Ireland - How do you carry all that stuff (August 6 - August 8) (Continued)
Now it's time to pack up so I reverse the order of the previous night. First, I clear out the tent and pack it up and put all the loose items in their appropriate places in my pannier bags.
For long distance biking, most have to use 4 pannier bags, 2 on the rear, 2 on the front and a handlebar bag that sits on the stem of your bike. You have to balance the weight between sides with most of the weight on the back bags which are larger than the 2 front bags. I also carry a dry bag on the bag rack to hold bulky items. The panniers have a large main pouch and a few smaller ones to hold small items that are easily accessible. Here is how I pack.
Right rear pannier
This pannier has a tube like attachment to hold longer items. In this tube I pack my coffee mug, stool (used to sit on to cook, read or clean my bike while camping), tarp (used to provide cover in the rain or sun or to put over my bike during rain), and my inflatable sleeping pad. The main bag holds one of my hiking boots with the other in the left rear pannier. Normally I wouldn't carry bulky hiking boots but I plan to hike the Camino de Santiago - a 30 day hike in October and also the Annapurna trail once I get to Nepal. You need well-worn hiking boots for those distances.
The red dry bag that is sitting on my rear rack is held down with a bungy cord and used to hold bulky items that take up a lot of room. The bag is holding my tent, sleeping bag and pillow. The rear rack also holds my chain and combination lock.
Left rear pannier
My left rear bag contains most of my clothes and my rain gear that sits at the top of the bag. I keep that on the left as I get off the bike on that side so can access my rain gear quickly. It also holds my laptop and sleeve to provide added cushion from the bumpy roads.
Right front pannier
My front right pannier holds my cooking supplies such as stove, water filter, pots, cutlery and cleaning supplies. The water filter will be used once I get to areas in Morocco, Central and Southeast Asia, China and Nepal.
Left front pannier
My left front pannier is used to hold food. I carry a little extra in case I can't find a store or more likely, in case I'm too tired to bike to the next store. This bag also has shoulder straps that can convert to a day pack. If I go for a short hike or am off my bike touring around I will move the valuables from my front handlebar bag to my backpack and carry that with me. I also use it when walking around cities.
I carry 2 water bottles for use while I bike and have a 1-gallon deflatable plastic bag to fill up when camping. The fuel bottle also fits on the bottom bottle holder.
The handlebar bag sits on the front stem directly under my nose. It comes with a plastic cover where I insert my map so can read as I bike and the map can stay dry in the rain. The bag holds my valuables and items I may want to access quickly. In my case I use it for a notepad/pen, camera, passport, money and Kindle for when I stop to read. The bag has a quick release mechanism for ease of unlatching and a shoulder strap for carrying short distances.
The cycling shoes I wear have a built in cleat system that attaches the shoe to the pedal to allow ease of cycling. The cleat is repressed and the shoe is built like a hiking boot to make it easier to walk in when off the bike. I also have a helmet and cycling gloves. The gloves are padded to provide comfort on your hands as they are one of the main contact points with the bike. Padded cycling shorts allow comfort on the other main contact point.
The red pannier bags also have yellow rain covers to keep everything dry in the rain. The inside of the packs also have a waterproof sac but I find the external bags adequate to keep things dry. I keep the yellow covers in the top pouch of each bag so they are easy to find.