I like touring. I tour a lot. If you’re like me you may have experienced something that people who take their bike on short excursions might not notice. The gear you need to take on a long trip is, more often than not, heavy and cumbersome. I tried using panniers, the twin bags that fit on either side of your back wheel. While they seem ok for short trips I found two problems with them when I toured. First, you need to load them equally or it can throw off the balance of your bicycle. I don’t like that. To me, a balanced bicycle is easier to pedal and makes for a more pleasant ride. I think it tires you out more too, which can be unsafe. After all, you need to be alert even if you aren’t in the city. Second, the panniers slow you down. Again, that’s not a big deal if you are doing short tripping i.e. to work, in a park etc. However, if you are touring at higher speeds, panniers act like sails in the wind. A normal rider will average 1.5mph faster without them. You can cover a lot more distance over a day at that increased speed. Imagine how many more miles you can cover when doing a multi-week tour. As an added bonus it is easier on your muscles when you don’t have so much wind drag.

 

The picture below shows the kind of panniers that are great for city biking but can slow you down dramatically on long tours.

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So, what’s the solution? I’m glad you asked!

 

I came up with an interesting remedy to the problem. I carry my stuff behind my back to minimize wind resistance. 

 

To speed up my riding and still carry all my stuff, I bought a small camping grill that I found on amazon for about $11. 

 

I put the grill over my existing bike rack and fastened it down with bungee cords. Zip ties would be a better fastener if you have them.

 

It made a super-duper platform rack.

gill-rack.jpg

All you need to follow suit with this cool way to store your travel gear is a solid frame mounted rear rack and a pack in which to put your stuff. 

Using this inexpensive rack assembly and bungee cords I was able to attach all my supplies - sleeping bag, sleeping mat, mosquito net, camping stove etc. - behind my body. This greatly minimized wind resistance, and, like I said, I was able to bike about 1.5mph faster than with panniers, which is a huge advantage on a long tour.

 

If you have any ideas of how to makes multi-week tours faster or easier, let me know and I’ll pass along the good ones. 

Happy biking! 

 

I like touring. I tour a lot. If you’re like me you may have experienced something that people who take their bike on short excursions might not notice. The gear you need to take on a long trip is, more often than not, heavy and cumbersome. I tried using panniers, the twin bags that fit on either side of your back wheel. While they seem ok for short trips I found two problems with them when I toured. First, you need to load them equally or it can throw off the balance of your bicycle. I don’t like that. To me, a balanced bicycle is easier to pedal and makes for a more pleasant ride. I think it tires you out more too, which can be unsafe. After all, you need to be alert even if you aren’t in the city. Second, the panniers slow you down. Again, that’s not a big deal if you are doing short tripping i.e. to work, in a park etc. However, if you are touring at higher speeds, panniers act like sails in the wind. A normal rider will average 1.5mph faster without them. You can cover a lot more distance over a day at that increased speed. Imagine how many more miles you can cover when doing a multi-week tour. As an added bonus it is easier on your muscles when you don’t have so much wind drag.

The picture below shows the kind of panniers that are great for city biking but can slow you down dramatically on long tours.