Review: SpeedSleev Ranger Essentials Pack ($35 USD)
Several years ago, at the dawn of creakybottombracket.com, Mike (yes that Mike) and I considered – and executed – one of the greatest rides ever. We rode east to west around vast amounts of the Catskill Mountain preserve in upstate New York in one day. It totaled to about 140 miles. He and I struggle to consider going back and riding the route again because a second effort could devalue the first.
Around that vast Catskills circle we noticed a perplexing issue while planning the route. There were no bike shops to be had. We knew what we were getting into. Should we have an issue, we were going to have to figure it out. I even snuck a glance at the farthest point from the car just to prepare to cringe when we crossed the ride’s threshold. We were lucky to have absolutely no issues for all eight hours of continuous riding.
If something did happen, though, we were geared up. Known as two riders who are regularly free and clear of any saddlebags or packs, we prioritized salvation by attaching supplies under our perches. I was loaned a Ballistic Nylon SpeedSleev and loaded it up with emergency repair items. I also filled my cycling wallet with repair items. Looking back I’d like to think we were prepared for anything that could have come our way. If a chain broke, I think we could have accomplished a repair. If a derailleur died, we could have finished the route with one perfectly fine gear.
So when a SpeedSleev showed up, I was immediately taken back to that ride that encompassed pure freedom from the hustle of developed areas. SpeedSleev has been a proud sponsor of the Hell of Hunterdon for many years, but for 2018 they have signed on for every event. From the Sourland Semi Classic to Oktoberfest, each participant has a chance to score a SpeedSleev. What’s nice about Speedsleev is they fit perfectly in line with the crowd that shuns those gigantic under-the-saddle bags.
Prior to my racing years I ran a saddlebag and absolutely dreaded any scenario that caused me to stand on the pedals. The noise of the tools jingling around as well as feeling the unnatural counterweight led me to going with an even less technical piece: a plastic bag. While the plastic bag served its purpose, it also had the issue of inducing sweat because of its lack of ventilation. I concluded the plastic bag was suitable and dealt with it for many years. Now I ride with a cycling wallet mostly to hold all my frequent coffee cards.
SpeedSleev, however, has brought me back. During training rides I have developed a tick about my pocket stuffs. I put my wallet in the middle pocket and my cell phone in the right pocket. I rarely ever put anything in the left side. As you can guess that makes my jersey rotate a bit to one side. Should I bring nutrition such as Untapped maple syrup, I worry the sticky stuff will spread to the phone. Cycling problems.
SpeedSleev’s storage solutions are a nod to the old seat rolls. They hold everything tightly in place. Want to sprint for the town line sign? Stand up and rip it because SpeedSleev lets you. Want to put something in the middle pocket and not have to worry about jersey storage space? SpeedSleev’s Ranger can solve some of the issues. And since the Ranger is closer aligned for use on the mountain bike trail, you know any sort of road grit will be kept out by the Velcro flap. I don’t need to get to the tubes unless I’m fixing one; ease of access means nothing to me.
Specifically what is appreciated about SpeedSleev’s Ranger is the compartmentalization of its design. There is a compartment for CO2 canisters, levers, and a multitool. The main compartment will hold the tubes. That’s right, two of them. What’s nice about the specific pockets is the sharp edges are kept away from the tube to eliminate any chance of compromise. We’re flustered enough when having to change a tube. There’s no reason to doubt the durability of the next one going in.
With out SpeedSleeve we managed to insert two levers, a multitool, and a tube (I only have one tube currently). That’s the standard setup for local rides. Zipping up the Ranger and all tools are secured in a tight ball we would proudly sport under the saddle for training rides. Should it become race time simply undo the two Velcro straps and stash the SpeedSleev in your car or race day bag. By now the convenience and practicality of SpeedSleev’s Ranger is worth the investment.
Whether you’re packing for extra tubes for the Hell of Hunterdon’s nineteen unpaved sectors or you’re gearing up for Dirty Kanza’s two hundred miles of gravel proving grounds, whether you’re circumnavigating the Catskills or looking to see how far you can go on the summer solstice, a SpeedSleev is the first accessory to reach for and design your ride around. Designed in Pennsylvania and waterproof, you’ll forget the pack is there until you need it. Hopefully the memorable rides are great to think about because the ride went well, not because all you can remember was struggling to change several tubes to get home. SpeedSleev is there when you need it.