Gears: Racks & Bags For Touring

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Cycle touring, being a good way of riding, keeping yourself healthy and seeing the sights at the same time means sometimes having to take it all with you. Cycling Malaysia looks at some options for bags and panniers that will help you do so.

If you’re new to cycle touring, or are taking an interest in it as a recreational sporting activity, there are fewer better options of taking things easy while riding, and at the same time getting in some real exercise, while getting to your destination. Any cycle tourist will tell you that the bags you choose, along with their mounting accessories, can make or break your ride. A poorly made bag that leaks, and doesn’t hold everything you need it to while keeping it securely mounted, is next to useless, especially when you’re miles away from the nearest town.


RACKS

You Will Start With Racks.

Most cycle tourers have front and rear racks. There are 2 ways to mount a rack. One is the traditional frame mounted rack, using eyelets in the frame and screws. This is the most secure mount, and will carry massive loads, depending on the design and construction of your rack. The second method that is gaining popularity, especially for those whose bikes do double duty as a commuter or recreational bike, is to install quick release mountings. Using a system of clamps or straps, these racks are easy to install and remove, with a minimum of time and basic hand tools. Most quick release type racks will mount to the frame rails or seat post at the rear, and the forks in front.


BAGS

There Are A Multitude Of Bags Available In A Range Of Capacities  For You To Chose From.

Good pannier bags will have a quick release mounting for the rack, and should be designed for one hand operation for ease of use. Waterproofing or water resistance is a must, but savvy cycle tourers usually double wrap everything in plastic shopping bags anyway. Most bags will come with adjustable mounts to suit different racks, but the best fit is usually found when matching a pair of pannier bags with a rack from the same manufacturer. Some bags will also come with removable shoulder straps to make the bag multi functional when off the bike.


…using a system of clamps or straps, these racks are
easy to install and remove, with a minimum of time and basic hand tools.


HANDLEBAR BAGS

If You’re Cycle Touring For Any Sort Of Distance, You Will Soon Realise That Keeping All Your Essential Items In One Smaller Bag Is A Sensible Thing To Do.

Most cycle tourers will have a camera, GPS, smartphone and possibly some energy bars and snacks to keep them going on the road, as well as stuff like tools and first aid kits. A good way of keeping everything organised and ready to hand is with a handlebar bag. Mounted on your handlebars, bar bags are best suited for small lightweight items. For riders who navigate or record their rides with smartphones, a bar bag with a clear plastic, touch sensitive window is ideal. Slimmer in design, these come in sizes to fit a tablet or smartphone, and also have additional compartments to keep your wallet and travel documents safe and out of the weather.


SEAT BAGS

Touring Cyclists Can Never Have Enough Storage Space.

The space under the saddle is a good place to keep items that are essential but less used, like tools, spare tube and puncture kits. Keeping these items organised and in one place speeds up repairs and minimises downtime. Seat or saddle bags usually mount quickly and without tools using velcro straps, and are water resistant.

…a good place
to keep items that are essential but less used.


Being prepared in terms of the bags and other equipment you install on your touring or commuting bike will make a big difference. While experience will tell you what works and what doesn’t, many who have ridden those miles before you are perfectly willing to share their hard won experience and knowledge, especially when it comes to storage on your bicycle. Most riders have their own little preferences and quirks, but in general, you won’t go far wrong with a front and rear rack, panniers and a handlebar bag. In most cases, this is enough for a multi day ride, if you pack light and wash-and-wear. So saddle up and enjoy your ride.

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