January 26, 2015
By Berne Brody
Editor's Note: In the February 2015 issue of Adventure Cyclist (available here; members only) Berne Broudy rides across the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali. From moped-choked cities and agrarian villages to volcanoes and beaches, this is a quick look at the gear that served her well on the almost 1,000-kilometer route.
BH RX Team: Made for cyclocross but ideal for touring, this full carbon bike is light, nimble and can take a hammering on terrible roads without hammering you. The full-carbon RX Team was designed around an oversized bottom bracket that increases the bike’s rigidity significantly, and virtually eliminates power dispersion — so everything you put into the bike, you get back as forward momentum. Oversized tube junctions and a full-carbon, tapered head tube and fork up the shock dispersion, but increase lateral stiffness, while making the bike handle more responsively all at a weight savings over prior models. We rode the bike with disc brakes, but you can run it cantilever as well. Internal cable routing kept the cables dirt-free, and prevented snagging when shipping or carrying. Even on descents that were more appropriate for a mountain bike, the RX Team held its own, and on century rides, we were able to keep up with the roadies. $4,299, bhbikes-us.com.
Arkel TailRider Trunk Bag and Randonneur Rack: Stability is key when you’re on challenging roads, and that’s what we got with this dynamic duo from Arkel. The Randonneur Rack ($100) mounts at the post as well as saddle rails, which means it works with all round seat posts, even if they’re carbon. Extenders allow for use with virtually any frame size and shape and it holds up to 13 pounds. The Trail Rider Trunk Pack ($115) is secured onto the rack with velcro and holds up to 11 liters of gear — enough space for a lock, tools, camera, spare clothing, snacks, first aid, and small souvenirs. Cinch it down if your load is small and use the built-in rain cover and waterproof zips to keep out the elements. arkel-od.com
Grayl Legend with Travel Purifier: Effective against chemicals, metals, bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, the Legend lets you swap filters to eliminate backcountry or frontcountry nasties. And it’s instant. Fill the stainless steel vessel, then press the filter into it. The international filter, which removes chemicals, protozoan cysts, viruses, and particulates, takes 30 seconds per 16 ounces. Drink from the water bottle-style cup or dump it into your bike bottle. 20.75 oz., 9.1" x 3". Filters 300 bottles. $90, thegrayl.com
Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight Watertight .7: A weatherproof first aid kit made for multisport, this kit’s waterproof bags hold supplies to close a wound, manage pain, and stabilize fractures and sprains. Plus there’s duct tape for minor repairs. The seam-sealed sil-nylon bag gives one more line of defense against water and dust. At 8 oz., it’s small enough to stash in a trunk bag without weighing yourself down. Bonus: there’s room to customize. $27, adventuremedicalkits.com
Columbia Freezer Zero Arm Sleeves: Cyclist’s arms can take a beating from the sun. But wearing long sleeves in hot climates can be a fast track to heat stroke. Columbia’s sleeves, in addition to being UPF 50, are cooling. When you sweat, circles of OmniFreeze Zero on the inside absorb water then release it, increasing your body’s own evaporative cooling. $30, Columbia.com
Giro Rumble VR: A highly breathable, lace-up, SPD-compatible touring shoe, the Rumble has an EVA midsole for cushion and a Vibram sole for traction when you’re walking. But it’s stiff enough that the energy you put into the pedals is translated into speed, not lost because the shoe is too flexy. $80, Giro.com
Camelbak Podium Ice 21 oz.: Aerogel insulation in the walls of this bottle keeps water cool four times as long as in regular sport bottles, making drinking palatable even at the end of the day. And, a new higher flow valve means it’s easy to get fluids fast. Lock it when it’s in your bag so it doesn’t leak. $25, camelbak.com