What you’ll be carrying depends on many factors including what you’ll be doing when you’re not riding, the weather of the area you’re in, and how close you are to civilization. This was a heavy pack with cooking provisions for six people, camera gear, and a sleeping setup to avoid the communal tent party on offer.
Whatever you end up taking, keep the heaviest elements of your pack lower in your bag, separate items by their utility, and consider weight. Assume your bags may leak, even if they claim waterproof-ness. Safeguard the elements of your pack that -can’t- get wet (e.g. spices, electronics, goose-down insulated gear etc.) with water-proof stuff sacks. This will also help organization. A stuff-sack with your soft-goods (rain gear, extra kit, off-bike apparel) serves as a pillow. Sacks with compression straps are useful for sleeping bags. Whether you use a rack, as shown below, or various bags that strap to the bike, the principals are the same. If using racks, perhaps obvious, look for seat-stay and rear drop-out mounts on the bike you’ll be using.
Even with panniers, I prefer basic tools separated in a seat bag. I always know where they are, the bag can be quickly shared with a fellow traveler if needed, and it insures that even on excursions with panniers left at camp, I have tools with the bike. Conveniently, the Poseidon X includes, as stock, a saddle that includes a common seat-bag attachment interface, a feature that allows easy swapping between bikes.
Touring Oddity MVP
A useful pieces of gear that I’ve only been able to find directly from the companies website, is the Click-Stand, a folding, portable kickstand that keeps the bags out of the dirt. It provides a convenience I’ve come to appreciate, and is the most remarked-on piece of gear I’ve owned. Though I do have a tendency to prefer unremarkable gear while on the tour or trail, the utility of the Click-Stand gets noticed. Here, it’s nestled against the 6061 alloy frame of the X, a hydro-formed design that is stiff in the pedal, but won’t beat you up over the long haul.
The Handlebar Bag
Filled with tasty rewards, almost like a carrot extending in front of the mule, the handlebar bag provides quick access and a place to stash a harmonica, train whistle, gummy bears, or whatever else you find useful in motivating yourself and the group. Another purpose is to sequester the valuables.
If wearing a jersey with pockets, use them for food and stash your ID, credit card, and phone in the handlebar bag. Combining jersey pockets with food and valuables, while traveling over trail, is a recipe for a phone lost somewhere ‘bout 10 miles back? Especially as smart phones have inflated in size, take advantage of the handlebar-bag allowance provided while ‘on tour’, a privilege not afforded to the club-ride set.
While speaking on the front-end, the handlebars were a bit narrow for the broad shoulders I bring to the party. The stock width doesn’t seem proportionate to the sizing of the frame, at least for the size large I rode, but I acknowledge that my gangling arms aren’t proportionate to the sizing of my body, so you may not have an issue with this.
The Ghost Rack
Given more time for preparation, I would have liked to take advantage of this mount point to include a more substantial handle-bar bag for my camera. Using an additional point on the other side, and at the crown of the fork, a front rack can be attached to bring items to the front. I prefer riding without a loaded front wheel, so even with such a rack, I prefer a more responsive steering, especially on technical areas. This can be an issue if you’re carrying a lot, and are of a larger heft, but the 32 spokes laced around aluminum double-walled rims allowed my desire for handling to win over any fear of a busted wheel.
A third set of eyelets comes in handy, here carrying an MSR fuel bottle. Other uses of the eyelets adopted by the group included various accessories for carrying tools and pumps using this width of spacing for attachment.
For the bikes provided on this trek, the Poseidon X, frames include three mounts on the interior, and one on the underside.
Speaking on the task of creating fire, there are many options depending on the type of trip you’re venturing on, your comfortability with mechanical devices and the geography of your adventure.
The MSR WhisperLite Camping stove has long been the default choice for providing the heat for meals for many touring by bike. The ability to use a range of fuel types found around the world, dependability and repair-ability explicate this choice, and was the source of heat for meals on this trip. The price/weight/ruggedness measures up in a way that we haven’t found matched.
A less gear intensive option that came in handy were hexamine fuel blocks. The cheap and convenient tablets provide 20-25 minutes of burn and can be found in most sporting good retailers, big box stores and even some gas stations. The silent fuel-source provided a camp-fire atmosphere, and a welcomed source of warmth for the evening. Definitely, going to pack on all future trips, even with the MSR.
Gearing and Drivetrain
Where the rubber meets the road, or trail is of most importance when carrying your home on your back, or bike. Gearing that makes sense unloaded is a recipe for walking when carrying bags. Though the front triple, a common option for the touring crowd, has been left behind, the industry adoption of larger rear cassette sizes provide enough range for carrying your stuff, and yourself.
In the case of the Poseiden X, the bike matches a Prowheel RPL 46/34 crankset to a Microshift SpeedBottle 8-speed 11-34 cassette, directed by Shimano Claris R2000 derailleur and shifters. The component choice keeps the overall price of the bike low ($600) while providing enough dependability and repair-ability to be considered for remote tours.
The ensemble is slowed down by a set of Tektro mechanical disk brakes that provide all-weather dependability, even for fully-loaded packs on the steepest of descents. This is a welcome change from the squeeze and pray I’ve previously experienced on loaded bikes after lengthy descents.
Disclosure: Poseidon Bikes is a sponsor of BICYCLIST Magazine, meaning they give us money and we print their artwork in our magazine, and include their site banner here on bicyclist.xyz. That made it easy to borrow six bikes with only the obligation to return them. They –couldn’t– pay me to say this, but they make a great bike that I wholly recommend, and at $600? No-brainer. Definitely check them out if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to give the touring, backpacking or adventuring riding gambit a chance.