Trail and Path: A Love Letter to Bike Touring the C&O Canal Towpath


Trail and Path: A Love Letter to Bike Touring the C&O Canal Towpath

When I first started gathering the necessary gear to give bike touring (or “bikepacking” in the parlance of our times) a go, the concept struck me as an opportunity to escape from the predictable, mundane, “rinse-and-repeat” order of everyday life. An opportunity to embrace a new kind of freedom of aimless wandering through paths and tracks out in the near-endless natural landscape. After a couple of trips, though, I found the reality of touring isn’t the carefree meander I had envisioned. It can involve weeks or months of planning, trail markers, GPS tracks, resupply points… Which is not to say that escaping on a multi-day trip isn’t freeing, it is – very much so – but maybe not in the conventional sense of the word. I think author Robert Moor says it best in his written exploration of travel, On Trails:

“But complete freedom, it turned out, is not what the trail offers. Quite the opposite – a trail is a tactful reduction of options. The freedom of the trail is riverine, not oceanic. To put it as simply as possible, a path is a way of making sense of the world. There are infinite ways to cross a landscape; but the options are overwhelming, and pitfalls abound. The function of the path is to reduce this teeming chaos into an intelligible line.”

PTAP Designs Chonker Saddlebag Pre-Order


PTAP Designs Chonker Saddlebag Pre-Order

After almost a full year of redevelopment, the PTAP Designs Chonker is back! These bags are made in Maryland and can be used as either a handlebar bag or a saddlebag, Chonker is the perfect accessory for both your daily commute and your next bikepacking adventure. Influenced by classic English saddlebag design, the Chonker has added some new modern flourishes to work well for rack-less bikepacking.

Features include: 
-Tapered side pockets that fold down flat when not in use
-Internal fiberglass batten for rigid mounting
-Semi-rigid HDPE liner to help keep shape whether empty or full
-2 Voile Nano straps for handlebar/saddle mounting
-Interior Dimensions 12”x8”x7”
-12L capacity

Additional Information: 
When using rack-less as a front bag, please allow for a minimum of 9” clearance from the bottom of your handlebars to the tire. Note that using foam spacers will lower the bag and therefore require slightly more clearance. The bag can sit comfortably between 44cm drop bars however we recommend flared drops at this width for optimal use and comfort.

You can pre-order a Chonker at PTAP Designs.