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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 04-29-10, 09:26 PM   #1
WMBIGS
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Handlebar bag for Randonneuring

I may be wrong, but it seems like the handlebar bags are popular for Randonneuring. Why is that? I have a rack and bag on the back of my bike. Holds my stuff for commuting. Figure it should work fine for longer rides when I may want extra clothes. Any advantage with going to the bar bag?
Thanks, MikeB
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Old 04-29-10, 09:58 PM   #2
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Ease of access while riding would be a big advantage.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:57 PM   #3
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You can access the handlebar bag to some extent while riding. Even if you have to stop to hunt through it, it's lots handier. With the trunk bag, you either have to get off the bike or twist around (and twisting around is not good if you're anywhere near cramping.)
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Old 04-29-10, 11:10 PM   #4
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I don't know that they are that popular. I think it may be a regional thing. I just use a seatpost mounted rack/bag like what you have. The main advantage of having a handlebar bag is ease of reach. You can have stuff (as long as it's lite) that you use a lot right in front of you and you can reach it without stopping.
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Old 04-30-10, 02:46 AM   #5
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Handlebar bags are very handy for holding and providing easy access to a number of things... such as nibbles and gels, alternative gloves, and stashing items like leg warmers.

All of these things can be accessed while riding (yes, I've even taken off a pair of leg warmers while riding and stashed them), and this is made much easier if the bar bag is "organised" with variious pockets and pouches.

For that reason I like the Topeak Tour Guide bag which I had until my home was destroyed. Another is on order from Chain Reaction Cycles for Machka's new bike. I have opted for the Topeak Bar Pack that is somewhat smaller.

I am not particularly enamoured with jersey pockets because I never quite seem to be able to manipulate the openings that well,thanks to some shoulder injuries. Plus the weight resting on my lower back tends to play havoc with the surrounding muscles.

Some bar bags, such as the Tour Guide, have acetate map cases included along with the attaching Velcro sewn into the top..

One of the main functions of my bar bag is to store my brevet card and it becomes an easy habit to double check it is there when back on the bike after leaving a checkpoint.

And finally, depending on your lighting source, a bar bag can shield your eyes from annoying back or radial glare when that light is mounted on the fork crown. A negative, however, is that the bags tend to limit the mounting options on the handlebar, but this is far from insurmountable.

I also run rack bags because many of the rides I do have variable weather and there is a need to carry clothing to covers most contingencies. Plus it is a home for my tubes and tools and other sundry items.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:12 AM   #6
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Most of the stuff in a handlebar bag sounds like it woulf fit in your jeresy. I carry all sorts of stuff in my jersey. I would think a handlebar bag would act as a giant sail. Is there a noticeable difference in performance?

OTOH I can certainly appreciate the need if you have some injuries that don't allow easy access to a jersey pocket.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:58 AM   #7
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Most of the stuff in a handlebar bag sounds like it woulf fit in your jeresy. I carry all sorts of stuff in my jersey.
It depends on the distance you're riding and the weather conditions, as to how much I'm carrying. For a 200k in nice weather, I could fit the few items I carry in my front bag into my jersey pockets. Sometimes I just opt for a seat-wedge bag instead.
For a 300k in rainy/variable weather, I wouldn't try to stash a rain shell, shoe covers, spare gloves, leg warmers, a wool cap, and repair gear and food in my jersey pockets when things go from upper-30s in the morning to mid-60s in the afternoon. But I can easily fit it all in my 12L frontbag.

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I would think a handlebar bag would act as a giant sail. Is there a noticeable difference in performance?
I don't notice a difference, even when riding into a strong headwind.
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Old 04-30-10, 10:11 AM   #8
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A front bag does not add to your total frontal area, so a full-on headwind is not a problem. A "quartering" wind, one that comes from an angle, will have some effect.

Handlebar bags come from the French tradition, bikes were often designed for low fork trail, this makes the bike handle better with a front bag. It also helps if the bag is mounted low on a rack just above the wheel rather than high up on the handlebars.

Putting the load up front also balances the weight distribution better between front and back and you don't have a swaying load like you can get with a large saddlebag.
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Old 04-30-10, 10:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Handlebar bags are very handy for holding and providing easy access to a number of things... such as nibbles and gels, alternative gloves, and stashing items like leg warmers.

...
+1 on Rowan's answer, which covers it pretty comprehensively.

One other nice thing about a handlebar bag is that on a cold day where it is just warm enough most of the time to go without gloves, you can shelter your hands behind the handlebar bag on a fast descent where otherwise your fingers would freeze off.
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Old 04-30-10, 05:25 PM   #10
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thanks for the info!
I don't care for much more than a power bar in my jersey pocket/s. I really don't care for the jerseys either. Don't like fanny-pack or backpack. We get many days that start out cool or cold, nice to have room to shed clothes. I like the map pocket idea as well as shifting weight from the back to the front. The ease of access sounds good as well. thanks again, MikeB
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Old 04-30-10, 05:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffymcpatzer View Post
Most of the stuff in a handlebar bag sounds like it woulf fit in your jeresy. I carry all sorts of stuff in my jersey. I would think a handlebar bag would act as a giant sail. Is there a noticeable difference in performance?

OTOH I can certainly appreciate the need if you have some injuries that don't allow easy access to a jersey pocket.
How about potato chips?
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Old 04-30-10, 07:41 PM   #12
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How about potato chips?
Yes ...

I've had a fairly large bag of Cheezies in my handlebar bag situated in such a way so I could eat the Cheezies while I rode. I've done that on at least a couple 400Ks.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:41 PM   #13
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A further thought, not related directly to the OP, but nevertheless, bar bags do play a role.

As distances get longer, your intensity increases, or the weather deteriorates, tiredness can play some wicked tricks on riders and their memories. Being well organised is a key.
In other words, having a stash for a group of items, such as tools and tubes, small clothing, energy food, car keys, spare lighting, and knowing where those stashes are on your bike will become vital when tiredness sets in and the hallucinations start.

I am always paranoid about losing my brevet card (even more so now that it has happened on a populaire recently), and knowing where that is at all times is paramount. Of course, it could be a jersey pocket, but sweat and rain can play havoc with the card, and a zipseal bag can become clammy.

You have to ride with the same sort of stashes as often as you can, even in training or on short randonnees. Coming back to riding in recent times with a new bike and equipment has meant I have had to relearn some of these things, but by the time a 1000 or PBP comes around, I should know exactly where everything is...
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Old 05-01-10, 08:19 PM   #14
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I also find the handlebar bag is the best place for the route sheet, at least if you've got the kind of bag with the clear plastic top. Keeps it flat, dry, and not flapping around in the breeze like a "cue clip", etc.

As to aerodynamics, Bicycle Quarterly did some wind tunnel testing a few years back and determined, as noted above, that a handlebar bag does not add significant drag in a straight headwind as it does not add to frontal area. This compares positively with saddlebags: except for the very smallest ones, a saddlebag sticks out into the wind and adds drag. Both handlebar and saddlebags add drag in quartering and sidewind situations.

Frankly, though, I think the kind of person who's really concerned about aerodynamics isn't going to be interested in any bag at all. He's going to ride his carbon bike with aero wheels and stuff everything into his jersey. Considering the prize list offered in a brevet this makes no sense at all to me, but whatever.
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Old 05-03-10, 10:34 PM   #15
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Yes ...

I've had a fairly large bag of Cheezies in my handlebar bag situated in such a way so I could eat the Cheezies while I rode. I've done that on at least a couple 400Ks.
Finally, I am getting some useful information!
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Old 05-04-10, 09:00 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes ...

I've had a fairly large bag of Cheezies in my handlebar bag situated in such a way so I could eat the Cheezies while I rode. I've done that on at least a couple 400Ks.
You're an inspiration to hungry cyclists everywhere!
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Old 05-05-10, 01:53 AM   #17
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Don 't forget the the wife of the late Sheldon Brown, Harriett, rode a long way on a PBP with a roast chicken in her handlebar bag. Now try explaining that to the hi-tech nutrition cyclists!!
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Old 05-05-10, 04:16 AM   #18
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You should contact Cheetos with this. You might get a sponsorship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes ...

I've had a fairly large bag of Cheezies in my handlebar bag situated in such a way so I could eat the Cheezies while I rode. I've done that on at least a couple 400Ks.
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Old 05-05-10, 05:12 AM   #19
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I've had a fairly large bag of Cheezies in my handlebar bag situated in such a way so I could eat the Cheezies while I rode. I've done that on at least a couple 400Ks.
What are cheezies? I assume those are like Cheese-It crackers over here?
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Old 05-05-10, 06:09 AM   #20
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What are cheezies? I assume those are like Cheese-It crackers over here?
No, they aren't crackers.

Cheezies:
http://www.cheezies.com/static.htm
... extruded cornmeal coated in cheese.

Cheetos are another brand.

They are my favourite "junk food" snack.
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Old 05-05-10, 07:23 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Don 't forget the the wife of the late Sheldon Brown, Harriett, rode a long way on a PBP with a roast chicken in her handlebar bag. Now try explaining that to the hi-tech nutrition cyclists!!
Now that chicken alone puts the lie to the "light handlebar bag" proponents. Consider now silverware, a Bordeaux, corkscrew, ... protein, fats, and carbs - perfect!
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Old 05-05-10, 10:27 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
No, they aren't crackers.

Cheezies:
http://www.cheezies.com/static.htm
... extruded cornmeal coated in cheese.

Cheetos are another brand.

They are my favourite "junk food" snack.
Cheetos are a sad approximation of actual Cheezies, though. Whenever I'm up in Surrey, I always pick up a few sacks of Cheezies to bring back home. (and Old Dutch All-Dressed crisps. Can't get All-Dressed crisps in the States for some reason.)
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Old 05-05-10, 11:21 AM   #23
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I use a fanny pack for a bar bar bag. I run the straps across the bar. I keep a camera, co2, reading glasses, paper napkins(in case of emergency), Power Bars(so they don't melt in my jersey pocket) and phone in it's own little pocket on the fanny pack. It also frees up space on the bars for a light and computer. It works for me, and I got it cheep at a garage sale. Not that's hard to beat.
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Old 05-20-10, 02:22 PM   #24
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I was eating Pizza out of my bar bag at 1:00AM last Sunday morning during a 400k in Ohio. The Pizza was too hot to eat right after ordering at the control point so I wrapped individual pieces in napkins and munched while covering distance.
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