Category Archives: Ultralight

Alpkit Fuel Pod Review – Ultralight Bikepacking Luggage

It’s finally time for my Alpkit Fuel Pod review. I’ve been using the Alpkit Fuel Pod for the last month where it’s been invaluable on several long rides and some light touring. It’s not the first top bar mounted frame bag that I’ve used, I previously carried my essentials in a Topeak Fuel Tank, but Alpkit’s Fuel Pod it might just be the best.

Alpkit Fuel Pod Orange
My partner Ellie also has an Alpkit Fuel Pod in orange.

Alpkit Fuel Pod Review

Coming from an ultralight cycling perspective the Alpkit Fuel Pod is a promising product. The materials are strong and light, the total weight for size medium, including straps, is a mere 80 grams.

Particularly important to me is the water-resistant seal and zip dock that has kept my camera dry for the prolonged rainy days cycling from Reading to Devon. Continue reading Alpkit Fuel Pod Review – Ultralight Bikepacking Luggage

Bicycle Saddlebags – You Don’t Need Saddlebags Anymore!

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with bicycle saddlebags. I love that they can carry my tools, that they are quite light and sit out of the way when I’m cycling. But I hate that they’re too small to carry a snack or micro-sized pump, are difficult and often fiddly to access and they are very heavy in relationship to what they can hold. In other words, when you look at the overall weight of your bicycle saddlebag, complete with multi-tool, spare innertube and patches, the bag actually accounts for a significant percentage of that overall weight. How inefficient!

Until recently there wasn’t really any alternative to the bicycle saddlebag. The new innovation that I’ve come to prefer has recently trickled in from the bike-packing or mountain bike touring movement. In an effort to find ways to carry luggage on bikes that have no business carrying luggage, bicycle product designers came up with the top bar bag. Continue reading Bicycle Saddlebags – You Don’t Need Saddlebags Anymore!

Reduce Cycle Touring Weight – 5 Simple Tips

Five tips to reduce cycle touring weight. Cycling ultralight is an exhilarating experience but even fully loaded tourers can benefit from reducing cycle touring weight by a few kg. Here are my top 5 tips to get you started.

5 Quick Ways To Reduce Cycle Touring Weight

1 | Chief Weight Offenders: Sleeping Bag

When writing my book, the Ultralight Cycle Touring Guide, I made an infographic showing the weight distribution of my equipment. Chief amongst the weight offenders was my sleeping bag. Though down insulated, which has a good warmth for weight rating, my sleeping bag is quite heavy. If your sleeping bag weighs over 800g and you’re camping in normal spring/summer conditions then you may benefit from swapping it for a lighter model. It will reduce cycle touring weight significantly. Yeti, Lightwave and Rab all make great lightweight sleeping bags and there are many more brands with fantastic products. If you’re in the UK Go Outdoors is worth a look. Continue reading Reduce Cycle Touring Weight – 5 Simple Tips

Using a Garmin Forerunner 310xt for Mapping and Navigating a Cycle Tour

The Garmin Forerunner 310xt is something of a gem for navigation. The sparsely detailed line drawings it creates provide you with the bare minimum of navigational information to get you from one point to another via a chosen route. I’m intentionally refraining from using the word ‘map’ when talking about the Garmin’s display as that’s too grand a word.

I know that introduction didn’t sound too favourable but bear with me, the Garmin 310xt is still an incredible GPS device. Admittedly the breadcrumb style line routes that it draws may only be adequate, but look at it another way and you’ll see that they’re just good enough! Couple this adequate display information with a 20 hour battery life and a waterproof chassis weighing only 72g and you have a really neat little sidekick for travelling. Continue reading Using a Garmin Forerunner 310xt for Mapping and Navigating a Cycle Tour

The Infinity Pedal KickStarter Campaign

I’ve been watching the Infinity pedal on KickStarter for a while. I think that Sam Hunter’s pedal and cleat concept has great potential due to its simple and lightweight design. Mechanically it works in a very different way to current common cleat systems.

As the cleat slides over the pedal it compresses it, making it shorter and holding it between two small protrusions on the cleat. A photo might help to explain:

Infinity Pedal
Infinity Pedal and cleat mechanism

Until recently the KickStarter campaign has focussed on the design and production of the mountain bike cleat, but it now looks like an accompanying road version will be released. This means that both road and mountain bike shoes (and cleats) will work with the same bike pedal.

The combination of road shoes and the infinity pedal with cleat will be one of the lightest cycle shoe binding mechanisms available. Continue reading The Infinity Pedal KickStarter Campaign

Proof That Cyclocross Bikes Would Make Great Touring Bikes

In this video Chris Akrigg shows why cyclocross bikes make excellent touring bikes. As he bounces and slides over rocks and branches and into the occasional mud pit, he proves that cyclocross bikes are lightweight, capable machines that can take a great deal of abuse. Coupled with an ultralight, sub 6kg, bundle of touring gear there would scarcely be any terrain out-of-bounds. Cyclocross bikes also have the added benefits of being fast on roads, unlike mountain bikes, low maintenance and have a huge potential to take cycle touring adventures to new places.

If you’re wondering how you might equip a bike like the one Chris is riding for cycle touring, then you may like to take a look at my Ultralight Cycle Touring Guide book.