January 29, 2011
For years, I've noticed people using their water bottle cages to carry tools and other miscellaneous gear on day rides, as well as on tours. The most common carrying technique I have seen is cutting off the narrow neck near the top of an old water bottle, cramming gear into it, and stuffing the top with something like an old sock to keep items from rattling out. This gets the job done, but it isn't super elegant and it knocks your water carrying capacity down by one bottle.
Tallac Design offers a pretty cool alternative with an item they call the Behold. It consists of a water-resistant nylon pouch that fits into a cage mounted between your frame and water bottle cage. The pouch attaches to the cage with Velcro, so you don't have to worry about it bouncing out on rough roads.
Installation is simple. Just bolt the cage to water bottle mounts, and then bolt your water bottle cage on top of the Behold cage. A warning: the Behold cage does lift your water bottle holder about 1.6 inches away from the frame, and about 0.6 inches up the frame. This might create some space issues if you have a small frame with two bottle cages. So, before you order a Behold, it's a good idea to check and see if your bottle cage can reach this far without bumping into your second cage.
Tallac Design claims that you can fit into the pouch a 700c road tube, 16 gram CO2 cartridge with refill head, and two tires levers. I was happy to learn that this is true, even when running a wide 700x32 touring tire. Properly organized, there's even a little space left over for a small patch kit and some road money, though it's a snug fit.
Going this route can either replace or complement a saddle bag. One nice thing is that the pouch can quickly be removed from its cage and tossed into your pocket for time away from the bike.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.