Words and photos by John Fitzgerald
I’m John Fitzgerald, and I grew up in Northern Ireland. After a stint in London, I’ve lived in Edinburgh for a decade. My interest in bikepacking started just before my son was born.
I’ve been camping and bivvying in the hills from when I was a teenager. I didn’t do so much lightweight camping while I lived in London, but with a background in cyclocross, cycle touring, and road riding, bikepacking felt like a natural progression for me. Here in Edinburgh, I’m really lucky to have the Lammermuirs, the Pentlands, and the Scottish Borders on my doorstep. I’ve also been inspired by Markus Stitz, who has done so much to promote bikepacking in Scotland.
I initially got “Erik the Bike” to get me to and from work. It was the “Dad Bike,” the one bike you have when you don’t have space for multiple steeds. It’s a bit like the bike equivalent of an old Land Rover or a Toyota Land Cruiser: not the lightest or the flashiest, but solid and easy to maintain. I needed something solid and simple enough to tow my son around in his trailer. The Croix de Fer is certainly solid, and over the past few years, I’ve iterated and refined things to make a very dependable gravel touring/bikepacking setup.
- Frame/Fork Genesis Croix de Fer
- Rims Mavic AllRoad
- Hubs Mavic AllRoad
- Tires WTB Nano 40mm
- Handlebars Genesis
- Headset Genesis
- Crankset Shimano GRX600 30/46t
- Pedals Shimano
- Cassette Shimano 11-34t
- Derailleur Tiagra
- Brakes TRP Spyre SLC
- Shifter(s) Shimano Tiagra 2×10
- Saddle Brooks Swift
- Seatpost Genesis
- Stem Genesis
- Front bags Alpkit 13l double-ended drybag with Voile straps
- Frame bags Miss Grape medium frame bag
- Rear bags Carradice Super C on Bagman Expedition
- Other accessories Front bottles on SKS removable cages
My Croix de Fer is a trustworthy commuter ride (not that I’ve commuted much in the past year) with MonsterCross tendencies. I’ve “upgraded” the brakes to TRP Spyres, as these offer easier adjustment than the stock hybrid brakes. I’ve also switched to a GRX 46/30 chainset to give me some smaller gears for trailer-towing and steep gravelly slopes.
Send Us Your Bikepacking Rig
Use the form below to submit your bikepacking rig. We’ll choose one per week to feature in a Reader’s Rig Dispatch and on Instagram. To enter, email us your best photo of the bike (preferably at a 90° angle), your Instagram username (optional), and a short description of you and your rig. If your bike is selected, we’ll need a total of five photos and a little bit more info.
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