Tuesday, May 6, 2008


It's time to get packing!
The one good feature of last year's pre-race incident is that I brought all my gear home untouched. I put all that Motogiro specific stuff in it's own cardboard box; so this year all I have to do is get out that box and it has all that stuff already organized.
After 5 trips to the giro and being an engineer, I'm pretty organized. I actually have a list of every item I need to bring. From a spark plug gapper to my riding shorts. So between my list, and the giro specific stuff being all ready, it shouldn't be too hard.
The problem remains, it is a mountain of gear. Helmet, boots, full leathers, tools plus all the regular stuff for two weeks holiday... it's just heavy and takes a lot of space! And managing multiple gear bags while running between hotels is a major drag. So what many of us do is get one giant bag. The "bag of choice" has been the gigantic Ogio 9800. Many of the riders use it. It swallows all the gear easily and is really tough. The problem is, it's technically too large to be allowed on the flights as checked baggage without paying a big baggage penalty. But so far I haven't had anyone measure it and complain. One year they almost stopped it at SFO, but the couldn't find a manager to check it, and they just let me through. If I encounter a problem, I intend to make it clear it's spoting equipment... most airlines let skis bicycles and golf bags on, even though they are too big. Also, the last couple years the weight limit has gone down, most airlines only allow each checked bag to be 50 pounds maximum (check your airline and bag, don't trust me!). And they stick to that rather vigorously. So I always weigh my bag before I head to the airport. And on the return trip, I always pack some heavy items in a separate bag inside the main one, so I can pull it out if it's too heavy.
At any rate, the problem for me has been weight, the Ogio 9800 is plenty big (9800 cu in) for 50 pounds of gear. This year I'm going to try a new bag because it's on sale at my sponsor, Cycle Gear. Its the Ogio 7900. This bag is significantly smaller, at 7900 cu in. Thats about 30 liters or 8 gal smaller, if that helps you visualize it. However, in the past my problem has been weight not volume. Another benefit is the 7900 is lighter by about 5 pounds. That's 5 pounds more gear you can bring, a big help. The 7900 is also narrower, which will help maneuvering.
The negatives of the 7900? While the 7900 is significantly less volume, its actually 2.5" BIGGER in L x W x H dimensions! It's actually a bit trapezoidal in shape, so it's volume is less while it's measurement is bigger. This could be a technical problem at the airport. But I'm betting since it looks smaller it will be easier to get through. And since a soft bag, you can always smush it some, I hope. ;-) Ther other negatives of the 7900 are that it has fewer pockets to organize stuff, but the ones on the 9800 were never that useful to me. And it's not built quite as robustly as the tank -like 9800.
But the positives of the 9800; lighter weight, narrower and looks smaller make it worth a try for me this year.
The Ogio 7900 has a nice compartment at one end for your helmet, and another for your boots at the other end. I put my helmet in a "Scorpion RaceCase Street", which is the only hard case I've found that offers some bump and bash protection and that whole case fits right in either Ogio bag. I plan to load all the Motogiro gear in the bottom of the bag, and then my regular stuff on top. That way the giro stiff just sits while I vacation the week before the giro starts.
(As an aside: I have never found a bag that fits the 62" maximum the airlines state that can hold my helmet and gear safely. The Ogio 7900 comes in at 67.5 inches, but as a soft trapezoidal bag, I'm betting it slides right by. )
That's more than enough about gear bags!

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