In the Bag

When I first started biking the whole routine was unfamiliar. I really didn’t know what I needed but I didn’t want to get caught off guard. I wanted to be prepared for anything. But I found it overwhelming to just get out the door…

In the Bag

I didn’t need all that stuff when I drove or took the subway, and I didn’t need much of it for biking. Over time I learned what I need and reduced it to just what was essential for my own lifestyle:

In the Bag

Most of the the clothing/makeup routine is just done at home like before. I keep a few spare emergency items at work. Andย I probably should carry some repair tools but they’re heavy to always carry. I figure I’ll just make friends with a fellow cyclist (one of the ones who’s prepared for everything) if I get a flat or take a Hubway bike home.

However, even though I have settled on my ideal bike kit, I still dream about an even better one…

In the Bag

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  • The DC July 20, 2012   Reply →

    I’m one of those “ready for anything” types,LOL,eSPECIALLY when on the Xtracycle when I can pack more gear ๐Ÿ˜›

    The DC

  • Frank July 20, 2012   Reply →

    Hmm, bottle of beer in a bike kit? Great idea! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Opus the Poet July 20, 2012   Reply →

    Of your fantasy kit, the glow in the dark pills are already in preliminary animal testing, not expected for human consumption for at least 10 years. As for the aromatherapy traffic calming they have that for making the humans calmer, does that count? And I’m pretty sure that there is such a thing as beer in the real world, as long as you stay away from American Pilsners and look for real beers like Shiner Bock or Black, or your local equivalent. I think Sam Adams does a pretty good beer (or 20) near you. As for the rest. well the Netherlands has laws that work like your spray-on force field, so that only leaves the “perfect hair” gel, the fairy dust to clear up any road condition, and the inflatable mechanic as total fantasies..

    My on-bike kit has spare tubes but no air source, I’m still trying to figure out a way to get my Zefal HP3 frame pump from the bike I bought 22 years ago onto my 2008 RANS Fusion because it’s a tiny bit longer than the span from the head tube to the seat tube. But given enough Velcro and some ingenuity I think I’ll get that taken care of eventually.

    • John July 20, 2012  

      try mounting the pump to one of your seat stays

  • Brompton Driver July 20, 2012   Reply →

    Baby wipes and a corkscrew. Yes, now your kit is complete!

  • Henz July 20, 2012   Reply →

    I always carry a book, lights and water.

    My bike has a built in pump and is soon to have a built in toolkit.

    Anything else is optional.

    I reckon you could do at least a weeks treking with the contents of the top picture (if you enjoy foraging for food).

  • bluebullet July 20, 2012   Reply →

    No chocolate in any kit? I usually carry a bar of Swiss chocolate during the colder months.

    Those fellow cyclists are friendly indeed. I once flatted on my commute, and every other rider called out to ask if I had what I needed (I did). I’ve helped out others too, and it is always good fun. When the job’s done and you hand over the cleanish rag to wipe hands with, you are such a star!

  • Elin July 20, 2012   Reply →

    I never bring anything particular on my rides to work, except a pair of bike lights when it is that season.

    I should always bring a sandwich tho…!

  • Brian July 20, 2012   Reply →

    I have my pannier down to a science. Rain gear, bike repair kit, lights, a spot for my morning coffee, lunch and any extra clothes. This week my main bike (with the rack) is in the shop and I am riding my old mountain bike (with no rack) and my routine is all off. I hate carrying a messenger bag and getting that hot, sweaty spot on your back. So this week it is just coffee (in bike cup holder) and whatever I can wear. Can’t wait to get my road bike back!

  • LauriePB July 20, 2012   Reply →

    In addition to the basics you outline, I carry a pair of pruning shears. I’m not always on the street, and sometimes the overhanging blackberry bushes on the park paths get out of hand and need some discipline…..

    • Ethan Fleming July 23, 2012  

      There is a lot of problems with that on Minuteman Trail lately.

  • Steve July 20, 2012   Reply →

    Upgrade your dream kit to a few more beers, you can then ditch your inflata-mechanic and I’ll fix your bike, for a beer.

  • zoe morosini July 20, 2012   Reply →

    I like your bike “kit” but would add a mini-pump, plastic tire removal tools and a patch kit. Someone suggested baby wipes; I second that, not only for hands but for underarms and face especially when you get to work. Unfortunately, not many people ride where I live, so I have to be ready for almost anything…about the inflatable mechanic–is he/she uninflatable later for re-storage?

  • Ryan July 20, 2012   Reply →

    +1 on the beer ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Barb from Bike Style July 20, 2012   Reply →

    I went through a similar downsizing to cut back on the stuff I carry in my purse, which goes into the Donkey Boxx I keep on the bike for unexpected grocery or shopping stops. I used to have a big purse full of JIC (just-in-case) items. Cleaning out my purse was like losing a bunch of weight(, but just like pounds from chocolate chip cookies it seems to keep creeping back up on me. Time for another purse cleaning–thanks for the inspiration.


  • Jessica M July 21, 2012   Reply →

    I carry tools and a spare tube if I’m biking further than I’m willing to walk home. There’s a rain poncho at work and one at home, so I only carry one if it’s raining or the weather radar says that rain is coming. A change of clothes, at least a fresh top, comes in handy in hot or wet weather. A small hairbrush or comb helps recover from helmet hair. A pad of paper and a pen helps me keep track of offending drivers when I get hit. A range of great-looking Po Campo bags of varying sizes lets me color-coordinate and fit the bag to the cargo. Front baskets are good for the inevitable small purchases or farmers markets. It is a good idea to pare things down, though. When I switch bags, I usually cut out a bunch of stuff.

  • Andy in Germany July 21, 2012   Reply →

    Having a Xtracycle means I tend to overpack, then forget what I’ve packed and pack the same thing again. Cleaning out the Xtracycle bags can be quite an interesting experience.

  • Hilda July 21, 2012   Reply →

    Love your work. Your cartoons really capture my optimistic attitude that is sometimes fleeting in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    My everyday bike kit includes my Dargelos lightning vest (yes a total splurge but love it!). My dream bike kit includes the perfect bell, always audible but never obnoxious.

  • bostonperson whohasbike July 21, 2012   Reply →

    I think you still carry too much stuff.

    the only thing I carry different from when I’m not on a bike is the bike lock.

  • Kim July 22, 2012   Reply →

    You should come over to Europe and see how the Dutch, Danes and Germans do it, just get on a bicycle and ride. Why do American’s want to make some thing so simple, so complicated?

    • Vocus Dwabe July 24, 2012  

      The medical term for it is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: a morbid horror that something might one day take them unawares.Also (probably) in Bikeyface’s case since she comes from Boston, the whole New-England Puritan tendency to plan and over-organise in case God catches them idling on parade: the box neatly labelled “Pieces of String (Too Short to Be Any Use)” and the sandwich made from left-over baked beans warmed-up re-heated three or four times already.

      Also the US obsession with the gadget and the techno-fix to everything. Not for them the French or Russian habit of fixing things “provisionally” by lashing them up with sticky tape or a length of rope or strips of lime-tree bast, then leave them like that for the next ten years. Everything must have a purpose-designed solution even if there wasn’t a problem in the first place: cf. the cycle helmet, which continental Europeans seem to manage perfectly well without.

      Myself, all I carry for journeys up to five miles is a cape and waxed hat against the rain (unless it’s a fine day), my chain lock and a mini-bike pump since I use Tyre-Slime – surely one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century – and all you have do with that if you get a puncture is pump the tyre back up again: no fiddling about by the roadside removing tyres and trying to find the leak then sticking on patches, then getting yourself covered in chain jam putting it all back together again.

      For journeys over five miles it’s a canvas shoulder bag (ex-Czech Army, resewn) containing a pint water bottle and mug, a bread tin, a pocket tool kit, a Swiss knife and a couple of other small items; cape, hat and jersey rolled and strapped to the rear carrier. Lights are dynamo at the front and battery at the rear, both fixed , and my bike has a European-style ring lock on the back wheel so no need to carry the chain if I’m not leaving the bike unattended for long. Couldn’t be simpler.

      Always ask yourself, do I really need this?

  • Joanne Bilbrey July 23, 2012   Reply →

    Yay! Always happy to see a new Bikeyface! So funny, and so true…

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