Saturday, March 9, 2013

Carrying Stuff

Spring showed up today, with highs near 60F. It's not that I don't get outside all year, but experiencing the outdoors with fewer layers is a welcome change.

In the summer the cyclist carries all he needs in Jersey pockets: a spare tube and a few tools, a few snack bars, and a cell pone. Dual water bottle cages carry water or sports beverage, and a micro pump is either mounted on the frame or tucked in a jersey pocket. Seatpost mounted carrying bags annoy me with visual clutter and poor functionality; the jersey pockets are easy to handle, present no drag and add no weight, are conveniently out of the way of peddle on your back, and the contents go with you when you change after a ride.

The winter presents different problems. No jersey pockets. Jackets have pockets in the front, in the way. Seat mounted bags are popular, but I always found them annoying to access. A stuck zipper and Velcro to fight with to just retrieve my cell phone.

Enter the water bottle carry-all. I actually looked for something of this sort in the bike shops and catalogs. IT seemed obvious. Nothing.
  • I don't need 2 bottles in the winter, so the cage is available.
  • Easy to grab off the bike after a ride. 
  • Holds all I need it to: a spare tube and tools, snack, and cell phone (the cell phone actually tucks well in--I left it up for scale in the photo).
  • Nothing has fallen out in the 2 winters I've used it.
 Simple. Just a give-away bottle I didn't like with the top cut off (leaving just enough lip to restrain the stuff). I spent all of a 1 minute selecting a bottle and hacking; It was just to be an experiment, but it became permanent.

Other permanent experiments? Two years ago I stopped to rest on a trail-side bench and decided I was wearing one layer too many. I spotted a girls "scrunchy" hair tie laying int he mud and used that to bundle my wind breaker to the top of the aerobars. A perfect lashing for a fraction of an ounce.Very secure and very little drag as it is behind the hands and between the forearms.

Why the Gatorade bottle? Mostly I drink water, of course. I find that empty Gatorade bottles are lighter than conventional water bottles, retain less taste, and are free since I do drink the stuff when it gets hot. It's a reasonable balance of energy and electrolytes that I can tolerate well when very hot and possible dehydrated. Often I start out with 2, refill the first with water several times, then drink the second and refill it too. Sometimes they get pitched in the recycle bin before the last push for home, saving some bit of windage and weight. Something like that.

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