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Old 05-02-24, 11:21 AM
  #26  
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Hard to see the value proposition of paying $400 for a Tailfin rack when you can buy the nice looking rack below for $57 including shipping.

https://vi.aliexpress.com/item/1005006841162769.html
https://vi.aliexpress.com/item/32883688911.html

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Old 05-02-24, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
Hard to see the value proposition of paying $400 for a Tailfin rack when you can buy the nice looking rack below for $57 including shipping.

https://vi.aliexpress.com/item/1005006841162769.html
https://vi.aliexpress.com/item/32883688911.html
So Tailfin isn't the rack for you- that's okay. I use mine nearly everyday, so the value of it is pretty damn good I'd say. I went for a tailfin for various reasons.

I can use it on any of my bikes. I love commuting in the nice weather on my road bike- it is a fun bike to ride, it's quick, lively, and I enjoy riding it on the few nice days we've had of late in the UK (it has been raining pretty much non-stop for months). It takes less than a minute to transfer from my gravel bike (which is what I commute on in grotty weather) to my road bike. And I don't need to wear a backpack, which I hate. If I have a TT after work (which is usually a monthly thing in the summer months), it take less than a minute to pop onto my TT bike. I have whatever I need for work and racing. Pop the rack off at the TT, get kitted up, ride, pop it back on and off I go home.

For awhile, I was using bikepacking bags on my gravel bike. But, I am only 5'2", so it limited the size bags I could use (saddle, frame, and handlebar). The tailfin eliminates that problem for me, at the back at least. But I can distribute weight a lot better now than previously.

I like the versatility I get with the tailfin set-up. I can use it on any bike. It's easily and quickly removable and requires no tools. Is it for everyone, no it's not. But it works for me and what I use it for. And has been worth every damn penny I spent on it.
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Old 05-02-24, 02:21 PM
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rivers Agree with your comment wrt Tailfin (still unable to justify replacing my Tubus Cargo -- just 1 bike used to commute and tour. The Cargo is very competent and if the strap holders do their job this summer, I'll leave it at that).

This being said, have you looked at the Aereo? Not as trendy, but interesting option nonetheless
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Old 05-02-24, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
rivers Agree with your comment wrt Tailfin (still unable to justify replacing my Tubus Cargo -- just 1 bike used to commute and tour. The Cargo is very competent and if the strap holders do their job this summer, I'll leave it at that).

This being said, have you looked at the Aereo? Not as trendy, but interesting option nonetheless
I've seen the aeroe rack. But what puts me off is it clamping to the seat stays!
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Old 05-02-24, 02:32 PM
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Have you guys seen the new Ortlieb Quick Rack, which is another rack that can be attached and detached from the bike in a few seconds. Costs about $100.


Last edited by Yan; 05-02-24 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 05-02-24, 04:55 PM
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Yep. But as I said, fast install/removal isn't what I am looking for. What I'd like is an efficient way to attach dry bags. Although this is perhaps the wrong way to see the question. Small panniers (<8L) would also work. I think dry bags because they sit low.

[EDIT]
Yan rivers Thanks to you guys, I found out about Tailfin's mini panniers. "Unfortunately" exactly what I was looking for. 2 x 10L in the mail. (sigh...)

Last edited by gauvins; 05-03-24 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 05-03-24, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Thanks for the list.

​​​​​​Could you elaborate on your silnylon jacket? I assume that it is close to 100% waterproof. Vented?
My hiking buddy sewed a couple of simple anoraks for him and me. It's not vented, so it's like wearing a plastic bag. But I've been using it for fifteen years now and it's my favorite rain jacket ever. It certainly wouldn't be suitable foul-weather gear on a sailing adventure, but it's fine for hiking and bike touring in temperate climates. I'm also a member of the "rather than attempting to stay dry, stay warm and wet" school.
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Old 05-04-24, 01:10 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Yan
I am impressed by your dedication to this. My own packing strategy involves raiding my closet for whatever gear I need, throwing them into a pile on the ground, and attempting to cram them into my panniers. Most of my stuff is 10+ year old beat up crap long past their prime, and none of it is "ultralight" or even "normal light".
I love this!
My bags are always packed. When I get back from a tour, Iíll repair/replace anything that needs it, wash everything and pack. Yanís method would work for me too
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Old 05-05-24, 05:45 PM
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I've been on the sidelines of touring-by-bicycle for a few years, even longer for 'self-supported' touring.

With that disclaimer, here's a suggestion that's worked for me since ... forever.

Do a few real-world trial runs. Simulating this is a poor substitute.

After each ride, unpack your stuff and make three piles:

#1: the stuff you actually used;

#2: the stuff you might have used ... but didn't; and

#3: the stuff you'd never use.

Next time, bring pile #1.

This includes bicycle touring in the US, Western Europe, and the British Isles (the latter is meaningfully if subtly different from Western Europe). One sometimes useful if unexpected supplement for supplies on US rides: yard sales.

About the only contradiction to my suggestion to Bring Less: if any maintenance of your bike requires other than Very Standard Tools, bring the Special Implement(s) even if you never use it/ them.
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Old 05-05-24, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by arbee
I've been on the sidelines of touring-by-bicycle for a few years, even longer for 'self-supported' touring.

With that disclaimer, here's a suggestion that's worked for me since ... forever.

Do a few real-world trial runs. Simulating this is a poor substitute.

After each ride, unpack your stuff and make three piles:

#1: the stuff you actually used;

#2: the stuff you might have used ... but didn't; and

#3: the stuff you'd never use.

Next time, bring pile #1.

This includes bicycle touring in the US, Western Europe, and the British Isles (the latter is meaningfully if subtly different from Western Europe). One sometimes useful if unexpected supplement for supplies on US rides: yard sales.

About the only contradiction to my suggestion to Bring Less: if any maintenance of your bike requires other than Very Standard Tools, bring the Special Implement(s) even if you never use it/ them.
So I should have left behind the few first aid items I didnít use but might have? Same with the mosquito repellent (turned out to be chilly and windy, so bugs were at a minimum)? I also didnít use my non-specialized flat repair stuff, although I would have had I gotten a flat. Also had a mattress patch kit in the event of a flat. Ended up not using my Kindle, but Iíll bring it again. Same with the spare shoelace.
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Old 05-05-24, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
So I should have left behind the few first aid items I didnít use but might have? Same with the mosquito repellent (turned out to be chilly and windy, so bugs were at a minimum)? I also didnít use my non-specialized flat repair stuff, although I would have had I gotten a flat. Also had a mattress patch kit in the event of a flat. Ended up not using my Kindle, but Iíll bring it again. Same with the spare shoelace.
Did you miss #2?
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Old 05-06-24, 03:06 AM
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I believe that the meaning of this post was that you should only bring what you actually use, and not bother with all the things you thought you might have needed but did not.

Perhaps #1 might read something like "all the things you have used plus all the things you are relieved you didn't have to use (such as tools, spares, FAK)."

But then you may bring one full change of clothes for every day of the week, use all of them and genuinely believe that this is the way, until someone tells you that you could hand wash at the end of the day and a single outfit + "evening dress" is all you need. Or you could carry a bottom bracket wrench that you have one chance in a million kms to need and sincerely believe that it is critical.

So, in the end, the 3-pile technique is a start, but asking around is also very useful.

Looking at the touring pics thread, one gets the impression that most tourers carry 60L+ of stuff (4-pannier kit). Others make do with (much) less. The question then becomes how, and what fits you best.

[EDIT]

I wanted to add that trying to minimize luggage at all cost can be dangerous. Not carrying enough water, not having a plan to survive unexpected weather events, not having lights or reflectors and yet riding at night. So perhaps there might be a pile #4, of things that you should carry but don't.

I don't recall having read statistics about near-disasters, but any conversation with park rangers about hiking dramas is enough to guess that lots of people confuse minimalism and anorexia.

Last edited by gauvins; 05-06-24 at 03:16 AM.
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Old 05-06-24, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker
Did you miss #2?
No. He wrote bring pile 1.
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Old 05-06-24, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
...
[EDIT]

I wanted to add that trying to minimize luggage at all cost can be dangerous. Not carrying enough water, not having a plan to survive unexpected weather events, not having lights or reflectors and yet riding at night. So perhaps there might be a pile #4, of things that you should carry but don't.

I don't recall having read statistics about near-disasters, but any conversation with park rangers about hiking dramas is enough to guess that lots of people confuse minimalism and anorexia.
Fully agree.

I carry two spare tubes, not one. There have been a few times in the past decade when I had a tube failure at the stem or other unpatchable tube failure. My last tour a year ago, my touring partner had a similar tube failure, not at a stem but there was a linear tear in the tube, likely a weak spot in the manufacturing that finally decided to give way. He started with two tubes, that left one spare which is a lot better than none.

A few years ago I did a van supported ride with ACA. I was really surprised to learn that I was the only one that had a first aid kit with me during the ride each day, I learned that when one of the other riders could not find a band aid until she asked me. She then told everyone else that I had a first aid kit. The military teaches you that when you patch up a friend, you use their first aid kit for that, not your own, there is a reason for that.

Several years ago I did a week of car camping at camp sites along the Maah Daay Hey trail in N Dakota, a single track trail. Almost every day we met a different small group of bike packers. Only one of group actually had water with them when they rode into camp at the end of the day, other groups were dangerously dehydrated when they arrived at camp. One bikepacker I met on the trail was so dehydrated I gave him some water when he was less than a half mile from the campsite because I was not sure if he could make it the last half mile to the site ok without. The group I had met that still had some water when they got to the campsite had actually run out of water before noon and had done a multi-mile side trip to find water mid-day, that probably cost them over an hour that day.

Only once have I had to use a cassette lock ring tool in the middle of the day on a tour while on the side of a road, but I was really glad I had it. Usually I am fixing someone else's bike, but in this case I was fixing my own bike.

A decade ago I was camped at a site that was over 100 km from any form of retail, a couple from Europe were camped next to me. He was checking all of his bolts to make sure they were still tight, he and his wife had already lost a few bolts and they had no remaining spares. He had actually put a bit of duct tape over each bolt to keep it from falling completely out if it got loose. Thus, he had to remove the tape, just to check them for tightness and then re-apply tape again. I never want to have to resort to that. That was the last tour I did without carrying a tiny little bottle of threadlocker, which I now carry on tours.

I think it was only a month or two ago on this forum when Yan mentioned that his Fiber Fix Emergency Spoke lasted over a 1,000 km. I was packing up my tools and spares last night for my next tour. I did not buy the spokes to build up my front wheel so I do not know the spoke length, last night I wrote a note to myself to bring my Fiber Fix. Usually I have carried spare spokes, but on this trip I think I will leave the rear wheel spares at home and depend on only the Fiber Fix if I need a spoke. The odds of breaking a spoke is miniscule, but I would rather be ready if I do.

I am sure my tools and spares bag is heavier than everyone else's, but that is ok with me. I find the only downside of that is that by the time I finish my next tour, based on past history I will probably have fixed a couple of other bikes for other people, not my own.

There was a guy on this forum about a decade ago that always carried cone wrenches. I have never carried those tools on a tour and have no plans to start, but he had described a few times when he had used them.

On this thread someone mentioned bringing a mattress patch kit. But I have learned from experience that a self adhesive tube patch works well for that.




Speaking of tube patches, that reminded me that as I was about to go into the interior of Iceland a decade ago, an Italian rode up and said he wished he could go there too. But he learned the day before that the glue in his patch kit was hard, thus his glue on patches would not work. He had one spare tube but no functional patches. I gave him two self adhesive patches. He thanked me greatly for saving his trip, the two self adhesive patches along with his spare tube were adequate in his opinion to proceed. We rode together that day, the photo below is of him later that day.




When I got home, I found that he had sent me an e-mail of his trip, he had a fantastic trip. That is the only time I have seen someone use a rack on a suspension fork like he did, photo below. I am not sure what brand of rack that was.

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Old 05-06-24, 05:32 AM
  #40  
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Taking into account where and when Iím touring, I like to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.
So yeah, Iíve got some gear I hope Iíll never use, but will be glad Iíve got if and when itís needed.

Most of my touring is in Europe from Scandinavia to Iberia, may to september. In recent years the weather has been super crazy, shifting between +40 heat to days long torrential downpours. It definitely has affected my choice of tent and rainwear.
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Old 05-06-24, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
No. He wrote bring pile 1.
I stand corrected ...
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Old 05-06-24, 06:28 AM
  #42  
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I think weíre getting into the realm of experience. For example, a long time ago, I didnít carry a cassette tool. Didnít know how to use it. Then I learned, and thought, Iíll bring one, just in caseÖ years went by, and now I donít carry one, as in all those years, Iíve never needed it and if and when I do - touring in countries with a bike shop in ĒhitchableĒ distance, or a least limpable distance, I reckon Iíll get by.

Who knows, I might start carrying one again. Ainít no right or wrong in my book
Same with a few other items that have come and gone and come back into my bagsÖ and will probably continue to do so in years to come.

Last edited by imi; 05-06-24 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 05-06-24, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
I think weíre getting into the realm of experience. For example, a long time ago, I didnít carry a cassette tool. Didnít know how to use it. Then I learned, and thought, Iíll bring one, just in caseÖ years went by, and now I donít carry one, as in all those years, Iíve never needed it and if and when I do - touring in countries with a bike shop in ĒhitchableĒ distance, or a least limpable distance, I reckon Iíll get by.

Who knows, I might start carrying one again. Ainít no right or wrong in my book
Same with a few other items that have come and gone and come back into my bagsÖ and will probably continue to do so in years to come.
Excellent example. Perso, IIRC I've had to remove a cassette only once (on forest roads, days away from the nearest shop) but could have done without (you can usually get going with one spoke missing on a 36-spoke wheel). But I carry the Unior diminutive tool that doubles as a spoke wrench.

Cassette removal is perhaps the most difficult scenario to consider. (1) You very rarely urgently have to proceed, so the removal kit falls in the nice-to-have category; (2) the standard kit (wrench + whip) takes lots of space and isn't for weight wienies yet (3) Unior "may" work and you shouldn't try on carbon/aluminium frames.
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Old 05-06-24, 08:41 AM
  #44  
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I am reminded of a time in college when my roommate borrowed my patch kit/multi-tool from my bike the night before I was taking off on a weekend trip from Boston to tip of Cape Cod. I left early in the morning before she had returned them and didn't notice. No flats and when I returned she greeted me with a look of concern and then relief. In this case an ability to fix flats was not needed and I accidentally saved on weight of carrying this.

Spares and repairs can be a balance between (a) probability of something breaking (b) impact of that break (c) ability to avoid/delay/detect/adjust to the break. Where I am going and how long factors into this for me. A good example is I've had times where I carried a spare pedal - after having pedals/bearings seize up on me. This isn't typical because often where I am going I'll have enough warning before I get pedal issues and enough places along the way to replace them. However, there are also two instances in my touring where a pedal snapped off and it would have been helpful. Last year on a tour my right pedal was starting to seize up periodically as I was riding across Nebraska and it also wobble perhaps due to a missing bearing. I ended up buying an inexpensive set of pedals in Kimball NE just in case and then replacing pedals in Fort Collins CO. I also had pedals and replaced them near Kursk, Russia with similar situation.

However, for most all other touring - carrying spare pedals is definitely overkill for me. Even experiences with failures that I couldn't work around (e.g. broken rim, broken hub) it turned out there was either enough of a populated area or a remote area with drivers willing to bring me to a spot I could get things repaired; e.g. broken hub in Wyoming, snapped derailleur north of the Yukon River on the Dalton Highway. So in those (rare) situations the recovery plan is to hitch a ride.

I am cautious and have had enough things break that I err on side of too much in way of spares but there is a balance here.
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Old 05-06-24, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
...
Cassette removal is perhaps the most difficult scenario to consider. (1) You very rarely urgently have to proceed, so the removal kit falls in the nice-to-have category; (2) the standard kit (wrench + whip) takes lots of space and isn't for weight wienies yet (3) Unior "may" work and you shouldn't try on carbon/aluminium frames.
I finally bought one of those Unior tools a couple years ago. I would be afraid to use it on my titanium bike against the hanger if I was following instructions, but I am pretty sure it will work with an adjustable wrench or pliers. I will test before I leave home. For those of you that have not seen one:
https://uniorusa.com/products/pocket...remover-wrench

Several years ago I wrote up this piece on a substitute for chain whip.
Chain Whip for Travel

That bit of chain with a cord on it, the Unior tool, and a pliers or adjustable wrench should be all I need. I never torque down the lock rings that hard, so small hand tool should be sufficient to grip and turn the Unior tool.
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Old 05-06-24, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
...
I am cautious and have had enough things break that I err on side of too much in way of spares but there is a balance here.
I will never forget reading your description of breaking a pedal spindle and your solution on Natchez Trace that you wrote almost a year ago, pasted below:

Originally Posted by mev
..
...
I had occasion to look for a bike shop as close to mile marker 240, my right pedal snapped off. There was a bike shop in Tupelo, but that was 25 miles back. Instead, I continued with one pedal for another 13 miles to Houston, MS. Here I found a Walmart, bought a spark plug and threaded it to replace the pedal. That got me to outskirts of Jackson where I found a bike shop to buy a new pedal and get to the airport and my rental car.
...
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Old 05-06-24, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I will never forget reading your description of breaking a pedal spindle and your solution on Natchez Trace that you wrote almost a year ago, pasted below:
Yes, I remember too! Awesome spark plug hack!
Is there anything comparable in the auto world for a left pedal?
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Old 05-06-24, 01:28 PM
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As much as I try to manage the risks with prevention and maintenance ahead of time, my tool/spare bag still ends up being this heavy big chunk of stuff.. There isn't much vanity stuff there
- Topeak ratchet rocket DX with torque wrench and chain tool
- 17mm cone wrench (I need this to get my rear wheel off)
- 12mm socket (I need this to get my front wheel off)
- NBD2 (small cassette tool)
- bottle of Silca super secret blend
- very small bottle of rex domestique (in case we end up in a multi day rainstorm)
- 10ml bottle of super glue
- a collection of nuts, bolts, spacers, etc
- gear cable
- patch kit (contains tire levers)
- spoke wrench
- electric tape + gorilla tape (both are life savers)
- zip ties
- fiberfix
- victorinox multitool (this tool has saved me from many a pickle. For example I once shortened a steel steerer tube with it)

Optimizing the bikes would pare down the tool selection but they're so different and I have some special components for trailer towing so not much chance for that. At least I don't have a pedal tool this time.
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Old 05-06-24, 01:31 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by imi
Yes, I remember too! Awesome spark plug hack!
Is there anything comparable in the auto world for a left pedal?
I just make sure I do not push too hard on a pedal. Since I am a low wattage rider, that is really easy for me to accomplish.
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Old 05-07-24, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by imi
Yes, I remember too! Awesome spark plug hack!
Is there anything comparable in the auto world for a left pedal?
Decades ago, leading an AYH bike tour, one of the young riders broke a pedal spindle. She walked up the hills and coasted down for the rest of the day. The next morning we went to a garage and they welded it in about two minutes. It lasted the rest of the 6 week trip.
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