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→
Which do you call it – bikepacking or ultralight cycle-touring? Correct me if I’m wrong but bikepacking seems to be more orientated towards mountain bikes and ultralight touring towards road bikes.
They both use a bike to carry the minimal amount of kit to get the job done with a philosophy that values freedom, motion and adventure over comforts and luxury. I suspect that the only real difference is that bikepacking evolved from mountain bikers doing ambitious overnighters and ultralight cycle-touring was the logical answer to road tourers wanting to go further and faster whilst taking in a few high alpine cols. It looks to me like a case of convergent evolution where both camps have found similar solutions to the same problems, such as ditching panniers and racks in favour of dry bags, to save weight but also because mountain bikes and road bikes are less well designed to have racks mounted to them.
What I’d really like to know is, which do you call it and what type of bike do you use?
When looking at ultralight bicycle tools for ultralight cycle-touring there is one main debate I’ve seen thrashed out on forums and blogs; ‘should I use a multi-tool or separate tools?’ Is it lighter to use separate allen keys, chain tools and screwdrivers or to use a multi tool with all of those features combined?
The answer usually comes down to how ergonomic and usable you want your bicycle tools to be. As a guideline, I would suggest that a tool kit (minus, puncture repair and spare parts) that’s less than 120g, easy to use and robust is an achievement. If you want ultralight bicycle tools and don’t mind modifying your multi-tool, perhaps even chopping parts off that you don’t need, you might be able to get that weight down to 80g or less and still have a reasonable level of functionality and ergonomics. Continue reading Ultralight Bicycle Tools For Cycle Touring→
My new book; ‘Ultralight Cycle Touring Guide‘, which is available on Amazon, deals with the subject of using a road bike, and a very carefully chosen selection and arrangement of equipment, to make an ultralight touring setup.
Road bikes have many natural assets; they offer precise handling at high speeds, are lightweight and aerodynamic. But, on the other hand they are less capable on rough surfaces, have a more fragile frames and often don’t have attachment points for racks.
To make your road bike work as a touring bike you will have to make some fundamental changes to the way you tour as well as a few compromises. In return, you’ll be able to build a sensational lightweight touring bike and enjoy the freedom of easy miles and easier hills. Continue reading Cycle Touring on a Road Bike→
Earlier today I made a video showing how I piece together my ultralight touring bike. In the video I’m using the standard 7.6kg setup as described in detail in my book along with my 10.5kg road bike. The 7.6kg is not all on the bike as it also includes what I am wearing; cycle shorts, cycle jersey, socks, SPD MTB shoes, helmet and sunglasses.
Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Cheers!
When setting out to build the ultimate ultralight cycle touring toolkit, I first examined my old one. My old cycling toolkit was a dark and mysterious beast, I couldn’t really tell you what it contained as I rarely dug that deep.
On the odd occasion I did tip out the contents while looking for a small part I was bemused by what scattered across the floor. I knew there were several types of brake pad, five 4mm allen keys, two multi-tools and a bottle of lube in there, but there were also other more unusual things. Some I’m 70% sure had something to do with bottom brackets, others may not be anything to do with bicycles and I definitely found a bolt that belongs to my desk chair! That would never make it into an ultralight cycle touring toolkit.