As your bicycle horizons expand, you may find the need to carry more gear on your bike. There is only so much room in a seat bag and jersey pockets for the clothing and other essentials for day-long rides and multi-day travel. This is especially true with spring and fall riding, where a wide range in temperatures will have you shed jackets, vests or arm & leg warmers as the day warms. Here is a brief summary of three broad categories of bicycle touring, and how you might carry the load.
Supported tour - rear rack and rack trunk.
When you ride all day on a supported, multi-day tour, most of your gear goes on the baggage truck (and out of reach) from breakfast until dinner. For these rides, a rear rack and rack trunk combination is an ideal way to carry your needs for the day, with room for cool weather or rain gear, snacks and other travel needs. Some rack trunks feature drop down pannier options that give additional flexibility and space.
Inn-to-Inn Touring - rear rack and small panniers.
Also called “credit-card” touring, you travel carrying a change of riding clothes, and lightweight off-bike wear. Small or medium panniers, sometime combined with a rack trunk will accommodate the careful packer, without creating weight distribution problems on your bike.
Self-contained camp touring - front and rear rack, front and rear panniers.
When you are carrying your shelter, kitchen and clothing for on and off the bike, weight distribution becomes more important. A front rack and panniers will allow you distribute your gear evenly across your bike for better handling, and reduces stress on the rear wheel.
I will cover the gear for each of these in more detail in upcoming posts. You can also sign up for Bicycle Garage Indy's new TourWise class, to receive customized instruction and advice for your dream bicycle vacation.
You will find a full selection of bicycle packs and racks from Arkel, Blackburn Bontrager, Giant, KoKi and more at all three Bicycle Garage indy locations.