Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Go ahead, ride your bicycle to work.

I started commuting to work by bike - at least one day a week - about two months ago. I didn't start with the intention of saving gas, or the planet, or to get more training miles in, or to prove anything to anyone. I started doing it because I love to ride my bike.

Granted, I like the fact that I'm saving some cash by pedaling rather than driving, but the biggest reason will always be the ride itself.

Riding puts me at ease. I feel apart from all the other people on the way to work locked in their cars, or trucks, or SUVs. For the 40 minutes I get to pedal, I become a kid again. Remember why you rode your bike when you were a kid? To get somewhere. We had two choices: walk or ride your bike.

Then along comes adulthood and life speeds up. Everyone has pressure, deadlines, meetings, budgets, proposals, contracts, blah, blah, blah. Riding your bike to work helps you forget all that garbage - at least for a little while.

One thing to consider when you decide to become a bicycle commuter is how to carry all your junks to and fro.

I wanted to take the opportunity to post my experience with my favorite piece of commuting gear, my Chrome messenger bag. (

I have the citizen model, which has 1200 cubic inches of room for all my goodies. The bag measures out to be 22"x11.5"x6". Plenty of room for a change of clothes (shoes, pants, shirt), a thermos of java, my lunch, and my wallet, phone, keys, etc.

The bag slings over my left shoulder and settles nicely on the middle of my back. The position feels stable and doesn't shift while riding. The bag immediately felt more comfortable than any backpack I have ever tried.

An awesome feature is the nicely padded shoulder strap with quick releasing seatbelt buckle. This allows you to take the bag off without having to lift it (think weight -fully loaded) all the way over your noggin.

Chrome builds their bags to last. Construction is top notch and the materials are second to none. The entire inner sleeve is made of 18oz weatherproof truck tarp, and the Cordura outer shell is the heaviest weight I've ever seen in a bag.

The $100 asking price seemed a bit high to me at first. "Heck, I'd have to ride 3 or 4 days every week for four months to save in gas what Chrome wants for the bag!", I thought. Then I started shopping around. No other messenger bags came close in fit and finish. These things are the Chris King of bags. If you buy one and sling it over your shoulder a couple days each week, you will appreciate how well made it really is - especially the first time you get caught in a rain storm.

So, go ahead. Ride your bicycle to work.

Bigger is most defintely better

I bought my Rig back in May. I had never ridden a 29er before, yet alone a 29er single speed. I took the advise of my nephew (who just happens to be TJ Platt, super fast pro MTBR out of Pittsburgh, PA) and gave the bigger wheels a spin.

The complete bike was a thousand bucks. Most half-way high-end frames cost more than that. I gotta tell ya, I have been blown away by how great this bike is. I haven't had to dump tons of cash in it to make it any better than it is straight out of the box. I added a pop-lock to the REBA that comes on the bike, a Chris King headset, changed the stock grips to Oury lock-ons, and that's about it.

It is my only mountain bike. I don't miss the gears. I have become strong. I can roll over anything! Bottom line: 29ers rock. No two ways about it.