I'm sure some of you will have been very disappointed in the last couple of blogs. "What about the luggage cliff-hanger?" I imagine you are wondering. Well, wonder no more, you'll be pleased to hear that I have gone with a rack and panniers. I had initially chosen the handlebar bag option but it turned out it didn't fit my bars and I had a change of heart as I might get more use out of panniers in the future. The two 9 litre panniers should also give me a little more room and will carry the weight in a better position on the bike.
I tested them out on Sunday riding out to marshal at the Wheelers Road Race and back on what was an extremely wet and windy day. A couple of hours sheltering under trees and popping out every 15 minutes to hold a red flag isn't the most fun way to spend your time and I for one was very pleased when the commissaires decided to shorten the race due to the conditions. I think some of those racing were of the same view given how long it was taking them trying to warm up again back at the race HQ. The panniers held up ok though holding my change of clothes and multiple waterprof layers.
All I need to do now if cram everything I need for my LEJoG into them and as such I have been finalising my equipment list. It currently stands as follows:
2x bib shorts, 2x long sleeve base layer, windstopper short sleeve base layer, jersey, gilet, rain jacket, arm warmers, leg warmers, 2x socks, windstopper gloves, waterproof gloves, overshoes, SPD shoes, glasses, helmet
Off bike clothing:
Long sleeve t-shirt, 3/4 length shorts, socks
Tools & maintenance:
3x inner tubes, tyre jack, patches, glue, tyre levers, mini-pump, pump adaptor, multitool (allen keys, screwdrivers, chain tool, spoke key), zip ties, chainlinks, tape, possibly spare chain & foldable tyre
Garmin, maps, 2x rear light, front light, 2x water bottles, lock, batteries
FOOD! (flapjack, malt loaf, energy gels), energy & recovery drink powder, chamois cream, first aid kit, money, cards, keys, phone, phone & Garmin chargers
I did have some summer gloves on the initial list I drew up a couple of months ago but unless the weather changes dramatically i think I can forget about them - I am now considering taking my winter jacket! I'm also pondering taking a spare folding tyre in case I have a tyre related disaster and a spare chain just in case but that will depend on room in the panniers.
I'm hoping I haven't forgotten anything important!