Thursday 29 October 2020


The Ortlieb O-Bag mounted on my Brompton

There comes a time when planning any trip that you have to decide what to take with you. This is probably the hardest task for me to complete as I've got a habit of trying to cover every possibility, and then taking the right kit for each of them. On my recent trip to Scotland this included taking a full size track pump in case I really wanted to get the Brompton tyres up to 100PSI - it went unused, and a 4G home broadband router which would be deployed if the internet connectivity provided by the resort wasn't up to scratch - it wasn't and the 4G ended being used quite a bit. If I had my sensible head on I would have left these at home and saved a few kilos of weight, but the temptation of having a big bag meant I could take them.

So, on this trip I'm going to try to get away with the least possible luggage, but not so little that the trip becomes an adventure in me getting kicked out of places because I've began to smell a little too gamy!

The Brompton bike has an embarrassingly large selection of luggage that can be connected to the little carrier block on the front. Some very practical, others are quite pricey fashion statements.

Shortly after I bought my Brompton I splashed out quite a tidy sum (although less than they currently sell for) on a nice Ortlieb "O Bag" which has been used and abused for a few years to carry laptops, spare clothes, and pretty much everything else a cycling commuter needs during all four seasons. This bag has stood up to pretty much everything the British weather can throw at it, so will definitely be coming on the big trip. That bag, while really useful, isn't big enough to carry everything I need for what could be a couple of weeks.

Fortunately on the back of my Brompton I have a rack that can hold "stuff", and over the years I've had all sorts of "stuff" on it - bottles of wine, pizzas, bags of gravel... so, "stuff".

One things the rack is really bad for is wide stuff - this is because, unlike bikes with bigger wheels, the rack is very close to the pedals. The downside of this is when you pedal, your heals hit whatever is on the rack that's too wide... this means you either hurt your heals on a bag of gravel, or the pizza you've just picked up from the shop gets unceremoniously dumped on the road. So, whatever is going to be carried on the back must be quite narrow.

By far the majority of the clobber that I'll be taking with me will be clothes - at least a couple of changes - I plan to do some washing along the way. So the rear luggage must be capable of keeping the clean clothes dry even in the event that the British summer weather becomes very British.

Many years ago, after a particularly good dose of the weather exhibiting it's Britishness while on a hike in Snowdonia, I was introduced to "dry bags". I'm not sure how I'd been completely ignorant of their existence for the proceeding 40 odd years, but they completely changed the way I travel. Everything now gets packed in them and all the air squeezed out before closing them up - ensuring that they take up minimal space, and in the event the luggage gets wet, my clothes stay dry.

So, for the trip I think a reasonably large dry bag may do the trick when mounted on the rear rack of the Brompton with a couple of bungee cords. Hopping on to
The dry-bag receipt from Amazon
The Everything Store, I found a huge array of possible solutions at almost every price point, eventually settling for one listed at £21.99, which after a "promotional" discount and application of "reward" points, I bagged (see what I did there? ...sorry!) a 25L capacity one for £1.96.

That is the first purchase for the trip, and may possibly turn out to be the best.

Here's the bag on Amazon:

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