Gear Germany Hungary Kickbike Thoughts

Kickbiking. How’s the set-up?

Back rack on a kickbike? Trial and error brought me a good set up for longer distances on the kickbike.

A set-up of any form of transport is important. Not when you are cycling or rolling back and forth to the bakery but when you try to get some distance done, it better be the right set-up for you. We did not had the chance to test any kickbike before we started the journey through the USA. We ordered straight from the Kickbike supplier and that is not the way I’d recommend. When I ordered my bicycle years prior I had it more or less custom made. This is crazily expensive, something I would not recommend either.

The handlebar

The Cruisemax comes with, not so surprising, a cruiser-style handlebar which I find not suitable for long distances. For Geo, who is over 1.85 meter tall, the handlebar is too low. There are three rings attached to the stem of the handlebar to heighten the stem about 4 centimeter. I have exchanged the cruiser-style handlebar for a straight one, and that works much better.

Back rack and front rack to carry your load

The Kickbike comes without racks. The kickbike never designed to carry much luggage, has not yet come with its own system to attach a rack at the back. There is not a particular rack that fit. I guess many racks will fit one way or another. We attached each a back rack but it is done in a way that it can not carry much weight (we usually had around 4 kilogram) nor is it attached very secure (though Geo did a good job). While touring in the USA Geo his rack, attached to the mud guard, broke and it needs a handyman to repair it.

We had to fix this rack without proper tools and access to the builders market was not an easy task in the USA. Geo attached a front rack and I had two Salsa cages. The front rack was easy to attach and the Salsa cages were secured with extra tie rips.

An Ortlieb set-up is what I had for my 5-year touring through many parts of the world (these bags can hold a lifetime), now I want to figure out how a bike-pack set-up feels. Geo goes for a rack and prefers the good old Ortlieb set-up. I think that was a smart move, as it turned out my bike-pack set up did not work well. As soon as we got back in Europe, I changed my set-up to a front rack with panniers (I basically took all Geo his stuff).

What I wanted were American brands and American stuff and the American way: bike-packing. Besides that we are both of the opinion that racks with a click system such as Ortlieb or Vaude works best, it might also turn out to be cheaper. A bike-pack set up is not handy: to get something out of your bag, you need to unload gear which is placed over vertically. There are straps involved to hold rolls into place and nothing really gets off easily nor fast. It might look sleek, its far from handy when you want to dig out something, unless you unload the whole bike for erecting your camp.

Bike-packing turns out to be rather expensive when you try to have it all work out. A few dangling chalk-bags here and a few frame-bags there and voilá, the money flies out of your wallet. I refused to have a fashionable set-up only to comply to the bike-packing fashion (although it was far from cheap to have the set up we started off with. We bought at REI store but were rather disappointed by their selection). But only when you got the real whole deal, it probably is possible to stash your energy bars and banana into one of those pouches. To have the peanut butter jar strapped to your front fork with elastic unbreakable straps and to have the frame packed with bottles in the most intelligent cages might look pretty cool, but less efficient it is.

One click-system or Velco attached pannier is equal to a few straps, a bottle cage and a river-bag, the last mentioned not easier. The river-bags I choose don’t hold that much and are not designed for the purpose I use them for. The panniers works way better. There are many neat systems to stash your gear and when having the time to choose, review and order, you’d be better off with a designated pannier.

Eventually I took off the stand as this had the habit of continually opening itself while cruising. Also, when I did use the kickstand the fully packed kickbike would easily fall over by the uneven distributed weight. I have to add that parking the kikebike without a stand is often a hassle as well.

Bike-packing minus

1. In my idealizing of a newer set-up I forgot about practicality. And so we soon figured out that Geo his classic set-up works better. A bike-pack set-up is solely good for moving from camp to camp, not for staying in camp days on end and needing to go for groceries and resupply the water-bag and bottles. A bike-pack set-up does not suffice a quick, easy access to your belongings.

2. Also, a bike-pack set-up does not allow you for a quick packing in the morning, as straps need to be tied, often in all sorts of orders and manners. Sure, the handlebar bag, Revelate Design, is designed for quick attachment and release, and the brand did succeed in that. It however did not succeed in designing a handy way to stash the sleeping bag. The Sweetroll will succeed in giving you a hard time stuffing your sleeping bag in to it (this can be overcome by lining the Sweetroll with a big plastic bag cut open at the end).

3. When you need a particular item, or when you want to leave your fully loaded kickbike behind while grocery shopping (or to get married, as was the case with Geo and me) but do not want to leave the most precious items behind, you need to dig them out or take them off. This requires opening straps and rolls falling out and it never goes quick. In my opinion, bike-packing looks sleek, but is not practical unless you go for the bare minimum.

4. Everything needs to be wrapped, rolled, packed into rainproof material and this is an expensive fashion. Since you want it to be lightweight, only the most thin sacks will do and they do not come cheap. They will rip quickly as material is thin (unfortununfortunately the Sweet Roll from Revelate Design is ripped, as you can see on the photo below). So, you need to buy sufficient repair stuff to mend your gear on the go.

5. I do need to confess that I was not the least bit prepared and therefor could not try certain set ups nor examine materials, gears and bags. We had three days to get the kickbike out of the box on to the route, and even that (the nightmarish exit out of Atlanta) had to be figured out first. We were not even able to find the most essential parts, and that led us to start a tour without sufficient water-bottle holders. By now I have received all my husbands good gear and my set-up is now just fine and all right.

Does a backpack work while kickbiking?

‘We can never fit our things on a kickbike’, is what Geo kept repeating. Geo is a minimalist, of the highest order, and so I am sure his gear fits easily. It is me who carries a laptop, camera, cables, cards, USB sticks, embroidery material and a diary, things only growing in weight by time passing. All these items needs to be packed in a backpack, something I am sure is fine. But Geo somehow knows better, and he is, again, correct.

A backpack, as it turned out for me, does not work. Your body needs to be able to move freely, your back wants to be able to swift effortless. Soon I developed pain in my back, at the height of the lungs. I figure the backpack made my back wet from perspiration and when I would take the pack off, cool wind would cause too big of a temperature difference. At night, sleeping, I would feel a pressing pain in the organs in my back. Breathing deeply would hurt. As soon as I took off the backpack, it felt a relief and the pain was gone in two days.

However, all that stuff -a notebook, diary, electronic cables and embroidery material- had to be incorporated on to the frame of the kickbike.

Try to kick without a backpack. My kitchen goes in two 8 liter river bags, strapped on Salsa’s Anything Cage, with a 750 ml gas canister this is not a very fitting way of packing. An Ortlieb would have been easier…

But I wanted American brands and American stuff and the American way: bike packing.

Conclusion: a front rack with a back rack works good. Cages at the front wheels for stashing bottles doesn’t disturb (when you got short legs). The back wheel needs to be free to have your legs swing without restraint. In my opinion panniers with a click system are the best (surely the fastest) but there are plenty sleek systems to choose from. I wanted a harness to mount the sleeping bag but besides that this was an expensive item, and heavy as well, it turned out not to be neccesary. The brake cables were free from being pressed by the sleeping bag as the first set up and the latter, the front rack, prevented this.

I wish you happy kicks and feel free to leave a reply when you have a question.

When you want to support my creative activity and have a handmade embroidered pouch send out to you, visit my website CINDYneedleart

To read our start in kickbiking, read USA 1

By Cindy

Years of traveling brought me many different insights, philosophies and countries I needed to be (over 90 in total). I lived in Pakistan, went over 15 times to India and when I stopped cycling the world, that was after 50.000 kilometer through 45 countries, I met Geo. Together we now try to be more self-sustainable, grow our own food and live off-grid. I now juggle with the logistics of being an old-fashioned housewife, cook and creative artist loving the outdoors. The pouches I create are for sale on

30 replies on “Kickbiking. How’s the set-up?”

Hi Cindy,

I totally agree with your point of view regarding the bikepacking vs traditional set-up. Unless you are on a short (say less than 3 week) trip and your focus is on being on your way with the bare minimum and just move, move, move and then ‘crash’ for a few hours.
If you want some comfort, carry cooking gear, a laptop, maybe gear to survive multiple seasons, the ‘classic (proven) way is much superior. Also, an Ortlieb bag will survive many years. No bikepacking gear will do that.

Few questions:
What do you love about kickbiking over cycling ?

What distance do you cover on an average day (knowing that covering distance in itself is not a goal).

How hilly could you go ? Like climbs of max what percentage ?

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Hi Koen,

1. I not necessarily like kickbiking more than cycling but since I am married, I like to spend more time with Geo. It is not an option anymore to cycle years on end. Not because of Geo, but because I was done with it. Therefor, the kickbike came in handy, as it is more hard to propel yourself forward, and a few days on end is already a challenge. Cycling would only be a challenge nowadays when the environment is harsh, conditions difficult and countries unusual. And when I would be on my own, I think. Geo is not into cycling and I, not anymore either ; )

2. Together we did average 35 a day. Our personal rhythms were SO immensely different that when I was done in the morning, Geo wanted to have lunch. When we then had lunch, I was at my peak performance, munching on some fast food (USA) instead. It did not work at all. Also, cycling or kicking together really requires a mind set, which we did not have aligned well. Geo likes motorbike, I kickbike. So…. what to do?

3. Hilly is not possible, only downhill goes remarkable well : )) When uphill, a very mild grade, needs pushing. But pushing with a kickbike is a lot easier since there are no pedals, and thus no turning Rohloff hub.

Ah, nice to hear that you have the same opinion. Whenever you open Facebook, its all bikepacking, and you yourself were also into it. And I at one point thought it would be cool too. Well, its not. Its just a fashion, it does not make cycling better. Its a whole different aort of cycling. As you said: fast and speedy and focused on breaking records, or something. The only record I try to break is leaving camp later ; )

Have a speedy uphill you (figuratively especially) Greetings Cindy

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It’s nice to hear others comment on the bike packing phenomenon. I share your thoughts. And Cindy I’ve always appreciated your blog. I’ve been following it for a few years. It’s really one of the best. Honest, reflective and earthy. I most appreciate your observations about cultures you experience from the margins afforded by the ways you, and Geo, travel.

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Hi Someone, thank you for your fantastic compliment. I think there will be less and less of posts about other cultures as Geo and I are not planning big oversees trips (as of now). To be honest, I rather be in nature than among cultures as so often they loose their inheritance, becoming more and more ‘American’. It seems to me that the ‘American’ television has such a pull, that many want to look like a ‘rapper’ or a ‘Kardashian’. But I guess me becoming older has to do with it as well. Also, when I was young, other cultures were younger too and the race to become modern has gotten faster and progressive. I was talking with Geo about this while we were in Ecuador, so all my thoughts about cultures are in the “Piuntza” post. I will not start here ; ))


Hiiii, great post and great points. Yeah bike packing is not touring, it’s a different beast. It’s touring light imho, kind of like a week or two trip, then you come home and clean everything up and put it away. Touring is typically ….. a few weeks to years, you keep going. So the kit is different because the purpose is different. Bikepacking you take remote routes and camp with bike with you, touring you resupply in towns, you sometimes sleep in hotels, you have test days…. you take your packs inside. Bikepacking you leave the packs on bikes. The focus is different, bikepacking is not necessarily needing waterproof kit as you pick the weather, touring… you might pick the season but no chance, you get what’s coming. Everything needs to last and be waterproof and quite heavy-duty. Touring, you are on roads a lot, so click on panniers don’t rattle much, on tracks they drive you nuts and the clips break on rough tracks. Bikepacking you take the rough tracks so everything has to be packed tight and the mounts have to have a bit of give to not break, to absorb the bumps and thus not rip or crack. It’s a different beast but we can look to opportunities to learn adapt and get the best of both worlds. I carry a bar roll but I use a breathable stuff sack. So far it has lasted but I baby it a lot. I want the breathability so I can stuff in my wet tent fly to dry it out later and not risk it going mouldy. Same reason I use same type of stuffsack for my sleeping bag. It allows steam out so my sweat does not accumulate as it did in the waterproof but not breathable panniers. It works for me. It might not be good for a week of rain though but at that point I might stuff it into my panniers which I leave lightly loaded and I use a compression band on to minimise rattling. Both are great systems and have strengths and weaknesses. Most long distance bikepackers/tourers adopt parts of both disciplines to achieve something flexible, adaptable and suitable to their style. Neither is perfect. Panniers and racks weigh a lot which makes bikes heavy and not that nice on steep and rough tracks but there s much beauty and solitude on such tracks and camping opportunities abound. BTW how is your hammock ideas, have you had a play yet? awe have been in a lockdown here but I have been assembling a hammock tryout from spare pieces just to see if I find it preferable to sleeping on the ground. I haven’t had a chance to go try it out…. Cheery O to you intrepid lovelies. 👋

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Cindy I had some more thoughts on this after checking back with another long term (years) bikepacker’s setup. I think the main change is the adoption of a bikepacking bike like the Surly ECR which is more like a 29er MTB than a touring bike. It used to be called expedition tourer but I don’t see that name used much lately. Then they use cages, front roll, framebag and panniers. Some shorter trip people combine micro panniers with a seat pack but that is not so common. The panniers are needed for capacity, water food and clothes for multiple seasons and situations etc as you know. Pure bikepacking is way shorter and has no need to pack that much food nor that many clothing options. Ortlieb now also do some bikepacking components and typical to their thinking it is waterproof and a bit sturdier – it’s a trade off for lightness. With light gear you have to baby it along and lot more than touring gear. Having said that I have seen a friends Ortlieb pannier sliced completely open (30cm) as he rode past a bush with an obviously very sharp thorn. He did not even notice! So even the “good” touring stuff is not immune to accidents. BTW I would take that Sweetroll back. Stitching ripping out like that is very poor form indeed. Maybe that fabric or stitching had a flaw in it? Most of these companies are very good at replacing faulty gear.


Hi Miro,

Your two comments are so voluminous and much details are added that it has become a post in itself. And I must add, you are the pro, and I the beginner in this matter. Geo would no doubt agree : ))

The thing is this: I was not aware even that bikepacking needs a closer touch to the frame. I had a bag with clips on it and no clue what it was for? It turned out to be tightly attached to the frame indeed. I dislike that, as especially a handlebar bag needs to be clipped free/detached, very quickly. Now I am busy quite long do undo all the clips and velcro’s.

Of course, even Ortlieb has flaws. I am pretty sure they can manufacter something unbrakeable, but that means less sales ; ) My bags have many holes but with patching them up, they are still okay enough.

Our Sweetroll which is broken, so quickly after buying, is a shame. But honestly, we did not use it as if it were a baby. Geo used it, was never happy with it, and for carrying food. I told him that this Sweetroll was not for that purpose. We also bought it in Atlanta, where we are far removed from now.

Backpacking gear and bags are so precisely made for a purpose that it is not recommemded to use it any other way. That is a pity.

I thank you for adding this information, as it adds a lot for other readers, I imagine.

I have to confess that it was me who wanted backpacking and I did not even know what it really was. That said, with the Kickbike I was often only off road and on forest tracks and the bikepacking stuff did perform well! I always left the bags on the kickbike, except for the stuff I need, like handlebar bag and Sweetroll.

And so, as you said, it is a whole different ballgame and bikepacking is best for shorter tours, as I do. And you too, apparantly. It is an enrichment to be able to alternate, so, all in all, I am satisfied.

Have a good trip here and there, by Ortlieb and bike packing set up.

Greetings from the two of us.

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Hi, ha ha no pro here, I am also coming from the classical touring setup. I found that of the trips I have done the most enjoyable have been on the coastal tracks and in comparison I found the highway sections quite boring. I have been watching the bikepacking movement for a little while and see the sense in what they do and how they apply it. It isn’t touring un a classical sense but a few of them have done epic trips using hybrid setups which make sense in the long run. None of these setups are perfect and they all have compromises we need to understand to make sure we don’t have a failure that puts us in danger. Hopefully they have particular features which enable us to enjoy our trips even more. Cheery O

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Good day Miro,

I think most cyclists, not the one who cycle every day to and from work, but the ones likes us ; ) will at one point come to dislike the highways or any road with relative too many cars. And indeed, tahn the classic Ortlieb set up might be too bulky. One tend to pack according the volume and Ortlieb can handle a lot of volume! I think also that every choice will habe negative sides to them.

I am happy with both, but never did long distances/many days with the bikepack set up so far. I think its not very handy to pack enough food and water in summer.

Anyway, you sound like a pro!

Greetings Cindy

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Well said. Its a whole different ball game indeed. Though I met a woman in the Atacama who was extremely light packed. She was young and very fit and I think she made huge distances, only to be able to have her extreme light set up able to make use of it. I mean, she had hardly water and food storage, so she had to make a 150 km at least to get to the next town. But I guess she had a bike pack set up although I did not know about the existence of such a thing back than.

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Yeah I hear of these ultraendurance people from time to time. Certainly there is a reverse tradeoff at play in that as you cut back and cut some more everything can be lightened up, with a light person and very little ultralight gear even the bike can become ultralight and thus is joy to ride and big distances become possible BUT if anything goes wrong or you just want to rest for a day or two the problems do start to show up with lack of clothing options etc. These are race setups and they aren’t touring as such in much the same way as flying in a plane is not the same as travelling through that territory. These people rarely say hi and exchange much beyond a wave. Still as long as they enjoy it then all is good. I like to stop for a coffee, chat, little rest, check out the map then when it feel s right drift off often stopping for a photo or just to take in a sight or check out a possible camp.

But that’s just me, am not a pro but happy more or less in being “in my own skin”


Hi Miro,

about the hammock, I wonder how we got there because I dislike them much. Geo had one and liked it, but mainly because he was so tired that he was able to sleep in such a limp banana : )))) So for me, I stick to my Hilleberg and Big Agnes (replaced the zipper).

As for touring, it has to wait a bit as I am awaiting snow and curious to see how the countryside looks in a white blanket. Also, much work to do which I enjoy.

Started to collect wild rosehips lately : )

I either will tour by bicycle and Ortlieb classic set up and take a lot of food or with the kickbike and do shorter distances.

I do like the thought of a longer tour with the kickbike but I think it need much more preparations to see where water and food supplies are, but than again, I prefer to be out of towns.

Choices choices choices.

I wish you possibilities to get out and use the Caldera and be on tiny tracks and have panniers full of food ; ) but perhaps both options don’t go hand in hand (tiny tracks and lots of food) (is bikepack set up and Ortliebs) ….

Nice trails to you anyway!
Greetings and sorry for late replies…


Hi Cindy, great news. Bikepacking setup is great but not as most people set it up! Yesterday I chsnced on this guys blog Scroll dow to the section on bags. To summarise he uses a handlebar mounted what looks like a pannier bag. It a top entry rolltop handlebar bag of 25-30L capacity. A frame bag. And a hiking backpack mounted on top of a rear rack. Together he claims 70L capacity which is about what a four pannier touring setup has. Voila, room to store clothes, laptop, cameras and a good amount of food for real touring but as it is skinny on tracks and so on. It has less wind resistance than panniers as it is in line with your body. The backpack is good for river crossings, hike a bikes and to go to stores to resupply, is relatively cheap and tough. And the weight distribution is perfect. Nothing to rattle either. What a breakthrough! No more little fragile bags everywhere. Rear rack is also good for additional items like spare tyre extra water etc to strap to. What do you think? Unless I can repurpose my Ortlieb bags and mount one on my handlebar harness I think I’m going to sell them or keep one for town shopping duties.

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Thanks Miro, I will check this out soon. I need a laptop for this to see better. For me, however, I’m stitching countless little pouches to attach to the frame 😂

Two bigger size for the front fork cages are done and quite nice. But a kickbike needs more little bags, if only not to unload everything for just an apple or so…

Well, I’ll check the link out soon. Thank you for sending. Have a good day.

Greetings Cindy

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Ah yes, the kickbike may be a different story although do have a look but for the bike this could be groundbreaking at least to my mind I will definitely be giving this a shot and thereafter selling my panniers and front roll/pack. This setup makes way more sense to me and has the same capacity as four panniers so nothing lost. Happy sawing and gardening and house making 🙂 Btw those house walls are looking so good! Amazing. You two have done an amazing job. 👋🏻👋🏻👋🏻


Happy stitching, am looking for a sawing machine my self. It’s hard because the machines made in modern times are full of plastic and I want to saw thick material like Ortliebs are made from but also clothing if possible. Happy days to you.

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You could try to search for an industrial one, perhaps second hands. They should be with little plastic, or none. The machines I worked with when I was a student, were very sturdy, and no plastic was used.

I used my new Singer and it can handle quite a bit but its far from industrial and has lots of plastic. I stitched also with Orlieb material, the thinner one: waterbag material.

Going for a trial soon. I got puncture solution with me now 😉🙃

So, search for industrial or semi.
Greetings Cindy and Geo

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Hi Miro, I checked the guy’s website and I think it looks good. Compact. Obviously, it works for him. But I have two things I dislike.

1. The backrack seems a bit wobbly to me.

2. Ortliebs do resist wind but how fast will you really go? I suspect the wind resistance will be minimal and hardly to notice in the long run.

I do like his set up though. But it is not possible for a kickbike. You might to try it. However, think of a backpack with all its straps. How often will you use the backpack as where it is intended for versus the bulk you carry extra? Also, 4 Ortlieb do a nice job in organisation. But, it needs a lot of carrying when river crossing or checkiing into a (hotel)room.

But, I do think it is worth trying the change. Maybe you can start with a cheap, less bulky backpack?

Wish you much insight!
Greetings Cindy

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Hi Cindy, Ortliebs do indeed do a great job of organisation but they are wide, low and rattle like mad when off-road. The wind resistance is real but from a different cause….head wind. Think of the difference you feel in wind resistance when you tuck your self in to the drops on a road bike…. its bigger than that with panniers. With a front handlebar bag it is deflecting the wind away from your body so it is helping you twice. Keeping some wind away from your body and not being on the sides of your forks adding to the frontal area. And the bag on top of the rack is helping you by being out of the wind shielded by your body. So yeah it makes sense to me on those reasons. Also it makes the bike so much easier to push as the legs don’t kick the rear panniers. And it is lighter from the calculations I have seen than a typical 4 pannier setup or a typical bikepacking setup. I am thinking of buying or making a jumbo jammer bags for front and rear

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Hey Miro, when you say your Ortlieb bags rattle, is that because you did not fill up the gap with duct tape, like I learned to do? That way they are tightly connected to the frame. More diffcult to detach but no rattling.

About kicking the rear pannier when pushing the bike: I am small and never had that issue. I always hit the pedals and HATED that. With a kickbike this problem is solved, as well as the saddle issue.

How is your progress going towards this new set up?

Greetings and sunny days for you. Stay warm (or cool) and may you be well.


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Hi Cindy, lovely to hear from you. I love reading your posts and your last trip post was beautiful and amazing. Thanks for sharing 👋🏻.

Re Ortliebs, I do use the Ortlieb provided rack spacers which did reduce the rattling a lot but tbey still rattle when on tracks and non-paved roads. I could use tape everywhere they contact the rack but that would be ugly as hell. I have already put helical coils of plastic garden irrigation tubing on rub areas to reduce wear on the rack and panniers but even these need constant adjustments. The bottom hook is always going to rattle. The problem of heel and calf hitting that panniers when pushing is quite annoying on my bike and the lower the panniers the worse it gets so if I am pushing up a hill, which happens a lot on dirt tracks I’am having to change my stance to try to avoid that as I am sure it puts strain on the pannier clips. The unnatural posture makes it awkward to say the least. I was putting up with it for years but after reading Tristan’s article a lot of solutions became clear for me. Panniers are great on roads. I am not alone in preferring riding tracks and visiting the many beautiful places that don’t have roads leading to them. In fact I realised roads usually bring ugliness to once beautiful places. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate roads as such, they are certainly easy to ride long distances quickly but rather the unrelenting fast uncaring smelly polluting traffic especially the trucks. Many deaths both to cyclists and wildlife are by cars and trucks. They foster a certain type of culture that treats nature as a backdrop to their fun and convenient lifestyle. A resource to be used and used up. Not all drivers are like that but I see a lot of that going on…. so I prefer riding a bike and riding trails slowly.

Back to panniers, I love the ease of rolltop closure and whilst I have read about saddlebags like the Caradice longflap the lack of a sturdy waterproof rolltop closure put me off them so I stuck to panniers. The rolltop also makes them expandable which I find flexible. Tristan’s article pointed out the Jumbo Jammer which has a rolltop closure and is expandable from a basic backroller 20L capacity to and 29L absolute maximum which is super handy when rolling away from resupply at shops. So I am thinking of such a bag on front as in attached to my handlebar and seat which would give me 40L to max 60L of storage not mentioning a framebag. Thats a lot of storage! About the same as front and rear pannier touring setup. And it wont rattle as it is soft mounted and has no hard surfaces, it is put of the way of my feet when pushing and out of the way of bushes and branches. One of my friends has an Ortlieb pannier slashed completely open by a sharp piece of something on a ride twice. We think it was a thorny bush or some barbed wire from a farm fence. It was a huge 250mm gash at the bottom of a front pannier. He was going fast and it happened so fast he did not notice it for some time. Not good. Having main bags up high is good for this type of riding in my opinion.

It seems having this type of bag setup is also better aerodynamically which is most at play going into head winds and riding fast say down hills – enabling one to use the speed to get up the next hill when on roads.

The bags are quite expensive and having bought 4 panniers not many years ago and the covid situation I am hesitant to just buy a new setup. I have had some ideas on aspects of this proposed setup which I find not so ideal on longer journeys namely that the bags are not so easy to remove to say bring into a tent when raining etc. I have thought of an idea to address that namely to make a separate harness with bike attachments as per these JumboJammer bags but have it hold a removable drybag. Such a setup cpuld be used with various sized drybags for different trips or needs. Big 35L Sea to Summit drybag are very lightweight at 115g! and being separate it can be rolled down to any size. Smaller bags perhaps home made and not waterproof could be useful for short weekend to week trips where the weather can be predicted. I could even make ultralight bag from Dynema/DCF material. These are all options but the harness must be made and be sturdy to hold the big loads well. I have some very sturdy Ortlieb like material, think old style Ortliebs. Very sturdy indeed. I have bought a heavy-duty sewing machine which turned out to be broken! So it was a very steep learning curve to figure out how that mechanism worked and where the adjustments were. I had to figure out how the last owner broke it. It was a cheap deal and he claimed it worked like new….. It didn’t even saw one stitch or even pull up the bottom thread! Anyway, I did eventually sort that out and have mostly undone the damage. I need to do a tiny bit more but now it saws beautifully and being heavy duty will last me a long time. Mind you since my last trip where I broke my glasses I have had mine go in for repairs just as I was trying to figure out what to do about the sewing machine I have just bought and the last owner who took my money and was no longer answering my calls which was super frustrating as the shop was happy to fix it under warranty had the last owner come in to the shop with me. Sigh. Lesson learned there. But, I was then without my glasses and my last pair was so old the prescription was not much use! So I was trying to fix this sawing machine with very bad eyesight! It was quite frustrating but I was very happy to figure it out and as I said I am very happy to have it going very well. So in the end I got a quite high end machine for very cheap! I’m not that angry at the last owner. But I have a few home projects to do before I can take it out again, finish the repair (I have my new glasses and can see relatively well again) and get into sewing of this harness or holster might be a better word.

It has been an eventful month you could say but not much riding.
Big hug to you both, Mirosan

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Hi Mirosan,

Thank you a lot for your lovely compliment and very long message. Here I am, taking the time out to read it properly and answer:

Let me get to the bigger screen option first… My eyes get less over the years : ))

I agree that adjusting the racks to fit the Orliebs is ugly. My bicycle has now so many plastic pieces hanging on the racks, loosend by the sun, glue still attached and threads from the duct tape hanging on to it. I change them at regular intervals and lately I have taken them all off, replaced them and taken good care. That was actually quite some time ago though, I also removed the rust and painted the sand papered patches with anti rust paint. Now, my bicycle is not very beautiful nor smooth to look at: it has a tremendous history and actually, there is beauty in that too. So, I leave it at that. I even will attach the ugly front rack again so I will be able to pack all 4 panniers. This way I am able to carry a lot of food and water and can make longer strecthes in comparison to the bicycle. Because I also want to get off the main roads. To be among trucks and cars is really terrible. Now, Australia (we saw a documentary from ‘The most dangerous roads’ serie about truck trains and aboriginals in rattled down jeeps) is so diverse, I think you have many opportunities to go off road when you are away from the main roads. Trucks are very difficult to drive, I was in a big one in Patagonia for 3 days and to swirl around a bicyclist is not fun for a driver! It made me very aware of the actual dangers of being on the road where trucks are.

I think so too, Ortlieb bags are easy to take off and place back. Bikepack bags are really a pain, to get even the smallest thing out is a hassle. It really is designed for a different purpose. While both are good in their own way, they are never perfect either. But the same goes for every vehicle, for every way of transport even.

So, you did buy that sewing machine! Congratulations. This might mean you can start to make your own pouches for the bikepack set up with decent material. Well, that the previous owner did not answer your call was precisely his plan: he got rid of his broken machine and that was that. But, in the end, you won! Very well done, such patience and that without glasses, that must have been a huge learning curve. It might have given you difficulties to fall asleep, trying to figure out a way to make it work. And you did, without good eyesight (I have new glasses too, for distance, and a new world opened!), I find that very admirable. Well done, machines are never easy to figure out. Geo got a wood splitter back to work, he had to relocate the fuses in the house first and then to repair the burned through motorblock, and he succeeded too. So, I know it takes a lot of patience.

I made a few pouches for the kickbike and only the two backrack pouches are a success. They are made from a regular workman trouser cotton/synthetic mixture and an old Ortlieb waterbag, that went easy enough. Your work will be more challeging if you use special material. What is the brand of your machine? Did you order Dynema fabric yet? Will you make the test pouches from cotton? Do you know that a certain needle might be better than another certain one? Just to say that there are different needles.

Sending you much insight, patience, smooth learning curves and a lot of cycling pleasures outdoor, with fires and cooking and no thorns to rip bags and a lot of off road tracks. Sun, warmth and mosquito free surroundings, plus a hug from Geo and me : ))

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Hi Cindy and Geo 👋🏻🤗

My sewing machine is a Toyota, ha, I find it funny that a car maker would also make such machines. It’s supposed to be strong and sew through thick fabric layers. That’s what I found attractive about it. It works well now but using thick fabrics seems to be quite different than usual thickness. I don’t know much about needles or thread. In a sawing shop I told them that I needed a strong non cotton thread for sawing tarps and banners and the lady said to use upholstery thread and gave me a leather needle but when I would the bobbin I forgot to change the needle. It seem to thread the thick thread ok but sawing through three layers of webbing makes the thread bunch up underneath. I did a lot of reading where they say to increase the top thread tension and I tried that. I has improved a bit but did not solve it entirely which is disappointing. I am using this material that is similar to the old style Ortlieb backroller material. What I want to do is to create a type of soft basket for my handlebars and se it with a separate drybag. A big bag for big trips and not so big for local trips. Then I will create a similar setup to mount behind my seat. That’s the plan but I need to figure out why the threads are bunching up underneath.

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Miro, just a uick note about your machine. I will be more elaborate another day, but do you know many issues with the thread are caused by the spool under the needle. So, that housing where the spool is, where the under thread is housed, can cause all sort of troubles.

My English is not active in these word vocabulaire, I understand it all but can not come up with the correct words.

So, check the spool, the screws on it, whether you placed it in correctly (!) and whther it needs replacement? Cleaning might help too. I sometimes placed the spool wrongly in its housing ; ) I reckon the spool is to be blamed…

Also, both threads need to be the same. Under and above tread from the same source.

Wish you luck, insight and patience.

Greetings Cindy

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I understand that your bike is special to you, the industry just wants us to treat them as a disposable item but they are designed to be repaired and live a long time. Shame on them. It has so many memories of fantastic encounters and places. I loved reading your travel posts and still do. Life changes and so the posts do too. Glasses are a funny thing, as we age our eyes seem to get worse and so do the glasses. I now have a new frame so happy to have my sight back but why is it that many people never need glasses even when very old? Don’t their eyes get worse? It’s puzzling. I got a fancy titanium frame that is very very flexible with the hope that it will never break. Fingers crossed. I hope you’re having lots of fun at your new home and your bike/kick-bike trips. Many happy Cheery O’s👋🏻👋🏻


but I will keep my rear rack in case a trip with long resupply intervals comes up… then I might add a pair of front rollers at the back. These can be squished flat when not in use. I get that these plans don’t really work on a kick bike but you do have room for a super long/large jumbo jammer style bag on the handlebars as you have a tall handlebar and a small front wheel so lots of room but I might be wrong about that. Happy experimenting.

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Nah, I don’t know about that Miro… I tried a bigger/broader front bag but I didn’t like it. Because then the front pouch with camera doesn’t fit nicely. I also have trouble with the brake handles, they get burried by the big roll bag even more. I have no harness.

The front can not be much, like incredible much more, heavier than the back, I feel like.

My back is now fortified. I made two small front fork packs so that the front bags are not bursting.

A bicycle can really drag so much more! I am totally impressed by Blanchine, a French woman, currently kicking through the desert regions of Australia!

If I were you I would surely keep the back racks. Happy planning.

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