Video, Fixing a Swaying Backpacking Seat Pack

I didn't realise I had a problem until I saw the video.

In this story and video was trying to work out where it's best to carry weight in a bikepacking rig, front or back.

The answer is probably 'the middle' but I don't have a frame pack yet.

Anyway, it was watching the video of me riding away from camera that I realised how much the full, long seat pack swayed from side to side.  Indeed, I saw a cyclist recently in Glencoe and his pack was doing the same left-right jiggle.

An unpleasant outcome of this was a hole being worn in my ultralight Alpkit seat pack after just two rides!  The edge of the bolt from the saddle clamp was the culprit.  There was no effective way to fix foam onto of bolt, so I found another solution.

Hole worn in seat pack by saddle-clamp bolt
Well, two actually.  One was to replace the regular bolt with a dome-head bolt.  The second was to buy Alpkit's Exorail.  How did they work.  Watch the video to find out.

Video, Magic Muddy Mull

The Sonder Camino Ti gravel bike I bought in May is tempting me to ride new and unusual places.

In particular I've been seeking out routes new to me and possible, anyone.

I found such a route on Mull this weekend.  Here is is on Komoot although read on before you rush off and ride it.  It's a challenge.

The aim was to ride a loop of the lovely Loch Frisa.  If time permitted I'd add a second loop onto of the first, taking in the trails of Glengorm and visiting the excellent cafe at the castle.

So was there a route along the south west side fo Loch Frisa?  The maps did not agree.

Video. Front or Back - Where's Best to Carry Bikepacking Kit?

I've seen loads of different bikepacking rigs.

I've used different pannier systems and different types of bar bags.

But I've never really known where, given the choice, the bulk of the kit should go.  Is it better at the back or the front?

The answer is probably "the middle" judging by the number of frame packs I've noticed on Bikepacking.com.  That's not an option (yet) because I don't have a frame bag.

Komoot - Is It Any Good? Video

Komoot is a relatively new mapping app for hikers and cyclists.

It hails from Austria/Germany, was started around 2010, and boasts 8m users worldwide.

I've had an account for a while - I post my most interesting adventures on it here.  

So decided to test its ability to map a touring route in a busy part of England and you can watch the video of that test below.  Incidentally, if you'd like to read the background media briefing for Komoot, you can download a copy from their website.

Bikepacking - What's It Like & What Kit To Use. Video.

Bikepacking has been around for a few years now and the equipment involved has matured, so I thought I'd give it a try.  

Scroll down to watch the video of my ride.

I didn't head off into the wilds of Scotland.  For me that would be too easy, because they're my playground, like a second home for many decades.  

Instead I rode a route between London's commuter-land and the holiday resorts of the south west.  I planned it using the (fairly new) mapping service Komoot which I shall review soon.  I made a couple of films while riding so I could share my equipment choice and my first experiences of bikepacking.  I paid full price for everything I used.

Swim to the Saint's Island, Video

There is an ancient Scottish belief that evil Spirits cannot cross water.

That's why so many important burial places are on islands.

The islands in Loch Leven, the Glencoe Islands, may be the best known.

But the Island of St Finan in Loch Shiel is surely one of the most beautiful, if only for its location.

It also gives Glenfinnan it's name.  I doubt that's realised by many of the thousands of visitors to the National Trust's Glenfinnan Monument and nearby Glenfinnan 'Harry Potter' Viaduct.

Grinduro - What's It Really Like? Video.

Grinduro is not a bike race.  Not just a bike race, anyway.

Think of it as a long weekend break with decent food, travel to a gorgeous Scottish island, camping, lots of nice people, a bit of a knees-up, a few freebies and some excellent off-road riding.

Best of all, it's a social get together.

One you start thinking of Grinduro in these terms the £150 entry fee doesn't seem too steep.  Expensive but not ridiculous.

"Scotland in miniature" is the usual cliche applied to the Isle of Arran.  Easily accessible by train (which takes bikes) from Glasgow, it's a holiday island.