Monday, February 11, 2008

What we carry...

(CycleDog images)

Fritz has a post on Cycle-licious about his messenger bag and what he carries in it. Now, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, he should consider this a mild attempt. He got me thinking about what I carry, and maybe more to the point, got me wondering just what lurked in the bottom of MY bag. I carry two messenger bags – not at the same time – one for big loads and another for more modest ones. The big bag can hold three gallons of milk or juice along with more groceries piled on top. A gallon of milk weighs about eight pounds, so it's a good thing the grocery store is fairly close to the house, though it's uphill all the way. Jordan accompanied me one day and laughed as he easily rode away from me going home. This bag is like a garage with a shoulder strap attached.

The other bag actually started out as a replacement for a diaper bag when the kids were small. I think the first diaper bag was a gift and it fell apart in 6 or 8 months. That's not too surprising because it went everywhere. But it say loads about the Jansport bag that replaced it. This one went everywhere too, and nearly 20 years later it's still perfectly usable, despite being carried on a bike for years. (Hint: If you know a cyclist with a new baby or one on the way, give a good quality messenger bag as a baby gift! They'll appreciate it long after the baby is out of diapers.) The small bag is good in the summer because I don't have to carry as much. Normally, it would have my laptop, lunch, and some work clothes. There isn't room for much else.

There's one thing I've never understood about shoulder bags, though, and that's the invisible cinder block. Both messenger bags have one, and my camera bag may have two of them. I've dumped everything out, but I can never find that cinder block. That's one of the drawbacks of a larger bag. Since I have more space, I carry more stuff.

You'll notice there's very little bike stuff in these bags. Most of that stays on the bike in a seat bag or pannier. And as of now, I'm still not riding because of this knee. I'll be kind to it until the weather breaks in a few more weeks. Right now it's still hovering around freezing most mornings and I know the knee doesn't like the cold. Once it hits 40 in the morning, I'll try to get back into regular commuting. We've had freezing rain (again) this morning, and my back and shoulder are aching as a result.

Huge Jansport bag

Scarf, long enough to double as a head covering.


Laptop case, protects against dust, rain, and vibration.

DVD backups

Bicycling magazine


2 red goodie bags, one holds lunch, the other small electronics

Rescue knife

Hand lotion

Saline/alkalol solution



Skull cap

Thermal undershirt – almost as warm as a sweater but without the bulk.

Spare glasses



Various cords and connectors

SD card reader

mp3 player and earbuds

Invisible cinder block (not shown)

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Blogger Pete said...

Let me know when you find that block. I need some advice on how to find mine.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Fritz said...

I've often thought my big black man purse looks like a diaper bag.

I need help with the cinder block too!

Nice work on that photo.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a crazy big load you're carrying there! I'm feeling positively minimalist now, and I thought I was a pack rat before seeing your post. The Bike of Doom might break in half under the load you carry.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

I don't think the BOD would hold up under Ed's Vertical Crush Test since I weigh about 220 pounds right now. The Bianchi with it's fenders, lights, rack, and baggage, weighs another 45 pounds. That's two hundred and sixty five pounds of road-huggin' weight! Ground poundin' power! Arrgh!

No wonder my knee hurts.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, my winter weight is about the same as yours, which is why I'm back on the bike despite the weather. The BOD would probably withstand your bulk without much complaint but that hulking great bag of yours looks like a virtual office! The BOD clocks in at 46 pounds of iron tube and bulky welds... naked. With me, my pack, winter clothes and boots, I suppose I'm a veritable juggernaut hurtling down the road.

6:07 PM  

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