bright taillight

Valuable Real Estate

A guy was in the shop looking for a solution to mount his Garmin Varia to the seat stay of his bike. Why? Because the Varia didn’t have a method to attach to the back of his seat bag, and the seat bag took up all of the available seat post real estate.

I suggested that he was solving the wrong problem.

If you’re riding on the road, I’m gonna say that nothing is more important than being visible. For sure I don’t like all this distracted driving and drivers not treating bikes like traffic and every other darn thing that marginalizes travel by bike, but that’s the world we live in, and we’ve gotta work at being visible.

Nothing makes you more visible than a good taillight pointed straight back at the traffic behind you.

Like many of you, I spent years with a Planet Bike Superflash clipped onto the loop at the back of my seat bag. That was a reasonable solution at the time, but more drivers are gawking at their phones or the TV screens on their dashboards these days. Lights have come a long way since then, in terms of both brightness and battery life, but it’s also important to point those lights in the right direction. I regularly see folks with terrific lights that point… somewhere. Instead, let’s work on mounting that light to the seat post and relocating whatever might be in your way. These are solutions that my friends, coworkers and I employ.

If you’re not taking too much stuff, a quick and easy option is to shove it in your jersey pocket. If you, like me, have a rough time keeping your spare tube, CO2, tire lever and small tool organized, there are doo-dads that help you strap it all together into one handy fix-it gizmo. Mine is pictured below. Works like a charm.

Tube Spool

Let’s say that you prefer to have your repair stuff on your bike. You either don’t rides in clothes with pockets or you don’t trust yourself to remember One More Thing when you hit the road/dirt. I get it. The advent and adoption of dropper posts played havoc with seat bags on mountain bikes, and clever solutions came to the fore. Among them are products that attach your repair kit directly to your saddle. The items pictured below actually screw into holes on the saddle. If your saddle doesn’t have the required holes, other solutions are available.

Mount your kit on the saddle.

I know what you’re thinking, “I need to take more stuff. Like some food or my keys or my phone or any number of things that you aren’t addressing.” More solutions exist, largely thanks to the increased popularity of bike packing. Perhaps a handlebar bag like one of these:

Other options take advantage the space right behind your stem and the good amount of area in your main frame triangle. These sorts of bags come in several sizes and mounting options.

sweet bags!

While this post spent a lot of words about carrying your stuff, the main point remains this: be visible. And the best way to be visible is to mount a really good light to your seat post, and point it straight behind you.

Bright light