With a Krampus currently at my disposal, I've set about cutting my snow-cycling baby teeth - most recently with a wintery day in the Cibola National Forest, New Mexico. Heading out into unexpectedly snowy conditions, a planned night under the stars was soon shelved in favour of an after-dark, almost-lost retreat to the car... The Krampus, now complete with Rabbit Holes 'n Knards fore and aft, proved to be the perfect steed for the occasion, carving through snowy singletrack with conviction and aplomb. The day turned out to be an equally appropriate opportunity to test out my platform pedals - the VP 'Thin Gripsters', purchased via Rivendell Cycles. Winter riding, here I come. Inspector Gadget I received a particularly generous advanced-Christmas present this year, an iPhone no less, the first smartphone I have owned, and one I instantaneously have come to adore. Not least because it allows me to take photos, listen to music and use googlemaps - the hallowed triptych of my existence. These aside, I can make phone calls and send more-than-one-word texts - both of which are a first for me. I've now begun the associated duty of fattening up my constant companion with a whole wealth of apps, including a Spanish dictionary, Run Keeper, the Benchmark Roadmap of New Mexico (which includes topo layers), reading matter and podcasts (RadioLab et al). That's for starters. With the iPhone, I have the capability to tweet too, though whether this will be a regular occurrence awaits to be seen. Still, this Guardian article, 'On the 12th day of Christmas, your gifts will be junk' makes for a somewhat sobering read, as does watching Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff. "Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that, of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold on to are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (wearing out or breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable)." It's a 20 minute animated film, with an accompanying website, that's seems particularly poignant at this time of year. The content is nothing new but no less important for it. It's a good reminder that if I'm going to create an impact by acquiring Stuff, the least I can do is choose it wisely, think about where it came from, look after it and make it last. Migration South For Christmas, we've migrated south to visit Sage's 'tita', in El Paso, Texas. I'm also scheming a short solo tour nearby, though I'm not sure yet whether it will be with side of the border or the other. Bike matters The Krampus will be joining me on my mini-tour, so I've garbed it with water bottles and my usual bikepacking apparel. It's not an ideal setup, as I'll be running a single chainring (32T) with a 12-36T casette out back - certain to be a challenge in places. Hopefully travelling light will help make up the difference. In a tweak to my usual setup, I'm trying out a Bagman 2 Expedition, a new saddlebag support from Carradice. I've used the previous version of the Bagman before, finding it perfect for lightweight road tours, though not sufficiently beefy for dedicated off road use. This new model features struts that attach to the rear rack eyelets of the frame (or a Salsa Rack-Lock seat collar in the case of the Krampus), which should make for a significant improvement. Inspired by the saddlebag-loving antics of Gypsy by Trade, a return to my venerable Super C could well solve the conundrum of packing a Macbook Air - without resorting to a sweaty backpack or clumsy panniers. More on all that when I've had a chance to try it out properly. Lastly An object of practical desire, courtesy of Rob English. I can't wait to see this one built up. Maybe it will appear at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, held in Denver, Colorado, next February - which I'm hoping to attend.