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A few days away, finally.  Three, now only two days out of town.  Overnight– on a very familiar bike.  Since last time, the Pugsley has a new chain and cassette, tubeless tires, and a full luggage system from Revelate Designs.  I use a large Carradice Camper saddlebag for longer tours as it offers twice the capacity of the Revelate Viscacha seat bag, and also fits my MacBook Air.  But this seat bag rides nicely, and is lighter.  Up front, I typically us a compression dry bag for my sleeping gear, but I opted to try this large handlebar stuff sack called the Sweet Roll, paired with my Revelate Pocket accessory bag.  The Pocket makes a great mini-messenger bag when not attached to the bike.  The included shoulder strap is always attached, and provides daily use over the shoulder.  I bought all of these bags last May directly from Eric in Anchorage expecting that Lael would use them over the summer, but she didn’t have enough gear to necessitate so much space.  Mostly, she used the seat bag and Gas Tank top tube bag on her Hooligan.  Without a computer, I could easily pack for long distance excursions with these bags alone– another nail in the coffin of racks and panniers.

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Charlie at Two Wheel Drive is an invaluable resource for local route planning.  Over that past decades he has ridden everything in this part of New Mexico, and beyond.  Over the past few weeks, TWD has become the fatbike shop in NM.  Coming soon, monthly fatbike rides– arroyos, snow, forested trails, and the moon!

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15 thoughts on “Overnight.

  1. I’ve been following Urban Adventure League’s posts on bike camping gear and he seems to follow your school of thought regarding packs. Keep it simple, light, without panniers – thus one doesn’t need a rack. While I do not intend to fully go that route, I’ve recently bought a lightweight sleeping bag and smaller, lighter, but more cushiony ground pad. I’m thrilled to lighten my overall load. My husband is considering following my lead. Thanks for showing your set up.

    • Sounds great Annie. My packing methods certainly aim to lighten the overall load, but they are also integrated into the bike to ride better over rough terrain (quietly and without risk of broken hardware). It is comparatively aerodynamic as well. Since lightweight camping gear is so accessible these days, it is relatively easy to leave the panniers at home. I often recommend simple rolltop drybags and gear straps to attach equipment below the handlebars or under the saddle– cheap and easy.

  2. Very nice and tidy setup, Nicholas. It’s good to see your Pug getting some love. I’m working my way toward something similar with my Pugsley. I’ve already got the Revelate frame and Viscacha bags, and am pondering whether or not to sew my own gas tank and a handlebar sling for a dry bag. I’ve also had visions of swapping said bags onto the Ridge Runner, with a frame bag of its own.

    The parameters of my life will curtail any trip I plan to either an overnight or no more than a few days at a time, so huge capacity is not a big concern. Like Annie, I think my next logical equipment goal is a lighter/better sleeping bag and ground pad. And today, my daughter asked me if we could get some bikepacking bags for her mountain bike to go camping, so I foresee some fun projects in the near future.

    That is one shiny cassette. I really like the look of those Knards. How do they compare for off road touring as opposed to the standard Larry/Endomorph combo?

    • Many thoughts come to mind:

      The Ridge Runner could take a huge frame bag, and would swallow a lot of gear. If you ever find the time, I bet you could tackle that one yourself.

      Shiny cassette is new Shimano 8sp 11-34 with SRAM PC-850 chain.

      I like the Knards a lot for mixed terrain including dirt roads and dry trails. They leave a little to be desired in mud and snow (and soft sand, to a lesser extent), but they roll very well on pavement and hardpacked dirt. This is the lightest, fastest, XC-type tire out there in this size, which makes me wonder if it is a great option for the type of exploration I enjoy. I would rank the Larry as a little more aggressive, while still rolling well on hardpack due to the nearly continuous center tread. The Nate earns top honors for traction, and should wear very well over time (tallest tread in this size, 6mm I think). Endo…still don’t have anything nice to say about the Endomorph. While riding with Tarik in Los Alamos, I watched him expertly fishtail along muddy trails. The Endo only works in one direction.

      The Husker Du looks like a gem, combining a bit of everything from the other tires. As with many of these options, I’m concerned for their usable lifespan. I’d rather the Knard, Larry and HD had a taller tread pattern. They would bite a little more when new, and would last longer. I’m digging the Nate/Larry combo right now, as found on the current NeckRo Pugs. Nate/Nate would be some serious business as well.

      • Good feedback on the tires. The Endo on the rear of my Pug is the inspiration for thinking about a different tire. It’s adequate, but not great. It holds air, in other words. I’d been thinking about a Nate, but when the Knards came along, I was in a quandary. I think your tread depth reasoning is sound and makes me lean toward beefier knobs. I was even thinking about trying a BFL or a Lou up front and rotating the Larry to the rear to see what half super fat would be like.

        My thoughts exactly on a framebag for the Ridge Runner. I have some spare Cordura around, so I may make a tester to see before I invest in some VX21.

  3. Very interesting and novel take on luggage carrying. Thanks for posting. Looks like a great way of both limiting weight and spreading it on the bike. I/we need to rethink our dependency on panniers I guess. That said, our Ortliebs worked well for us last time and in bright yellow with reflective silver patches they certainly add to our conspicuity on the road: not a feature to be dismissed lightly. I am enjoying following your posts and look forward to more in the same vein. Best wishes for your trip.

    • Ortliebs work. I often qualify my discussions of luggage by saying as much, however for off-pavement riding I don’t think they work well (although, still, they work).

      I love reflective material on bags, tire sidewalls, etc., and always travel with a yellow reflective vest in my pack. Thanks for the kind words. In spite of (or in light of) some “weather”, I had a great time out of town. New Mexico is an amazing place.

  4. I sometimes think that you can overboard on weight saving. A saddle bag and support is a good weight trade for doubled capacity. Also, you can often dump the rucsac when using a saddlebag and that’s always a blessing because the bike then carries all the weight as it was designed to do.

    • I suppose a rucsac means a small “backpack”. I’ve never been inclined to ride with one, and this system (and variants) can swallow enough for a weekend or a year. The Carradice allows for more culinary luxuries and a laptop, for writing and photo editing on the road.

  5. hey man…I live in Santa Fe and ride a white Pugsley S/S…found your site by googling “Pugsley Bikepacking”….awesome post on going tubeless btw…I may have to bring in my wheels next time I’m in Albuquerque if I don’t try to do it myself…looking to get the revelate bikepacking gear to do a nobo GDMTBR…possibly this summer….what do you think about 32/18 gearing for that route? my other wheelset has a 20 tooth cog on it and I can rotate wheels.

    Have you done Winsor from the sf ski basin to tesuque yet? most epic ride in the area…I do it hundreds of times in the summertime…some other great rides are the South Boundary trail in Taos, Taos valley overlook trails, West Rim Trail (you can loop west rim and taos valley overlook..goes along the rio grande gorge for a while), Galisteo Preserve (near santa fe), La Tierra in Santa Fe, Dale Ball Trails, and Angel Fire has a great bike park if you are into that.

    I’ve heard Gallup has some amazing terrain and singletrack now too…haven’t made it down there yet…Obviously you know about white mesa already. I go to Moab often too!

    Anyways, Love your blog. I have found myself living vicariously through your archives in the last few days since I’ve found your site…see you on the singletrack!

    • Hey Nick,

      Thanks for commenting. I was just in SF a few days ago. I’ll give you a shout next time I am in town.

      I thought you might be touring the route, but some detective work (landed on bikepacking.net) suggests you intend to race the TD. Singlespeed sounds like your thing, and is no expertise of mine, so I feel unqualified to comment on the choice of gearing. Mostly, the route is relatively mellow with a lot of long slow climbs. However, on a SS you may find some of the steeper sections more memorable, some of which have faded from my memory with access to 22-32 gearing.

      I’d be happy to help out with a tubeless setup. Jeff and I are very confident in the current system, which is actually a variant or the old way of doing things (pre-Stan’s, pre-UST even). We are seeking ways to make the system more trail-friendly to assist reseating a tire on the trail if that were to happen. However, if I had to guess, you would likely cover the entire route without a flat, assuming you made sure to keep sealant in the tire. Most likely, you wouldn’t have too much trouble doing the tubeless conversion yourself. Are you using stock wheels with Large Marge rims?

      If you are on stock rims on the white Pug, I would consider some of the lighter rim offerings available. In particular, I think the Marge Lite offers the best platform for non-flotation fatbike riding at a modest weight (less than 700g!). I know it is an investment, but the weight savings is huge. The combination of tubeless conversion and lightweight rims could reduce your combined wheel weight by almost four pounds, and would nudge your wheels into a much more competitive (and joint-friendly) domain. Despite some heft and a load of camping gear, I actually climb well on my Pug with similar wheels.

      I am not sure exactly how or when I would use a Black Floyd tire. It is lightweight, but it also has a very thin tread and may be prone to cuts or punctures as the tire wears. As well, you will be unlikely to enjoy high speed descents on the BF tires. I rode a pair of 60mm Big Apple tires from Alaska to Montana, and felt a little skittish on fast gravel descents (through the turns only).

      Between MT and NM, my Larry wore considerably. It was not threadbare, but was a hazard on singletrack trails. By the time I go to NM, it still performed very well on dirt roads as on the Divide, but I took a few spills as a result (White Mesa, Sidewinder). I’ve got some Knards on the bike right now, which are really fast rolling, with evenly spaced shallow knobs. The Larry benefits from a nearly continuous center tread, especially zippy at higher pressures for paved sections of the route. So, either a pair of 120tpi folding Larry or Knard tires will be your best bet, IMO.

      A final, not so crazy consideration is to use a 26×2.3-2.5+ tire. This may benefit your wheel weight, pocket book, and even tire durability. Some “fast” tires that come to mind in this size: Schwalbe 2.35″ Super Moto (630g),Big Apple or Fat Frank; Kenda K-Rad or Slant Six 2.5″; or Maxxis Holy Roller 2.4″. The Schwalbe tires will be especially quick on pavement, while still offering enough cushion to run lower pressures on washboard, etc. There may be other options. However, I understand the allure of real fat tires.

      If you can find this, it might be worth a try: http://www.veerubber.co.th/2013/?p=1834

      Let me know if you have any further questions.


    • Thanks Vik,

      It still amuses me that when I bought this bike used in Seattle, I intended a reliable winter commuter in Anchorage, AK, even though it was a little small. Now, I find myself pulling goatheads out of my tires many thousands of miles away from Alaska, still slightly misfit to the bike, but comfortable.

      This bike has had a good life so far. Here’s to some more good rides on the purple Pug.


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