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17 MIN READ TIME

STEP INSIDE MY WARDROBE

First off, we have the micro-packs – basically, a backpack, only smaller. These strip down the classic riding rucksack to its bare essentials, often adding maximum ventilation and a very secure harness along the way to make something that, in theory, you can forget you’re wearing. The capacity of these packs varies dramatically – some are big enough for a day ride, and some are barely more than a bladder with a pocket on the front.

Then there are bum bags. Sorry, hip packs. My very first riding bag was a bum bag – in hot pink, natch. Perhaps inevitably, once they were christened as such, bum bags quickly became a comedy punchline, and for a while I thought they’d been banished to the less fashion-conscious reaches of the running world. But it was inevitable that they would return – the lure of riding sans sweaty shoulder blades was just too much. The new generation of enduro-bustles are much cleverer beasts than the fashion carbuncles of yore. The bags we tested all had improved retention systems, to make them less likely to end up round your ankles, more organisational potential, and at least a bottle’s worth of water carrying capacity.

Finally there are the frame bags. Again, these have been around since the dawn of mountain biking, when a colourful isosceles triangle of pressed steel multifunction wrenches and loose jangling Allen keys were as essential as bar ends or toe clips. And again, like waist packs, they underwent a period in the wilderness, before long-distance off-road riders started to look for alternatives to racks and panniers, and bikepacking became a buzzword. The frame bags in our test have all come from the bikepacking world, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use them for everyday rides too.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Chipps wonders what comes after the corner after the next corner. International Adventure: Soviet Singletrack: With military restrictions lifted, singletrack trails are waiting to be discovered on the very fringes of Russia. Column: A Glamorous Job: Jason Miles reveals that riding your bike a lot doesn’t necessarily make you healthy. UK Adventure: West Is Best: Pete Scullion goes wild camping on Scotland’s west coast, in the depths of winter. Bike Test: One Click Ponies: James Vincent tests out three bikes from Bird, Intense and Sonder - available to you at the click of a mouse. UK Adventure: Trail Hunter - Peaky Blinder: Tom Fenton seeks out some of the Peak District’s lesser known trails in the White Peak. Group Test: Packing Light: Antony de Heveningham checks out frame, hip and back packs in search of a bag that carries just enough for those local rides. Interview: Staying Ahead, Being Last: Rachel Sokal chats to Olympian and British Champion Annie Last about staying motivated, and cake. International Adventure: Finding Perspective In Lesotho Kristi Stump ponders the gap between her own challenges and those of the people she encounters during the Lesotho Sky stage race Column: Seduced By The TV Remote: Steve Longdon misses the days when we used to ride up hills under our own power and peel our own oranges. Wait, what? International Adventure: Internal Struggle Tom Johnstone nally makes the trip of a lifetime through Iceland’s remote interior. International Adventure: No Mercy In The Mountains Chipps takes a rather taxing holiday in the Pyrenees. Perhaps a change isn’t always as good as a rest… Last Word Barney Marsh admits he’s not getting any younger or fitter. At least he can do something about one of them.

Other Articles in this Issue


Singletrack
I’ve never heard of Ben Hogan. I’d assumed that he
A trail bike adventure between volcanoes and waves in the former Russian military zone of Kamchatka.
Jason Miles tells us a few home truths about the indignities of 24 hour racing. The physical battle doesn’t end at the finish line.
Pete Scullion ventures out to the western fringe of Scotland, ready to sleep under the stars on a remote beach. But he didn’t count on life-threatening weather. Will he tough it out? Or make it work?
James Vincent tests three bikes delivered straight to his door.
AERIS 145 GX EAGLE
Intense Cycles is one of those brands that has just
The latest development from homegrown success story
Right now, the bike industry is in an unpredictable
This is a story about an underdog. A sidekick, a minor character, passed over in favour of its more famous sibling, ignored by many but loved by those who know it. It’s a story about the White Peak.
Antony de Heveningham looks at a dozen ways of carrying your stuff on your ride.
There is a bewildering array of smaller bags available these days, and we’ve picked a representative snapshot from three main categories.
The Repack is the successor to CamelBak’s previous
If you’re into bikepacking, and you’re from the UK
Wingnut Gear has been around for a over a decade, but
The Pulse looks like it’s taken its design cues from
USWE’s USP is its distinctive design of harness. Rather
Available in three sizes, the Outpost aims to be two
The range of ways of carrying your stuff seems to be
Rachel Sokal spends a day with the British cross-country queen to talk all things Olympics, baggies, cake, and why if you’re not riding cross-country, you’re missing out on the fun.
Can you really experience the culture of a country while racing through it? Kristi Stump finds herself pondering such things, when perhaps she should be concentrating on not crashing.
SEDUCED BY THE TV REMOTE
Tom Johnstone rides across Iceland’s interior and learns that making your dreams come true isn’t always easy.
Backcountry Tour of the Pyrenees? You can’t handle the backcountry tour of the Pyrenees!
Barney faces up to the inevitable: he’s not magically going to get fitter by doing nothing.
Fully paid-up southern mod, Geoff Waugh, takes on a tour of this riding gem within a short distance of London. The fact that it goes near his hero Paul Weller’s house is purely coincidental. Apparently.