What we use for our cycling adventures
The purpose of this section is to share the things that we have used over the years to help others who might be wondering what to purchase, or what they need. We also want to include reviews on the products we have used, especially those we have used for many years. While many reviews online and in magazines look at the new shiny item out of the bag, not as many look at how something has performed over a longer period of time. This is where we want to be different and we will only include reviews on items we have used for a minimum of 6 months to really get an idea of how it works.
This section and more so the detailed reviews that will accompany it are still being developed. We plan to have it completed by the end of summer 2022. If you would like some further details on one of the items without a review page please feel free to email us with any questions you have.
Items to help traveling with a bike
This first section includes the various products that we have used to help travel with our bikes. It includes bike travel bags and cases and other accessories we have used along the way.
Evoc Bike Travel Bag
This was one of the first major investments we made back in 2013. Since then both bags have made numerous trips to France with us as well as our friends who have borrowed them many times. You can read our detailed review of the Evoc bike travel bag to get more information. We definitely have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone looking at a travel bag.
Ostrich bike bags
These bike bags hail from Japan and are also know as “Rinko bags”. They allow you take the wheels off your bike and completely cover it for the purpose of train travel or anywhere else you might want to take it.
We purchased these bags in 2018 for the purpose of travel on the TGV trains. On those services bikes can be brought on for free if they are in a case and within the dimensions allowed. While they offer no protection for a bike, we would not use them for air travel, they provide a great solution for trains in France and other countries as well.
A more in depth review of these bags is in the pipeline and we will add the link to it once it is finished.
Cycle touring gear – on the bike
This first section of cycling touring gear relates to things that we use on the bike while riding. Here we include pannier, racks, packs and other accessories.
Vaude Aqua Plus
We purchased these rear panniers in July 2021 and they have been used extensively since. Firstly, on the road for three weeks as we made our way from Normandy to the Pyrenees, and secondly for the past 9 months to carry groceries and other items as we do not have a car. Our Vaude Aqua Plus pannier review goes into more detail so check it out.
To date, we have been very impressed with the panniers. We have ridden in the rain a number of times and had no issues with water leakage into the bad at any stage. They carry a decent amount of gear and we would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking for a set of panniers. See our de
Topeak Uni Explorer rear rack
We purchased the Topeak Uni Explorer rear rack at the same time as the panniers. This was our first foray into panniers and a rear rack and we have been happy with our choices. We would recommend purchasing this rack if you are looking at options.
The rack fit both bikes very easily and did not need a significant amount of adjustment to get them to fit. From memory it took about 10mins to fit each one. They were attached to the bikes in August 2021 and since then have rarely been off the bike.
Apidura bike packing bags
We have a range of Apidura bike packing bags for both bikes. The majority of these were purchased in 2017. We have used the bags on mountain bikes, gravel bikes and road bikes. In all instances we have been impressed with the bags and again recommend them highly
Revelate bike packing bags
We have also added some Revelate bike packing bags to our gear list over the years. This has included feed bags for the handlebars and top tube bags to fit under the top tube. We have always been impressed by the quality of their bags and recommend them to anyone looking at their products
These handy straps hail from the ski industry originally but now come in a range of sizes for cycle touring and other applications. We have a range of sizes now and they are great for attaching gear to the outside of bikes, as additional security for our front roll bags and attaching items to the rear racks. We first purchased them in 2018 and they are something that will be first on the packing list every time.
Cycle touring gear – off the bike
This section includes all the bits and pieces we have used for cycle touring once we have reached our destination. It includes tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mats to name a few
Vango Scafell 300+ tent
This is the second Vango tent we have owned. The first is still in a storage container in Australia and will join us in France soon. We purchased this tent in May 2021 and both love the layout with the large vestibule area and detachable inner section.
We spent nearly every night over three weeks in the tent while traveling from Normandy to the Pyrenees and would have no hesitation in recommending it. It is easy to put up and pack away and has plenty of room for two people and gear.
Alpkit Pipedream 400 sleeping bag
We have owned these sleeping bags since May 2021 and used them for about 30 nights since. One of the bags developed a small tear along a seam line not long after we bought it. Alpkit replaced it free of charge without fuss and the new bag has only been used a couple of times.
Overall we are happy with the bags. They compact down nicely and feel good to sleep in. They are a 3 season bag but we have only experienced warmer weather. We want to get a bit more use out of them in colder weather before we would recommend them or not
Klymit Static V2 Sleeping mat
We purchased these mats at the same time as our sleeping bags and have used them both for the same number of nights. Overall we both find the mat comfortable and have had no problems with them. These mats are designed for warmer months only and are not multi-season. They are easy to pack and nice and compact when rolled up.