A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Monday, 6 May 2013

Outfitting For Touring

In less than 2 weeks I'll be on the road...I must admit the departure date has crept up on me somewhat, but Bianca at least, is ready and looking pretty damn sexy:

"Bianca" is a Specialized Cycle Cross bike that I've made a few modifications on for touring. I thought this info might be useful for someone considering the same thing one day, so I'll go into a bit more detail here...


Bianca is a disc brake model and because of that, has wider front forks than a lot of bikes. Here in Australia I had real trouble finding anywhere local that could provide a well fitting front rack. My local bike shop put me onto  a German company called http://www.tubus.com/ who specialise in producing these. I opted for the Ergo, found a stockist in the UK, and ordered online.

Fitting the rack was easier than expected (though you'll see the pic here I haven't quite got it level). Its a wonderfully adjustable system so I should be able to fix that. Tubus racks can take a max weight of 15kg.

On the back, I've got a Topeak Super Tourist rack fitted.

Once again, because of the disc brakes, the frame is wider and there is a lot less choice around for racks that will fit. The rack works by having this wider fit keep it well away from the braking mechanism:

And you'll need a bunch of washers to make it work. I'm a little nervous with it to be honest...having had it break once in the past. When I tour I'm making sure I've got some spare screws with me to fix it should it pop again. Though it should hold this time.


You cant beat Ortleib! These bag are just bomb (and water) proof. Once again, German made:


My rear set I've had for a few years and ridden through some pretty dire weather without the contents getting wet. They are also highly adjustable:

You can completely adjust all the touch points on the back, making the top clips wider or narrower as you require. Likewise the bottom clip can slide along the runner it fits in, and you rotate the slip itself as well. All done with an Alan key.


On the handlebar I've added a bar bag, which I found amazingly useful on my last tour for stuffing phone, gels & snacks and sun cream etc.  I was riding really long days at the time and eating while I rode sometimes! The photo here just shows the fitting, and you can clip the bag off and on for when you stop:

I would dearly love to fit a Garmin GPS but cant afford it at the moment, so have a much cheaper bike computer for now. I'll use that, Gmaps on my phone, and good old fashioned paper maps for a backup.

The rest...

The bike didn't come with SPD pedals which were a must have for me and make a massive difference to pedal power. I've also fitted very heavy Schwalbe tires which feel slow but will take the knocks. If you are going to spend your money on one thing only for your tour...think about investing in really good tires as the extra weight you'll be putting on your wheels will mean they need to be able to take a lot of punishment.

I would like to have fitted top quality wheels, but cost is again a factor. I had a very detailed servicing done at my local bike shop, who checked my spokes and wheel and advised the ones I've got should be up to the task, but it is a bit of a gamble. Wouldn't risk it touring remote areas.

One more addition I would have like but have run out time to sort out, is a 3rd bottle cage.


  • 3 Spare inner tubes
  • 1 Spare folding tire (may not take this on my next tour)
  • Spare spokes
  • Spoke key
  • Chain breaker
  • Multi tool
  • Tire levels
  • Oil
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Spare screws for racks
  • Duct tape

And that's about it!

I'll do a test pack this weekend and a test camp as well, as I've only ridden with a half load so far. 


  1. What and how much camping gear are you carrying?

  2. Hi Jess! Pretty much everything to be self sufficient. Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, cooking pot, cutlery, stove, and about 2 days food. All that stuff is using most of the pannier space, got few clothes etc.