Thursday, April 29, 2010

Touring: The Journey is Everything

Touring: The Journey is Everything ... That's what it says on Topeak's website under the Cycling Lifestyle options. After my big summer adventure is behind me and I'm back in New York City, I'll be returning to their website to explore Commute: A Healthy Cure for Traffic Jams.

Motivated by a need to comfortably and efficiently transport my daily cycling necessities along America By Bicycle's Across America North route, I began exploring the diverse world of bicycle bags, and I think I found a practical and stylish option for both a handlebar bag and a saddle bag.

I love my sleek Sci'Con Saddlebag Compact "430". It's small, it's light, it's pretty. But's it's not waterproof, a small detail that seems somewhat pertinent to a cross country tour since preparation for all weather conditions is relatively vital. As it's a size small, it's already quite snug with two tire levers, a spare tire tube, a Topeak The Mini 9tool kit, a dollar bill, and mini tape measure (to periodically measure my seat post height; carbon fiber seat posts tend to slide slowly over time). I'll clip my Sci'Con back underneath Maddy's saddle when I return to New York City in August, but when I head out west to Oregon this June, I think I'll be sporting these bags on my Trek Madone frame:

Topeak Handlebar DryBag
Size: 10.6” x 9.1” x 7.5”
Features: waterproof, reflective strips, clear map cover on top, quick release clamp, shoulder strap for off-bike use

Topeak Wedge Saddle DryBag, medium
Size: 6.9” x 4.3” x 4.3”
Features: waterproof, reflective strips, nylon strap and buckles system

I actually preferred the Topeak saddle bag with the QuickClick™ System, similar to the Roller System™ saddle fixing on my Sci'con saddle bag, but I could not place an order on Topeak's website, and I couldn't find that particular model on Amazon, Ebay or other online vendors with cycling gear.
Topeak Handlebar DryBag $79.95
Topeak Wedge Saddle DryBag $34.99

I'll provide an update on whether I like the bags, and if they adequately stow the items that I need to carry while I'm cycling:
  • tool kit spare tire tubes
  • rim strips
  • tire levers
  • chain break tool
  • spoke wrench
  • bike-mounted pump (attached under rear my water bottle cage)
  • extra nuts, bolts, etc that Maddy requires
  • tool kit
  • patch kit
  • chainlube
  • WD-40
  • bicycle cleaner
  • spare dollar bill to boot a tire
  • cell phone
... And the items I want to carry:
  • sunscreen
  • lip balm
  • hand sanitizer
  • digital camera
  • monetary media (credit cards, bank card, cash)
  • driver's license
  • mini spiral notebook and pen
  • sun glasses
  • road snacks
Next is my search for a great backpack to hold a laptop and any attire that I want to add or shed during the day. I won't cycle with the backpack; it will likely be on the van, where I can access it at SAG stops. So, Helen, I've got a question for ya.

1 comment:

Helen Steussy said...

Sorry, Katie, I thought I answered this from my droid weeks ago.

Backpack...Eddie Bauer Adventurer. Sturdy. Life time guarantee. Slot for the laptop in the back. It helps to have the sales guy make the adjustments so it fits you just right.

Just 5 weeks to go!