Thursday, March 18

Packing for (not) Mars

I think I mentioned a couple things awhile back.  

Firstly, I stopped using my messenger bag for commuting.  Since I don't need to carry a 75lb box of NCR paper home, I can get away with a fanny pack 99.9% of the time.  A small one for summer and a larger one in the winter.

Secondly, I'm not a huge fan of bike luggage.  I'm not going to leave my tools and such on my bike when it's parked, and I don't wanna be stuffing clothes in my top tube duffle bag while standing around in the rain.

I did have a failed attempt at using a small front basket.  Let's not talk about that.

Recently tho, something from Topeak caught my eye.  I thought it might fit the bill, so I put in a special request.  Pretty sure it's gonna be great from April to mebbe October.  Days like last week... mebbe a bit of a stretch.

Thirty degree swings are common in Charlotte.  Problem being, a 34° start with a 64° commute home means I need to store this much clothing away.

The GORE Wear Infinium jacket has some insulation, not terribly bulky, but it alone eats up almost all the room in my new Topeak Compact Handlebar Bag.

I kinda knew it would tho.  I read all the reviews and was prepared to deal with it.  I didn't want any of the bigger, bulkier and more intrusive bags, so I needed to get creative'ish.

There are two neoprene pockets which if you use the included extra bit of strap, the whole thing turns into a fanny pack.  Nothing I'm really wanting, since I'm trying to separate myself from all forms of pack life here.

I had to go through all my tools and figure out the minimal amount that I need for a tarck bike...

and I tucked my tube away inside the lining to protect it from anything I might jam in the main compartment like knives, hypodermic needles, or Ninja throwing stars.

On Wednesday, I had warmer 44° start, so this is all I had to stow away for the ride home.

Is it in there?



The engineers at Topeak came up with a nifty lightweight solution for keeping the clamps from vibrating and sliding around the bars.  There's a shift cable that goes through a hollow mounting bolt on the left, into a protective plastic liner, under the stem, and then it locks in place with another bolt on the right.

I need to trim the cable (obvs), but I... ummm... have no real excuse here.

All my shit tucked away, clipped on, and ready to roll home.

For those that are noticing that all the real estate for a bike light on the bars is getting gobbled up, rest assured, they figure that out.

I took this picture of the light attached to the removable mount but not attached to QuickClick® mount because I thought it looked a character from the movie *batteries not included.

I know y'all and yinz garvel bikers are gonna shame me for not getting an artisanal, mulit-colored Tootsie Roll style bar bag from a bearded guy with a sewing machine.  Heck, I even know a guy who fits that description.  

But that wouldn't pay the bills.  This is what I wanted:

1. Fast on/off the bike.  I don't want to be futzing with straps and buckles.  I want everything to come with me into the big building, and I want all my extra clothing and whatnot packed away for a quick getaway at 5:02PM.

2. Small.  Topeak makes gigantic bags that I coulda had.  Didn't want this tho:

It does use the same quick release mechanism, but it's far too big for my needs.  I might even be too short to see over this one.

3. Ummmm... that's about it.

I won't be moving this thing from bike to bike, although Topeak makes it easier by selling extra mounts separately.  This is committed to the tarck bike and will be my sole means of carrying all my shit to and from work nine months outta the year.  Most of the time, it's just gonna have my tools, money, iPhone, and mebbe a light rain jacket... oh, and my t-shirt for shirtless commuting because who wears a shirt to ride home from work when it's 90° out?

Not me.

All that said, is this bag for you?  Dunno.  If your needs are small and you want something you can take with you, sure.  If you want to be able to pack your prosciutto, goat cheese, and dandelion on French bread sammich, your camp coffee setup, and a leather bound journal, mebbe not.  Actually definitely not.  I guess that's your problem, not mine.

I'll be the happy shirtless old dude on the Light Rail Path dinging my bell and side-eyeing you and your dog that's on a twelve foot retractable leash.  

Still happy tho.


Anonymous said...

Whoa, I forgot all about that movie. Know what I'm watching next movie night.

Anonymous said...

Actually, 34 start and 70 on commute home. That's how you read those forecasts. Overnight low is 34 in the wee am hours Tue morning (rather than Monday morning). Sharing knowledge.