You may remember that back in May at the Cycle Touring Festival, I met a chap called Robert, an academic at Reading University. I posted a few pictures of his Ridgeback Panorama touring bike that he had converted to carry ‘bike-packing’ bags rather than panniers. You can read the original post here – but I’ve also included the photos below. He’s been in touch again with a few words of explanation as to why he changed from panniers and the effects of doing so. Over to you Rob.
I chose to change my Ridgeback to a bike-packing setup having come across the concept online, and reading about Mark Beaumont’s trip across Africa, when he used the same idea. I wanted to increase the number of miles I could comfortably cover in a day, and thought that cutting down the wind resistance created by traditional panniers would be a great help. The results have been fantastic. My previous average per day used to be around 70-80 miles – I have comfortably added another 10-20.
The initial fitting of the bags actually turned out to be a bit more complicated than I anticipated. Removing the pannier racks was easy enough, and fitting the rear bag was straightforward (though you need to ensure the seat-post is sufficiently long for the design of the bag you go for – I use Apidura). The front bag however, sits between the drop handle bars and impeded the original brakes. I therefore had to change them to v-brakes. This made the exercise more expensive, but has had the added benefit of improving the brakes immensely.
So – in my experience, changing to the bike-packing system has given me a bike that is easier to ride, lighter, faster, more stable and (inadvertently) with better brakes!