily commute, club ride or sportive, with disc brakes and the titanium frame joined up front by a carbon fibre fork. The September Disc was one of the first breed of new versatile titanium road bikes designed with disc brakes, and the 3Al/2.5V takes up to 35mm tyres with mudguards. If you want one bike to do just about everything, with the exception of racing, the Sabbath is a fine choice.
Disc brakes have been popping up on titanium road bikes with increasing frequency, and London-based Pretorius builds the Outeniqua Disc frameset from predominantly oversized tubing to provide the stiffness for what is to all intents and purposes a race bike, with the stopping power of disc brakes. The geometry keeps the handling fast and nimble, yet the bike can be equipped with mudguards, though tyre width is restricted to 23mm with them fitted. Without mudguards, the frame takes 25mm tyres.
East Yorkshire-based Baldwin Titanium arrived in 2012 with the aim to provide custom built titanium frames for those cyclists that just don’t want an off-the-shelf bike. Baldwin will measure you up and produce a frame to meet your exact riding requirements, whether that’s racing, touring or cyclocross, or anything in between. You pay handsomely for such custom service though, with a custom frame coming in at £2,950, and a double butted version costing £3,150, but there are few titanium frame builders based in the UK if that’s the route you want to go down.
The latest bike from Enigma is the beautiful Evade, which combines oversized main tubes with a 44mm head tube to offer a high level of stiffness. That ensures it offers a rewarding ride for those cyclists that like to press hard on the pedals. It’s rare to see a painted titanium frame but Enigma has done a wonderful job here, marrying the decals to the finishing components and wheels.
and a 27.5plus titanium mtb hard tail come bikepacking rig come XC racer.
I said N-1, something that should send shivers down any cyclist’s spine – the prospect of actually reducing, rather than growing a bike collection. We all know that the ideal number of bikes you can own is N+1, with N representing your current number of bikes, so why on earth would someone mention a concept so hurtful as N-1?
Well first let’s look at why N+1 is the correct formula. I’m sure we’ve all heard it whilst contemplating (or building) our new bikes: “You’ve already got a bike, why do you need another?” or “Does that mean you are selling your old bike?” To untrained eyes (let’s call them The Outsiders), cycling comes in two flavors, on-road and off-road. But to us, that’s the equivalent of telling Willy Wonka that chocolate comes in white and brown…
There are so many disciplines within cycling that, with the right drive, cash flow and storage space, there is always a new bike that can be purchased. This allows you to drill down to the nth degree, and get the most precise tool for the job – something The Outsiders will never appreciate.
My ever-growing bike collection has evolved from my first real bike, and has become a manifestation of Trigger’s Broom from Only Fools and Horses – “This old brooms had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time”.
My bikes all share some DNA; as my main bike was upgraded, some parts found their way onto other rigs, or they became the basis of a new bike build, but they still have their own unique uses.
That all sounds great: an ever growing number of bikes; conscientiously upcycling parts; win-win all round – so why on earth would I propose the idea of n-1? It’s not part of an intervention by a bank manager or a significant other, and I’m sure it’s not something that is unique to me. I found that I had a lot of bikes that were ideal for very specific tasks (although slanted a little more towards down than up), but sometimes my riding wouldn’t be that specific.
I had morphed from a specialist, with very specialist bikes, to a jack of all trades. If I wanted to go dirt jumping, downhilling, or BMX racing, I was fine, but if I wanted to see where the adventure would take me, would I be on the right bike? I missed heading out of the door and letting the adventure unravel in front of me, rather than the bike dictating the ride.
To most of you there would be a simple solution to this: n+1; keep the downhill bikes, the BMXes, the dirt jump bikes and the XC racer and add a trail bike as an all rounder. Simple, problem solved, no sacrifices made and there’s another bike in the stable. But I faced another obstacle – I was moving to America.
I was left with a few options. Ship them all out there, take a few, or start again! I chose to start again – I went for n-1, and I cleared the collection down to just one road bike, purely for transport. How did this feel? Well apart from the cold hard realisation that there’s no money in second hand bikes, it was deeply refreshing – I had wiped the slate clean.
I traveled light (ish), and once I arrived in my new country I was able to take stock of who I was as a rider. What riding did I miss? What bikes did I miss? How much of what I had been doing was because of the people I knew, the habits I had developed or the equipment I had built up? With no bikes, no one to ride with and no preconceived ideas of what I should be riding, I was able to become the rider I had been hiding for who knows how long.
So am I the downhiller/BMXer that started out racing as soon as I found out what real mountain biking was? In short, no. I miss the memories, the experiences and the friends for sure, but I’m a different rider now…
…I seem to have developed into a masochistic adventurer.
The masochistic nature I got from racing, of giving it everything I had and knowing that I couldn’t have tried any harder. I missed out the adventures; the finding new trails and getting lost in the woods for hours. This was mostly because of the way my bikes had developed and because of my mindset – I can’t remember the last time I took the time to smell the roses. Instead, when I headed to the trails, it was all about how fast could I go, and not about how I got there.
And now? Currently the bike collection has grown by 1 – the road bike has been supplemented by a hardtail, and I am busy separating my racing/training brain from my riding brain.
Every ride I go on is an adventure, new people, new trails and new experiences and I am determined not to hit every trail in the red zone – like a training ride. My bikes have allowed me to discover new places and new people in an area I know very little about – and this is something I may not have found with my old bike collection and my old head down riding style