The Singletrack Staffers pick the standout products and locations from their riding year. This article was originally published in Singletrack Magazine Issue 140.
The year has felt a little like approaching that nemesis feature on the trail: you roll up to it full of optimism, then at the last minute pull on the brakes in an attack of ‘nope’. Whether it was a ping that put paid to yet another plan, or a shipping container that didn’t arrive as expected (by now, perhaps, that should be ‘as expected, a shipping container didn’t arrive’), we had plenty of interruptions along the way. However, our northern hills had an unusually dry summer, so we managed a decent spell of short-sleeved riding on our doorstep, and there were a few chances to get further afield that we grasped and enjoyed. Like that trail feature, once we cleared it, the elation at meeting friends, riding new trails and generally enjoying bikes was all the sweeter.
Chipps – Editor At Large
It’s been a busy old year for me, what with getting engaged, moving house across town, getting married and then stepping into the Editor at Large role here at Singletrack. I can confirm that having both moving and marriage, two of the most stressful things you can do, plus an ongoing pandemic, in a single year, hasn’t been conducive to fitness and riding. However, it has all made me appreciate those times when I have been able to get out and steal an hour or two on the hills. And with the year closing, the opportunity for some more extensive wild and woolly riding is beckoning!
Thule Rail Hip Pack 2L
Thule has been making bike bags for a while now, and it seems that this pack has distilled a lot of knowledge into what riders actually might need in a hip pack. The 2L sits in the middle of the range, with the 4L accommodating a water bladder and the 0.5L only having room for a credit card and very slim snack.
The Goldilocks-sized 2L has been a near constant companion on rides this year. It’s so small that it forces you to repack it (or at least look inside) for every ride. This way, you pack it for the weather and length of ride.
The main bag is a padded oblong, with a zip-up top for the main compartment and a small, vertical zippered front pocket too. This has a key clip and enough room for a phone, provided you’ve not overloaded the main segment. If all is good, then this can be unzipped on the fly. The main compartment has enough room for a short pump and/or CO2, a windproof, a tube and some snacks. The inside is golden yellow, which helps you see things as the bag doesn’t clamshell open. The strap initially Velcros together, then secures with a clip. This is a genius bit of faff saving as you’re not chasing the bag down your thighs, trying to clip it together. Side pockets will hold a water bottle each, though it’s a stop-and-sip job rather than mid-pedal easy. Two further side pockets hold a tool or wrappers, but there’s no security to stop things bouncing out (though nothing has).
I’ve gone from scoffing at the teeny-ness of this bag to using it on every ride this summer. Top stuff!
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