SUPÉRIEUR ROYALE BIKEPACKING TRIP
Long hours of pavement mixed with gravel and off-road conditions meant that bike and gear choice would be key. The All-City Cosmic Stallion with 650 x 47 Teravail Cannonball gravel tires would provide the comfort, efficiency and riding position needed for the various terrain we would cover on the Supérieur Royale.
The 650c diameter wheels would lower the center of gravity, which would be more stable, especially at high speeds on pavement. The smaller wheels also allowed me to run a 47mm wide tire to provide more flotation on soft surfaces, and cushion on rough surfaces. I ran the tires tubeless and had zero flat tires along the 600 mile route.
Drivetrain was SRAM Rival 11 speed, with a 10-42 cassette, 38 tooth Wolftooth Drop-Stop chainring, and PC-1170 chain. This gearing struck a great balance for long pavement miles, the steepest climbs (on the loaded bike), and slowest snowmobile trails. On fast road descents I spun out at around 35mph, and there was only one steep climb (on gravel) where I felt I could have used one more gear to get over the top.
I always pack my Big Agnes Lost Lake sleeping bag inside a 6-liter Sea to Summit eVent dry bag. It compresses super small, and fits perfectly inside size medium and large Revelate handlebar bags. Having two layers of moisture resistance against your sleeping bag never hurts. My handlebar bag also carried a wool hoodie, rain jacket, microfiber towel, spare bibs, shirt, and underwear.
The inside of the tool roll has mesh pockets with length-wise vislon zippers for the closures. A few modifications were made after the below photo was taken, but here is a list of contents (including items added later):
- Tubes x 2
- Park Tire Boots x 2
- MSW Patch Kit
- Upholstery Needle and Thread
- Spare Brake Pads
- SRAM 11-spd quick links x 2
- Spare 2-bolt cleat, bolts, and mounting plate
- Derailleur Hanger
- Presta Valve Adapter
- Crank Bros. Multi-tool
- Zip Ties
- Spoke Wrench
- Spare Shift Cable
- T-9 Boeshield Lube
- Wolftooth Pack Pliers (added later)
- Chainring Bolts (added later)
Surprisingly, my Topeak Mountain Morph pump fit perfectly on the back side of my seattube, with 4-5mm of clearance. A generous amount of Gorilla tape and electrician’s tape goes around the shaft of the pump and comes in handy.
On the back of the bike a Revelate Viscacha bag stored the following items:
- Thermarest Neo-Air sleeping pad
- Big Agnes Sleeping Giant pillow
- Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent
- Tyvek Groundsheet
- Optimus Terra Weekend Cookset
- Snowpeak GigaPower Auto Stove
- MunieQ Tetra Drip Coffee Maker
- Opinel Knife
- GigaPower Stove Fuel
Dangled off the back was a Snowpeak Insulated Ti mug, because you know, it isn’t bikepacking unless you dangle a ti mug! I also had two Voile straps wrapped around the seat bag for when I needed to stow my rain jacket and trucker hat there. They also came in handy when I needed to secure a jar of peanut butter inside the Ti mug (more on that in a later post).
Lastly, the frame bag stored two 1-liter Platypus Softbottles for water, tent poles, tent stakes, ti plate, emergency medical kit, spare camera batteries, spare lenses, and miscellaneous food. I carried two pairs of socks, two pairs of bibs, one pair of overshorts, two wool shirts, a rain jacket, a wind vest, a spare cycling cap, and a microfiber towel. Although we stunk at times, overall, these basic gear choices worked very well. The only piece of gear I ditched along the way were some folding Timberland camp shoes that I did not use and were taking up space. If it had been any colder (coldest night was 45 degrees fahrenheit) I would have needed a down puffy.
Stay tuned for the next post about the first few days of the trip!