“AGAIN!?!?!” is what I thought the other day as I glared at the rising price of gas. In these troubled times of oil slowly becoming a rarity, you gotta consider the alternative to driving. Now I know some of you live in areas that are difficult to ride your bike. I can appreciate not wanting to ride on a tiny shoulder while F350s with the wide angle mirrors whir by at 60 mph, blowing dust and black smoke in your face. However, if you do live in an area where bike paths are accessible, there are ways to make your day easier. Things that make even the savviest bike commuter smile with glee on the way to wherever you may be going. “What are these things I can do to make my commute more enjoyable and make me look like a pimp daddy?” one might ask. Living in Boulder, Mecca of the cyclists, I’ll tell you what I think. I have been seeing more bikes on the paths and while that means riding alongside people who get incredibly nervous if you ride next to them, or flinch and swerve in your way if you call the polite, “On your right!” you have to give them some credit for being out there and making a statement on paying 4 dollars a gallon on fuel. I used to be one of those people, and it’s so great to see more people riding bikes.
First, what you need is a sweet commuter bike. I would recommend the Cannondale Bad Boy, Capo, or something equivalent. Flat bars are a lot more comfortable than road bars, and there is no real reason to be “aero” on your way to work unless you are time trialing with the best of the chodes. That doesn’t mean you can’t have big wheels. 29 inch mtb wheels or road wheels are a great way to rock the pavement.
Second, please. ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET. I don’t understand why people don’t wear helmets. These days, helmets are really light, they look cool, and most importantly, these brain buckets can save your life. I prefer Uvex helmets. They are pretty sweet, lightweight, and has great ventilation. When I see someone NOT wearing a helmet, I shake my head and mutter “idiot” under my breath. Yes, that is really how I feel.
Third, carting around your gear. Whether it be the world of cubicles, a job where you’re face to face with people, meeting your best pals, or simply running errands, you will need a medium to transport your essential. I don’t know about you, but I hate several things about commuter bags. 1) Your back has the potential to get drenched with sweat if using a backpack. A wet back is never comfortable, nor is it hot if you’re commuting to a date. 2) I HATE it when my bag is flailing around everywhere. Sometimes I want to take the trail, do a little commute-a-training, or simply stand up on a rise. You’d think messenger bags would be the answer. The truth is that I have THREE messenger bags, all different brands. Sure they look cool on the way to the coffee shop in Boulder and have their perks, but they always make my shoulder hurt, they give me a dork sweat stripe across my chest (yeah…don’t want to attract more attention there), and they usually have velcro, magnets, or latches so my schwag isn’t as secure as I’d like. Plus, if mother nature strikes and it rains, my precious treasures get wet. Enter Ergon BD2 backpack . My newest BFF. Why is this bag the shiz?
Yes, they come in different sizes to fit any size or shape. This is one fits me like a glove. Props to Mr. Eric Saletel, our one and only Cannondale mechanic. Not only can he fix bikes, but he is a great photographer.
1) It has a frame that provides mucho support. My back doesn’t hurt when I ride, nor do my shoulders. It straps around your chest and waist. Plus, the whole bag is only 1.5 lbs. Take that weight weenies.
2) The backpack is WATERPROOF and it has its own special built in rain coat in case conditions get really bad. That’s right, your tabloid magazines will stay pristine.
3) It has lots of pockets and compartments to keep you organized. It’s not just a bag with one place to put stuff. It has a handy pocket on the outside that I like to put my cell phone in, and some separating pockets inside too. It even has a bungee cord to hold your stuff in place.
4) It just looks badass. Enough said.
5) It’s very functional. You can put your Hydrapak bladder in it and there’s a spot for the hose to come out. Peace out Camelback, you’ve met your nemesis.
6) The engineering is wicked smart. It doesn’t move around at all. Check it out. I have a master’s degree in engineering and this design impresses me. Yes, I speak engineer. It’s a pretty foreign language, even to me.
Ok, more things you need to be the savvy commuter. Four! A music player. I prefer my ipod nano, but you can really use anything. Nothing like rocking out (not too loud so you can hear sounds of the road) while you are blasting off to your destination.
Five, a light, please. I recommend niterider lights. They are not only for the 24 hour racer, they make ones for riding to and fro at night as well. I have one and it’s great.
Six, a smile. Yes. Smile!! You’re not blowing all your latte money on gas, you’re saving the environment one bike mile at a time, and you’re getting wicked fast! 🙂