For me, one of the key points about enjoying riding a loaded road bike is weight. Not talking about the weight of the bike itself (or the rider), but the amount of stuff you carry with you. For our super-short RIMBY-style trips you don’t need much, and if your one-might stay is in a hotel and your route goes through lots of towns, you need even less. Riding a loaded Exploro gravel bike feels ok for me, but not a road bike, don’t ask me why…
For me, minimizing luggage goes as follows: the cycling kit is used 2 days in a row, with a quick wash overnight so it’s still fresh. We do not carry food, we just stop at cafés and get an espresso and a sandwich when hungry. We stop for lunch and take our time to enjoy #realfood. And we have dinner at the hotel, where they have towels, soap and other amenities ready for you to use (so don’t carry those). A credit card and a few euros should be enough with our hotel prebooked and paid.
Any extra apparel and stuff I need for the evening at the hotel, it all has to fit in the half-frame Apidura pack that you see in the photos. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t come.
Usually the half-frame pack is filled with:
- Lightweight swim shorts
- Lightweight t-shirt (polyester)
- Ultra light sandals by Pies Sucios (60 grams)
- Nano Flex Arm warmers
- Lightweight windproof vest
- Patagonia Micro Puff down vest
- Iphone and camera 5V small charger , with micro-USB and Apple lighting cables x2
- A light hardcase for glasses, plus my toiletries, basically a (half) toothbrush, 1-2 servings toothpaste, ibuprofen pills and foam earplugs)
Another key point to keep it light is not using too much bikepacking bags, so I try to use the jersey pockets as much as possible carrying:
- Iphone, with credit card, ID, and 100 euro inside the phone case (so no need to carry a bulky wallet)
- Lightweight Rain Jacket (real rain jacket, not a windproof one, goes in the red pouch in the photo)
- A couple of energy gels (for emergencies…)
- Extra camera battery and memory cards, lens cloth, etc., all in a waterproof ziplock plastic bag
The bike tools & parts are carried by the two of us in two tool bottles, where we have the classic kit, 2 tubes, Crank Brothers pump, multitool, levers, etc. We don’t need two water bottles, as we pedal through lots of towns where water is available, so the second cage is available to carry stuff you would otherwise have to carry in a pack.
Of course, as the photographer of the trip, I also need to carry my camera, but I also keep it to an absolute minimum:
- A small Sony Alpha 6300, goes into my Outershell handlebar bag, with a Sony OSS 10-18mm f4 lens attached, B+W polarizer, Peak Design Leash.
- I carry either an extra SLR Magic 35mm f1.2 or a Sony 16-50mm lens in the frame pack for non-wide angle shots.
- Batteries (2 if not shooting video, 4 with video) and cards (same as batteries) in the jersey pockets.
- That’s it…
You can make it even lighter by using your iPhone, which now shoots amazing photos, or a Sony RX100 compact, a great camera for its size. You can even forget about the camera handlebar bag and just carry the camera on a strap over your shoulders, but it gets in the way for climbing, it can be tricky if you got caught in the rain, or you can just destroy it in a crash or just by getting it wet with your salty sweat…
Other random items include a Wahoo Elemnt GPS on its stem mount, connected to our Komoot account to follow the planned route, an extra backup GPS watch just in case, our Giro helmets and shoes, Oakley sunglasses, 1 bottle of water, a rear red bike light and not much more. Well, and my Strada DUE of course…
Looking at the weather forecast right now, and hoping for no rain tomorrow when we start our first RIMBY for the 3T blog (stoked!) .
Stay tuned for the upcoming story in this space (subscribe so you don’t miss it), and I look forward to read about your own RIMBY trips! As you can see, planning a RIMBY is cheap and easy (and light)