Okay, this is a bike blog, right? Let’s talk about riding bikes and buying stuff that makes it easier to ride bikes!
3… 2… 1…
As you may have gathered, I’ve been doing more commuting lately, and here’s what the two-wheeled rat race looks like in the New York of 2023:
Fortunately, unlike all those other losers who probably had to buy their own stuff, I’m a semi-professional bike blogger, which means I’m an even bigger loser than they are, but at least once in awhile someone asks me if I want some free stuff. Sometimes the stuff they offer me is stupid, like weird e-bikes or interviews with assholes who sell luxury mushroom trips, but occasionally it’s something I really need–like the City Rover Power 700 light from Portland Design Works:
For the most part you don’t need an actual headlight for city riding, so I’ve only been using the Arclight Pros. However, there is a stretch of the West Side Greenway just north of the George Washington Bridge that gets pretty dark, and I’ve begun to realize that without a good light it’s only a matter of time before I ride into one of its many potholes. So the offer to try the City Rover Power 700 was quite timely, and here are the details on it just in case you couldn’t bear to visit the PDW website and spend even a moment away from this wonderful blog:
Here’s what’s inside:
The mounting bracket is cleverly designed–basically you just loosen a screw (as you can see they even include the tool), adjust the diameter of the band to fit whatever bar you’re using, and then you tighten it up again. Once you’ve done that, you can attach and remove the bracket without using any tools:
Then you can just leave the bracket on your bike and slide the light itself on and off of it as needed:
All you do to remove it is finger the little release nubbin and slide it off–and yes, all of this was simply a pretense to use the phrase “finger the little release nubbin:”
Apparently they also sell something called a “Light Nug” which lets you get creative with your headlight placement, which is pretty cool:
They also sell another thingy that lets you mount a headlight to a basket, which would be great for my Platypus:
Anyway, as if the light wasn’t enough, Two Wheel Gear also sent me some bags, and for the past week I’ve been using the Pannier Backpack Convertible:
More handy for my purposes, it also converts from a pannier into a backpack, as the name would suggest:
Here’s how it works in practice:
First you open up the back of the bag:
Next you unclip the shoulder straps, tuck them in, and fold the back cover down:
Then you clip the bag to your rack (the one-finger attachment/release rack mount thingy is maybe my favorite thing about their stuff), and finally you use the shoulder strap clips at the bottom of the bag to sort of hug your rack for a little extra stability (though the first time I used the bag I didn’t bother with that and it worked just fine):
Now you’re ready to commute!
There are plenty of compartments and pockets in the bag, it’s padded so you can stick a laptop in there, it feels nice and secure with no wobbling, and I haven’t had a single incident of heel strike. I don’t know how waterproof it is, and I’m not looking forward to finding out, but it says it has a “TPE waterproof coating,” and it also comes with a hi-viz rain cover. I’m sure sooner or later I’ll get stuck in a downpour with it, and rest assured when that does happen I’ll let you know how it fares just as soon as I regain mobility in my fingers.
In the meatime, you can be sure I don’t salmon, though I do wear salmon:
As you can see, other bike path users found me highly intimidating:
I refrained from informing them that their whatever-those-things-are don’t belong in the bike lane, because I don’t imagine it would have turned out well. In fact, in my pink shirt, even I kinda wanted to beat myself up. My only regret was that I wasn’t riding the matching bike:
Still, the pastel hues of the Eye Of The Tiger Bike complemented it nicely:
And as much as I love the Faggin for urban riding, it’s not a full-dress commuter like this baby:
I’ve got the headlight…
I’ve got the bell…
And I’ve even got an emergency toolkit:
I learned it from Grant Petersen. He even sent me the magnets.
In any case, I daresay I’ve got my commuting setup pretty much dialed in, though I’m sorry to report I did experience a crotchal pant failure, and I’m even sorrier to share this picture of it:
I can’t tell if my saddle looks guilty or pleased with itself:
That’s an older pair of Vulpine jeans I received probably three years ago. I don’t remember which ones they are, but they are not the Opus jeans I’ve been wearing like every day for the past year or two, which have a much more sophisticated scranial arrangement:
In fact they even have a little fabric “insurance layer” inside, presumably so your…situation doesn’t pop out in the event of a blowout:
Though for that to happen you’d have to be riding commando and…well let’s just leave it there.
BY THE WAY, wanna hear something funny? As I was taking those photos of the indestructible crotch on the Opus jeans…the button fell off:
How do you like that for irony? My favorite jeans, too.
So much for that.
I did wear the shit out of them though.
As for the headlight, sunset keeps getting later and later, which means it still wasn’t completely dark as I got closer to the unlit section of bike path:
Nevertheless, it was dark enough to warrant firing it up. Note the handy battery life indicator:
It also looks like it casts a nice beam:
I believe I had it set to “high,” but again, it wasn’t completely dark yet.
At last, my commuting bike is all set:
Now all I need is some more pants.