Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to carry stuff on cycling trips

Saw that Taiwoon has been sharing some tips on how to carry stuff on their bikes, and I'm inspired to also share some of the ways I carry items on my trusty Boardwalk.

The carriers that are always on my bike include the Topeak saddle bag and handphone pouch. The handphone pouch mounted on the handlepost allows me to quickly check messages or answer calls while I'm on the road. Of course I will stop before I do that, but having the phone in front allows me to hear the phone when it rings.

Handphone pouch mounted on handlepost
The saddle bag is another integral part of my bike, and the large volume makes it really useful to carry stuff. It contains a simple Topeak Mini 9 portable tool, which has most of the stuff that we need on the road, such as a screwdriver and various sizes of allen keys. I will also have a couple of ziplock bags inside, to protect my valuables in case of rain. On short trips, it will also include my wallet.

Saddle bag mounted under seat

When my bike is folded, the front lights and the blue rear light will go inside the bag. Sometimes, I will also bring along my spare tube and tire levers in the saddle bag. This will be packed together with the Lezyne mini floor pump, as seen mounted on the frame itself. The Monkii bottle cage is also mounted at the same place. The cool thing about the Monkii cage is that the velcro strap allows different sized bottles to be fitted easily.

Bottle cage and pump mounted on frame

When the bottle cage and pump is not in use, they can be taken off the bike in just a few seconds.

Less than 10 secs is needed to remove bottle cage and pump!

If more capacity is needed on the bike, I will use my Dahon Tour Bag, which is mounted to the front of the frame. This is especially useful as its large size allows me to carry lots of stuff, such as more bottles of water, a change of clothes or other things. The bag is also waterproof, and can be detached from its mount easily. Also, the mount is attached to the frame itself, and not the handlepost, thus it does not affect the steering of the bike at all.

Dahon Luggage Truss

Dahon Tour Bag

Inside of Dahon Tour Bag, with a bottle to show the scale. See how spacious it is!

Another new addition to the bike is a seatpost mounted bag. This comes with a quick release clamp, so that it can be easily removed or attached without tools. The bag is made of two halves that closes like a clam, and also comes with a waterproof cover.

Rear seatpost bag mounted below the saddle bag.

Inside of bag, with two similar halves that closes up.

Quick release clamp is secure and does not slip or rotate while in use.

With the additional capacity, it is now possible to go for extended touring trips, such as the upcoming Desaru trip. Although the total capacity of these carriers is still less than that of full-sized panniers and a rear rack, what I like about my bags is that they can all be detached easily when not in use. No tools or lots of time and effort are needed to put on or remove these bags. Compare the two pictures below: It takes less than 1 minute to remove all the bags from the bike, which is useful when I am not using the bags and want to keep the weight down.

Everything on...

Everything off!


  1. Excellent write up! Looking forward to more in depth reviews!

  2. Hi, is the seatpost strap of your saddle bag secure? I saw from the Topeak website that the max seatpost diameter is 34.9mm only. Is your bag this model?

    1. The one that I'm using is the large sized saddle bag of this model. Seat post strap is not a problem, as the seatpost diameter for Dahon/tern bikes are 33.9mm.

    2. Thanks! Do you have the problem of the rear lights pointing down instead of more parallel to the road? I have this problem with some bags and I end up fixing the light on the seat post which limits how much the seat post can be lowered when folding without loosening the light.

    3. Yeah sometimes the rear lights will droop downwards. You can try tying the seatpost strap lower on the seatpost, or fill up the saddle bag with more stuff. This will help to tilt the rear lights upwards more.

  3. Hi. May I know where to get the front tour bag and the price? I have a kickflix adaptor in front, Is it the same as urs? Ur blog is very informative to riders. Thks ya!

  4. I'm not sure which adaptor you have. You can try checking out the Dahon Tour Bag at Mybikeshop, or get it online. If possible, try out the adaptor and bag to ensure that they fit.