Saturday, 16 April 2011


This week the postman delivered a few more bike goodies.....this time they were for my touring bike.
For some time now I have been considering fitting some front racks on the bike. This was not so that I could carry extra gear- but more a case of wanting to spread any load between both the front and the rear wheels.

I tend to travel very light...most of the ultra light gear that I use when backpacking is suitable for cyclepacking/touring. Things like tent - sleeping bag - stove etc etc just swap between the two disciplines. Everybody I speak to about cycle touring suggests that where possible it is better to spread the load if you can, so for the past few weeks I have been researching front racks and panniers.

My rear panniers are made by Altura and combined are 56L capacity. My backpacking rucksack is about the same capacity and everything fits in that quite easily, so I only wanted small panniers for the front and after trawling the I-net I decided upon the Ortlieb Front Rollers.
 One consideration that I had to allow for was that I needed the panniers to sit quite low on the rack. This was so that they would not interfere with the mini turbine that I am currently testing...
The Ortlieb Front Rollers, because of their roll top design, fit the bill perfectly.
The racks I chose were the Blackburn Custom Low Riders and match the Front Rollers really well.

Mike & Chris have the same set up on their Ridgebacks and I think that seeing theirs fitted and in use helped make my mind up.
You can see the clearance for the mini turbine in the photo above....also if you look closely you will see that the turbine is spinning and that is before the bike has even left the garage.....just the wind only causing this and no forward movement.
Fitting the racks was a bit of a fiddle but was easy enough....
I chose black for both the panniers and the racks. The rear rack is black so it seemed sensible to match that and having the panniers in black seemed the best colour choice as the Altura panniers at the rear are black and grey.

These front rollers have a combined capacity of 25L. I now have a total capacity of 81L so I have plenty of space for all sorts of packing permutations.. With this extra load space- packing will be easy. I won't have to worry too much about packing things in tightly because of restricted space...not that it was ever a problem with just the two rear panniers....I now have more space than I will know what to do with.......
As well as the racks and panniers...The postman also delivered a combined rear light and reflector.
Peter Calcutt from the Backpackers Club had bought one of these for his Tourer and I saw it on our recent weekend trip. This unit is fitted to the rear rack so that even when you have a full load it will not be obscured.

The light is a RSP Racklight and once fitted you don't have to worry too much about leaving it on the bike when you lock the bike up for those vitally important coffee shop stops....!  It throws out a huge amount of light and only cost £12.50......So a really good buy.

I have been getting out on my bike every day this week and two mini landmarks have been passed for 2011.

First- this week I have achieved my highest mileage in a week so far this year...a total of 273 miles and this in turn has led to me passing the next landmark - the 2000 mile total for this year.
I would have hit this total over a month ago if it hadn't been for me having to stop cycling for four weeks due to medical reasons.

I still have a fair way to go though, as when JD and I are riding the UK2ROCK2UK we will need to be putting in a weekly total of about 700 miles for 4 weeks....mind you that trip should do wonders for my overall years total..!!

Oh !  I have just noticed that a third landmark has been reached and also passed this week....that is the 100th regular listed follower to the site...!


Steve A said...

If you get a chance, I'd like to hear your further impressions of the RSP in both "light" and "reflector" mode. While RSP is not common in the US, good, reflective rear lights that are well suited to rear racks are also not common generally here.

MrDaveyGie said...

great mileage so far Trevor, also your gear preparation is top of the line. I am taking notes. :-)

Mark said...

I use front panniers and find that when combined with an old fashioned saddle bag there is enough space for everything I need on a hostel tour. For camping I guess rear panniers might be needed as well - though I'd try my best to avoid them.

Carlos Ribeiro said...

It's great to revitalize a bicycle. However, I could not carry as much weight.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Came here to ask what Steve already did. I would just add that good rear lights that also attach to racks are themselves rare. So I am also very interested in your road tests of this unit, and also in when/if/how they may be available in the colonies.

Big Oak said...

Congrats on the miles! That is awesome!

Trevor Woodford said...

*Steve A
*John Romeo Alpha
I will be testing this rear light on my French Touring trip starting in four weeks time.I will share my findings on my return...

*Mr DaveyGie
*Big Oak
It is surprising how the mileage soon starts to add up....not having to go to work does help of course...!

I would be interested why you would try to avoid rear panniers. I have always tried to avoid front panniers as I felt they might affect the steering at speed....

*Carlos Ribeiro
Although I am increasing load carrying capabilities I don't intend carrying more than about 20lbs maximum.


gracias trevor por tu comentario.esta es una ruta dura pero bellisima !!! abrazos..

Chandra said...

Hi Trevor,
Congrats on the goodies!

I love the rear reflector + light combos. I have two B&M lights on my bikes and they do work very well.

I can't wait to read about your trip to France.

Peace :)