Thursday, 26 June 2008

Bike packing kit....done (Updated!)

Well as done as it gets for an event still a month away. I might swap out some clothes depending on the weather and we are looking at sharing some stuff (stove, 1st aid and tools) so it might even get a little lighter. Snacks and emergency food will add about 1.5kg depending on how much Billtong I get...a 500g bag sounds good!

Sheldon is due over soon to collect his rack and borrow my rack top bag to try packing his kit, he's now thinking that panniers might be a little big even with all his camera gear. Not sure what Matt is doing as he is awaiting his custom sized PHD sleeping bag and bivvi tent...that's what you get for being a body builder and having arms thicker than my legs! I think he is going for the drybags / straps ultra light method too on his Solitude Audax bike.

Total kit weight at the moment is about 6.7kg base weight, add another 3.5kg for water and snacks so about 10kg / 22lbs all in. I have yet to fill and weigh the hip flask but I am happy to drag that sort of weight about! Only the camelbak with 2l of water and camera will be on my back so I am happy to ride all day with no discomfort, I much rather the bike take the weight and then I am only really noticing it when lifting it over fences!

The drybags are from Alpkit who make some amazing kit for really reasonable prices and great customer service to back it up. I really reccomend anyone looking for out door kit have a mooch about their site and give some of it a go. To give you some idea of the value the straps to hold the drybags to the bike cost more than the bags themselves! I also got a couple of packs of clip-its (mini caribena clips) so I can attatch the bungee net over the rack bag so I can carry extra stuff (jaffa cakes etc..) and possibly dry clothes as we ride.

Some photos of the finished set up then goodnight.

Alex




Sunday, 22 June 2008

MM 2008 / Bivvi test v1.0

Just back from Eastnor Castle and Mountain Mayhem 24hr race. I was not racing but providing catering and mechanical help to the Ashton MTB club (6 teams, 1 solo!) I did use the time to test the tarp / bivvi / sleeping bag and found it super good. I only managed about 4hrs in it as I had people to rouse and bikes to fettle but it all worked...despite the 30mph winds and driving rain.

No pictures but the tarp was strung at and angle against a fence so Sheldon and my self could (easily) get our heads and chests under it only leaving our legs exposed.

More when I have had some sleep

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

1st Test

I managed to get a test ride in on Sunday with the full GDR Bivvi kit and the new Carradice bar bag (that looks very similar to a Barley saddle bag...) I packed the full kit minus food as I know I have plenty of space in the top of the frame bag for snacks and emergency food. The bar bag worked well and although loosing the side pockets would give some more hand room I had no issues on the 3hr ride with the buckles rubbing my hands. Riding with the weight on the bike was not too bad, and a damn sight better than the 23-24lbs total would hint at. Spreading it along the bike (and keeping the tools/water down low) really helped to balance the bike and although I was not super fast I was able to ride The Skull and Dowies Pt2 with no issues.

Only real thing to sort now is the camelbak. I am using my ancient Source bag from c2000 that takes a 2L bladder, rain jacket and trousers and 1st Aid kit. The shape is pretty good with the weight low down but the lack of a proper waist belt means that the shoulders take all the strain. A 10L version of the Karrimor bag I used in the Himalayas would be tops....the search continues!

Packing list as follows:


Bike:
Fenix light, GPS, rear light on rack.

Bar bag: Sleeping mat, bivvi bag, tarp, lock. 2.1kg

Frame bag:
1L water; tools, tube, pump, etc.; maps, food+snacks, 4x AA's. 2.2kg

Rack Bag:
Sleeping bag (in W/proof bag), stove, mug, wash kit, matches, spare clothes and more space for food. I am also adding a bungee net for additional storage / stop stuff moving about too much. 2.9kg

Source Hydro Pack: 2L water, camera, waterproof jacket and trousers, 1st Aid Kit, wallet/keys. 3.6kg

= 10.8kg including 3L of water (base weight = 7.8kg including bags!)
Food/snacks will add about 2kg for the 4 days...most refueling will be in pubs / local shops!

I have circulated a Memory Map of the route to the participants and got back from Matt a break down of the climbing which was rather alarming....37,000feet in 4 days / 400km! I am looking at the route again to see if there are any silly / unnecessary climbs I can edit but I know that there will be a few "stern walks" along the way. My 20t ACS freewheel on its was from the USA might help a little.

EDIT: Having looked again the scale is to blame for some of the "ski jump" route profiles....ok a 10% climb is plenty on a loaded bike but it is do-able. I have added an alternate on Day 3 and 4 to miss out some of the worst climbs if we are totally knackered though!

I'll finish up with a couple of shots of the bike.

Alex








Wednesday, 4 June 2008

A little news...

Well I did manage to get out over the bank holiday weekend...in the driving hail and sleet. Pretty cold and wet but a good 1hr45min blast then off to the pub for a beer. Other riding has included taking Trevor and Hazel to the FoD for a nice jaunt in the woods which turned out a little tougher as the Dog Soldiers trail was still pretty wet and slippy. It was Hazels first proper mountain bike trail and she did really well to stay on the bike...better then Trevor and his new SPD pedals :)

Date for the GDR is set on the 26-29th of July so if anyone can arrange good weather for then in Wales it would be appreciated! I need to make a decision on the final packing and start taking all my kit on some rides to have a shake down even if I don't end up camping out.

Other big news is that I passed my driving test yesterday (at the age of 31!) so I can now borrow the Chav-mobile for rides further afield. Any one in the Cheltenham area looking to learn should give Colin Parry a ring as he was a great teacher and immensely patient even with my bumbling lack of coordination! On a completely different note Final / JK Broderick has a new EP out on download only (MP3 or FLAC) on his blog. 47mins of minimal bleeps and soundscapes....great for late night bike fettling.

Over and out

Alex