By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 11/10/17

I wrote a recent article about the value of microadventures  and on the heels of that inspiration, I took the opportunity to head out for a ride to see some wildlife as the riding season starts to wind down here in the Midwest. I finished up a cup of coffee and zipped up all the vents in my jacket, dug the balaclava out of its hiding spot, and threw on some additional layers to prepare as best I could to minimize the crisp chill the air would bring at 60 mph.

The fall foliage was in full swing and I had the goal of setting out for a local wildlife refuge to catch some of the activity with the deer rut and see some of the bird migrations on their way south.

I also took the opportunity to try out my new Viking AXE Saddlebags. A new addition to my luggage options, I was looking for something that was quicker to set up than my adventure touring luggage, light weight, but with adequate storage. These bags fit the bill. Designed by the folks at Viking bags to appeal to the street bikers looking to add a little storage to bikes with no sub-frame, I found that they were the perfect in-between bags. Offering more storage than a tank or tail bag, but smaller and lighter than my seriously rugged adventure riding saddlebags. Plus they can be taken on or off the bike very quickly.

The riding was cold but the roads were great and traffic free. I arrived at the refuge to catch a few Canadian Geese arguing about the ideal place to lay down for the afternoon. The deer grazed the outskirts of the wetlands and meandered back into the forest when the wind picked up. All kinds of migrating birds flew overhead and swooped down to eat or catch a drink.

I had stashed a thermos full of hot coffee, a wool blanket, my binoculars, and some chocolate chip cookies in the Viking Bags before I left. I pulled those out and watched the animals till the coffee ran out. Then I packed up for home. While I didn’t sleep outside that night, I did manage to find some solitude in the wildlife viewing at the refuge and lay down a couple hours of good riding, so it was a successful microadventure.

I hit a bit of light rain on the way home and pulled over to put the rain covers on the bags. I was happy to see the rain covers did their job when I got home. The blanket was very dry.

While these bags are not the kind I could recommend as rugged enough for a serious multi-day adventure ride, I am happy with them for what I got them for; A quick addition to the bike, that will handle a little more storage than my tail bag. They are very light weight so you do not notice them at all while riding.

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