Two weeks ago I did the Flying Wheels Century ride. This is a ride put on by the Cascade Bike Club, brining together 3500 riders to do one of 3 routes, 45, 65 or the century. This was, for most accounts, the normal organized ride. Lots of riders of different levels, bikes of many different expenses and people ranging from very nice to jerks. In essence, a small slice of life.
One thing was strange though, even though it is with me on every ride I do, for some reason, that Sunday, people were fascinated by the trunk bag on my bike:
I heard more than one person while passing comment, “Why is he carrying stuff with him?” And a couple flat asked, “What the hell do you have in the bag??”
Well I thought I’d explain a bit. I hate not having what I need. You just never know what could happen while on your bike. I’ve had 100s of miles go by without a hitch, and also gotten 3 flat tires in a 3 mile stretch. I’ve had to call for a ride and push my bike 3 miles uphill. Given all that, I bring stuff with me when I ride. And to me, these century rides are just training rides with food stops and honey-buckets located in very convenient places, so I carry my normal bag.
What do I carry?
Well I always have a spare inner tube or 2. I HATE using a patch kit. I would much rather find the culprit that flattened my tire and replace it with a new tube. I carry more than one, because sometimes flats come in swarms. Given that, since I can end up with more than 2 flats, I carry the patch kit just in case!
Then you need the way to change the tire. I’ve got the tire irons, CO2 cylinders, and a pump (because you can run out of cylinders as well.) How likely is this? Both a lack of tubes and cylinders has happened to me more than once.
Then I have the multi-tool with allen wrenches and other items in case the bike needs an adjustment. In addition one should never go without a swiss army knife! You never know when that will come in handy. In that same genre of “You never know when you might need it” is a small roll of duct tape.
My camera (just a small SLR) rides in the back with a note pad and pen. Some of my best pictures and blog ideas have come while on the bike.
I like to keep a cliff bar, a package of shot blocks and the electrolyte Nuun tablets in there as well. Plus on long rides, PB&J’s, bagels, and spice drops come along for the ride.
I also have the bike lock and a hank of rope (for the ferry rides).
On days where the ride starts out a bit cool, or might end that way, the windbreaker fits perfectly in there. Finally, if I am careful, 4 bottles of wine can be brought home in this bag.
Now remember, when I ride, I don’t go for fast. So this little bit of weight doesn’t hurt me at all. But I know if something goes wrong, or i need something, or someone else does, there’s a very good chance iI might have it. So YEP, I could and have gotten away with carrying less. But on those days I needed something from the bag of tricks. Or the rain is starting and I have the coat right there, it has saved the ride.
So I don’t see me leaving the bag at home anytime soon. This is far form the first time people have thought I was strange, and won’t be the last. I was never a boyscout, but i am as prepared as anyone out there! I just haven’t figured out how to carry my cross-bow in case of zombie apocalypse!
Like the wind folks!