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a question of style

Over the last seven months on my bike, I’ve learnt a lot about what does and doesn’t work on bike tour – and one thing I have learnt is that carrying too much gear is definitely a burden. I have gradually, and often somewhat reluctantly, been discarding items that aren’t strictly necessary: the little black dress has finally gone.

The question of what is and isn’t essential is very personal. Sometimes it comes down to available resources; a smaller, lighter tent and titanium cooking gear would lighten my load but it’s quite an investment. Other things are more complicated choices; I carry a digital SLR, several lenses, a serious laptop computer and all the associated paraphernalia. Often, I curse them but I use them all the time for activities that are very important to me. This blog wouldn’t exist without them.

Travelling with other cyclists has been very educational and the discovery of frame bags as an alternative to panniers has got me seriously thinking about re-organising the way I carry my gear.

Jeff's frame bags: he does use rear panniers, as well, which are not shown in this photo. Jeff is a DIY guy and he made all these bags himself. He has taken the concept of frame bags to the very limit.


Jason also favours the DIY approach and made himself a unique set of panniers from plastic kitty litter containers. He also has a homemade frame bag. The bag strapped on top of the rear rack contains a small guitar.

Cass is not a DIY guy but luckily he has slew of handy bike industry contacts and his frame bags have been custom made for him to his specifications. The cardboard box on the back of the bike is excess gear on it's way to the post office.

My bike - the classic four pannier set up but frame bags are high on my wishlist...

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Harold | February 27, 2010 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Your bike is the only one without suspension forks. Does that make a big difference?

  2. anna | February 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi Harold,

    Cass and Jeff have suspension forks but Jason doesn’t. I haven’t really ridden a bike with suspension so I can’t comment about the difference in any detail but both systems have their pluses and minuses. Overall, I tend to like to go for simplicity which is why I chose the rigid forks but there have been times on some steep rough descents when suspension would have been nice.

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