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

Cyclist - - Bikes -

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

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