Bike & Backpack Profile
A // Seat. Make sure your seat accommodates your riding style. Mine is narrow because I don’t cruise. I ride with intention. I have an end location in mind and my goal is to get there as fast as possible.
B // Rear Light. Legally, you must have a rear light at night! Plus its just common sense. Even times when my front light has died, I always made sure I had a rear light to notify cars coming up behind me on the road. If I remember the law correctly, the simple reflectors don’t count anymore. Even if they do, they are nowhere near the safety that these LED lights provide. Invest in a set. Invest in your safety.
C // Flip Flop Hub (Fixed Gear with Single Speed). The debate will run on forever. Which style bike you should ride. I started on an old 80’s multi-speed bike, and eventually transitioned into this one. It just takes time riding a bike to figure out your riding style. If you always stay in the same gear and never shift, you might be a candidate for a single speed (which allows you to coast and stop pedaling). A fixed is the same idea, one speed, but you can not coast. The pace of your feet is determined by your gear ratio and the speed you’re traveling on the road.
D // Armadillo tires. These things are fantastic (at the moment, I only use one on my rear wheel). Its lined with kevlar on the inside. I have ridden straight over glass (not intentionally) and nothing happened. On prior wheels they’d pop instantly. One armadillo is the cost of 2 normal tires. But they last for a really long time, plus with normal tires you’d easily go through multiple (when glass and debris is involved). Invest. Worth it.
E // Toe Clips. Essential for a fixed gear rider, plus I am able to crank out some speed when I’m “clipped in” (on mine, your feet slide in). It makes riding easier because your feet don’t slip off the pedals, and your feet are positioned perfectly inside for easy riding (using the front part of your foot).
F // Front Light. (see B)
G // Bell. Intended mainly to warn pedestrians as you approach from behind. Biking is pretty silent. Most walkers don’t hear you come up behind them, and at your super fast speed that can end badly, or cause you to break and lose your speed. I have only had the chance to use it in a friendly way to say hi to other bikers and people walking.
H // Handlebars. I never use the drop down portion. Only the top; the forward facing angle is prime for building speed from a stopped position; horizontally when I’m at my constant speed.
I // Brakes. I have 1 front wheel brake for emergencies. Yes. It has been used, and has saved my life.
A // Computer. Obviously I use it for work, and I’m usually riding somewhere to go work. It also gives me the chance to get some work done should I arrive early when I’m using the bus.
B // Ankle Reflectors. Not only do these things add safety to your night rides (and day rides; boy are they bright) they keep your pant legs tucked away from the grease on your gears. Saving you the hassle of dealing with getting grease on your clothes. I always put them on before every ride.
C // Wallet & Keys. Duh.
D // A book. If I can’t pull out my computer, like on the bus, a book has been a good friend. An old fashioned escape. (I’m not an e-book fan).
E // Water bottle. Keep yourself hydrated! Even if I’m using the bus that day, I’m biking to and from my destinations on both ends of the ride.
F // U-Lock. This has pros and cons. While it is not easy to cut through and offers a lot of safety for your bike, this thing is stinkin’ heavy. A couple times I’ve take my roommates cable lock because it was lightweight and easy to lock onto my frame while riding. If I take the U-lock I have to bring a backpack. Not always convenient. (Yes I know some u-locks come with a bike frame ‘holder’ but mine looked cheap, and I did not want my lock breaking off when I was riding on all these brick roads).
G // Moleskin Notepad. I use this to jot down all my travel times, distances, ideas, thoughts, observations, and so on.
H // Headphones. Not sure what this month would have looked like without music. Probably equivalent to torture. Music has kept me going both on my bike and on the bus.
I // Gum and Chapstick. Keeping that breath fresh and lips not-chapped.
J // Computer power cable. Juicing up the computer. Cause no one likes a dead computer.
K // Backpack. On short rides I use a different bag than pictured. Its a light weight little ruck sack. I throw all my small goodies in it (and my lock) and ride. When I’m taking my computer, a book, work clothes, etc. I take my blue Columbia bag as pictured.