New-To-You Outside Column! And Also Some Crass Commercialism!!!

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten to plug an Outside column, so I’m quite pleased to be able to plug this Outside column!

I wish I could say that this represents the triumphant return of my column, but unfortunately I cannot. Instead, I can tell you that I wrote a few columns some months ago that Outside have been aging in the basement like fine handmade tubular tires, and they’re only now just breaking them out for race day. So I’m confident you’ll find this one to be quite supple with great handling characteristics.

Speaking of being a semi-professional bike blogger with an increasingly strong emphasis on the “semi,” while people are understandably reluctant to pay me actual money, I’ve certainly been on the receiving end of lots of exciting products! One of these has been the Osloh cycling jeans, which I’ve been wearing pretty much every day–and that includes for long-ish recreational rides. I mention this now because they also offer women’s jeans, and I was so pleased with my own that I requested a pair of the Women’s Navy Porteur Jeans for my wife:

Which they’re practically giving away, even if you’re not a well-connected semi-professional bike blogger with a rapidly contracting sphere of influence:

This past Friday we did another family bike outing to Randall’s Island and I’m pleased to report her impressions of the jeans were quite favorable in terms of both aesthetics and comfort. In fact, between the sale price and the discount code you’ll find on the Osloh banner on this blog, they’re almost paying you to take these off their hands. So what I’m saying is buy two pairs, because then you’ll be covered on laundry day.

While I’m on the subject of stuff, awhile back I received a handlebar bag from Chrome:

This bag was under ***MEDIA EMBARGO*** at the time, which I dared not break, but they’ve now lifted said embargo so I can show it to you:

It secures to the bike via two (2) handlebar straps and one (1) stem/headtube stap, and it also has a shoulder strap so you can wear it like a European Carryall:

I first tried it on my Midlife Crisis/Dental Visit Fixie:

On which I used it to carry my various flat-repair supplies:

A duty which it undertook in a satisfactory manner:

However, I realized that it doesn’t really make sense to attach a bag to a bicycle you lock up frequently, since every time you do you need to take the bag off the bike. So I then started using it on my newly-reinvented singlespeed gravel bike, since I don’t lock that up outside, and since gravel and carrying stuff on your handlebars are both So Hot Right Now:

Like any aging curmudgeon, I’m instantly skeptical of anything everyone seems to start doing at the same time all of a sudden, and putting a bag on your handlebars definitely falls under that category. However, sometimes when people start doing something there’s a good reason for it, and anyway it’s impossible to grow old with dignity if you let yourself get too ossified. In cycling as everything else, it’s very important to maintain a little vertical compliance in your thinking, or else you wind up sounding like the kind of people who leave comments on CyclingTips:

First you start worrying about how you smell while exercising, and the next thing you know you’re citing the Velominati unironically. If you find yourself doing any of this, you should undertake a two-hour helmetless ride in sneakers and jeans immediately.

Anyway, there are certainly some good reasons for using a bar bag. For example, if you ride a racy-type bike, you gain some extra carrying capacity without having to use a larger saddle bag or stuff a bunch of crap in your pockets. Also, it’s just nice to be able to access stuff without dismounting–especially your gloves, which if you’re like me you may find yourself putting on and taking off quite often during a ride at this time of year. Or, you know, put a tuna sandwich in there for when you get hungry. So for these reasons I’ve been finding the Chrome thingy to be a good fit for the Engin.

For that matter, I’ve also been quite pleased with the Sackville Banana Sax on the front end of my Rivendell:

I keep a full complement of tools in there and there’s still plenty of room for gloves and other small items. Out back I have the BagBoy, which basically serves as my wardrobe, since there’s plenty of room for garments, allowing me to add or remove layers as necessary:

Here’s a closer look at the inside of the bag, which is deceptively spacious:

It wasn’t too long ago that my idea of a wardrobe change was riding no-handed while removing my arm warmers; now I come to a complete stop, flip down the kickstand, and approach the process about as urgently as Mr. Rogers did his cardigan.

Dignity may be elusive, but I like to think I’m getting there. Slowly.

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