In this vid, we review the Carsick Designs Rack Sling, an open topped sling bag that functions similarly to Xtracycle Free Radical bags. The slings can accommodate loads that won’t fit in regular panniers. In the few weeks that we’ve been testing them, I’ve put everything from a standard backpack to a 1×1 LED video light to our fishing gear in the sling. Watch the vid and see it in action on our Bicycle Travel Channel.
Since paring down our touring kit, we’ve become real fans of small panniers. These Arkel panniers are probably the smallest we own (definitely the lightest) and are more like a bikepackers pannier than anything else. Amazingly, they are also fairly affordable for the pair. Watch the video to see how they mount and our thoughts on them.
Bells are a handy accessory for the bike commuter and bike tourist, especially when you’re riding on paths with lots of pedestrians and other cyclists. If you have multiple bikes, moving a bell from bike to bike can be real fiddly requiring tools, special bands to accommodate handlebars, etc., The Osaka Roadie Bell is a small bell that you can toollessly move from bike to bike. Watch the vid to see how it works!
In this video review we look at the Porlex Mini Grinder. Regarded as one of the best portable manual grinders in the market, we take a look at its pros and cons. For a more in-depth, written review, check out this post that we wrote a few years ago.
In this video we take a close look at Porcelain Rocket’s Micro Pannier, an interesting hybrid pannier that combines bikepacking techniques with a bike touring form factor! If you’re in Portland, you can buy them in-store at VeloCult. Interested in more bike travel related videos? Subscribe to our Youtube Channel!
In this video, we show multiple ways to carry a fly rod on your bicycle using simple bungees or our new favorite, ROK Straps (these things are awesome). We also show a simple technique to carry longer rods like switch rods or trout rods that only break down to two or three pieces. Be sure to visit the rest of our Bicycle Travel Channel for more vids!
In this video we compare two popular “feedbag” style bags. One is the original that started it all, the Revelate Mountain Feedbag and another is from an awesome local Oregon maker, Randijo Fabrications. Which one is for you? Watch the vid to find out.
In this video we take a look at ROK Straps, a great alternative to cheap bungees and camstraps. ROK Straps combine the adjustability of cam straps and the elasticity of bungees. Interested in buying your own? Buy them here and help support the site. Interested in more of our video content? Visit and subscribe to our Youtube Channel!
For our last few tours, we’ve been combining fly fishing with bicycle touring. It is a great secondary activity to do on a bike tour and really allows you to see your environment in a different way. It gives you a reason to stay at a beautiful riverside campsite for a few days and explore, rather than feeling the eventual pull of momentum drag you along. In this video, we talk primarily about our tenkara fly fishing kit. Tenkara is a Japanese form of fly fishing that has grown in popularity the last few years because of its lower learning curve. You can literally be taught how to cast and catch fish with a tenkara rod in less than half an hour.
From the moment I first threw a leg over my Warbird, I knew a gauntlet had been thrown down. This bike would travel places with me. But how would my gear?
Our first bike overnight without panniers to Cascade Locks.
As I stared at our bikes in advance of our overnight to Cascade Locks and as I dug around the pile of old bags at the back of the closet, I couldn’t help but think back to our very first bike tour, over eight years ago. A lot has happened in between then and now, but I once again faced a packing conundrum that proved how much I still had to learn.
Eight years ago, I had no idea where to start. I didn’t have any of the fancy gear, because I wasn’t yet sold on this bike touring thing. So, I used what I had, and I overpacked a basket that hung so heavily from my handlebars that it scraped the paint off the headtube.
We all have to start somewhere, but there would be no ill-fitting basket hanging on my Warbird. Nor would there be a hairdryer, or any of the other excessive items I packed on that first trip. But I needed to carry some things, and I once again faced the fact that I didn’t have any of the fancy gear – because, again, I wasn’t yet sold on this bikepacking thing.
Packing with panniers is so simple and easy.
The truth is I like panniers. They’re simple, they’re exceedingly functional, they locate the weight of your gear low to the ground. In contrast, most bikepacking setups rely on many small bags, strapped all over the place with fat ugly velcro, located so high off the ground that they raise your center of gravity.
Panniers are egalitarian. You can use them to buy groceries and you can use them to travel the world. Those funny seat bags, though? Where else do you use those?
Plus, I’ve become incredibly skilled at packing for a bike trip with panniers. It’s such second-nature that I really don’t need to think about it, other than deciding what to cook for dinner.
Put another way, though, maybe I’ve become too skilled at packing with panniers. There’s no challenge anymore, just the chore of finding the things and dropping them inside just-so.
I may hate the look of most bikepacking bags, but I have to admit that I like the challenge of completely re-thinking everything I know about packing for a bike trip.
And when I say re-think everything, I truly mean everything. The systems that I’ve adopted for packing in panniers aren’t transferrable. Neither is a lot of my gear. For the first time, I have to care about ounces and excessive compressibility. I love simplicity, but this is a whole other extreme. And I really don’t want to cut my toothbrush in half.
Definitely planning more rides like this!
In the end, though, I accept this challenge for one reason: this bike is a blast to ride!
I just hope I can find a Mary Poppins bag, because it turns out that the trunk bag I have will only hold one incredibly minimal change of clothes if I want to make decent coffee in the morning.