Wednesday, March 19, 2008


"The result is above all simple and big: a basic bloody-great-sack, innocent of compartments..."(Colin Fletcher, The Complete Walker III, p. 124.) My bag is the second largest Timbuk2 messenger bag, in a patriotic maroon. Let's take a look at the outside before delving into it.
There it is. The big ol' bag. Phone pocket on the strap, along with a couple of ankle straps, and--this is the real genius of the thing--my keys, on a neck lanyard. It's long enough to be able to use the keys without disattaching them, and I can throw them in my jacket or pants pocket or the bag itself. Wherever they are, I can yank them out by the strap. And, most importantly, my bag makes the biggest key fob I've ever had (you'll gather that the guiding principle of this bag is that if I don't have something attached to myself, I forget it). Similarly attached by a lanyard to the strap is my Leatherman, which lives inside the bag.

Now, if we're feeling bold, we can reach inside:
Here's what we've got. Items marked with an asterisk I've used within the past 48 hours.
  • Rain cape*
  • Wool hat (Jamaican Bobsled Team)*
  • Underseat bag--usually lives in the trailer, but I'd put it in my sack for the TuTh evening ride--and used its contents: spare tube, tire levers*
  • Burpee plant catalog+
  • Wallet*
  • Sign-up sheet for dinner trip four weeks ago+
  • Pictures of Western White Pine needles (yes, P & R, I'm still working on your Christmas gift)
  • Planner*
  • Towel* (for drying off seat if it's been rainy or snow and I haven't put the next item on it)
  • Seat cover* (On the seat while I'm inside if I realize or remember that it's going to rain or snow, or, keeping a wet seat from my butt if I don't)
  • Two bike headlights* (Usually I have one, Dr. Fledermaus has one, but for the weeknight rides, and with the lengthening evenings, I've had both)
  • One bike taillight (for the trailer--I broke one of the mounts on Monday, but my man J set me up with a new mount) to be put on in the next couple of days or before we bike anywhere in the dark.
  • One SD card USB drive (you're enjoying the benefits of it now)*
  • One book of Bat Jr. photos*
  • About 30 bike registration cards, UCPD*
  • Glove liners (it looked like spring, for a while)
  • Random pens, markers, pencils, papers.
  • Chicago bike map
  • CTA map
  • Metra schedule
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Miniature decks of cards (2)
  • Lip balms (some number greater than or equal to 1)
  • The aforementioned Leatherman
  • Study cards
  • One dime
  • The number 3 (no, really, a stick-on foam number. Pink)
  • One churchkey can opener/caplifter
  • iPod Shuffle--so that's where it was!
There we go. A lot of stuff, until Chicago weather hits. Or you get a flat. Or you eat onions at lunch. That list has evolved over a year or two, to the point where I find that if I travel (by bike, foot, PT, or car) without it, I miss something inside. May you find it as useful as I do!

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