I’m headed west for a few weeks!
The current plan is to ride the Stagecoach 400 route, then head over to Death Valley for a dirt road tour, perhaps weaving together a loop based on the new Reno-Vegas bikepacking route. If there’s time… and the weather is willing… I’d love to ride the Tour de Los Padres too and see the Carrizo plains.
To those who find such minutiae interesting… here’s my setup for the trip, based around the classic and venerated Wald 139 basket (-:
I’m a relatively late but enthusiastic convert to the ‘basketpacking’. While it’s not my first choice for technical endeavours like the Colorado Trail, it’s a setup that suits both bicycle travel and car-free homelife surprisingly well. It goes something like this. Pack your basket to the gills with around town shopping. Ride it empty on local trails. Or escape for the weekend with camping gear lashed down. All on one humble bike.
Of note to gear nerds, there’s certainly a weight penalty to running a wire basket and front rack, compared to a lean and minimal roll bikepacking-style rollbag. With cargo cantilevered further forward, steering is affected too, though it’s relatively easy to get used to. To minimise its effect, I toyed with the idea of running the 139’s more compact and lighter sibling on this trip – the Wald 137/Swift Sugarloaf/Nitto/Riv Mark’s Rack combo. But I love Surly’s super stout 8-Pack rack and I figured the extra space would be handy, given the slightly fluid/unplanned nature of the next few weeks. And given that I usually run a Carradice Super C (910g) up front, the eye-catching, all engulfing Monkey Wrench Bag is actually lighter at 620g.
Some weights to deliberate over:
Rivendell/Nitto Mark’s Rack and Wald 137 + Surly Loop strap: 864g
Surly 8 Pack Rack and Wald 139 + Surly Loop strap: 1600g
Also add: a Swift Sugarloaf at 350g or a Monkey Wrench Bag at 620g.
Anyway, I’ll see how it goes. After all.. while ‘ultralight’ is great, ‘lightish’ is still good…
As for the Tumbleweed Prospector, you can find out more about this bike by reading a recent post, over at Bikepacking.com.
The Tumbleweed Prospector. Part Fat, part Plus… all bike!
Most of the time, I run a Carradice Super C Saddlebag up front to carry my DLSR. This time, my camera will be stashed within a Monkey Wrench Bag, atop Surly’s stout 8-Pack rack.
The DSLR rests on a soft bed of clothes and a sleeping bag, with plenty of room for a long lens attached. A Surly Loop Junk Strap keeps everything securely in place. It’s a speedy process to loosen the strap and open the bag to grab my camera. After a quick re-roll, I’m ready to go.
Should things become rowdy on the trail, I can buckle it down the Monkey Wrench bag on either side. The bag itself is attached to the base of the basket with a number of straps, so it’s not especially easy to remove. Wire baskets perks: they provide lots of extra lashing points to keep everything firmly in place. And they’re surprisingly hardy. This one has been all over Bolivia and lived to tell the tale.
Here’s a close-up. The strap is looped around the front and rear of the rack, keeping the bag extra secure. The strap’s tail is tied off, so I don’t need to keep rethreading it through the metal buckle. Wire basket upside? No need to fuss with cable routing, as you do with a bikepacking-style handlebar bag. Wire basket downside? A little awkward on buses, train, or in tight spaces.
To keep sunglasses and snacks handy, I’m running Oveja Negra’s oh-so-perfect Lunchbox. Wrapped around my Jones Bend H-bars, it stays tenaciously in place whether strapped to a basket, wrapped around a roll bag, or run solo for a day ride.
Elsewhere, I have a Carsick Design Arch Rock padded lens bag to stow an extra lens, with a Tapeats Handlebar Bag for quick, one-handed access to my iPhone, which I use to navigate dirt roads.
At the back, my faithful Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion (Version 1) carries a tent, waterproof and extra food, as needed.
The zip-free Porcelain Rocket Orbiter gulps down a stove, spare parts, a water bladder, and food.
I’ve been impressed with WTB’s Ranger Tough tire, which I’ve been running for the last couple of months around town. This will be the first longer trip using them.
Now I’ve weaned myself off SPDs, Hope’s F20s are my pedals of choice. For extra H2O capacity, I’m running an Anything Cage/64oz Klean Kanteen combo. A 2-2.5l plastic bottle is lighter but the Kleen Kanteen lasts longer and is more sustainable.
The Tumbleweed is built around a 135mm Rohloff Speedhub. I’ve had mine for a number of years; it’s joined me across South America and beyond. Up front, there’s a SON 28/Sinewave Revolution on charging duties, keeping an iPhone and various accessories alive.
All time favourite stem cap, courtesy of Comrade Cycles in Chicago.
And there you have it. As it is, I can’t claim this setup is especially light (though everything has been weighed and deliberated over). But it’s tidy, relatively compact, practical, keeps my DLSR camera protected, and gives me room to haul extra food/bags of tacos/laptop, when required. Plus, it supports small businesses who make products I admire.