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  1. Our weapons of choice for the event were our Lauf True Grit Weekend Warriors that we had bought back in 2021. We had already used them for the Gent-Wevelgem Cyclo back in March this year - see separate blog post.

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    The bikes themselves were pretty well standard apart from a few minor changes. I had opted for a 38T oval chainring while Roy had gone for a 36T. With this gearing (11-42 cassette) we were hoping to be able to get up most of the climbs that we would have to conquer. I also had a Bontrager GR1 tyre on the rear & had changed the stem for a 60mm Richey Comp 30D. By changing the stem, I hoped to reduce the numbness I had suffered in my fingers during the Gent-Wevelgem event.

    Below are details of the packs that we had mounted on the bikes. This event presented an ideal opportunity to test the packs out although they did contain lots of air. They are mainly from my new Alt range which are made from 600D waterproof cordura fabric. I also try to add as much recycled material to each product as I can.

    Handlebar Pack

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    These packs are made from the waterproof cordura with a used banner lining to add rigidity. The single mounting points on the handlebars meant that they could be matched up with the Fodder Pod handlebar straps. By limiting the amount of handlebar used for the mounting it ensured that we had space for altering our hand positions during the ride. 

    These packs would normally have been used for selected items of outerwear such as  puffer/waterproof jackets but as the day was dry and sunny, we were unlikely to need them. Just for something to put in there, I decided to carry a thin half shell and a pair of arm warmers.

    Half Frame Pack

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    These packs were custom-made for the frames. Roy benefited from a larger pack as he has a medium framed bike while mine is small. I designed them to fit around the 2 water bottles we each planned to carry (750mL and 500mL). 

    While the side panels were made from the cordura, I used inner tube for the gusset. I also lined the straps with inner tube so that the frame would be protected from getting scratched. This is something that I do as a standard for all the packs I make. The zip is often the weakest point of any product and I have found that keeping it protected from dirt will reduce the risk of failure. A cover over the zip also reduces the risk of water ingress.

    These packs were also pretty empty apart from pumps and our phones.

    Saddle Pouch

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    We used different options here.

    I opted to use my existing inner tube one while Roy tested the new cordura version. The roll-up clip closure is also a convenient place to mount the rear light.

    We had all of the usual items stashed in here: tube (even though we were running tubeless), multitool, 1st aid kit, tyre levers, spare hangers and chain links. 

    You can see that Roy did a far better job of avoiding the muddy puddles on the 1st part of the course than I did!!

    Fodder Pod

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    I absolutely love this product and always wonder why more people don’t have a stem pack on their bike. They are so useful and make so many items easily accessible. Again made of cordura, the ones I make each have 3 mounting points. One strap goes around the stem while the other 2 are for attachment to the handlebar. They can be placed on either side of the stem and are closed by means of a paracord/toggle system. I also add a key hook on the inside and the ‘always convenient’ Beerbabe bottle opener. The clip also serves as a convenient location for our sporks.

    We each had a Frite pod in the hope of finding a vendor during the event. Unfortunately that didn’t happen so they were used for a big bag of assorted sweets which included jelly babies, licorice allsorts, haribo strawberries, Clif shot bloks and glucose tablets. Hopefully something that would stimulate the taste buds on top of gels & energy drinks.

    The other pod contained all of the energy stuff that we thought we might need: gels, bars, etc. We could stash the wrappers back into the pod and clean up the sticky mess afterwards. The linings of the pods can be easily pulled out, washed and then pushed back inside once dry. 

    Tilly, my lucky mascot, also got to have a great view of the ride although I did all of the work!

    Overall, the bikes and packs coped faultlessly during both the event and while touring the Belgium countryside looking for gravel in the days that followed.