Bike to Work Week…

18 06 2012

Victoria Bike to Work Week T-shirt…

Victoria’s Bike to Work Week took place in May. Sharon is our household bike commuter and she participated fully. I on the other hand have an across the yard commute I do on foot. I must say I miss my old bike commuting days and look forward to resuming that fun transportation habit one day when I have an office to go to again.

Scott and I at our bike to coffee get together…

Neither Scott nor I have a bike commute yet we wanted to support Bike to Work Week in some small way we decided to ride to a coffee shop downtown.

Scott at work…

Scott is a work-a-holic and is very popular with bike geeks around the world. So needless to say he brought a computer to our rendezvous so he could stay in touch with his biznatch!

Might as well get some stuff done…

Since I was downtown I took care of an errand or two on my Bike Friday Tikit cargo bike…:-)

Sharon our uber bike commuter…

On One Scandal 29er Bikepacking Mk2…

15 06 2012

My On One Scandal…

I’ve been honing my On One Scandal 29er bikepacking setup over the last while. Here are the recent changes:

Longer cockpit…

The longer TT is nice for getting low and fast when the trail allows for higher speed riding. It’s not bad for non-technical mountain biking, but I really didn’t enjoy the longer stem when riding the steep techy trails at Hartland. For the most part the Scandal is my bikepacking rig so that’s okay. If I press it into duty as a MTB I’ll have to swap in the shorter stem again.

Another view…

Having a frame bag that actually fits the bike is a beautiful thing. The zippers work more easily and it just makes me smile. That can be important when I am sitting on the ground sweating after reaching yet another hot/dusty route recon dead end…you need something to lift your spirits…;)

Fork mounted water bottle cage…

It’s lovely not to have anything on my back when riding hard so having a place to store water on the bike was a challenge. I sometimes stash a large bottle in the framebag, but in that location it’s competing with other important gear. So I used hose clamps to attach to standard water bottle cages to the legs of my Rock Shox Reba fork. They’ve been solid even over some crazy bumpy terrain and with a DIY retention cord my bottles have not jumped ship. I don’t bother taking them off the bike when not needed, but I could as the install/removal process is quick.

Scandal and Hunter…

Overall the On One Scandal 29er has proven to be a decent choice as a first 29er MTB and a bikepacking rig. For ~$400 it’s a great value in a versatile frame. I don’t think I could have done better for that price. For the time being I don’t see any more changes in the works.

If you are wondering what I have packed in each bag click here.

The Rocket goes Pimp!

27 05 2012

Scott’s new bar bag…

I guess my white Porcelain Rocket bikepacking bag bling was so hot Scott decided to make some for himself.

Scott’s pimped out Hunter 29er…

He works incredibly hard making bags for other cyclists so he deserves to rock some sweet gear himself. I think he’s showing some restraint by keeping his old black frame bag.

A lovely white seatbag…

Fresh bikepacking gear looks silly. Time to get that stuff dirty!

Porcelain Rocket Flickr Porn

11 05 2012

Santa Cruz Tall Boy bag set…

In case:

  1. you are a bike bag porn lover
  2. you didn’t know that Porcelain Rocket posts a regular stream of bag porn on Flickr

I’m letting you know!…=-)

Ben’s Porcelain Rocketized Surly Big Dummy…

Click on either image in this post to jump there.

Scott posts more than just bag porn. He’s got pics of his various bikes as well and the odd cute cat picture…=-)

Congrats to the Rocket Powered Stagecoachers!

30 04 2012

Stagecoach 400 Results Map - click to see live map...

The Stagecoach 400 is a 400 mile unsupported bikepacking race in SoCal. You can read the FAQ here. Looks like a challenging event! If I got my facts straight 3 out of the top 5 finishers were riding Porcelain Rocket bag equipped bikes. Congrats to the racers for getting ‘er done and congrats to Scott for his role in building race winning gear…=-)

A special shout out to Rick Hunter for coming in #2…he not only builds sweet bikes, but can clearly ride the hell out of them as well.

I’m no racer, but during my challenging rides I know that if I have to think about my gear I’m screwed. I can only put out my best effort if everything works and I trust it 100%.

Brand-New Nomad…=-)

27 04 2012

Porcelain Rocket Edition Nomad...

My Santa Cruz headbadge fell off in Sedona so I replaced it with a new Porcelain Rocket badge…=-)

My 29er MTB Bikepacking Setup…

17 02 2012

My 29er On One Scandal mountain bike setup with Porcelain Rocket bags...

Okay first off I beter say that the frame bag you see here is from my Surly Pugsley and doesn’t really fit the Scandal properly. So don’t think if you get a framebag from Scott at Porcelain Rocket that it will fit so poorly. I just jammed the bag into this bike while I wait for Scott to build me a custom bag that will fit this frame perfectly.

The key to a great bikepacking setup is the ability to carry the gear you need on your bike with as little impediment to how it rides off pavement. You can fit panniers and racks to most mountain bikes, but they end up being the weak spot in the bike so you have to slow way down and ride cautiously lest you break something. Your handling is also compromised so that technical riding becomes hard to impossible. When Kurt and I rode our Pugsleys on the CDN GDR with racks and panniers we had fun, but I vowed never to bike tour on dirt with that setup again – unless there was some overwhelming reason to carry that much gear.

Same Porcelain Rocket bags on my Surly Pugsley...

You can see the same bags on my Surly Pugsley above and appreciate how well the frame bag fits the bike it was custom built for. This is a typical bikepacking setup and is designed to keep the weight securely attached to the bike as close to the center of mass as possible. The bags have a limited carrying capacity which forces you to load them with only what you need and the bike remains “thin” which aids in sneaking between obstacles and facilities the seemly inevitable pushing you have to do. If you are fast enough it also keeps wind resistance to a minimum.

So a word about why soft bags are such a great idea for a dirt road or mountain bike trail tour. Standard panniers and racks are stiff and heavy. They hard mount to your bike which means every bump gets transmitted very efficiently from your bike to the racks and then to the panniers. Eventually that will break something. Even if you are lucky and don’t break your gear you will spend your whole trip babying it always taking the easiest/smoothest path to reduce the beating your bike takes. With soft bags the attachment points to your bike are secure, but they can give a little which absorbs the shocks they see without stressing out and breaking them. The upside is that you can ride your mountain bike like a mountain bike while carrying food, water and shelter.

Seat bag...

Seat Bag:

  • thermarest sleeping pad
  •  bivy sack/tent [no poles]/hammock
  • jacket when not being worn
  • this bag acts like a fender when riding in wet conditions

Frame bag...

Frame Bag:

  • bike tools
  • pump
  • spare tube
  • food
  • stove/pot/fuel/lighter
  • mini first aid kit

Top tube bag...

Top Tube Bag:

  • bike light battery
  • camera
  • snacks

Front roll bag...

Front Roll Bag:

  • sleeping bag & spare camp clothes inside 10L OR dry bag
  • tent poles outside bag if you got ’em

Front bag pocket...

Front Bag Pocket:

  • snacks
  • cellphone
  • wallet
  • headlamp
  • maps

Dinotte XML-3 bike light...

Front End Bike Stuff:

  • Dinotte XML-3 900 lumen light [waterproof enough power for full night at low/high power for fast downhill runs]
  • Ergon grips for hand comfort
  • bar ends for extra hand positions
  • 180mm disc brake to slow down on steep hills with a load
  • 100mm suspension fork to allow for faster speeds on rough surfaces
  • BMX platform pedals for lots of grip in whatever shoes I want to wear

The back end...

Rear End Bike Stuff:

  • red blinky for nighttime visibility on the trail and road
  • Alfine 11 IGH for wide range weatherproof drivetrain and strong undished rear wheel
  • wide supple 29er tires with enough tread for loose conditions climbing
  • wide strong rims
  • 160mm disc brake [more than enough braking at this end]
  • comfortable leather saddle

On the trail...

Stuff I need to add:

  • water bottle cages on fork [w/ hose clamps]
  • fuel bottle cage under downtube [w/ hose clamps] for longer trips only
  • GPS [w/bar mount] when needed

Backpack or no backpack?


I ride my mountain bike with a hydration pack when on the trails. I used a slightly larger daypack for the ride out to the Sooke Potholes to carry water and some spare clothes. In general I think it’s better to keep the gear off your back and on the bike. Firstly it forces you to be ruthless with what you are carrying and secondly it’s much more comfortable. Plus it means that for specific trips where you need to carry a lot of food, water or clothing you have an option that isn’t already full of stuff.

I’ll be adding water bottle cages to my fork legs so I don’t need a hydration pack for fluids. I’ll be a bit more efficient about the clothes I bring and carry any spare clothes I am not wearing on my bike – either in the front roll bag or the seat bag. That will mean I can skip a backpack for most trips and if I really do need some extra cargo capacity I can add in a pack at that point.

Stylish and comfortable...


It’s hard to be too specific about clothing since so much depends on where you ride, what time of the year it is and what the forecast is for. Here is a sample of what I might bring on a ride here on Vancouver Island:

  • toque [never leave home without it]
  • buff neck warmer
  • sunglasses
  • fleece gloves
  • rain jacket [as breathable as possible means less sweat and you can wear it most of the time]
  • wool top [maybe 2 if it’s cool so I can layer]
  • synthetic capris
  • wool 3/4 tights
  • wool leg warmers
  • wool socks
  • shoes
  • rain chaps and rain glove covers