I was very pleased with how my kit was set up for Night Bison, and thought I’d share a few comments.
It was intended to be ~55 miles, at night, self-supported. I wanted to be well-stocked with food and fluids, as I tend to be somewhat prone to going downhill rapidly when I don’t monitor that carefully. I was sporting the Vaya, which technically has 3 bottle cages, but the bottle cage on the underside of the downtube is too close to the front tire to be useful. Perhaps that’s because it’s a 55cm frame, and perhaps it’s because I use a fork with less rake than the bike is designed for. But anyhow, I wanted to have enough water.
I wasn’t very happy with the 4 bottle setup that I used for the Gravel Metric:
In part because I didn’t like how the 2 full rear bottles affected handling, and in part because on loose/rough roads, it was a bit challenging using bottles at all, whilst trying to maintain speed. So I wanted to try something different.
I ended up using a 2 liter camelbak (about 3/4 full) and the 2 bottle cages on the Vaya in combination. It was an excellent setup. On loose/rough/sketchy stuff, riding in a group, I could use my left hand to stick the camelbak hose in my mouth and take a draw. On smoother stuff, I could drink from a bottle. It was a nice compromise between not too much weight on my back and having enough hydration–I was really pleased. The camelbak also gave me enough room to throw in a jacket, to ward off the potential for precipitation from Hurricane Isaac.
Since I was sporting the camelbak, my jersey pockets were a bit limited. I had one jersey pocket in use holding a battery for my helmet-mounted light, and my phone and car keys in another. Since I wanted some room to carry food, I grabbed my Porcelain Rocket stem bag and velcro’d it on. In the front of the bag, I threw the battery for my handlebar lights, and behind that, I had plenty of room for some energy gels and a bar.
I know, I know. “Only 55 miles (actually, 53.2) and he’s bringing 2 bottles, a camel bak, gels and a bar. Huff.” Well, I rode strong and felt great. So it worked. I’m not going to start rocking a camelbak on every ride, but for an event like this, I was pleased with the kit.
Here’s the bike setup:
The cockpit got a little tight between the stem bag, Garmin, and headlights…
And it may have looked a little kludgy, but it was night, and it worked.
I continue to be pleased with the Whisky fork; I think it is a worthy addition to the Vaya, and I think it offers ride quality improvements over the Winwood fork I used to run.
As one other little gear update…you can see in the pics that we hit some dusty roads. The picture below shows the Vaya’s chain. I’m still using the Finish Line ceramic chain lube on the Vaya, and it continues to impress me with how well it lubricates while keeping gunk buildup to a minimum.