We were all beginners cyclists once. Whether it was the first tentative pedal strokes without stabilisers as a child, or the altogether more scary prospect of learning as adults. Many of us have taken breaks from riding bikes at some point in our life, coming back to it a little rusty – apparently riding a bike is, well, like riding a bike. Once you learn, you never forget. It’s not quite that simple though, is it? Riding off-road uses different skillsets to road riding for example. Endurance riding, racing, bike-packing all bring with them whole new worlds of gear, training and possibilities. It can be bewildering even for those of us who would count ourselves as experienced cyclists.
We sometimes buy our way into a new niche – maybe through necessity, or because we are told we need that thingymybob if we are going to start something new… or sometimes just because it’s nice to get something new and shiny and it makes us feel part of the gang – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
We’ve all heard All The Gear No Idea (ATGNI) before, usually as a bit of a put down to the guy or girl who turns up with immaculate new kit: everything that you could possibly want or need, but no idea how to actually use it. We aren’t a fan of that term here at Restrap. Anyone who is keen to ride and wants to try something new is as valid a member of our community as the experts who have been doing this since the year dot. Remember where we first started – we were all beginners once. None of us were born experts and we’ve all made mistakes.
In fact, we reckon between the Restrap collective, we’ve made every mistake it is possible to during our cycling careers… and we keep finding new ones to make, day in and day out. We figure now is the time to share some of our experience and help you avoid the blunders that we’ve already committed. Throughout 2019, we are going to release a series of videos designed to help you have as much fun as possible while adventuring with your bike. These are not about selling you anything, or telling you what you need to buy. Rather, we want to show you how to make the best of what you’ve got and if you do need to buy something new, how to decide what is right for you.
From how to decide what sleeping bag to use, to what is best kept in a framebag, to helping you decide what you can leave at home altogether, we here to make sure no one accuses you of ATGNI and you optimise your ride time. In fact, by the end, we want you to have OTRGAKHTUI… not so snappy, but Only The Right Gear And Know How To Use It is the future.
We’ll start with the absolute basics – how to best fit our luggage to your bike. If you’ve found this article, you’ve probably stumbled across it on our website while doing a bit of shopping. We are rightfully proud of what we make, and we think you’ll love it too. To get the most out of our bike luggage, it needs to be fitted properly – and packed with some care and thought. We’ve got your back though.
Through the year, our instructional videos will move on from product guides and fitting our luggage to bike-packing equipment checklists and how best to carry your kit on the bike. As we get into the thick of primo bike-packing season in the summer, we’ll help you select a route for an overnighter, choose a good camp spot, decide what to cook and get a comfortable night’s sleep. We’ll let you in on the secret dual purpose a box of wine has, why fast and light is great sometimes and the top five bike-packing items we never leave without.
If there’s any aspect of bike-packing and touring that you’d like us to tackle over the year, then get in touch and we’ll try our best to include it over the course of the year. In the meantime, stay tuned.
Words by Tom Hill
Photographs from Restrap Bikepacking Trips by Alex Dyson