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Posts tagged ‘Ortlieb’

conversations with holsteins (day 31) ;)

drooling over my camera (literally) ūüėČ

And just when you thought I was all done …….

Apparently out of habit I had to ride today. ¬†A little bit rainy, but again – there were rewards. ¬†Some great conversations with Holsteins along the way. ¬†Nice little ride before all of the bad weather moves in. ¬†I don’t know why I have such a fascination with these cows, but they are so sweet and gentle, I just can’t help myself.

up close and personal

the Cow Chronicles continue ... Day 31

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#30daysofbiking Day 20: a lesson in the rain

in the mist

I learned a lesson today. ¬†Woke up this morning to rain, and since I really had nowhere that I had to be, I stayed in – catching up with work in the house, and hoping the rain might pass eventually, thinking I’d go out for a ride when it did. ¬†And it never did.

I don’t mind – and actually often enjoy – riding in the rain, but can’t say I intentionally go out in it just to ride. ¬†I have decent rain gear, and if I have to be somewhere, I usually don’t let rain stop me. ¬†I’ve been caught in the rain – unexpectedly. ¬†But I can’t say I’ve ever decided. “Hey, it’s raining – I’m going out for a ride!”

a puddle of pollen - washed from the air

But of course, this being #30daysofbiking – I knew I was going out in it, whether I really wanted to or not. ¬†By late afternoon, when things still hadn’t cleared up, I decided to just go. ¬†Had my rain gear, packed my camera in my waterproof Ortlieb, and decided to ride my mountain/commuter bike because it had fenders and I didn’t care how filthy it got. ¬†I was prepared for a dreary, wet slog, and had decided ahead of time where my turn-around point would be.

The surprise was on me. ¬†It was divine. ¬†The rain dwindled down to a pleasant drizzle, the air was incredibly still and quiet, and smelled so fresh and clean. ¬†Mist was hanging over the hills, leaves were dripping. ¬†It was one of the most serene experiences I’ve ever had on my bike. ¬†When I got to my turn-around point, I knew I wasn’t going to turn back as planned. ¬†I stayed out in it. ¬†Gladly.

I think most of my rainy day rides have been commuting – in town, in traffic. ¬†A few times we’d been caught in showers biking trips (Grayson Highlands, VA, and the New River Trail come to mind). ¬†But riding out on a quiet local road – just to ride, in the rain – was something I probably would never have thought to do, had it not been for my commitment to #30daysofbiking.

What a wonderful lesson #30daysofbiking taught me today.  Ride every day Рyou never know what you might be missing.

dandelions: just as beautiful when wet

birthday bicycle goodies (Yakkay, PoCampo & Ortlieb)

I just turned 49.  So I bought myself a party hat.

Really, one of the geekiest, least-appealing (to me, anyway) aspects of bicycle commuting is the wearing of the bike helmet. ¬†As I’ve written about before, I AM a believer; I won’t ride without a helmet, but it doesn’t mean I love how I look in them.

Last year I read about a new helmet design by Yakkay – a street-inspired helmet design with interchangeable covers (hats). ¬†I loved the idea, loved the pictures I saw, and I knew I really wanted one. ¬†Sadly, they were not yet available in the US. ¬†As this winter started kicking into gear, colder temperatures on the way, I re-visited the idea of purchasing a Yakkay, and hooked up with a wonderful gal, Lavinia, from LondonCycleChic. ¬†With her help and a few clicks of the mouse, I got my beautiful new “birthday” hat, complete with removable fleecy ear covers and snappy tweed cover. ¬†Even better news, the LondonCycleChic folks tell me that they are working on “opening a little US antenna in March 2010” … which I figure will be just in time for me to order a sweet summer cover. ūüėÄ

Anyway, they were great people to do business with, and I really look forward to them expanding stateside.  You can also follow one of their peeps on Twitter (@CazCyclechic), and they have a terrific LondonCycleChic blog, full of great London cycle fashion photos and articles.

Another great birthday gift came from my Dad and his wife – nifty little Po Campo handlebar bag. ¬†Po Campo is a Chicago-based company (my “home town”), and my Dad was kind enough to send me a gift certificate which I used to pick out this great little black and white bag.

Po Campo bicycle clutch

Clip on handlebar straps - Po Campo clutch

Although it’s not very big, it’s just enough to carry a wallet, phone, and a few small essentials for quick commute to an appointment or other errand when I don’t need to carry much. ¬† I also like the front pocket – perfect for easy access to my phone. (Not while riding, of course). ¬†Mostly, I love that it is on the front of the bike – rather than on the back or over my shoulder – easy to see and easy to access.

The final piece of commuting gear I have finally acquired Рand really, more essential than the rest Рare a set of Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic waterproof panniers.  I cannot count how many times I have been out Рat the Y, around town, errand-running Рand I have gotten caught in an unexpected rain shower.  Stuff gets soaked Рwallet, phone, extra clothes, camera, books, etc.  I can tuck this into a side-loader on the Xtracycle, or I can put it on the rear rack of my commuter bike or the eBike.  And everything stays dry Рno matter what I encounter or find I have to ride through.

Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic waterproof pannier

Aside from the waterproof-ness, things I especially like (putting it way ahead of other panniers we’ve owned):

  • Great easy-access top opening – no zippers or flaps to mess with. ¬†Simply roll down the top (constructed much like a typical dry-bag, with plastic strip on edge), and clip the strap over the top.
  • Slim profile, multi-pocket inner organizer – perfect to stash a wallet or phone, doesn’t take away from the main large storage space.
  • Superior rack attachment system – the top hooks can be customized with inserts, to fit a variety of different diameter rack rails. They don’t just “hang” on the rack rails, they actually close around the rail (see photo below). ¬†The 2 top hooks can be adjusted (spacing between the two hooks), and the bottom QL2 hook is fully adjustable/rotatable as well – invaluable features I’ve not found on other panniers.
  • Two large reflective “spots” on both side panels of the bags, making them interchangeable on either side of the rack. ¬†I’ve also found that I can easily attach a Blinky to the top of the shoulder strap when the bag is mounted on the rack – perfect positioning.
  • And did I mention they are fully¬†waterproof?

I love the ease of access to the main compartment when it’s mounted on the bike. ¬†Nice wide opening, quick and easy to access and load. ¬†I don’t know the exact specs on the capacity, but they can hold a lot. And the bag is a breeze to take on and off of the rack. ¬†You simply pull up on the top handle-strap (which is attached to the quick-release tabs on the top hooks), and pull straight up.

Pull the handle to release the top clips from the rack

Finally, a nice shoulder strap (that is secured to the front of the bag when not in use), makes it great to carry in and out of your destination – from the office to a quick stop at the store.

Off bike, carrying with the shoulder strap

Using the shoulder strap

And did I mention they are fully waterproof?!

Out of everything next to the Xtracycle, I don’t know how I managed without these for so long. ¬†Indespensible, in my opinion – because you never know when wet weather might hit. ¬†Design-wise, I don’t think I will ever buy another brand of pannier – these are just so well-designed from every angle.

So that’s it. ¬†I’m older now. ¬†But also a tiny bit more stylish (I think) when I’m out on the bike!