Ready, steady, go.

Finally the two little bolts I needed for my luggage arrived today. I practically ran downstairs to see if my cases would now fit the bike. AND THEY WORKED. The bolts fitted perfectly. The luggage fits perfectly. This never happens to me. This is the first time something has worked in my favour so far on this trip.

How the panniers work

The bolts screw down a couple of mm, with the rest sticking up 25mm from the bike frame. The pannier sits on top of the bolt and a latch closes around the bolt when you lock it. The panniers are easily removable and easy to lock.

Make-shift pannier liner

I realised that it was going to be hell trying to use the panniers without some form of modification. When you open them everything tumbles out. Like a kitchen cupboard over-stocked with plastic containers, it’s like GAH as you fumble trying to catch everything.
I noticed that the interior had clips that were made to house the special inner BMW bags. But these bags are incredibly overpriced. So I bought 3m of elastic from a hobby store and clipped 2 pieces of elastic diagonally across the inside of each pannier to form an x. This helped to keep everything nicely snug and packed.
Biker Girl Adventure Rider Pannier

 Final preparations

I have the two panniers now, a total of 40L extra space. I fill one pannier with my camera gear and laptop. The other I fill with food and water. This is especially important as I anticipate riding along remote routes in Norway without convenient access to food. It’s also cost effective, because Norway is ungodly expensive.

With the two panniers full, I try to condense the rest of my gear into a 50l dry bag. Previously I had been using two dry bags stacked on top of each other and tied on the back seat, which by the way if you hadn’t already imagined, is so ridiculous it’s laughable.

After multiple attempts I finally figured out that if I placed my hiking pack into the dry bag and stuffed my clothes in around it, it would fit. For future reference don’t try taking a hiking pack on the back of a bike.

The last issue was what to do with the backpack. I had made it a principle that I wasn’t going to wear it. Me + backpack + luggage won’t all fit on the seat, so I have to loosen the back straps so it can balance on top of the luggage. Not only do I look like an idiot, but it’s as comfortable as yoga in a straight jacket.

It wouldn’t fit in the dry bag, but it was getting late and I wanted to get to Oslo ASAP, so I gave in. I reconciled with myself that it would only be for Norway, afterwards I could use my right pannier to store all the stuff on my back.

I cinched down my dry bag, tent and sleeping bag onto the back seat with two tie-downs and set off.

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