Carrying Capacity

The  bike commute is progressing. It’s about 40 minutes no matter what I do, but I can live with that. It’s all downhill in the morning, which is so easy, but that means that it’s uphill after work, which is tiring. Walking my bike uphill after an 8 hour day makes me wish for more gears. Three speeds just aren’t enough. Especially with all stuff I feel it’s necessary to carry.

The front basket holds my purse and jacket, the side basket has my water bottle and the repair/toolkit.  My coffee cup is in a special cupholder attached to my handlebars. It’s the silliest thing, but it’s also potentially useful because I don’t have a water bottle cage on the bike, so there’s no easy way to get a sip of water while I’m pedaling. I need to stop, dig out my water bottle, and then open it.

Today I carried more stuff with me. The front basket holds my laptop, sweater and water bottle. The rear basket has my purse, the repair kit, and my lunch.  No coffee today, because while the cupholder does an excellent job of holding up the cup, the lid doesn’t do that great a job of keeping the liquid inside.

I always carry *something* on my bike. I don’t like wearing a backpack or messenger bag while cycling. Even if it’s just my purse and water bottle in the front basket.  I really need to get a second collapsible rear basket….

Riding and pushing this load is certainly making me stronger and increasing my stamina. I rode on Friday,  did a 5 hour dance intensive on Saturday, set up and took down a sound system on Sunday, and rode today, and I’m not tired, and things really don’t hurt. Except for the bruise on the back of my leg, where I hit myself with the pedal….

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This is one of my Round 2 entries in the Let’s Go Ride A Bike Summer Games.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Carrying Capacity

  1. Oh, the bicycle bruises! I am like the Princess and the Pea under the best of circumstances, so having an enormous 50-lb bike to carry up and down the porch steps every day has done a real number on my right leg and right inner elbow. And then I keep seeing things (a cupholder! a vintage handlebar mirror! a porteur rack!) that I want to add onto the bike, which doesn’t help.

    As far as the uphill commute, have you thought about lowering the gearing? Lovely Bicycle has a bit about replacing the rear cog on an old 3-speed to make it easier to climb hills. Maybe that would work?

  2. Just a thought: Consider lowering the gearing on your bike, which can be done by replacing the rear cog (any bike shop can do it easily and inexpensively). This way, you may be able to tackle hills even with just 3 gears. I can do it on my vintage raleigh DL-1, with a 21 tooth cog in the rear.

  3. @ Lovely Bicycle– thanks for the recommendation. I’ll see if one of the shops up here can do it. Anything to make the uphills easier! :)

  4. oh yes… bike bruises… the pedals on my kona have the most evil teeth on them. i’m thinking of having them changed for that reason alone. they leave the worst bruise/bite marks on my legs ever.

    my commute’s about 40 min too. sometimes i’m jealous of folks who have a shorter one, but in a way our longer commute is more efficient because it counts as a sustained workout too. :D

    love the coffee cup!

  5. I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one with bicycle bruises – I thought I must be just a huge klutz :) I’ve had a huge purple and green bruise on the back of my leg for the past 2 weeks and am beginning to wonder if it’s ever going away!

    A question for you regarding your rear basket – do you feel as if having a basket on just one side throws off your balance at all or do you just get used to it and it doesn’t bother you? I’ve been thinking of folding rear baskets and thought that I’d probably need two since I might be unbalanced if I used just one (wouldn’t take much for me to feel that way)! I think I would need two anyway since I don’t plan to carry anything substantial on the handlebars.

    Oh, hope you don’t mind if I placed a link to your blog on mine!

  6. Hi Traci, don’t worry about bike bruises. I seem to get new ones every day. As for the baskets, I don’t notice any balance problems. I have good balance and I’m a dancer, so YMMV. I do notice when I carry my laptop in the back, because it is 1″ above my seat, so I have to be careful not to put any weight on it. I tend to carry the laptop in the front basket. I do plan on getting a second folding basket, but it’s just a question of money. I’ve had some other repairs to do on the bike, so the basket keeps getting put off. They’re useful, don’t take up any space, and are so light when unloaded.

  7. T

    Thanks for the answer about the basket – I’ve been debating between that and panniers for awhile and I’m thinking right now that a basket will be easier and more useful.

    Traci

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