Gravel-Packing to the Museum
Waking up to a dreary and rainy morning can lead any cyclist to thoughts of indecision and cause hesitation when it’s time to face the elements. However, when a grand adventure awaits just out the door, it’s a little easier to pull on some water proof gear, pack your bags, and convince yourself that any day on two wheels is never dreary one.
This fall, the Shimano Gravel Alliance gathered together on the east coast to explore Virginia’s gravel roads. We also made a day trip into Washington D.C. to visit the Smithsonian museum by bike. With heavy rains and cold temperatures, our adventure provided the perfect opportunity to put PRO’s new Discover bike bags to the test.
My fellow gravel grinders were planning to ride about 30 miles round trip in the rain to visit the Smithsonian and I wanted to have a change of clothes once we got to the museum. So, I grabbed a cozy sweater, leggings and some comfy shoes and packed them away into my bags to keep everything warm and dry during the trip. I also carried a lock, my wallet, some nutrition and a few personal essentials to make my experience at the museum comfortable.
We headed out into the rain and made our way toward Washington D.C., stopping a few times to snap photos of the beautiful scenery. My PRO Discover bags held steady on the rough terrain and canal paths that led into the city. I used the Framebag to hold my lock and some essentials while the smaller Discover Toptube perched just behind the stem held several emergency gels for quick access while riding. I used the large Seatpost Bag to stash my spare clothing and extra socks (a must-have on rainy rides) to wear while we visited the museum. With a firm attachment, the Seatpost Bag remained steady, and I didn’t experience that annoying tail-wagging-the-dog effect I have found with other bike bags.
Once we arrive to the museum and collectively locked up our bikes, we grabbed our PRO bags and headed to the onsite locker rooms for the moment of truth… would our spare clothes be dry and ready for our inside adventure or would we be sloshing around the museum with wet clothes all day?
Unpacking the bags, I was delighted to see my clothing and gear was dry after the very wet ride into D.C. We all gratefully changed into the warm, dry clothes and regrouped at the cafeteria to grab a quick bite before venturing out to explore the different exhibits on hand. Sharing a few laughs and making plans to connect later in the day, we parted ways and happily headed off for a day of learning and sharing at the Smithsonian.
While inside, the rain continued to fall and as we wrapped up our day at the museum, it was time to change back into our cycling gear to face the elements on the way home. When packing that morning, I remembered to pack an additional rain jacket, to ensure I could change into dry clothes for the ride home. Through my years of bike packing, I’ve learned that compressing and rolling my clothes saves lots of space. This came in handy for this trip, allowing me to bring more clothes than I thought I might need, just in case. That’s the great thing about my Pro bike bags, they’re easy to use on gravel rides, long or short, because I can pack as little or as much as I would like. Plus, all the essentials like my phone or nutrition are easily accessible.
Finishing our rainy ride home from the museum, the Gravel Alliance laughed and joked about the crazy conditions we just encountered. Simply stepping out the door in this kind of weather can be challenging. But we agreed that with the right equipment and with a group of hilarious and hardy adventure riders (and maybe a flask or two of whiskey) gloomy rides like this one can quickly turn into the most rewarding and the most memorable.