Model Exterior Interior Packed Size Max Capacity      Weight
Length Width Length Width
Caribou 246 97 123 37 43 x 15 cm 181 kg 2.7kg
Mule 254 97 132 39 46 x 20 cm 227 kg 3.8 kg

Thinking of buying a raft for bike packing and hiking. My first thought was from Alpacka

– Open configuration, TZIP, ugly colour, $1,483.  Great price, low weight

What would I be using it for?

– Floating down the Yarra River
– Hugging the coast in Port Philip Bay
– Bike Packing (might need that just for the Yarra River)

Maybe .. in the future light rapids but it is very important to be able to tie down a Mountain bike or my folding bike.

I like the idea of a TZIP had some clearance specials on:


Blue Berry LW 210D, Open, NO TiZIP, $1,395
++ $250 for TiZIP

Blue Berry LW 210D, Open, TiZIP, $1,645
++ $150 for Self Bailer

Blue Berry LW 210D, Self Bailer, TiZIP, $1,795
Standard Coated 210D Calypso (Bi-Colour Yellow/Magenta), Open, TiZIP, $1,483 (Save $162)


Sale Item:

Weight: 3.2 kg
Packed Size: 46x18cm


Weight: 3.6 kg
Packed Size: 46x20cm

In the end I went with the green (cedar) mule with a self bailing floor with 210D. I would rather the heaver and bulkier 420D, but it is much more expensive, especially since I am buying an onsale model and not the normal price.

The normal price from 210D to 420D is an extra $250.

Cedar Green 210D, Self Bailer, TiZIP, $2,295
++ $250 going from 210D to 420D
Cedar Green 420D, Self Bailer, TiZip, $2,545

Weight difference between LW 210D and Standard 420D fabrics = ~250-350grams (

My new old Surly Bridge Club

Back in July I was talking to a bike mechanic about how bikes were in short supply due to COVID killing the supply chain.
I said I was looking for a Surly Bridge Club and surprise, he had one to sell for $1,900.

Not a bad deal, as the frame brand new is $1,200 at commuter cycles. The front rack is $250 at commuter cycles, but you can get it for around $215 if you look carefully.

I bought it! Some minor fit issues, which I am now only addressing.


FrameSurly Bridge Club, Seatpost Clamp: Surly Stainless 30.0
ForkSurly Bridge Club
HeadsetCane Creek 40
WheelsWTB ST i21 TCS Front Hub: Novatec 9×100 QR Rear Hub: Novatec 9×141 QR 11-spd
TyresSurly Extraterrestrial 700×41, 60tpi Tubeless Ready
BrakesTektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc, Rotors: Tektro 160/160mm
ShiftersShimano Deore M5100 Rapid Fire
DerailleursRear: Shimano Deore M5100 Shadow Plus
CranksetShimano Deore M5100 32t replaced with Wolf Tooth XTM8 96 BCD 36T Drop Stop A
CassetteShimano Deore CSM5100 11-51t (11-13-15-18-21-24-28-33-39-45-51 teeth), Chain: KMC X11 EPT
Bottom bracketShimano BSA
HandlebarSurly Terminal Bar: XS,S – 718mm / M,L,XL – 735m
StemPromax, 31.8mm
SeatpostPromax, 27.2mm
SaddleWTB Volt 142
Accessoriesgrip: Velo Black


  • Clearance for 47mm tyres in 700c (or fits 27.5 x 2.8” tires) 
  • Oodles of frame mounts for all kinds of accessories such as racks and water bottles or micropanniers
  • 11 Speed Shimano components
  • Versatile bike 


Head Tube Angle70.0°71.0°71.0°71.0°71.0°
Head Tube Length110120130145165
Seat Tube Length335.6406.4457.2508558.8
BB Drop6060606060
Chainstay Length435435435435435
Top Tube Length, Actual534547.5570591.5610.3
Top Tube Length, Effective545570595615630
Seat Tube Angle73.0°73.0°73.0°73.0°73.0°
Standover Height709750.5780812845.5
Stem Length80809090100
Stem Angle
Crank Length170170175175175
Fork Length420420420420420
Fork Rake4343434343

As a highly versatile touring bike, the Bridge Club hits the sweet spot that separates on- and off-road excursions. The simplistic design makes it fully adept to handle a full rack and pannier setup, frame bags, or any combination of the two. It doesn’t feel sluggish on paved shortcuts, but can also hold its own on dirt detours. If you’re feeling a little zesty on your next road tour, you won’t be ill-prepared for reroutes through the woods. The Bridge Club is designed to handle it all.

  • Crankset: Shimano Deore M5100 32t
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore M5100 Shadow Plus
  • Cassette / Cog: Shimano Deore CSM5100 11-51t
  • Chain: KMC X11 EPT
  • Handlebar: Surly Terminal Bar
  • Stem: Promax, 31.8mm
  • Headset: Cane Creek 40
  • Shifters: Shimano Deore M5100 Rapid Fire
  • Brake Levers: Tektro HD-M275
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-M275, 160mm rotors
  • Saddle: WTB Volt 142
  • Seatclamp: 30.0mm Surly Stainless
  • Seatpost: Promax, 27.2mm
  • Hub: Novatec 9×100 QR Front and 9×141 QR 11-spd Rear
  • Rims: WTB ST i21 TCS
  • Tires: Surly Extraterrestrial 700×41, 60tpi Tubeless Ready
  • No Pedals included

Shimano Deore M5100 11 Speed Cassette (11-51T)


*Compatible with HG freehub bodies*

The Shimano CS-M5100 is the suitable cassette for the new DEORE 11-speed group.

The distinctively designed HYPERGLIDE sprockets incorporate specially positioned shift ramps and tooth profiles for improved chain control during shifting. Fast and responsive indexed shifting is the result. The HG cassette sprocket, which was developed for 11-speed system, underwent comprehensive optimization to achieve super-highly efficient shifting.


  • Use: MTB
  • Group: DEORE M5100
  • Model: CS-M5100
  • Type: HG
  • Gear: 11-51 for 1×11-speed
  • Compatible chain: HG-X 11


  • 11-51 (11-13-15-18-21-24-28-33-39-45-51 teeth)


  • Steel, Nickel plated

Microspline freehub body is not necessary with this cassette.

Shimano Deore M5100 11 Speed Rear Derailleur—long-cage-1×11.html

The 11-speed DEORE rear derailleur enables precise and quick shifting within the 11-51T range. 13-tooth pulley wheels and SHIMANO SHADOW RD+ technology reduces chain chatter and gives you improved chain retention thanks to a stiffer derailleur arm and higher chain tension.


  • Shadow RD+ For optimal chain retention
  • RD-M5100-SGS  
    • 51T max cog size
    • Works with 11-speed 11-51 teeth cassettes
  • Pulley size with 13T increased for reduced friction


  • Use: MTB
  • Group: DEORE M5100
  • Model: RD-M5100
  • Mount: Direct Mount
  • Technology: Shadow RD+
  • Gradations: SGS-Type 1×11-speed
  • Compatible chain: HG-X CN-M5100 11-speed
  • Max. teeth large sprocket: 51T
  • Min. teeth large sprocket: 51T
  • Max. teeth small sprocket: 11T
  • Min. teeth small sprocket: 11T
  • Max. Front Difference: 0T
  • Total Capacity: 40T


  • Type-SGS long

Shimano Deore M5100 11 Speed Rear Shifter

The DEORE 11-speed right-side shifter benefits from the same technologies as XTR, DEORE XT and SLX. Together with the speed of RAPIDFIRE PLUS and a TWO-WAY RE-LEASE feature you can shift up and down the 11 gears of your cassette faster than ever before.


  • 20% quicker lever access time
  • Compact design and lightweight
  • Quicker lever access and light operation force maintains rider concentration
  • Greater flexibility and action-optimized cockpit layout
  • 2-WAY RELEASE for instant push/pull movements


  • Use: MTB
  • Group: DEORE M5100
  • Model: SL-M5100-R
  • Shifter Type: Rapidfire Plus
  • Mounting: Clamp
  • Gear rear: 11-speed
  • Optical Gear Display: Yes
  • Instant Release: No
  • Multi Release: No
  • 2-Way Release: Yes
  • Cable adjust: Yes
  • Cable included. Housing not included


  • Main lever body: Aluminum Painted
  • Lever body: Aluminium, GFRP

Shimano CN-HG601 11 Speed Chain


Surly Terminal Bar $160

Surly 26-29″ CroMoly Rear Rack Black $240

Wald Bicycle Baskets

Was doing some research on Wald Bicycle baskets. I found the cheapest option is actually to buy them from through

Wald 137

Baskets are 38cm side to side x 25cm front to back and 12c deep

WALD 139

Baskets are 45cm side to side x 33cm front to back and 15cm deep – the basket tapers to a bit narrower at the bottom

Wald 135

36.8 x 24.1 x 22.9 centimetres

So I have ordered a “Panier avant pour vélo-Wald Standard,#137 x 15 “/ 10” x 5 “- Noir” which in English translates to “Front Bicycle Basket – Wald Standard, #137 x 15″ / 10″ x 5″ – Black” for AUD $79.03

In a bicycle shop it would cost me around $100 without fittings to around $130 with fittings.

The fittings are two brackets to attach the basket to the handlebar and two legs to attach to the bike axle.

I think my order includes the fittings, but I am not 100% sure. It does not matter because I will be zip tying them to my front rack.

Melbourne by Bike Path

Melbourne by Bike Path – by David Blom
This trail shows the fantastic network of bike trails Melbourne has to offer. What David has worked out is a 600km loop path with no crossovers or up and backs and minimal on-road riding. Its pretty much all bike paths.

My new fat bike

I got a new bike, a Kona Rove NRB DL
I managed to buy my bike for only $2,400! This might seem excessive, but it is normally $2,999! I pick it up Friday, June 15

My fifth decade on this earth is approaching and I am getting a little wide in my girth. I have a perfectly good touring bike sitting in the garage, a Bike Friday Pocket Lama:

The only problem is because it is a foldable bike, there is a weight limit for the frame. I am over that limit 🙁
I need a new bike to ride my plus size me and the Kona Rove NRB DL fits the bill.

So why this bike?

The marketing spiel for the bike starts with:

what does a modern road bike look like? If you ask us, it would be quick on the pavement but completely capable of putting in time on a variety of surfaces. Thru-axles, hydraulic brakes, and room for big tires. 


  1. A road bike with drop bars, thru-axles, and hydraulic brakes
  2. Room for big tyres: in 700c > 40mm and/or 650b > 45mm
  3. A wide range of gears with a low gear suitable for cycle touring
  4. Must be able to mount a rack and mudguards (fenders)
  5. At least three water bottle cage mounts (two in the frame, one underneath)
  6. A steel frame
  7. On the front fork, attachment points for water bottle cages
  8. On the top tube, attachment points for a top tube bag.

Bikes with these attributes are usually aim at the gravel market. This is for cyclists who like to ride on unpaved roads or even technical single track like a mountain bike.

Bikes in this category are often used for bike packing

The bike I have purchased meets the first five categories, but instead of steel uses aluminium for the frame.

Despite the ease of putting points 6 and 7 on a bike they didn’t do this for my bike.This would be down to two factors, cost and market differentiation.

Bike designed for the bike packing scene have lots of attachments points everywhere. This is incrediably versatile, but a little ugly. An excellent example of this type of bike is the Surly Troll.

While my dream bike entails images of cycling a heavy ladden bike through a desert or mountain pass, reality is moving around quickly, comfortably in a busy city with the occassional foray into the bush.

This is best served by a Road+ bike, which is essentially a comfortable road bike with fat tyres, in my case 47mm 650B (27.5″

One of the bikes I was considering was the Surly Midnight Special which epitomises the Road+ category. I didn’t get this bike because

  1. It wasn’t on sale! So $600 more then my  Kona Rove NRB DL
  2. No hydraulic brakes.
  3. Rims are not tubeless compatible
  4. No closed through axle dropout due to the frame supporting QR and thru axle wheels, see THE SURLY MIDNIGHT SPECIAL IS TRULY A FAT TIRE ROAD BIKE

On the plus side it did have mounting points on the front fork. I love their marketing spiel which is just as applicable to my Kona Rove NRB DL:

Today’s road bikes are tricky little buggers. Sure, there’s still a place for super narrow, pizza cutter-esque tires that save watts and shave grams or whatever. There’s probably still even a place for a road racing bike. Those places still exist. We just don’t know – or particularly care – where they are. When it comes to road bikes, we just want to toss a few banabikenas into our pockets and see where the road takes us. We seek out varied surfaces on our rides and frequently go from pavement to gravel to shittier pavement. 

Enter: The Midnight Special – a Road Plus bike designed to provide comfort and speed on those all-day rides that extend well beyond fresh pavement. It rides like a cloud on smooth pavement. but that’s expected. Any bike can do that. Where it truly shines is on pot-holed, deteriorating pavement and the occasional long stretch of gravel. The Midnight Special’s 650b Road Plus tires eat up road chatter and absorb all the bumps in the road like the champion it was designed to be.

If you’re some masochist who is unfazed by the thought of a bumpy, chattery eight-hour road ride, you should know that the benefits of Road Plus go beyond just comfort. They also create a wider contact patch, thereby increasing your traction. And traction is a good thing. Additionally, higher volume tires allow you to better fine tune your tire pressure on varying surfaces. Let a little out on bumpier roads and pump those suckers up on smooth ones.

Want to know what bike packing is? .. have a look at for lots of great photos and stories.


FRAME MATERIALKona 6061 Aluminum Butted
FORKKona Full Carbon Flat mount CX Race Disc
B/BShimano 68mm
FREEWHEELShimano 105 11-32t 11spd
F/DShimano 105
R/DShimano Ultegra
SHIFTERSShimano 105
BRAKE CALIPERSShimano Hydraulic Flat Mount
FRONT BRAKE ROTORShimano RT54 160mm (centerlock)
REAR BRAKE ROTORShimano RT54 160mm (centerlock)
BRAKE LEVERSShimano Hydraulic
STEMKona Road Deluxe
SEATPOSTKona Deluxe Thumb w/Offset 31.6mm
GRIPSKona Cork Tape
FRONT HUBFormula 100x12mm (centerlock)
REAR HUBFormula 142x12mm (centerlock)
SPOKESStainless Black 14g
FRONT TIREWTB Horizon Road Plus TCS 650x47c (650x40c size 46)
REAR TIREWTB Horizon Road Plus TCS 650x47c (650x40c size 46)
PAINT COLORMatt Metallic Sand w/ Charcoal & Red Decals

Geometry for 56cm Frame Size

1ST LENGTH56022.0
2TT LENGTH57922.8
6HT ANGLE71.571.5
7HT LENGTH186.67.3
8ST ANGLE73.017.1
9CS LENGTH43517.1
10BB DROP702.8
11BB HEIGHT27310.7
14FORK LENGTH39515.6

Riding the new Kona Rove NRB gravel bike in southern Spain
pelotonmagazine article
Riding Gravel Forum Post



I purchased a new bike on Saturday, went a little over budget so I walked into the city (8km), picked it up and was riding home and I got a bloody nail through the tyre, so another 4 km walking 🙁

So far, I like it. It is very responsive, easy to accelerate.
My goal with the bike is to lose 20kg over the Australian summer and build a good physical base.

Read more