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?
Review: Buffalo Creek Mountain Biking
Back in mid-July, Emily and I finally made the quick trip to Buffalo Creek for some mountain biking. This trail system has a lot of hype around it and within a few miles of our route I realized why.
Where is Buffalo Creek?
Buffalo Creek, Colorado, is about an hour southwest of Denver proper according to Google. With very minimal turns, it is a quick trip from the city and if you get up early enough I bet you could make it in 45 minutes.
There are a couple parking lots, we parked at the one just past the park entrance on 126 on the left at the Park Work Center. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as the parking lot within the park gates.
Why Buffalo Creek?
From my knowledge Buffalo Creek has the best selection of trails and options within an hour of Denver. Keystone would probably be the next closest trail system. There are probably 30-40 miles of trails within Buffalo Creek without even getting on the Colorado Trail.
Buffalo Creek has some Epic trails, just ask IMBA.
Perfect for camping, trips with friends or testing out bikecamping.
We did Baldy loop, which is a pretty common loop at Buff Creek.
Buffalo Creek Road -> Baldy -> Miller Gulch -> Sandy Wash -> Buffalo Creek Road
Buffalo Creek has something for everyone. The views are so scenic that you probably won’t even mind hike a bike if needed! If you are in the region, like dirt and haven’t given Buffalo Creek a try – go ASAP! You’ll thank me on your return.
2014 Breck Epic: Colorado Trail
Daily race reports of the 2014 Breck Epic from Amy Thomas of the Yeti Beti MTB Team.
Day 2 of Breck Epic defines the perfect pairing of ebb and flow. It’s the Colorado Trail stage and that name says it all. If you only have ONE trail to ever ride in Colorado, ride ANY section of the Colorado Trail. It’s all amazing and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
2014 Beti Bike Bash Recap
Photo credit: Mark Woolcott
This past weekend I lined up for my first mountain bike race in over a year.
Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. (Source: Wikipedia)
The art of exploring is why I fell in love with biking some 18 years ago. The ability to just go find new places and adventures on my bike without the demands of school, sports practice or home life. It was a great escape and something I think we all forget as we grow up.
This past Monday when Emily and I got back from our weekend in the mountains I hopped on my bike and went for a fartlek, or Fartlick as my iPhone calls it. The goal was to blend in different speeds, try new routes and see how my knee felt on the single speed. The result was great, I enjoyed myself and found new trails near my house. An elevated my heart rate also showed me that my knee isn’t ready for the single speed just yet.
Do you implement fartleks in your training or weekly rides? What do you find?
I find new places to take photos, time to beat up on the pedals and needed bike time without a Garmin or HRM. During big training blocks I often find my best power over time results as I’m just getting in a groove with out focusing on the Garmin.
Now, go fartlek. Take a friend if you can!
Photo Disclaimer: I lost my bar ends on the ride, they will be replaced ASAP!
Tomorrow is the 2014 Colorado Bicycle Summit
Tomorrow, Monday February 10th, you’ll be able to find me most the day at the 2014 Colorado Bicycle Summit most of tomorrow, including a moderator of the break out session “Getting More Women Riding.” I hope to report back with a recap of what is happening in Colorado Bike Advocacy and ways we can all work together to get more women riding in our wonderful state!
What is the Colorado Bicycle Summit about?
- Learn best practices for making change happen at the city, county and state levels
- Learn about bicycle-related issues for the 2014 Colorado Legislative Session
- Spend the morning at the State Capitol, with access to state legislators
- Network with bicyclists of all flavors at the Summit Happy Hour
- Bicycling advocates and industry leaders
- On- and off-road recreational cyclists and commuters
- Elected officials and agency staff
- Anyone who wants to learn about making bicycling better in our state
BikeHack Tandem: As Seen in Boulder
Walking to my office on Pearl Street in Boulder, CO the other day, I did a double take. This bike has so many clear call outs of awesomeness, how many can you spot (click to enlarge image)?
Staying Motivated During the Polar Vortex and Colorado Winters
I need to confess, I haven’t been riding my bike as you can probably tell from the lack of updates and Strava achievements. In the cold and dark I’ve been turning to running and exploring the trails near my home. While this isn’t ideal for a content on a cycling specific site it is ideal for my happiness. My 2014 goals include no bike races for the first time in many years but instead to explore more and become a more rounded athlete.
How are you staying motivated and moving during these cold spells that keep hitting? Are you hitting the gym or maybe braver than I and suiting up for a bike ride? Perhaps you are smart and on the trainer in your basement pushing those watts around as your sweat hits the ground.
Tell us, what are you doing?
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.
A Delayed Reaction
The beginning of October I lined up for my second cyclocross race in Colorado. The Boulder Cup at Valmont Bike Park was easily one of my top 3 cx courses ever ridden. Unfortunately, going into the last lap I lost traction on a bridge and wiped out. Quickly dusting myself off I hopped on the bike and bridged the gap on the girl that had been on my wheel and now was 15 seconds ahead. Finishing the race, not in last place, I checked over my appendages and realized the road rash would hurt but I seemed to be okay.
24 hours later my left knee wasn’t bending and by the evening (36 hours later) I couldn’t bear weight without pain. A doctor’s appointment booked, and later an MRI. The end result of this minor crash was a miss-tracking patella and a small tear on the cartilage behind my patella. It could have been much worse and 3 weeks later I am feeling back to 80%.
Shift in Priorities
Often in life, it is when your heart breaks, or you crash you bike that we really take a count of priorities and needs in life.
The mission of this site is to empower women in cycling. I don’t plan on straying away from this but I do plan on empowering myself a bit more. Becoming a more balanced individual, going back to school and maybe even attempting cross fit!
I love riding my bike
Chances are that you are reading my blog (thank you) because you too love to ride your bike. As I shift things around, reorganize and create my content calendar for this site my reminder for all of us is that to slow down and enjoy the ride. Spending the money to have the lightest bike, power meters, or even to put a number on your bike isn’t required. Slowing down with a smile to other cyclists and maybe even giving back to the sport we all love.
My plan is to slim down my herd of bikes, buy less carbon and focus more on the adventure than the destination. I hope you’ll join me.