Thursday, August 21, 2008

Equipment to Ride

There is a spectrum of what people wear and carry on their bikes. Some don the full superhero spandex outfits for their commute hoping to turn it into a training ride, others wear the same clothes they work in. Some of us straddle the middle line. That would be me. I thought I would share what my basics are. The bottom line basic stuff that I use every day I'm out, commuting, running errands or just out and about.

The bag:The waterproof pannier made by Banjo Brothers has been my bag of choice for over a year. As you can see from the pics above, it has an inner liner that can be removed should the need arise. I still roll with it. Capacity is OK. This is not a trekking bag mind you. It has enough room for what I need to carry: scrubs, lunch, grab bag, tool set and when it gets wet a jacket. And I've been hauling shoes as well having been wearing sandals this summer. When I leave in the evening it gets pretty packed between everything I carry, but it has held up. Normally I strap my lock to the rack instead of carrying it internally. People as me why panniers? One big reason: my back. I was having a lot of extra back pain last summer before I bought this and both my physical therapist and I ventured to guess that it was either the backpack or messenger bag I was using to carry my stuff that was adding to the strain. Not that I've been pain-free since, but it had helped greatly.

If you look closely, you can see that the seams are pretty beat up. That has been my one beef with the bag, it doesn't take abuse well. I have a feeling that I'm going to be needing to replace it soon. On the upside however, it was $40, which if you have every priced panniers, is damn cheap. Second, I made it through the whole winter with nary a drop of water inside. Completely dry.

The tools:
I learned the hard way that carrying tools was not a waste. Stuck with a lose crank and pedal I had to shamefully walk to work and back home. It was not enjoyable. It's a basic set. Allen wrenches, pedal wrench, tire levers, screwdriver, patch kit and my newest addition, a CO2 inflator. That little guy fits so much better than my previous pump and it actually works. And the kit rolls up into a small bundle that sits neatly at the bottom of the bag.

The gloves:
Full-finger you ask? In the summer? Yep. There is something about the way the cut finger gloves feel that I just don't like. These Kona Chevrons fit great, have minimal padding which helps me not grip so tight and breathe really well. They get a little warm, but I've been wearing them all summer long. They look good, feel good and work good.

The brain bucket:Call me a ninny, or a sissy, or unmanly, but I wear a helmet near-religiously. I have seen first hand the effects of a traumatic brain injury having taken care of those patients adn it ain't pretty. So if there is something i can do to prevent that I do. Sure, I may be giving myself a false sense of security but ignorance is bliss. I figure if folks don't want to wear one, its OK by me, they just have to deal with the consequences of not doing so. The only crash I've been in *knocking on wood* didn't dump me onto my head and as I was wearing the bucket, I would have been just fine!

So that's it. I put my equipment through the wringer and am pretty tough on it, but it has survived. The bag is going on over a year, the gloves 3 months, the toolkit has been with me for a long time and the helmet is recent as well. The best thing about it all is that it does work.

Next? Clothing, fair and foul weather.

1 comment:

Fake Aaron Gleeman said...

Tom --

Hi, Mike from the Banjo Brothers, here. I was just checking out your entry on your gear..

You make mention of the seams -- I am curious, because I cannot tell exactly from the photo - but are the problems on the liner or the bag itself. I see some chuffing on the bottom left corner, but I cannot tell if the seams are blown out.

If you want to e-mail me more info - we can probably rectify the issues. My e-mail is: mvander [at]