Becoming a cyclist often brings with it a desire for accessories. Especially new technology to help analyse, motivate, inspire and excite. I too, like most cyclists, love new 'stuff'. So it was, as my passion in cycling grew, so did the accessory list. It started with a cycle computer which is more than likely the first adornment any bike gets. Then it moved to saddle pack to keep tubes and tools in. I'd also be needing a pump so this too was attached to the frame. A heart rate monitor was next as I was getting more into my racing. If I was on my MTB I'd take a hydration pack with ever more pockets and compartments in which to carry the "essentials".
I didn't think twice about any of this until a type of natural selection occurred. Firstly my computer pinged off. I meant to replace it. I never did. Instead I enjoyed riding at a speed that suited me and not staring at a screen watching digits edge up and down. Then the heart rate monitor stopped working. When it worked I was constantly looking at the data and judging my riding in relation to it. I was reading the Graeme Obree autobiography at the time and admired the way he learned to know what limits his body was at without technological aids. It was old school and there was a simplicity about it that captured my imagination. The heart rate monitor never was replaced.
I love the clean aesthetics of road bikes. The classic double diamond frame. Uncluttered. Simple. Effective. However this, in my view, is tarnished by saddle packs, frame pumps (and even water bottles if I was to be picky). I also have a love of pro cycling and the look of stripped down pro machines. They have the obvious luxury of team support cars which negates the need for any packs or pumps. Having rid my bars and stem of any computer and mounts, I took off the saddle pack and frame pump leaving the bike lean and visually clean. The obsessively tidy part of me then created what I call my road bundle which has been refined over many years. A small pump that is barely visible above the top of the pocket, small multi tool, tubes, levers, patches, tyre boots and a £20 note. Enough to get me out of trouble if needs be and the bare essentials. Using a wristband to hold it all together it fits exactly into a middle pocket of a jersey without any fuss.
The upshot of all this fine tuning and stripping down developed into what I call the 'Ride Light' mentality. Whittling down everything to it's bare minimum. No fussy saddlepacks. No distracting cycle computer. No beeping heartrate monitor. No rattly mudguards (although an Ass Saver hidden away is a good option). Keeping it simple and quiet, so your thoughts can wander and not be disturbed. To continue the theme further I also recommend a singlespeed conversion to remove any gear selection concerns.
This 'Ride Light' mentality we also take to our clothing to cut out anything fussy or unnecessary, reducing bulk, minimising wind flap and slimming down the weight with a range of clothing that enables you to return your bike to it's clean showroom aesthetic and you to ride with minimal fuss, no matter what the weather.
As Albert Einstein once said, "Out of clutter, find simplicity.”