Posted by: Ian | October 15, 2012

JOGLE Day 3. Luggage.

This morning, with a high degree of apprehension, I cycled 51 miles across Scotland, initially alongside Loch Ness, with a broken spoke. I made it safely to Fort William by midday, having called both of the bike shops to see if they might be able to help. Neither could replace my aero Fulcrum spoke and one of them (Nevis) had no compatible wheels for sale. Luckily, the other (Alpine) had just one wheel for sale with a Shimano freehub – and one was the number I needed.
It feels as if it weighs about the same as my frame; but it’s round and intact. The helpful shop guys fitted it, swapping the stuff over from my fancy broken Fulcrum, while I had lunch and gave me a box so I could post my Fulcrum home. I also replaced the crummy Astraeus Ti bottle cages: they’ve never been any good and today one of them snapped. The new Bontrager cheapies are much better.
I’m not carrying much gear so I wasn’t expecting to snap spokes. Since the Astraeus doesn’t have rack mounts I bought a seat post/beam rack. Initially I tried putting my Ortlieb panniers on it (the Ortlieb website alleges compatibility) but on my test ride one of the panniers snagged in the wheel (maybe weakening a spoke!) and pitched into the road. I could improve things by raising the rack higher on the seat post and tying the panniers together so they cinch away from the wheels – but I would always be worrying about them.
A few days before I left I bought a Topeak Trunk Bag EX, which fits on the Topeak MTX beam rack. Since it advertises a capacity of 8 litres this meant giving up 80% of the capacity of the Ortliebs, which hold 20 litres each. I liked the discipline of that and find that it works well. The Topeak has a top section and a mini-pannier at each side. I divided my belongings into a cycling A kit, a cycling B kit, off the bike kit and Everything Else. At any time I put the two kits I’m not wearing into the mini-panniers and Everything Else in the top. It’s ideal. On top of the top section is a pocket that is just big enough to hold the cable lock I brought with me. I also got the optional rainproof cover, which just about does the job. I’m really pleased with it all.
Today’s scenery was spectacular again. The roads themselves were less consistent – in various parts either too busy or with too many lorries or too rough/corrugated. So on balance less sublime than yesterday but still fantastic.
After 2.5 days of cycling I’ve covered 250 miles – a quarter of the whole. So far, it’s exactly as I hoped.

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