What’s in the bag?

For someone who cycles just under 6 miles (each way) in one of the world’s most urban cities, I carry a lot of stuff with me on my commute. So what’s in the bag?

Allie's bike on the Staten Island Ferry

  • Tool bag (with wrench, multitool, tire levers, spare tube, etc.)
  • Lunch
  • Sunglasses & case
  • Lip balm
  • Wallet
  • Cellphone
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Clif bar
  • Clothes (wrapped in a plastic garbage bag)1
  • Rain gear (pants, jacket, cover for bag)2
  • Tail light

And that’s just the bare minimum. On days when I have off-site meetings, there’s also hair product and shoes in there. (I keep a collection of shoes under my desk–and a hair dryer, straightening iron, styling creme, and hair wax in a drawer–but when I have to travel to meetings, I need to bring some with me.) Last week, I baked cookies that I took with me to a meeting. Today I brought my glass jar of coffee because I ran out yesterday.

I don’t normally carry a lock (because, luckily, I have a bike storage locker at work) but I do have to bring one if my day requires travel. I keep a Kryptonite U-lock in my storage locker at work (for when I have afternoon meetings) and a heavy-duty chain lock at home (for when I have morning meetings). If I didn’t have to carry a lock with me, I’d be a happy camper: it adds considerable weight and bulk to my bag. But, unfortunately, I live and work in a city where bikes are stolen in broad daylight on a regular basis so I just have to suck it up and deal with it.

Given all the stuff I carry with me, I’m extremely grateful for my rear rack and trunk bag combo. They work great together and I get to haul a lot of stuff. The bag has a carrying handle and a shoulder strap so it’s easy to slide the bag off my rack and carry it with me into the elevator and to my desk. I’ve also used it to go grocery shopping. It can do it all! But maybe not for long: I got it 4 years ago and it’s starting show some wear and tear. When it finally breaks down, I’ll be replacing it with the same model. Actually, I’ll probably upgrade to a higher-capacity one. Bigger is better, right?


1 Why the garbage bag? Rain! My bag isn’t waterproof so I need to make sure my clothes don’t get sopping wet on my morning rides. And it’s also easier to then transport the clothes into a bag I keep at my desk that I take with me to the bathroom to change, do my hair, etc.
2 I don’t trust meteorologists anymore so I take my rain gear with me everyday and everywhere.

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