“It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
~ Yogi Berra
The new plan was to casually ride out to Lippy's BBQ in Malcolm, eat some brisket and then ride back to the shop. Matt was looking like he might try the whole route on just the one wheel.
It really was a beautiful day to be out in the county on bicycles, one of the nicest we've had around here in awhile and one that makes me yearn for the less humid days of fall that are to come. Most of the crew on Saturday were the normal gang of hooligans but we did have two new participants this week, Hae Jin and Dena. Both of them did really well considering the rest of us have been riding together for most of the summer so we are similarly paced at this point. Missed Todd again for the second week in a row, might have to go kidnap the guy if he doesn't show up soon.
You can always tell when it's a bit more mild of a day after a few weeks of heat, there always seems to be a longer bridge stop when it's comfortable to sit for a while in one place without sweating to death. Saturday was one of those days, we probably could have sat there for hours shooting the breeze but smoked beef was calling us and we had to answer.
Bluff Rd. was our route out to Malcolm and it was crazy busy; we encountered just the one truck on the road from what I remember. I bet you couldn't even get that few vehicles if you did in fact own a road and it was a welcomed pace from the more populated roads closer to Lincoln.
A few more miles and the posse ambled into Malcolm on our steel horses just a few minutes before high noon and almost a full hour after Lippy's had opened for the day. Perfect timing if you ask me.
It's probably a good thing we beat the stagecoach into town, the city slickers might have thought they had accidentally stumbled into the livery stables instead of an eatery as I'm sure we smelled none too fragrant. Thankfully we had the joint to ourselves... or maybe because of the smell we had it to ourselves, either way as is usual great BBQ was had by all. It really is some of the best I've had in Nebraska, if not the best I've had in Nebraska.
Once we were stuffed we rode ALL the way to the Malcolm General Store for another break and something to wet the whistle.
Jamie was channeling her inner Rocky Balboa on the way out of Malcolm.
Because we'd been hitting it pretty hard the last two rides, we switched things up a bit by taking McKelvie Road back and shortening the route by about 20 miles. I can't say as I've ever been on McKelvie but it was a great road, might have to throw it in the mix more often.
Lots of hoppers this time of year, haven't seen this many on the gravel roads in a few years. The poor suckers were pinging off the down tubes like crazy, not sure it killed any of them but probably didn't help their smarts any with bouncing their heads off the frames.
A few more hills and a few more miles and we were back on the pavement heading into the home stretch back to the shop.
A few more miles after that and we were back and another great SMNDFBR was in the history books. No ride next week because of Gravel Worlds, if you've signed up I'll see you out there; if not you really should consider it for next year. Rad race put on by a super rad group of people, plus it's only 150 miles of gravel in the height of summer.
That's it for the ride portion of the blog but if you're a bag nerd like me, read on.
I'm usually a pack guy, I love all the room, compartments and pockets that one provides, even if you don't use the bladder for hydration it's still nice to have one to carry all the essentials you'll need to support yourself on a longer ride. However there have been times lately where I don't want all of that on my back as it does tend to fatigue the shoulders and back after awhile but seat bags haven't been cool since the fanny pack was all the rage, if it ever was. I stumbled upon this guy while searching for alternatives to a back pack, they are seat bags by definition but with some cool factor to them. My initial thoughts when I first saw them was that they were kind of a mashup between a Blackburn Outpost seat pack type bag and a more traditional seat bag in it's design if not in size as it's much smaller than an actual bike packing seat pack. Right now bike packing seems to be pretty hot and why not, what's not cool about bike packing bags?
This is the Arkel seat bag and it's just as awesome as it looks, available in 5 different colors and totally waterproof... well as long as you don't get a hole in the dry bag (the dry bags are replaceable at a reasonable price, I know this because I left one in the holster on the roof rack when I was cruising down the interstate; holster made it but dry bag did not) and it even has a reflective light clip on the rear flap so you can leave it on day or night. They have thought of everything in this great designed little seat bag but I've come to expect great designs from Arkel so it's not all that surprising.
I opted for the more subtle black for my personal ride but seeing the orange in person, I'd rock that one too. The thing I found great about this bag vs. others out there is that it's two separate pieces. A stiffish, plastic holster and then the dry bag much like some of the bike packing seat bags out there as I mentioned before. This combination allows you to leave the holster on the bike at all times and when you come to a stop and go in somewhere all you need to do is undo one clip and take the dry bag part with your valuables in it with you.
I'm not a packing expert by any means and even I could get all of this into the dry bag, the second plastic bag is just for organizing money, drivers license, phone and/or debit card within the dry bag and not because I was worried about moisture getting into the dry bag. It's everything you need on a road ride or even mountain bike ride or shorter gravel ride and not much more than you need will fit so you don't have to worry about over packing, this tends to be a problem for me with back packs. If it's got all that room, you must be required to fill it up; right?
Even with all of that junk in the bag you can cinch it down to a nice, small and compact form factor once the dry bag is in the holster. I have not personally taken it on single track but I also don't feel like it wouldn't work, with the separate holster you can really secure the bag and I think if it bounced around it would be minimal and probably unnoticeable.
Arkel seat bag, great little bag and in stock at the shop. One orange and a few black but we can order you one in silver, yellow or red as well and at only $40 it's well worth the money.