Once packed it’s an incredible sight – an entire bike with riding gear in a bag so small the tyres have to be let down to fit the wheels in
Splitting cables is easy, as Ritchey provides a cable splitter for the rear brake and both gear cables. These are unscrewed by hand and then the front brake needs to be fully removed. That leaves the handlebar separate for easy packing. I say ‘easy’, but packing the Ritchey is an art in lateral thinking, creativity and zip-squeezing.
On my first packing of the Ritchey it took me two hours from complete bike to packed bag. Ritchey has a recommended orientation for how to pack a bag (rear wheel, front wheel, rear triangle, front triangle) I quickly discovered this wasn’t actually the best approach (I went for rear triangle, rear wheel, front triangle, front wheel). Then there are important considerations such as making sure the bars won’t damage the tubes when the bag is squeezed and that the front brake won’t swing into components. Ritchey has paid attention to every detail, with features such as chain and tube covers and Velcro ties to keep the tubes in place.
Like a bicycle-themed Tetris, there is some fun in the task, and once you work out the best orientation for a given bike size and components it gets much quicker. On my second attempt at packing, when pushed for time for a flight, I managed it in 25 minutes. There are some who claim to be able to do it in less than 10.
Once packed it’s an incredible sight – an entire bike with riding gear in a bag so small the tyres have to be let down to fit a single wheel in. The tubes seem resilient too, with Ritchey claiming all the strength of the steel or Ti equivalent, and I personally saw no signs of damage.
While that may all seem like an excessive faff, it not only saved on airfare, but opened up the opportunity to use trains, buses and small hotel rooms. Travelling with a bike is only worthwhile if the bike is worth the travel, though. My fear was that the couplings that hold the