FGOB? Fat Guy On a Bike – it was just screaming for an acronym, no?
When I started riding, I had a big ass department store mountain bike. It worked to get started, it was a tank. I could strap crap all over the bike and I didn’t care. I had a huge toolbag tucked under the seat and it worked great. I had a big lock, I had a big pump, all the goodies.
Then I upgraded to a proper road bike. All the various bits and pieces I’d accumulated didn’t fit right, they didn’t look right, they just didn’t belong on my shiny new Roubaix. I went ahead and found myself a good quality saddle bag made by Specialized because it had to match. Once I had everything mounted up I went for a ride and immediately discovered my first FGOB problem of the many we will address over the coming articles. Problem number 1? My legs rubbed on the bag. That was annoying! Not only annoying, but I figured the constant rubbing was going to wreck my first pair of proper cycling shorts.
We’ll talk more about shorts, bibs, and all that good stuff soon, but for now it’s enough to know that you need good quality shorts, and they cost too much to have wearing out on you right away. So back to the problem at hand. I need to carry my shit! If we’re going to be out on a bicycle, all alone, possibly a long distance from civilization, we need basic tools to at least fix flats. Well, I traded in that big bag for a much smaller one. I was definitely trading off functionality by doing that, I couldn’t carry as much stuff. But I got that bag mounted up and filled with the necessities and got to my rides. Everything was working well, but after a few months I discovered something. The inside of both legs had been ever so lightly rubbing that new bag. Not enough to even feel, but it had happened. There I was using the skinniest bag I could find and I’d still wrecked my shorts.
FGOB problem again, but I worked through it and I have an idea if you find yourself in the same situation. This has worked out amazingly well for me. I discovered that for some reason, triathalon athletes have all kinds of doo-dads for their bikes. Apparently, they need to carry 37 water bottles, with a bit of looking around, I made this work for me!
If you check out this thumbnail pic, you will see my setup. It’s a seat mounted bottle holder with a nifty little rack for CO2 catridges. Until I discovered the right tires (which we’ll discuss soon) I had a problem with pinch flats. It’s aproblem many heavy cyclists have to deal with. I don’t need the CO2 as much these days with the tires I’m using, but I still like the security of having them. These seat mounted racks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can hold a couple of bottles, various configurations of CO2 cartridges, they even have ones that have their own bags. Plus, when I head out for extra long group rides, I tie extra stuff to the bottle, like a spare tire.
The mount for the seat rack has not actually fit any of the three seats I’ve gone through so far very well. It has a metal backing plate and 2 screws intended to pinch your seat rails to hold it on. On my last seat I had to tighten everything and then strategically position two zip ties. On my current seat, after much screwing around, I discovered flipping the backing plate did the trick. So it might take some experimenting for you.
Now, for the gear itself:
- Mount: There are all kinds of different mounts for you to look through. I personally use the X-Lab Delta Wing 200 single bottle holder. https://amzn.com/B006VE0N1U
- Bottle Holder: Again, endless options. I went with one designed for a rear mount, it holds the bottle very securely. Mine is the X-Lab Gorilla XT Carbon cage. https://amzn.com/B005C9AIGA
- Bottle: You could probably convert a bottle. I just went with one designed for tools. The Elite Byasi Storage Bottle seemed like the biggest one. It holds my CO2 dispenser, pressure gauge, levers, multi-tool, a spare tube, and my ID and car keys, plus other random crap I’m sure. https://amzn.com/B00CG68NQE
- CO2: I use the X-Labs X-Strike, but it looks like it’s being discontinued. There are other products from X-Labs, or many other companies so I’m sure you can find something. https://amzn.com/B008CPJ376
So there you go. Mount, bottle holder, bottle, and CO2 holders. I can carry everything I need and the geometry of the whole setup moves the gear up and away from my legs. It cost me about $150 to do this, which is a bit steep. But, after wearing out a set of shorts way too quickly, this seemed like a pretty good investment.
I am considering one upgrade to my setup which I figured I’d share. A hybrid pump. I don’t currently have a pump, just CO2. I came across this neat idea in my LBS the other day. The Bontrager Air Rush CO2 pump. It’s a combo pump and CO2 dispenser. There are other companies making hybrid pumps, this just happens to be the first one I’d seen. It looks like I could replace my CO2 setup with this, it would mount to my rear mount and give me 2 cartridges plus a pump. I don’t know how quality the pump is, so I’ll probably need to do more research, but if I go with it I’ll report back.
So there we go, FGOB solution number one saves your expensive cycling clothes! I have more articles coming your way soon, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! What problems have you come across that you solved or want to solve?