Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lots of biking

Yesterday, as usual, I rode my bike to work. When I got home, I realized it was my turn to bring snacks to the baseball game. So I rode my bike to the grocery store. I have a very large bag on the back of Big Red. It held 12 8oz. bottles of juice and 12 snack bars with ease.

Later, my kids and I rode to the game on our bikes. That was a good day of bicycling.

I bought a pannier for my wife today. She plans to ride her bike to work this Friday. I hope it works out. My wife had picked the pannier a few days ago. It's a very impressive piece of equipment. It's an Arkel Utility Basket. She mounted it and went for a test ride and found that her heals hit the bag. The bag is as far back as it will go.

I dug out some old panniers I have and they work, but they are much smaller. We'll see if she can fit all her stuff in there. I've got a few other bags she can try. The source of the problem is that she's riding a race bike (Bridgestone RB-2) and its chainstays are too short. Maybe a rack with more aft adjustment would work. I want her to use the new bag. It's huge and with all the straps it can compress to as small a size as the load.

I've used lots of panniers, but never any this nice.


Sophzilla said...

Oh you people and your biking to work! How lovely! I'm afriad I'd get flattened on Lexington Avenue. I should give it a whirl. When I lived in Germany I rode my bike to school almost every day in the spring. It was so lovely! Granted, it didn't get hot like Tulsa there.

Sophzilla said...

And another thing. Snaps to you and the Frau for stickin' it to the petrochemical man!

rigtenzin said...

Riding to work is not for everyone. But you moved to suburbia and that means you have to drive a car. If you walk you are considered homeless and if you ride a bike, it's because the judge said you can't drive no more. That's the way it is in 'merica.

Sophzilla said...

Many years ago there was a guy in my apartment bldg that rode his bike to work. I thik it was because the mand said, 'no more driving, pal.' But I heard him answering the query, somewhat nervously, that he rode the bike because it was convenient. My roommate and I called him Miranda, as in the warning (for the bike and many other reasons).

Karl said...

The beauty of Arkel's mounting hardware is that you can adjust it for heel clearance. Two small metric allen wrenches are all that are needed to move the hooks and rotating latch around on the aluminum rail they are mounted to.

Adjust the rearmost hook forward on the rail a few inches and move the rotating latch if necessary and she should be able to use the pannier without a problem.

rigtenzin said...

Thanks Carl. I'll give that a try when I get home tonight. The bag has been sitting in my basement, unused since the first attempt to mount it.

I didn't return it, because it's an awesome bag and we'll use it somehow, someday. It's about the size of a grocery sack when unfurled.

My wife has been using some old Cannondale briefcase panniers I bought in about 1986. They work great. They are very thin though. So you need to use both of them to carry a full change of clothes. Oh, and they are not even water resistant. I urged her to use plastic bags inside.

Karl said...

Yep, I use the Arkel Bug most of the time for carrying bike tools, rain gear, work clothes, wallet, keys, cell phone, etc. It is an awesome bag because it converts from a pannier bag into a legitimate and reasonably comfortable backback in about 10 seconds.

I also have a Utility Basket that I put on the other side when I need to do some shopping on the way home or haul lots of stuff. I personally don't like it as much as a primary pannier because the rigid bottom does not collapse at all. When it is mostly or completely empty, I always bonk the plastic plate on doorframes and stuff even with the rest of the bag cinched up tightly into a blob.

That said, it's an awesome bag for hauling a lot of stuff. I did the Lake Pepin 3-speed tour this summer with both of my Arkel bags and a tent and sleeping bag bungee corded on top of the mess. It was a heavy load, but I actually was very comfortable pulling it despite using a 3-speed gearhub for a drivetrain. Maybe it's because I'm used to riding everywhere (and hauling heavy loads) with a 74 gear inch fixed-gear configuration.

rigtenzin said...

Karl, I did the three-speed tour also. I'm Rob. I rode the Raliegh DL1 and slept at the campground. I remember you and your big sleeping bag tied to your skinny-tired bike.

I changed the position of the hooks on the Arkel bag and it seems to work. I loaded the bag and rode around the alley. No more heel strikes.

Thanks again. I've never had a pannier before that had adjustable hooks. And I've had quite a few sets of bags. I've kept all of them. I have a little grave yard of panniers. They are ripped, torn zippers, full of holes, etc. I can't bring myself to throw them away.

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