Showing posts from April, 2019

Review - Arkel Signature BB Waterproof Handlebar Bag

With each additional long distance bike tour, my bikepacking kit list shortens and lightens. On returning from each trip I can usually par back my equipment based on 'use versus weight' calculations. The Arkel Bags Signature BB Handlebar Bag could well be the minimalist lightweight handlebar bag that I have been searching for to use on future bicycle touring trips.

Handlebar bags are great for stashing valuables in that you do not want to lose in the cavernous depths of your panniers. On my last few tours, such as the #CoastsandCols, #7Countries7Passes, and #RoadsFromRome, I used traditional rigid style handlebar bags or large roll-bag bikepacking handlebar bags; from brands like Arkel, Thule and Restrap. These bags were great, but they were also quite cumbersome and restricted your view of the front wheel.

The reality was that on these past bikepacking trips I used to fill my handlebar bag with everything from jars of peanut butter to rolls of toilet paper (some would say t…

Book Review - Mountains by Michael Blann

I have always had a love of mountains. I grew up by the coast, but take me into the majestic land of peaks and valleys, and I suddenly feel at home. 'Mountains' by Michael Blann is the only book I have discovered that seems to be able to articulate this deep-seated emotional connection through print; it is a literal and pictographic window into the hidden beauty of the mountains of Europe.

When I have toured across Europe on journeys like the #7Countries7Passes and #RoadsFromRome, I have felt an undeniable bond with the mountains. I would ride across the plains of Germany or fields of Northern Italy and feel very much alone—isolated in a foreign land. Yet, as soon as the road turned skywards and the snow-capped peaks appeared on the horizon; then, I would feel calm and at peace—as if this was a sheltered home.

Of course, the mountains are not a sheltering landscape at all. Quite the opposite. Their unique weather systems are a game of roulette, and their slopes are perilous a…

Review - Chrome Industries Folsom 2.0 Shorts

Spring is here. Summer is soon on the horizon. Shorts are the way forward, and the new Folsom Short 2.0 from Chrome Industries has become one of my go-to options for casual wear and casual riding.

On a recent trip to Berlin—the city that oozes urban cool—I spotted a definite trend… Chrome.

Chrome Industries messenger bags adorned more shoulders that I could count, and if a guy or girl riding a flat bar fixie pulled up alongside the tram, then it could be almost guaranteed that they were rocking some piece of apparel or luggage from the distinctive American brand.

One of the brand's straplines is 'Building Indestructible Gear Since 1995', and damn is that right. This is the brand that first invented the swing-over messenger bag; using seatbelt buckles and straps, five bar webbing, and double-lined bombproof interiors. From the outset, the brand was built for the urban jungle.

More than 20 years on, with the days of garage floor sewing machine production well in the past, …