02 February 2008

My bike bag II: Audit

A century ago my great-great Nona de Zutti arrived at Ellis Island with all of her worldly belongings packed into a large satchel, which she then carried around with her for the rest of her life.

I don't know whether that story is true (I just now made it up), but it sure would explain a lot. I inherited the Large Purse Curse from my mother, and my grandmother before her, and so on. Luckily the "urban bike messenger chic" trend has made it fashionable for someone like me to travel even just down the block with a large shoulder bag full of the equipment necessary to survive at least two weeks stranded in the wilderness (i.e., suburbs), so I haven't yet earned the nickname "Mary Poppins" for being able to rummage around my huge bag and pull out some really unlikely object just when you need it. ("The scoreboard is broken? Here, use my stopwatch and dry-erase markerboard.") But as Real Cyclists so often loathe the idea of being caught dead with so much as a tiny container concealed under the saddle, I frequently get puzzled looks at my bike bag. What on earth do I have in there?

I've been wondering that myself lately, as the snow and smashed-up rearview mirror have demoted me to walking (the ultimate indignity to a regular bike commuter?) these past few days but I haven't bothered to transfer the noncycling essentials from the bike bag to my regular messenger bag (seriously). Is it just me, or is the darn thing even heavier than usual? So I decided it was time for an audit of the contents. I'm sharing it here because it also happens to be an excellent testimonial to the usefulness and carrying capacity of the Arkel Tail Rider in particular and trunk bags in general. And maybe someone else could help me figure out what I could live without for, oh, a day.

Usually in bike bag, removed for walking
*portable pump (cheap but adequate)
*bungee web
*hex wrench set (metric)
*Planet Bike Blinky 1

Cycling-specific items, haven't removed
*Planet Bike Lunar Levers
*screwdriver (phillips)
*reflective ankle straps (x2)
*tire valve caps (x2)
*tire valve cap that flips around to quickly deflate a tire
*piece from an inner tube box to remind me that I have 700x35 tires
*instructions for the Cateye Compact Opticube HL-EL400, Planet Bike Blinky 1, and Blackburn Mars 3.0 [these can go]
*flat repair kit
*ProLink Chain Lube (4 fl. oz.)
*Lyte-Wire Kit (yellow, 6 ft.)
*8 Easy Steps to Fixing a Flat from Team in Training [where did I get this?]
*instructions for Planet Bike Lunar Levers
*Student Cycling in Chicago (basically a mini version of Safe Bicycling in Chicago)
*Boulevard Lakefront Tour ride guide (2007)
*Mr. Bike's Cold-Weather Tips and Winter Bicycling Resources (11/06)
*Metra Bikes on Trains Program brochure (2007)
*CTA Bike & Ride Guide to Chicago (May 2007)
*Chicagoland Bicycle Map (4th ed.)

Other items
*Mini Maglite (2-cell AA, halogen bulb, must be at least 15 yr old--good brand, and even doubles as a nail file)
*mini brush
*compact folding headphones (I don't like earbuds)
*ChicoBag compact reusable shopping bag
*dental floss
*compact travel toothbrush
*travel toothpaste
*antibiotic ointment
*Chicago Landmarks Map [how did that get in there?]
*Chicago Bike Map (spring 2007; really the best map there is of Chicago, period)
*Metra Electric schedule (January 8, 2007; damn, is my 10-ride pass still valid?)
*facial tissues pocket pack
*non-ID wallet
*glasses case
*Digi (Digi is a Fuji FinePix 2650, not the sleekest thing in the world)
*Pepto-Bismol chewable tablets [bad yogurt last week; that can go]
*assorted feminine products
*Shuffy (Shuffy is a now-old-skool iPod Shuffle)
*compass (almost-vintage Girl Scouts model)
*compact mirror
*hand sanitizer
*hair bands (I really need a haircut if I'm packing these again)
*Borders Rewards member coupon (expires tomorrow!)
*Fox 40 Classic whistle on wristband
*various over-the-counter meds in a pillbox
*adhesive bandages [need more]
*BreatheRight strips
*cough drops
*tube of concealer (extra-pale)
*Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (wonderful stuff)
*twist tie [huh?]
*keychain LED flashlight
*Fisher Space Pen

And there's still plenty of room!

Fun fact: Nona once smuggled penicillin into an Air Force base using a loaf of bread and a hard salami. Nothing beats an Italian grandmother.


At 02 February, 2008 23:33, Blogger reallyboring said...

I think I haven't graduated to the level of bike-geek-ness that comes with carrying around tools and such. Or maybe it's just that I don't keep a bag packed, but load stuff up for each trip as needed. But remarkably, I've never found myself in need of a tool of any sort while out on the road, even on longer trips.

Of course, now that I've verbalized that happy fact, I'll have a breakdown of some sort next time I get on the bike. Oh, well.

At 03 February, 2008 01:19, Blogger Jennifer said...

The day I left my pump, patch kit, and tire levers at home was the day I shredded a tire in the middle of North Chicago.

At 03 February, 2008 23:31, Blogger Fritz said...

I've got a huge man purse from Bailey Works filled with assorted junk. I need to audit my bag contents too.


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