A pair weeks in the past I carried out my first off-road mountain bike tour.
I’ve toured for months on a mountain bike up to now, however this was my first time touring solely on filth hearth roads and rocky single-track trails.
This primary off-road mountain bike touring journey might have simply been a brief 2-day, 1-night journey, however I discovered so much from the expertise… and I’d prefer to take a second to share with you the three greatest issues I discovered from this brief mountain biking expedition.
1. When Mountain Bike Touring – Pack As Little As Doable
For this primary mountain biking tour of mine, I had two primary objectives. 1) Get away from dwelling for a short while (and away from the pc)… and a couple of) take a look at out the Freeload touring racks that have been despatched to me from New Zealand.
As a result of I wished to check out the Freeload racks mounted on each the entrance and rear ends of my bicycle, I made a decision to pack 4 full panniers and stuffed them with extra issues than I might usually tackle a daily bicycle touring expedition. Along with the 4 panniers I used to be carrying, I additionally had a full set of tenting gear, a change of garments, a e book to learn, a tripod, and three totally different cameras mounted on my bike.
Going throughout city and using on paved roads was no drawback in anyway. Even with all that weight mounted on my bicycle, the car dealt with nicely. In actual fact, it felt as if I have been touring on my common loaded touring bike (with a couple of small variations because of the truth that the burden on my fully-loaded mountain bike was positioned barely in a different way than the way in which I’ve it positioned on my common touring bike).
However as soon as I hit the mountains and commenced touring off-road, my fully-loaded mountain bike turned nothing however a burdon. The bike was heavy, sluggish and loud. Uphill, the bike appeared to weigh a ton. On rocky trails I needed to journey so sluggish I used to be barely transferring. And on steep uphills I needed to truly get off the bike and push. In actual fact, on one super-steep path, I needed to truly unload the panniers and carry them up the mountainside on their very own, then hike again down, get my bike, and carry it up the path as nicely.
I shortly realized that if I’m ever to do an off-road mountain bike tour once more, I have to pack a complete lot much less. I feel I might get by with a single set of panniers on the again of my bicycle, however I’d need to depart the entrance panniers at dwelling. A good higher choice could be to determine a strategy to carry all the things I would like utilizing Freeload sport racks. This fashion of transporting my issues would imply so much much less jiggling on the bike, which I’ll talk about in only a second.
2. Don’t Overlook The Keys To Your Bike Lock
After a full day of biking, I made camp on the prime of a colourful mountain go with close to 360 diploma views. I arrange my tent, ready my sleeping space, and threw my gear inside my moveable dwelling. Then (as a result of I wished to put in writing this text for you about learn how to lock up your bicycle when there’s nothing round to really lock it to) I locked my bicycle to my tent.
However as quickly because the lock clicked shut, I noticed I had made a horrible, horrible mistake. I had forgotten to pack the important thing to my bike lock. I had left the important thing at dwelling!
As quickly as I noticed my mistake, I grabbed my cellular phone and referred to as my neighbor Mark. I defined to Mark what I had achieved and requested him if he would do me an enormous favor by fetching the keys from my home and driving them to me at some extent excessive within the mountains. As a result of I used to be about 4 miles away from the closest street, I defined to Mark that I might begin strolling right down to the street instantly… and that I’d meet him there later within the night. About 40 minutes later, I met Mark on a desolate filth street excessive within the mountains and he handed me my keys (my savior!). I then spent the subsequent hour-and-a-half strolling uphill and 4 miles again within the route of my tent whereas the solar set far off within the distance.
I had wished this brief 2-day bike tour to be a soothing evening within the mountains, however as a result of I forgot to pack my keys it shortly became a nerve-wracking and bodily demanding expertise. And all of it occurred because of one merely mistake – I forgot the important thing to my bike lock.
Fortunate for me, this accident occured inside a brief radius of my dwelling and I had individuals to name who have been prepared to assist me out. If I had made this similar mistake on an extended bicycle touring expediton the place I is perhaps a brilliant lengthy distance from dwelling or anybody I do know, this might have turned out to be a a lot greater ordeal.
Whoops! I gained’t make that mistake once more.
3. Some Panniers Are Higher For Off-Highway Touring Than Others
Lastly, probably the most fascinating factor I discovered from this brief mountain bike tour, is that some bicycle panniers merely arn’t made for mountain bike touring, whereas others are actually extra outfitted for the calls for of off-road journey.
On my brief 2-day tour, I used to be utilizing a set of Ortlieb panniers to hold all my gear. Sadly, I shortly realized that this was a mistake, and that I might have been higher off had I used a set of Lone Peak, Arkel, or comparable type panniers as an alternative.
You see, on the again of all bicycle panniers is a few form of attachment system, which works to carry the panniers to the racks of your bicycle. Most (however not all) panniers have two hooks on the prime of the pannier (which permit the pannier to hold off the highest of the rack) and a hook of some sort on the backside of the pannier, which wraps round a small a part of the rack to maintain the pannier backside from flopping round on the bike. This backside portion of the pannier attachment system, I discovered, is a very powerful a part of the pannier in the case of off-road mountain bike touring.
This backside hook on the bottom of the pannier is normally designed in one among two methods.
The primary and most elementary backside hook is strictly that. It’s a hook that merely slides behind a portion of your bicycle’s rack… and for street touring, that is normally sufficient to maintain the pannier from bouncing round on the rack whereas the bicycle is in movement. (The picture beneath is an efficient instance of one of these backside hook – proven right here on a Pacific Out of doors Gear waterproof pannier.)
As you’ll be able to see within the following picture, my Ortlieb pannier’s backside hook does a superb job of sliding into one of many grooves on the Freeload rack’s pannier sides.
The issue, nonetheless, is that on bumpy, rocky roads and trails, the underside hooks on a lot of these panniers leap misplaced, inflicting the pannier as a complete to bounce and jiggle round as you journey about in your bicycle. The hooks on the prime of the pannier maintain the pannier to the rack, however the hook on the backside of the pannier turns into ineffective after a couple of good shakes.
The second sort of backside pannier hook, nonetheless, is the sort proven beneath (proven right here on a set of Arkel XM-45 bicycle panniers). Any such backside hook is not only a daily free-standing hook, however a hook tied to a bungee twine. The bungee acts as a pulling mechanism, which when in place on the rack of your bicycle, not solely hooks round a portion of the bike rack, however retains the hook (and pannier as a complete) locked in place.
On a daily street tour, it normally doesn’t matter what sort of backside hook you could have in your panniers, as a result of on a street tour there are much less bumps within the street that may trigger your pannier hooks to bounce misplaced. However on an off-road bicycle touring expedition, the street is certain to be bumpy and your panniers want this further bungee characteristic in an effort to hold the panniers from bouncing round on the racks.
In the mean time, the one panniers I’ve ever used up to now which have this bungee locking system on the again and are literally designed for mountain bike touring are Lone Peak and Arkel panniers.
As you’ll be able to see, I discovered some useful classes from this brief 2-day mountain bike tour.
Pack as little as attainable.
Don’t neglect your keys!
And be sure to use the appropriate panniers.
In the event you’ve ever been on a mountain bike tour up to now, what are the teachings you discovered out of your time on the street? What issues ought to the first-time mountain bike vacationer know earlier than she or he hits the path? Depart a remark beneath and let me know what you assume!