Where The Bike Takes Me

Continuing this journey of cycling in efforts to get into shape, lose weight, enjoy the outdoors, and save my knees from their arthritic state at 28 years of age.

Fall is Coming! August 26, 2008

I think I blogged about this last year but somehow the days getting shorter snuck up on me yet again this year.  I left the office at 6:45 PM today, stopped at the nearby Wal-Greens (the one in Herndon) to pick up my prescriptions from their drive-thru (I do it all the time) and it was pretty dark by the time I got to the Whole Foods in Vienna.  I still had a ride time of about 25 minutes to go.  There were plenty of people still on the trail but naturally today I had no light and no really bright or reflective clothing.  I did take the one reflective band I keep on the bike and slapped it around my ankle.  It was slim consolation but it was some.  I got home just as it was too dark to see outside without a light.  I was booking it out of straight nervousness.

Anyway, I spent this past weekend going to REI trying to find a suitable handlebar bag to carry my SLR for the Autumn Escape Bike Trek in a few weeks.  The Detours Zoom bag ended up being too small for the body with the lens attached.  Just a wee bit too small but I did like how padded it was.  I was leery of the plastic clip to attach it though.  Anyway, I didn’t find what I was looking for in terms of a handlebar bag at the REI but I did find the high-viz green vest/jacket combo that I was looking for.  Score!

On Sunday I stoppped at Bikes at Vienna to check out what they have.  I figured they had a few of the higher-end handlebar bags.  I was really looking for the black and yellow Ortlieb bag but they had both a small and large Arkel handlebar bag.  The small looked too small for the SLR and the big seemed like it would have more than enough room.  Where’s the medium when you need it?  Anyway, it was a bit pricey but Robert at Bikes at Vienna (who loves to take pictures too) brought up a good point, “Would you rather buy a new body (for the camera) or spend a $100 or so on a nice bag?”  I figured I’d take it home and give it a try. I really, really liked how the mount was metal.  I wish it had come with a raincover though.  I set it up last night and I swear it only took me like 10 minutes to mount and all.  Today I tested it on my ride home.  It feels solid, like an extension of the bike really.  Of course the bag jostles a bit but I was not at all worried about the thing coming loose or anything like that.  My next test will be with the SLR and maybe some clothes or something to help pad it.  I had my bike lock in it today for the hell of it and while I could see it affecting the steering it wasn’t anything to write home about.  The real test will be when it’s full of stuff but so far I’m really liking it.  I plan on spraying it inside and out with some water sealer spray.

I really love the Velo Orange Baguette bag. I love how it’s big enough to actually hold things in there.  It’s kinda smooshed up against my rack at the moment but I love having the extra storage options.  What can I say?  I’m a bit of a utilitarian rider.  I will probably take the rack off for the tour in a few weeks.  I think that with the handlebar bag I should be fine.  I also think that my husband should start carrying some of his own stuff.  😛  So we shall see.  I’ll take pictures of both bags on the bike.  I just need to get it on the trainer so I can do it justice.  Do people put kickstands on touring bikes?


4 Responses to “Fall is Coming!”

  1. kricker Says:

    I just did a 9 day tour in Hokkaido. I have a mont-bell handlebar bag that worked very well with my SLR. I put my SLR in a dry bag when the weather turned bad. I do have a kickstand on my bike and it worked beautifully even with a full load. I would highly recommend a kickstand. Mine mounts by the rear hub and not under the bottom bracket. It is a “Tranz-X Stay Mount Adjustable Kickstand”. It was low enough that the rear bags did not bother it. Hope this helps! Have fun riding!

  2. You might want a kickstand for the Autumn Escape Bike Trek — there can be a lot of bikes at a pit stop at one time, which limits options for finding a convenient place to lay them down.

    But some people do ride Trek, with no problems, on bare-bones bikes, with no kickstand, one water bottle, and only a tiny bag under the seat to hold a teeny patch kit. That’s one extreme.

    Me, I’m the other extreme — I have a big gear bag with lots of stuff in it. I blogged about that last year: http://mothadventures.livejournal.com/7387.html

    I’d say most people have some kind of bag with camera, phone, basic tools and patch kit, money…..some folks use the CamelBak packs that both hold a water bag and have some cargo space. Others use bags on the bike somewhere.

    Whatever you’re going to do/use, I would suggest you start practicing with it soon; even a kickstand will impact the weight of the bike.

    Oh, yes! You may want some way to mount a cue sheet on/near your handlebars. AEBT distributes cue sheets each day. The road is also marked, but the cue sheets are very helpful. Does your new handlebar bag have a map/cue sheet holder on the top?

  3. f8th637 Says:

    Thanks for the helpful suggestions, guys.

    I’m not sure how you mount that kickstand, kricker. How does that work?

    Mothadventures, yes, the handlebar bag has a map/cue sheet holder on top but I also have a separate one I bought last year. I saw pictures from last year’s Trek so I saw what kinds of get-ups people had on their ride. I’m like you, I like to carry a few things for safety and convenience’s sakes.

  4. nicole Says:

    Have you seen the “clickstand”? Sold by a guy in the dakota’s or something. It folds up tiny, tiny on an elastic and you “whoosh” it open and the elastic makes all the pieces tight, with plenty of tension and you just cup the top under your frame and lean the bike on it.

    My neighbor has one and it is great. I want to get one, but I’m running out of places to put things on my bike. My bike is so SMALL, I bought a pump bag and even that is too large.

    I just googled click stand and it came up.
    good luck!

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