Mr. Bornstein Goes to Wasington……… and CRASHES…. A lot=]

crash

All events are true as best I can discern, names of people are pretty much all changed.  Shocking how slow I am going through with this…

My re-entry back into biking close on the heels of my failed/Wildly Successful Depending How you Look at It ‘Sailing to Hawaii Expedition with Captain Lee’ (It should be registered that the boat was first owned by Mr. Larry Flint – hustler Magazine, and was bright pink=) and subsequent rescue by the Mexican Navy [another story for another time, my first sailboat ride=], was in the form of 83 mile bicycle ride with twin Ortlieb panniers on the rear Tubus rack, starting at my parents in Lancaster, PA and arriving in Baltimore, MD.

Epically fine ride, a huge chunk, I would say at least half or maybe more is possible via rail trails with BEAUTIFUL scenery and quaint everything in the small towns you pass through from time to time.  Big thank you to Mt. Gretna Bikes and Mike F. for helping me with route selection!

Sweet General Store near Glen Rock, all kinds of things….  Please do “Say” hello to the shopkeeper from me, he is a most amiable guy who looked forward to seeing me again…

My re-entry back into blogging is taken in the form of being comfortably numb from a previous evening of high speed traffic dodging on my very rad bicycle aptly named –  the Flying Mapache a.k.a. Mapache Volador, a.k.a. The Flying raccoon, beside my very rad Friend Tall P., and yes, moving forward, we change names and add nicknames and what not in order to maintain some privacy for those who might not want me bandying about all manner of personal introspect to everyone in the world…. where was I?  Im starting with a story from two days ago, if this is confusing I am truly sorry, if you are a critic of words and how to make ones thoughts sound good, do let me know as I am not…

…yes, going to a very fine eating and drinking establishment whose name completely escapes me right now and not only meeting quite a broad mix of wonderful guys and wonderfully ninja and beautiful ladies and also a brush with a gentleman of indeterminate age and yet of determined tipsy-ness with the courage of spirits mixed with a natural distrust of what I attribute to be a bit of confidence in the air that surrounds me, at any rate, to what he referred to himself as, a “street kid”, which, in my run on sentence structure that is only salvaged from horrific writing skills, style and complete lack of prose, not even knowing what the word really means, Jose Saramago does it, so whatever.

In tribute of respect to street kids, I offer you a Shout Out courtesy of Skrillex=]

I am no longer in possession of his name, the street kid with the ragged green army jacket, an ancient and raggedly greasy looking brownish cabby hat was touched off with a dark red scarf of sorts and decidedly grungy jeans, and, a rare commodity at this bar was his Irish warrior face paint, and of course he had already done a full body flex whilst yelling Im Irish and then arging.  You know, like…

“Aaaaarrrrggggghhhh”, and Im thinkin’, he really has delusions, but then, havent many of us…  He seriously had face paint and was Braveheart… “Freeeeeeedom!”.

At this point, Im loving my life as it is always so very interesting, and its all from the moments, especially ones with face paint=].

He was adamant about showing me his painting, annoyingly so, and then added with the lack of respect one should show another regardless of station, we are after all all human, we all can go mad, lose or win big, fate reserves no special spots for any save the ones claimed by those who will if only try.  Now once he began demanding money and threatening me, then it was time to turn on the boogie machine, but just a lil bit…

I put my right hand into a half fist with the middle knuckle held super tight and smashed the top of his table, which was to my right facing the bar and of course, THE BIG SCREEN TV, this one was yelling a basketball game at me and everyone in the bar would later approve of whatever happened in the game itself, the outcome of the rivalry, everyone that is except for our gay bartender, whom I only found out about him preferring guys over gals was due to a question I innocently asked a guy what he thought of televised sports, to which he replied, “I’m marrying your server.”

It kind of caught me off guard in a good way and that is why it is here on this page.

I forget what he said about televised sports.  His now Fiancee and not my bartender but my waiter STILL refused to acknowledge the fact that I do not follow, or have ever, televised sports.  I dont know why, it just is…

Anyway…

I hit the table hard enough for “Threatening dude intent on art sale’s” beer to dance a bit precariously and people at the bar either sharply look my way or casually in that obviously casual way at which point I no longer cared as I was following up my vulgar display of power [Pantera] and was now leaning over and what would happen were I to do that in the neck region of a man and besides, he doesnt even know me nor the fact Im just trying to help him tow the line for acceptable public composure so he doesnt get booted out!

Pedaling for Peace right=]capitol at night wash dc

That painting was shown to a lot of people and very forcibly so, eventually he nearly broke a bottle of wine and when realizing that it didnt break, he then stowed it in his backpack, now using exposure of theft and ergo ‘blackmail’ and not physical violence, he became much more amenable and ended up being semi well liked by all and leaving with a new pack of cigarettes from one very interesting and obviously wealthy person, a beer on the house, we all got some of that action and he wasnt kicked out which is the last thing his ego needed.  He never sold the painting which was of a rose and angel, though I never quite could make it out…

My reasoning for not exposing the wine theft….  It would of course suit his purposes and had enough dust on it that I didnt think it would be missed, so no point in causing a scene=]    That I was keeping him calm through blackmail and threat of violence in first place, you may think to yourself, this guy is nuts to be riding for peace, but you have to understand, everyone is on a different path and looks at the world differently, there are times, where i feel i have to vulgar in my power display in order to keep the peace.  If my display ever hurts another, at that point I will have failed terribly, so please dont think i would ever do more than allude to what is possible, never will I use it, further, I dont think I ever will have to, Im too much of a Chris for that to happen=]

As far as being a hypocrite, think of how many hypocrysises we suffer daily not in our best interest, all through out history, kind of Like Jefferson Signing the Declaration of Independence though he had slaves, many, many slaves….  Or The Battle of the Alamo, fought becuase the illegal US immigrants who were squatting on MEXICAN land refused to give up thier slaves, which was law in Mexico – no slaves.

You see?

But then, thats why you have me doing this, I make the hard decisions and walk/ride the narrowest line in a world where there is no reset button.

We ended up at this particular bar as it is on of the only two that Tall P. knows of that still serve him after he lost his D.L. and has yet to sally forth to claim another.

There was some commotion in the front and we found ourselves doing our best to convince a young lady that two car of lengths ahead of her is more than enough to simply pull out, I was gald she took our advice and the soft crunching, engine whine that repeated rocking the large truck behind hers with her Buick was a decidedly bad idea at the time and made her pinky swear with me that she wouldnt die or kill anyone if she actually would just stop hitting the truck behind her, but gentle hits, like 2 ton love taps asking for just a few more inches for MaMa…

——– real time while writing this ——–  My friend Jackies auto air spray thingy just went off, i jump every time now thinking about the time controlled release of toxic chemicals into the air and how we live in a world where the more shallow the more coveted to the point that killing the body to avoid a bad smell is whats up!

We rode home, this time there were no accidents and thats an important part of all this biking stuff…

You can guess the rest, we got back to his place in NE Washington and I slept on my thermarest sleeping pad on the floor in the screened in back porch and rode into downtown DC this am to now stay at Jackies house and consequently a, damn, i cant remember the name for the body contour foam space thing super comfy…

Back to Pauls Thursday I think we are going to do a movie apocalypse and see Star Trek on Thursday and Superman on Friday and then Tom Petty Saturday, oh my hells bells, what a day this is shaping up to be!

But this is from yesterday…  We need to go back 5 days…

To the beginning, that sounds kinda cheesy….no?

I arrived in an apartment complex on Oliver street with a super rad host named Danilee – couchsurfing.com, host, very cool if you never tried.  I tell you the joy of arriving to a place 83 miles after you started that morning, very cool, and that it was done in Luna Sandals, well, thats Epic.

We immediately began by reducing edges through the power of wine, I think I did some cooking and I know we did Kung Fu and handstands at the wall for around 2 hours including practicing the sword form I learned in Nor Cal from the Escrima style of martial arts.  Using my bike stand bamboo pole as the sword, which is the whole point, kickstand and dog be gone in one=]

The next day found us having a brunch with her friend who is marrying a psychiatrist from the Czech republic who is one of the foremost doctors doing research into psychedelics in a very serious way  for PTSD victims and achieving huge and most remarkable success.  I preface that statement with her husband as he does seem to be remarkable and thats why he got such a HOT girlfriend fiance, congrats and buena fortuna to them!

Good to know…. yes indeedy…

We then dropped her off at Dulles Int’l Aeropuerto and then promptly used our newly commandeered car, to scoot to Silver Spring.

It was a Jazz fest, i learned what party cups were and was happy to be the Designated Driver.

I got to see girls kissing – heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Makes me blush it does….

The next day we met a friend of a friend who just moved here from Lanai – Holla Hawaii!, to be the food and bev manager at 4 Seasons, and then went back to Danilee’s place to fix up her bike at a, get this, it tripped me out, a community TOOL library.  I’ve never heard of a community tool library.  And yet there it was and was very rad with a huge assortment of all manner of things.

It was like walking into an Amish Craftsman store decorated by a guy who obviously loved punk rock when it was hitting it’s stride in the 80’s, and we’re not going to argue over when punk was started, if you have a different date, rock n roll=]  He was a totally chill dude, had some sweet tats, and some mighty fine slick hair with the coif in the front.

I got picked up by Tall P. later that afternoon, little did I know of the events that began to unfold once I stepped into the Volvo wagon of power…

We went to his place to get me settled in, I had my two panniers and the thermarest I wrote of earlier, and upon walking in to his apartment, i was blasted by the odor of ammonia, hit me like a wall, just a clearly divided space in the fabric of everything.  I cannot do it justice by comparing it to being somehow akin to going from a complete and total slumber and some how somnabulistically meandering your way to very thin ice.

No, I cannot as it was much worse.  It was like a part of me that had never been awake now was awakened and I found I couldn’t handle the ride…

As I began to sneeze, TP – ha! Tee pee get it…

sorry

So, he was concerned for my affliction to gatos and I assured him that it was nothing of the sort, while cat dander could evoke a sneeze, it was lost in the haze of almost palpable amonia smell.  An overwhelmingly powerful blast.

We decided then I would sleep outside and I would help him get things ship shape, you see, he was in an accident, perhaps the Volvo of power, anyway, his sense of smell was rebooted and never came back online!  Like I told him, “Dude, if a chic comes over, she isnt going to last long man, this is withering at best, if she sticks it out, f’ it, marry her or run away cause she’s nuts!”.

perhaps some cranio sacral…

And then off we went, riding like madmen, but at this point we had only given the Water Pipe a test run, just enough to turbo charge the ride…

Hence the ninja like cat reflexes while riding and when the Mapache Volador [my bike] is unburdened, as some of you can imagine, it takes off, I take flight and while I firmly trust and believe the guys at Mt. Gretna Bikes when they told me everything has to be replaced, somehow, I think if i look deeper, while everyhting is not in like new condition, at all, one look at this bike and you see a tried and true, extremely tested machine, one that has endured temps above 120 to below freezing, being thrown into vehicles, dragged through brush, sliding on ice, numerous impacts at speed, being hit by cars – plural, carS and stood being lost at sea for 19 days with no rust upon reentry to rockin and rollin.

The tavern we went to, bless my heart for remembering the name, SHAWS Tavern.  Here is where things begin to blossom.

Im totally turned on by the bartender and yet with her extremely stylish haircut mohawk thing, slight gap which I find just right in the front teeth, she did not like guys.

Neither did her partner.

After many beers, many because they were all handcrafted and then brought keg by keg on the backs of ninjas trained in the highest reaches of the fabled Shang Ri La.

The city beyond the last horizon, it was good beer and there were many of them and once I got embroiled in being on the receiving end of some passive aggressive hating while still wanting a tip from Tall P, the vibe was very interesting.  Then a met a Doctorate student in some specialty from Iran, very cool young man.

After that, I pretty much remember leaving and then things fuzz a bit, not so much because of the beer so much as what is to come.

Paul would tell me two days later that I was the cornerstone of civility and never once even dared to flirt, which even I find hard to believe, like, I let not a single smile loose in a ‘hey baby’ manner.  Yeah right…

Anyway, he’s been the relatively sober upholder of accounts, so, Knight in Shining Armour for one if you please!  Good to be maturing, thats for sure=]

Here is where the physical damage to me takes place.  My reaction to hearing what happened put out a lot of different emotions, nearly passing out and vomiting was a clue to how bad it actually was=]

We were riding, this time very fast, in fact do you know that some of the fastest cars out there run on crazy high alcohol blends and have blistering speed, apparently so do I after imbibing, so much so that I turned one corner with such momentum that when the pedal hit the ground we both exploded up.  I hit the ground and did a kind bounce roll of which I have all manner of scabs directly into a stone wall, P. said that I immediately jumped to my feet and when he asked me if i was alright I would say, …”oh, its all good, you know, round the world ride and all”, at which point I pick up my bike, fall over, get up again, get on, and manage to take two strokes before doing a wheelie right over onto my back and becoming tangled in my bike as it fell on me.

What made all of this worse was the fact that my new Osprey backpack was so very ninja.  So ninja in fact that I thought nothing of doing the nights riding with a 20lb bag of kitty litter therein.  Its the first bag with the straps and buckles in the right places, everything about it makes carrying weight easy, so then you find yourself cruising around with a lot more weight than normal as it just feels right…..  Anyway…

When I went down, the bag added so much momentum to me hitting that i ended up getting road burn on both sides of my body as I bounced.  I also now want to take a moment and commend the construction of the Osprey packs, it survived with only some minor road rash holes in the lower right side, and probably saved my back, most of it anyway.

I finally made it up after this fiasco and found I could switch immediately back to my cocksure self and now was weaving all around everything, cars, people, plants, small animals…you name it.

Mr. Darwin, we have a table for one over here on a bike…

Kids, dont try this until you are very old, have all kinds of armor plating and cars are made of cotton candy and rainbow kisses.

It is at this point Mr. P. takes us down an alley of sorts to save me from myself and yet, it is out of the pan into the fire!

You see, we have to ride on a very narrow side walk and at one point there is the brick wall and a sign on a post that you have to go between.

That it is a most precise fit indeed was to be my undoing.

Most choose to walk their bikes, now earlier, I did this at very high speed and it was all good, but, as we know, the Beer Fairy [Tom Robbins, ‘B is for Beer’], had been speaking with me and we agreed about a lot of stuff, so I tried it again.

Have you ever stubbed a toe, or toes, multiple.  I have.

Many times.

There went the air freshner spray thingy again…!

So many in fact that I am a bit of a connoisseur of stubbed toes.

My speed and determination were great and while my lean calculated for the handlebars, it did not take into consideration the lower aspect of my bike and the space it inhabited and all forward momentum was placed on my right big toe when it hit the sign post.

Paul said he heard the crash and immediately came back around the corner and all he saw was the sign vibrating slightly…

I was gone.

Now, if you ever have stubbed your toe you know the pain, any children reading this, a toe stub is one of the most unpleasant things that can happen to your human body.  I am not sure why as there is a lot of unpleasantness which can be ascribed to your skin suit, but this is a rare delicacy for some reason, I think the surprise factors in largely, let me know if you reach a conclusion.

I was gone and I can only assume that my body dumped every last minutia of andreline that was stored up and I simply had to go, being in the pain that I was in, that and the fact that only just before this i had wrecked epically and waived it off as a trifle and now, well, I am most gratified and thankful to my body for completely blanking out the next couple hours and retroactively blanking out time and then bringing me back nice and easy, not to mention thankfully still a mite tipsy.

So up I go. I could now continue to ride about hopelessly and absolutely aimless in my being lost with absolutely zero reason to stop pedaling as I found myself verily alive and KICKIN!.dc streetmap

I then felt that what the night needed was a clue, as I obviously had none what so ever.

So when I spied three young very pretty ladies hanging out on their porch with one studious looking gentleman, I felt that obviously, right, obviously, I needed to introduce myself and apparently hang out, smoke a little herb, therapeutic you understand, for the toe and now whole body bruising and have a glass or two of wine.

And copious amounts of water, afterall, I lost a lot of blood from my toe and had to get fluid back in me!

The toe, the amount of blood that came out of a stubbed toe of this magnitude is epic, like someone pulled a damn plug on the body and you are on your way out a pint a minute.

I ended up with my LUNA SANADAL being full of dried blood, my foot was dried blood and the top 1/2 inch of my toe is hanging on by a flap of skin.

ewwwwwww.

They were all cool with the crazed, lost, bloody, absolute stranger on a bike and why shouldnt they be, I mean, they are only going to Howard to be high falutin lawyers and doctors, I know I would be whatever with a watching a bloodied version of me, i would run a little bit Im guessing.

We hung out for a while, more drinks, lots of stories and then when the last of them went to bed, I was offered the chance to sleep on their porch, even given a sheet, warm nights, woulda been perfect, I didnt want them to be the only house with a dude on the porch, so I split.

2.am.

still no clue where I am, So Im just riding and next thing I find myself looking at the capitol from a near distance, in my head I believe it went something like… whoa, there’s that building.  Such a pillar of thought that one.

For the next 3-6 hours, I am having trouble verifying and pinning down some key times, I rode around, in and through every angle I could lay a bead on as the streets were literally mine.

I dont know if you have ever visited our fair nations capitol, I had but remember it dimly, I only remember the girl flashing her breasts at the four of us elementary schooler’s from her dorm lodging across the way.  School tour=]

if you are like me and maybe a lil bit cautious around “the Man”, then perhaps, like me you would not find this a pleasing place to while away the hours.

I now must beg to differ.  You see, this bike ride is on deserted streets, and with the amount of patrol cars, marines and barricades all around, you would think it was a set from a zombie apocalypse movie, just no zombies, nobody really.

Top that off with big streets, incredibly well made, these are avenues for the capitol of the country!  And when you then rest your gaze on some of the most powerful masonry work in our country, it is a sight to behold and thanks to the beauty of the whole situation, the marines and police, whom while watchful, gave out head nobs and a measured respect which made for all the better of a tour de DC!

I recommend the tour de DC while comfortably numb from 2.30-around 5.

Its a wonderful thing to be cruising on a bicycle and watching the corridors of power come to life.  I saw The Lincoln Monument, George Washington Monument, it was all in scaffolding and no longer represented a phallus so much, the IRS building, Capitol Hill, White House, it was rad and the use of all those “names” now brings this blog under scrutiny… Im riding amongst all these are fortresses, amazing grand structures that invoke an other worldliness about them, a sheer break from scale in how massive they are, as though they seek to copy the zen imprint of a mountain.  Again, the streets are empty of people, its a blessing for a person on a bike that loves roads.

There came at one point, where I was just riding around a city block in the downtown area near the Capitol building, it was some kind of park and the the way the streets flowed around it it was like a park in a flat surface velodrome, too complicated, the roads formed a track and there I was doing circuit riding, faster and faster with every pass, I expect that seeing as I was truly the only non paramilitary should for a mile at least, I must have been on quite a few cameras attached to lots of 3 letter companies filled wit company men.

As the sun began to rise the city came to life, it was magical in its own way, these massive blocks of stone, modern day super fortresses, slowly breathing in and out, faster and faster as the sun climbs and lattes spill and the powder of health donuts with reduced calories vanish three at a time all over town.

I rode around the “Ellipse” many, many, many times… it was just so velodramus, wat could I do?  Ni modo!

At this point, having had no success in raising either Jacqueline [ignored me] or Paul [phone “dead”] from borrowed cell phones, I decided to get a hostel at Hostelling International, which was very epic indeed and the staff was super friendly, to include some of the texts to my friends like this gem:

5.30am – Chris in my lobby can you pick him up from 1009 11st NW. he also have his bike

I got a room when the day managers came in at 6, gave me a whole two days for the price of one, sweet, although I would eventually track down Jackie as I went straight to the computer and then she replied and it turns out I was only two blocks away from her place… sweet!

The clerk offered me a refund as I had only been there for 15 minutes and a vegan sub at subway, happy boy=]

Im seeing the light.  Its all about truly seeing and then seizing the moment.  Like our Kung Fu mantra Danilee and I tirelessly repeated, “No Hesitation!”.

As long as I fill my days with intense exercise [half of them at least, the other half for reminding myself why I push myself so hard=], speaking to others and trying to guide situations to every ones best benefit, always keeping safe kids and happy planet as a goal and making everything a potential adventure.  I cannot fail to be a player in a the huge Game of Life and to be a player for “good”.  none of us can fail, we simply need to become re-invigorated, to realize that the moments tat are passing you by are gone FOREVER, you cannot wait till such and such a date to do this and that, you arent even guaranteed to be alive!

All your moments are leading up to one final moment.  The last moment of your life and no mater what is happening hduring your final moment, you will see all moments that have made an impact on your life to that point.  It is that final moment where we send OURSELVES to heaven or hell, we regret what we did with the time given to us or we rejoice and go with a smile.  Either way, it is our call, it is up to us each day to prepare for this one moment in time where we learn a big answer to a huge question.

Aloha=]

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9. Turning your bike into a U-Haul – The Beginners Guide to Touring

bike-rider-with-bob-trailer

Here there are a few options to choose from, and again, never let yourself feel confined to what you read, your imagination gives you an idea that your skill, or your neighbors skill can put into reality, by all means, go for it, I was not blessed with this know how, ergo, I stick to whats available and call it a day.  You do not have to do this any way but your own, I have seen bikes welded to the top of another bike and ridden from Mexico City to San Francisco and there I was wondering simply how to get on the thing!  The sky is the limit and you are the maker of your own world.

Panniers.  This is a tricky French word that means bags on the side of your bike.  You may see people in your town cruising the streets with just one on a side doing their grocery shopping.  You may see them only on the sides of the front wheel.  The usual long distance set up on a conventional bike is 4 panniers.  Two on either side of the rear wheel and two on either side of the front wheel.  This is done in conjunction with a rack system.Flying Mapache with Panniers front and rear

The rack will connect at the same place, roughly, where the hub of either wheel connects with the bicycle, and there will usually be at least one other point of connection, in the case of the rear wheel this will be somewhere near your seat post and in the case of the front wheel, at some point usually midway on the front fork.

At this point I will give my first product placement pitch.  Ortlieb and their rack company Tubus.  I have seen a plethora of various bag/rack combinations, mine included which is not Ortlieb.  The combination of these two will equal satisfaction and they even have a 30 year warranty on their bags.  To my knowledge they are the only company out of a vast host of potentials to do so.  That alone will tell you something, who gives you a warranty simply for buying the product these days, its even printed onto the bags!!!  They are expensive, but only for the initial purchase, after that, as the years tic by, the reason for their initial cost becomes evident, I don’t know his first hand, but if they have a 30 year warranty, someone does.  My partner Diana has them and yes, I am a wee bit jealous.  They truly thought of every detail in their bags.

That being said, there are a host to choose from.  Further, I have seen panniers in the form of used kitty litter buckets, used commercial food storage buckets, again, the sky is the limit if you have your thinking caps on.

Go online, see various possibilities there.  Never fret, there will always be a way to carry your things!

To carry this stuff, you’ll need racks, again, a host of companies to choose from and based on mine compared to Dianas, if you can afford it or you find it used, Tubus.  So much thought went into this system, the bags are separated from the top of the rack by enough space that you can EASILY remove your panniers without having to mess with whatever you are carrying on the upper portion of the rack.  This upper portion, which will be looking up at the rear bottom of your seat, is where many people carry longer bulkier items such as the tent, sleeping bag etc.

bike-rider-with-bob-trailerAnother method of carrying is a trailer.  Here we get a bit more specific, I know of two companies off the top of my head, Burley and B.O.B.  I personally decided to not go with a trailer as some of the cities I was coming to would be very unsafe, like Tijuana.  The drivers are very “quick” in their decisions and this can be bad.  For instance, I’m cruising along with my trailer, tis is a fictional story to make a point, it didn’t actually happen, so this non existent driver sees me and the trailer I don’t have because this is a story, He/she sees me pass and immediately shoots forward as drivers in some areas do.  What happens next is bad for both me and the driver.  The driver saw the complete package of myself and the trailer, but only I registered, when the driver shot forward and hit my trailer, as it is really connected to the bike, it brought me down into potential traffic.  Not a good scene… again, this is MY thinking.  I know of plenty people and have met plenty who use a trailer, they absolutely LOVE them!  It makes riding infinitely easier, of course, I recommend a flag be attached to it for increased visibility.

You can build your own trailer if you know how, and again, attach a flag.  Maybe you could even figure out a way to make a quick release mechanism if the trailer is torqued in any one angle too much and then patent it and sell it and live off the royalties for the rest of your bike touring days [and since you got the idea here, Ahem…. You dig=].

The panniers and bags for the trailers will give you the option of waterproof or non.  That choice is entirely up to you.  I find the waterproof to be more sturdy, but then, there is a cost associated with that.

The kitty litter buckets/food service buckets – waterproof, just make sure you get the hook system sealed well.  The hook system is what attaches the bag to the rack.  Again, Ortlieb has a rad one.  If you make your own, you will have to figure it out, GOOGLE!

This is your basic set up, now you have what I consider to be ancillary bags.  You have the frame bag, which webs between the upper tube and lower tube, the under the saddle/seat bag, the handlebar bag, there are many, many bags, many styles and designs.  At this point, I leave it to you kind reader to decide what is best for you.  As a note, Diana loves her “Lunchbox” from Ortlieb, super functional, holds a lot, and comes with a quick on shoulder strap and lock system and mounts to the front of the handlebars.

Keeping your bags safe.  This is a bit tricky as many do not have a lock system, nor would it do much good as they are made of material, usually non Kevlar, which I don’t even know if that is cut proof, so it may be useless conjecture anyway.  What we have done as a preliminary pre-caution is use our little ninja locks from MasterLock to keep them micro chained to the bike if we are to be away for extended periods, such as in a restaurant where we have poor visibility.  This is merely a peace of mind thing, though, if a person were to try a snatch grab, they would topple the bikes and cause a commotion at which pint Chris Ninja would enter the scene.  At least, that’s what I tell myself.

I write that last part for two reasons.  The places where you think you will be robbed, you probably wont, being robbed is rare in my circumstance and happens when you least expect it.  Example, I walk into Peets coffee in Santa Cruz, suddenly remember I forgot something, come out to my bike some 2 minutes later and BAM, my under saddle bag and lights were gone.  Santa Cruz is a very wealthy city, in the U.S.A.  We have left all of our things completely unattended for HOURS in Mexico and nada, zip, nothing happened.  Let it be a lesson and never let the negative thought of what could be prevent you from the adventure of that could be!  Capisce?

Backpacks.  I am on the fence when it comes to these wonders of man.  Which they truly are, though certain African tribes seem to be more effective using the same basic system but attaching it to a strap that comes round the head.  Turns out the head is better suited to weights than the back, which is why our children these days are having chronic back problems and African tribes are carrying staggering loads easily.  But I digress.

On a short ride no worries, on longer more intense rides, even a light pack will become a burden to you.  The position of the body does not lend itself well to having a weight of any sort.  At least mine does not.  So keep this in mind, if you have all your other bags filled and you still have more stuff, you may want to re-examine what’s really going on and reduce.

I do have a ninja compactible bag from the Chico-Bag company which I swear by, it is part of my must have kit whenever I am separated from my main gear.  This is where I carry the things that should everything be stolen, I’ve got the important stuff – i.d., IPad/charger, Passport, Wallet, pic of mom and dad, headphones, sunglasses [we use Kaenon which seriously reinvent the way you view the world] and other little this n’ that’s.

Ortlieb

One week in the road and I really don’t need more to tell you: Ortlieb rules.


I am so very thankful with them for sponsoring us with ALL my racks and panniers. I mean all: the Back-Roller Classic, the Ultimate 5 Plus Handlebar bag, the front Roller bags AND all the racks and spare parts!

The Back-Roller Classic are amazing and assembling the racks was so easy even for a newbie cyclist like me. The bags have a 30 years guarantee. I believe them in the expectation of a long, long life; completely waterproof (already proved that when my eye solution spilled and the whole bag flooded… BUT looking from outside not a sign, not even a tiny little indication of moisture), super strong material (that is enduring amazingly well my falls and keeping my ‘fragile’ belonging safe), easy to mount and take off from the bike, seriously, one movement and they’re on/off. They have several colors available, mine are bright red and I love them, also the red makes me more visible in the traffic which is always good. Talking about visibility, they have reflective patterns that are very well placed.

The front bags are sweet! small but have amazing capacity, equally easy to put and take off. Same as the back bags, are designed to release the rack when taken from the upper strap and completely grab on to it when they’re on so they won’t come off even on a fall… or at least it would have to be a mean one which hasn’t happened and hopefully won’t… I still believe they would be just fine even in that scenario.

Last, the front bag: soooo useful! Ultimate 5 Plus Handlebar Bag. Tricky to take off from the bike but once you get it so easy and practical. The bag looks small but it’s like a black hole! We are keeping everything we need to have at hand: wallet, phone, charger, toilet paper, map, sunglasses, tooth paste and brushes, iPod, deodorant, sunblock, pen, marker, crazy glue and the occasional snack. There is still space available -WHAT?!

The only thing perhaps is the carrying strap. It’s a great addition and makes it very easy to just take off and carry with you, but it comes off rather easily so most of the time I end up holding it in my arms. Another thing is that it opens and closes with pressure buttons and like such, sometimes are hard and one already broke… nothing that the crazy glue couldn’t fix easily and so far it is still on so not a problem.

Thank you so much again, and again, to Ortieb. Definitely the best in the market as far as we know!

 

 

 

MEETING THE MAN AT INTERBIKE 2012

Another RAD thing about InterBike: we got to meet Jeff Scully, the man behind my super bags! It’s always nice putting a face to a name, and such a nice face it is!

Ortlieb is definitely at the top of the game. They brought quite a selection of their items having something for meeting all needs and tastes. Wide variety of designs, colors and materials. Now they will also be sponsoring Chris’ bags that after 4000 miles he’s stoked to be upgrading.

After riding 1000 miles with Ortlieb I am convinced there are the best, incredibly practical, resistant, have endured me falling over and over, super quick and easy to put on and take off, amazing capacity I always find space to fit everything and anything and definitely waterproof… the gentleman at the right of the picture is another witness to Ortlieb quality. After riding all over the world for several years he’s full with anecdotes like having his bike fall into a lake, completely submerged… and having all his belongings safe, unbroken and dry. Need anything more to be convinced?