By Katharine Horsman
Naturally, our luggage requirements varied from ride to ride, although two things remained constant: our desire to keep weight to a minimum and our desire to minimise the surface area the ever-constant New Zealand headwind had to play with. On most day-rides, as long as you can stow water bottles elsewhere, more often than not you can get away with just a Mini O Bag. As we had needed our luggage options to be a bit more flexible we left our Mini O Bags at home, instead we used, in a variety of combinations: an O Bag, S Bag, Rack Sack and two Saddle Bags and Covers.
Whenever possible Richard would take the front luggage, so that he would have to do battle with wind, and I would opt for the Rack Sack so as to give me the best chance of keeping up with him. The Saddle Bags would give us extra space for water bottles and other items we wanted to quick access to. Even on our overnight, coast to coast ride we managed to get away with this configuration of luggage, had we needed more than one change of clothes or sleeping bags we would certainly have needed the S Bag as well.
2. Water bottles and other refreshments
An essential bit of kit on any ride but of particular relevance in New Zealand, shops and cafés are not as frequently available as one might expect, we learnt this on our first day of riding north of Lake Taupo. As a result of this near death experience, we ensured that we both had robust supplies of cereal bars at all times, together with a variety of filled water bottles. The stowing of water bottles depended on the luggage we were using on the ride and personal preference. Richard purchased two bottle mounts during the six weeks we were riding, the first broke on the second day of use, but the second, a Zefal bottle mount, faired much better, seeing out the trip. I preferred to stow my bottles in the back pocket of my jersey, Saddle Bag and the back pockets of the S or O Bags.
3. Covers and transportation
As mentioned already, the Saddle Bag that comes with the bike cover was useful for stowing quick access items, although, as you cannot seal it, you need to be wary of items jumping out. The covers came in handy when we wanted to play-down the existence of the bikes, for instance, when we were hitching back from Springfield we felt it prudent to fold up the bikes and put their covers on so as to reassure any unsuspecting driver that the integrity of his/her car’s interior would not be compromised.
You can also use the cover together with the B Bag to turn your B Bag into a suitcase; if you put the cover on the bike and then put it in the B Bag, you can then pack your clothing around the bike without getting it dirty. This is really handy when travelling by air as it means you can keep within the baggage allowance and only have to deal with one bag.
4. Toolkit and patches
We only had one puncture between the two of us during the six weeks we were there but it definitely required fixing. We didn’t have a Brompton toolkit with us so bought a Topeak Alien 2 locally which had everything we needed. We also ensured we were well stocked with spare tubes and patches.
When touring, or just doing some serious miles on a day ride, it is really important to ensure you have a pump that will return your flattened tyre to peak performance so you can ride on to your destination without losing any more time! We carried a Topeak Race Rocket which did the job of reaching the high pressures required of Kojak tyres, it also had a screw on hose for ease of attachment.