The Great Commuting Debate: Backpack vs Pannier
How do you carry things when you are commuting? Backpack. Panniers. Frame bag. Handlebar basket. Trailers. Sherpa?
For this first week of my new 20 mile round trip bike commute I used a pannier 100% of the time. One day I used my Chrome Niko camera bag in addition to the pannier, but a pannier was always used for the past week. Yesterday, I switched it up to my trusty Mission Workshop Vandal backpack as I was carrying a laptop and more expensive camera gear.
Granted, I was carrying some heavier gear (an extra 4 lbs for my laptop with charger) with my backpack but it changed many things riding up my 20 mile roundtrip commute. Some good and some bad, I won’t do too much talking on this until I do some more testing. For the month of September I plan on experimenting more on the backpack vs pannier debate. At the end of the day I believe it will depend on what you are carrying and for how far. Having a go to “setup” that I don’t have to think about too much will be ideal.
What do you prefer? Backpack, pannier, front basket or something else?
Day 1: 30 Days of Biking
Day 1 for 30 Days of Biking is in the books, kicking it off in style by replacing the car commute with a bike ride to bus ride. How was your first day?
Meet the Xtracycle EdgeRunner
It’s been proven that many of our trips and errands are less than 2 miles away. Now picture having a reliable, easy to ride, cargo bike to hop on in your garage. Once you get in the habit of riding a bike for those trips less than 2 miles away you’ll question why it took so long!
Meet the Xtracycle EdgeRunner
Haul kids, groceries or help a buddy move.
Available in two sizes, three models, and four beautiful frame colors, EdgeRunner tailors to every personality. The TIG-welded chromoly frame features a low step-over height and elegant geometry for easy, responsive handling with a modest bike weight – starting at 40 lbs. Xtracycle also offers a wide variety of LT standard compatible accessories tailored to cargo cycling’s specific needs, from the versatile LongLoader for lengthy loads to the foldingSideCar for bulky boxes.
The EdgeRunner completely reinvents the cargo bike, with its low cargo platform, upright yet efficient ride-position, 100% chromoly step-through frame, and complete line of cargo and family specific accessories. Leave the car in the garage on your next family drive or grocery trip. The EdgeRunner assures a fun and wallet-friendly alternative to driving and still gets the job done.
For additional information on Xtracycle’s Edgerunner, please visit http://www.xtracycle.com
Week End Roundup
This weekend, Nov 9 & 10th
Juliana Bicycles Hiring
Juliana Bicycles, a women’s specific mountain bike brand, is looking for a Brand Manager
Quick Start Cyclocross Training
Have you been bit by the cyclocross bug? This quick start plan will get you in better shape for the late season successes!
Bicycle infrastructure creates more jobs per million dollars spent than any other kind of transportation
A Winter of Cyclists
The story of a group of Colorado cyclists who challenged each other to commute by bike, at least 52 times, during the cold, dark, and snowy months.
Safety to Another Level: Chrome Reflective Camo Bags
Being seen at night is a big concern for most cyclist (yet reflectors are the first thing that come off new bikes.) Chrome is launching a limited run of Reflective Camo Bags that are made in the USA. What looks normal in the day, lights up when a car light shines on the fabric to make it easier to spot.
Limited run, available at select shops – find one near you or hit up Chrome.
August Challenge: 1,000 Commuter Miles
Last week I wrote about the bike commute into my new job at Pearl Izumi. After nailing down my inbound and outbound routes it takes between 1.5 – 2 hours each way. This is going pretty easy and really only attacking on the way home to get home faster!
Fast forward to this week, I drove in the first couple days this week and became more frustrated as I sat in traffic 45 minutes each way. I also learned about a pretty cool challenge going on by LiveWell Colorado called Colorado Get Moving Challenge. The challenge is to make Colorado the most active state by having folks commit to 30 minutes of exercise every day in August.
All of this got my wheels turning…I need base miles for cyclocross, I need to be on my bike, I hate sitting in traffic and I would love to commit to this challenge. With the encouragement (and reality check from my better half) I checked myself thinking I would commute all 22 work days of August and decided committing to 1,000 commuting miles in August is more reasonable. This allows me to drive one day a week to bring food and clean clothes in/out of the office and 3 days of recovery.
Along this process I’ve also become an ambassador of the Get Moving Challenge. You’ll see my tags #COgetmovin on Twitter and Instagram, and my fitness updates on MapMyFitness. Every few days I may do a mental download here on things I’m learning, food I’m eating and adventures I’m having by putting in roughly 240 commuter miles a week. I may not be very social this month during the week, and if you see me I’ll probably always have food and water in hand!
If you are in Colorado check out the Challenge and give it a go!
Dialing in a New Bike Commute to Louisville, Colorado
The above photo was taken for my sweet Em and her love of cows.
It’s been two and a half weeks of work at the new job and pretty early on it was apparent that I need to do something with this 45 minute car commute each direction. Between the time spent staring at cars and mountains ahead of me, the miles on the car and the gas being wasted a bike commute plan needed to be made ASAP.
Last Tuesday I rode into the office at Pearl Izumi for the first time. Roughly 28 miles each direction (an extra 5 on the way home after getting lost) added up to a solid day of riding but broken down into two bite size segments so my legs weren’t toasted when I woke up the next morning. There is a perfect mix of greenways (paved and gravel), road riding and dirt roads to keep everything interesting. The sights are gorgeous thanks to in the morning riding towards the mountain and then riding through “open space” with animals all around. I’ve already seen cows, foxes, prairie dogs and a ton of cool looking birds. Also, I’ve already wiped out on the greenway due to some construction and really soft sand being thrown across some gravel. Don’t worry, the bikes okay.
I’m scheming up a rather lofty goal for August when it comes to bike commuting, it will mean random commuting rants on here, a lot of great gear reviews and all of you keeping me motivated but look for a full disclosure of this crazy plan come early next week.
Hopefully, your week is going well and you’ve put some time in the saddle! Who else commuted by bike today??
Commuting Basics: If You Arrive on Time, You’re Late
Bike commuting is a passion of mine. The joy of swinging a leg over my bike to get to my next destination is freeing and can make any day feel complete. One thing I realize as more friends and readers are getting into bike commuting is that there can be a hugee lack of preparation for going by bike and the stress that involves. There are many topics on this subject, but today’s point is this.
Just because you rode your bike does not mean you should walk in sweaty and rushed.
Too many times in my experience bike commuters are running behind because they didn’t give themselves enough time. For those showing up early they are sweaty and need time to “cool off.” Selfishly, I want bike commuting to be looked at as a viable alternative to many people’s car commute. Helping give it a good image and taking a bit of time to be presentable and ready to go when your day starts will go a long way!
Suggestions for looking like you didn’t commute
- Time can be your friend. Give yourself built in time incase of a flat tire, mechanical or to try a new route to work. I’ll often wait to drink a cup of coffee for when I get to work, that way I have time to stop sweating before I wipe off and change.
- It’s not a race. Enjoy the ride and don’t rush it. If you want to rush off somewhere on your commute, let it be the ride home where you can be sweaty in the comfort of your own couch.
- Wear wicking clothing and have spares. I wear a running t-shirt in the wicking material, or an Ice Breaker light weight wool t-shirt. Unless it’s under 70 I come prepared with a different shirt. The same goes for the bottom, except I bring extra unders! Working in a bike shop I’ll wear the same pair of jeans 3 or so days straight, leaving them at the shop but bringing in clean underwear every day with me.
- Action Wipes. It’s like a shower in towel, disposable and all natural. Start from your face going down, it will leave you feeling clean and you won’t be salty the rest of the day.
Bike Commuting in Denver: Part II
An on going series of riding and commuting in my new city of Denver Colorado. See more about my Denver Cycling experienced here.
Over the past couple weeks I have been reminded about some key things for commuting and riding in a major city like Denver, CO.
- Maps aren’t always perfect, but it adds to the adventure.
- Cable locks are useless and shouldn’t be sold to keep your bike safe
- Thorn resistant tires are required in the west. I’ve seen tires with 10-30 “goat heads” after riding through a city park, on the greenway.
- Finding new routes on greenways, make shift single track through parks, sharrowed bike lanes and back alleys are never ending. Thank you BikeDenver and everyone else involved.
- No matter how “bike friendly” a city is, there are still jacks in cars, on bikes and walking the streets. Put yourself and your safety first.
Q&A : No underwear under my bike shorts?!
Over here at Bike Shop Girl headquarters we get many emails asking common questions on how to survive being a cyclist and a woman. In order to get more insight from other women I will often ask if I can put the email I received up on the web for others to answer.
Question : Okay – I have heard this before but it has always been from male sales people. I rode to work 3 or 4 times a week this year until the temps dropped and the snow started flying.
I am having difficulty wraping my head around the idea of putting on the same pair of shorts I wore on my 8 mile ride in the morning, to ride the same 8 miles on the way home – without underwear. It is easy to change my underwear a couple of times a day and pull on the same pair of shorts.
What do other commuters do?
BSG : During the hot times of year I carry two pairs of cycle liner shorts.
. They look much like a boxer brief and are thinner than their spandex sister shorts. The reason for two is that I can sweat on the way to work, and not have to put them back on. If in a forgiving environment I often have rode to work, showered and hand washed my cycling shorts. Leaving them to dry during the day.
Now readers, what are your thoughts?