Thursday, August 13, 2009

Panniers schmanniers! Rack bags are for Freds...

Truth be told, I am too cheap to invest in those bags which will no doubt be more suitable. But in the spirit of MacGyver, I dug out my old university backpack and found some bungee chords to secure it to my Blackburn rack! All I need are some chewed Wrigley's and melted Cadburys and I am set.
The bungee chord really help keep it secure despite my route that takes me through some crushed gravel paths. Gotta say, I do feel smug riding past other cyclists because of this uh... ingenuity! OK I am cheap.

Stuff I manage to carry with this setup:
- work clothes
- deodorant
- body wipes
- cable lock
- usual bike support gear
- my glass lunch container (easily heaviest of items!)
- other small nick-nacks (cellphone, snack bar, etc)

Well with anything self-rigged, there will be some teething problem. First it is in the way how one ties the bungee chord. Due to elasticity and my formless bag, there were sections of the bag that kinda went sideways after a few kilometers. So note-to-self, use extra bungee chords.

Secondly flailing backpack straps and spokes = immediate skid!(see above pic of the dangling strap). So be sure to either tie off those bag straps (see side pic) or cut them off to avoid destroying your rims. Or worse have the strap chew up onto the chain and rear derailleur.

Thirdly, I find by strategically placing the heavier items in the bag that will be situated close to the centre of gravity on the bike really helps for balance. In this case, my heavy glass lunch container. OK OK... I should eat less. Maybe just have sandwiches instead of pasta and left over chow mein.

So LBS, you can keep that $130 Ortlieb and $100 Topeak pannier. My 10-year old backpack works just fine. :=)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My iron steed!

Back in around 2006, I bought a pair of bikes for me and my wife to go riding around nearby park trails and the neighbourhood. I got a 2007 Norco Mountaineer while my wife got a Trek 820 WSD. Not sure what WSD means. Some sort of women design bike.
Anyhoo, all those riding around pastures of farmland and blazing through park trailheads never materialised. After our inaugural ride around our neighbourhood, we found out that my wife is pregnant. And that really ends our biking phase. So the bicycles set in our garage.
Until now that is. I have decided to blow off the 3 year dust off my Norco and will attempt to bike to work this summer. It does have disk brakes and shocks. My car has 'em too. So they gotta count for something during the commute.
I have decided to "commuterise" my bicycle. Gotta look the business afterall. So off I went to the my local bike store which I have not been to since collecting our pair of two-wheelers.

So far I have added :
  • A Bell. Yes those are important to tell bi-pedal humanoids to "GET OUTTA MY WAY!"
  • A rear rack. This gotta be the badge of honour for all commuter bicycles no doubt.
  • Bottle holder. Err... yeah.
That's it. I am good to go! Now on to plan my route!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

So what is this about anyway?

I don't know to be quite honest. Reader, if you are on this blog hoping to find tips on biking or commuting via bicycle then you are on the wrong site! There are a ton of sites that will help you with that. And if you have found good ones.... let me know!

So your point?
This blog will be a venue for a regular person like you and me to write about commuting to work via these self-propelled two-wheel contraptions called bicycles. Sort of like a diary of my biking experience. It will also centre around Vancouver Lower Mainland area. That's where I live and work. You'll read about a regular person who has driven most of his live to work transitioning to biking to work. Let's get this straight, I'm a noob to this. So don't come looking for answers! There will be lots of falls and spills, thrills, oddity of road stupidity, A-ha moments, self-questionings and most importantly ghettofication of my iron steed!

Car vs. Bike

Oh no not again! Not another car vs bike comparison by an overzealous tree hugging cyclist?!
Ahhh, rest assured this is nothing like that. If it was so, I would suggest lining up bike ace Lance Armstrong vs. Sebastien Loeb rally wunderkid and Michael Schumacher on a track or country side to settle it! It would be an annihilation of biblical proportions for the single-testy Tour de France champ.
Neither is this going to be like the Top Gear episode where James May raced his Fiat across an eastern European town against two urban riders. Nothing of those sorts.
It is my account of commuting experience by a bicycle compared to my drive to work.