Monday, December 05, 2005

Bag o' stuff

I’ve been using my Banjo Brothers messenger back for more than a week now and it has been interesting to see all my stuff in one big pile rather than divided among the compartments of my rack trunk, and occasionally a fanny pack. Several times I’ve looked at it and throught, “Holy crap, I’m carryin’ a lot of stuff!” So I decided to inventory all the junk, er, equipment in the bag because when one has a blog, one must find shit to write about.

First the bag. When they shipped it they included a note saying that, to keep water out, they make the outer shell from a tarp material, and that it might stiffen up in cold weather. I haven’t notice much of a problem in that area, and I’ve used in in single-digit weather several times.

The bag is huge—2000 cubic inches. Big enough to carry some really bizarre things, but we won’t go into that. Banjo Brothers designed it for their 2006 product line and even included a padded laptop insert for those brave souls who trust themselves to carry a laptop on a bike. The white interior seemed a little odd at first, but has been handy for finding things in low-light situations, which are the norm in Alaska this time of year. Two interior pockets help with the smaller stuff and a couple of clips for keychains, etc., are a nice touch. The metal clasp on the chest strap makes it easy to drop the loaded bag off my shoulder instead of lifting it over my head. The only changes I’d make are a slightly longer pad on the main strap to give my shoulder a little more coverage, and a suitcase-style handle for lugging it into the house or downstairs to the garage before I’m fully layered up for a ride.

It has a big reflective stripe across the cover flap but because I commute in the dark both morning and afternoon this time of year, I added a flashing strobe and a reflective leg band that hangs on the exterior of the bag. What can I say? I’m a flashy guy. I even mixed some epoxy and affixed reflective strips to the back of my winter riding boots. Chicks dig that kind of stuff.

I’m curious about what people carry on their daily commute. Looking in someone’s bag is like snooping in a medicine cabinet or purse. Not that I’d do that, of course. Here’s what I carried Thursday, when it occurred to me to make a list:

Polypro helmet liner
Polypro balaclava
Midweight gloves (These first three items were in case of rising temps; if it climbs into the mid-teens, my heavier morning gear can be too much for the ride home.)
Glove liners
Fleece vest
Miscellaneous chocolate for my office stash
A Clifbar
A novel for lunchtime reading
Earbuds and USB cable for my iPod
Mini tripod
Sandwich ingredients
Zip-Loc bag of carrots
Four spare AA headlight batteries
Tiny, waterproof flashlight

I also carried a small digital camera, a cell phone and my iPod, with the camera and iPod (never used while riding) stashed in Zip-Loc bags in the pockets of an inner-layer fleece jacket. Body heat protects them from the cold weather, and the bags protect them from the steamy body heat. And we all know that guys with reflective strips glued to their boots put out a lot of steamy body heat.

Don't miss this story about Alastair Humphreys' bike ride around the world. He splits for a four year bike ride, and his girlfriend is still interested in him. She's a bike geek's dream.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tim.

Mike from Banjo