Wild Weather Mountain Biking Gear
We had a rare chance for an autumn weekend in North Wales and had big plans for a long multi-pitch climbing route or, if it was a bit wetter, maybe a scrambling day. In the end, we looked at the forecast as the weekend approached and it became clear the weather was going to be biblically awful. Persistent rain, strong winds and poor visibility were the main features…..with maybe even a bit more rain thrown into the mix. Oh well, we had a hotel booked, had friends to visit and we thought we’d just head over anyway. But we don’t do inactivity well and wanted something active to fill the time.
Fortunately, that’s where mountain biking comes into play. It is an activity you can do in any weather and still have fun. We made a plan to visit a few venues we’d either never been to before or not for a while. We loaded up a van with bikes, related kit and food and set sail along the A55.
We had a great weekend. The Penmancho trails, although resembling a river at times, was a blast and a morning on the Marin Trail followed by time at Llandegla was the usual awesome adventure. But, in the conditions we faced it pays to go prepared and we used the weekend to try some kit that’s perfect for the general grimness of autumn and winter riding. They all worked a treat and we figured them to be well worth sharing.
I’ll add one a day over the next week or so and I hope you find the ideas useful. Some are expensive, some cost next to nothing and some are somewhere in the middle. The truth is that you can probably get by without any…..but there’s no fun in that is there?!
Hope Wheel Bags
Hope wheel bags certainly aren't the cheapest out there, but they are built with typical Hope attention to detail and quality. The bags come in 27.7 or 29" options and, although we primarily ride 27.5", we still chose the larger option. This turned out to be a great decision as the larger size makes it so easy to put the wheels in and it also means any tyre width will fit in effortlessly. They are made from durable Cordura fabric with padded liner and the zips opens wide to make life easy. Finally, each bag has a small pocket to store your Maxel and a carry strap that can easily allow a shoulder carry.
Last weekend we were staying in a hotel and the bags made it simple to carry the bags to our room. They are also great when you've finished your ride and want to avoid your muddy wheels dirtying the inside of your van. But, my favourite feature is that the bags make packing your bikes into a vehicle such a cinch. They can be used to separate frames without any risk of damage and just make packing away such a simple task. I really can't recommend these enough.
Karcher OC3 Portable Cleaner
One alternative to loading a muddy mountain bike into your vehicle is to have a carrier that allows you to transport it on the outside. Another alternative is to clean your bike at the trailhead. Of course, one final choice is to clean it at the trailhead and still transport it outside your vehicle. So many choices! Anyway, I'm a big fan of cleaning my bike at the end of a ride because I like to be able to unload it straight into the bike store at home and I'm normally muddy and wet at the end of the ride so its easier to do it before I change. I always struggle to find the motivation when I get home.
A recent addition to my cleaning kit has been a Karcher OC3 Portable Cleaner. I've used it both at home and away on many occasions and I'm really impressed. The unit is compact enough for travel and has a curly hose and trigger unit (which stores easily inside the case). There's also a built in water container and rechargeable battery. It offers a jet plenty powerful enough for cleaning and yet this is definitely not a pressure washer in the usual sense. It is actually the perfect pressure output for washing bikes. I combine it with a brush and some Muc Off and the combo can get your stead clean in a few minutes.
The only problem with the OC3 is the size of the water tank. It will just about give enough water to clean one bike but there's no way it will do more. One accessory you can buy for the cleaner (and a very worthwhile investment), is a plug in remote tube that will plug into the unit and can then be popped into a water container that you take along separately. We've found that a 5 litre container will happily wash 2 bikes. There are plenty of other accessories and we have the car cigarette adapter plug and shower head adapter (that was nice in the summer) and plug on brush. They are all useful, but really you don't need all the extras for it to be a very handy ride companion.
Tomorrow - Black Bin Liners!
Posted by Paul