Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Headwind and potential changes

First off, what a headwind this evening! It made getting anywhere almost impossible, and reduced my entire homeward commute to a seemingly uphill battle. Cruising down the 5% grade of Baltimore on my way out of KCMO was about the only time that gravity was of any assistance to me. The rest of my trip home was into a steady 20 MPH blast out of the southwest.

Today, I brought home only my laptop bag, bungeed down to my rack. I left the panniers at work, and all the stuff inside them. I don't need most of it, anyways.

I can put everything I take to work on my bike into 3 categories. The first one is my commuting essentials. These are things I really, really, need. Some of this stuff is semi-permanently on the bike:

  • Spare inner tube(s)
  • Tire levers
  • Inflation device of some sort
The rest, I have to carry with me in pockets or on the rack:
  • Work clothes
  • Apartment keys
  • Cell phone
  • Wallet

Then, there are the things I have with me that are good to have, but in no way necessary:
  • Extra bike lock (for locking up at places like the coffee shop)
  • First aid kit
  • Some extra bike tools
Finally, there are the things I really, really like to have with me, but don't actually need.
  • Laptop (for listening to my music, checking my personal email, etc)
  • Digital Camera (For, you know, pictures)
Anyhow, I'm faced with a decision. I'm really looking to make my commute more efficient. The obvious ways are to reduce weight and/or drag. I'm battling with some ideas, but I'm not sure what will work best until I give them a try.

The most obvious weight reduction method is to keep doing what I'm doing and melt off another 30-50 pounds. At my current rate, that'll take a while.

I'm thinking I may try to use the panniers only on Monday, to lug in a week's worth of clothes to work. Bring the day's dirty clothes home strapped to the rack each night.

To solve the laptop problem, I really wish I could find a bluetooth PCMCIA (not cardBus) card for my old G3 PowerBook. I could just leave that laptop locked up at work without much worry.

I'd like to get to the point where I'm not lugging much between home and work. Does anyone else have any good suggestions?

9 comments:

Dan said...

I would definitely find a way to not carry a laptop around. That's a lot of extra weight.

Sirrus Rider said...

I second Dan's suggestion. A laptop on a bike is asking for trouble and is a ton of extra weight that you don't need to carry. I know of one expert who would probably disagree with me (Ken Keifer); however, he is riding sprints with Major Taylor in the great velodrome in the sky.

One fall and your laptop is toast. My suggestion is to keep a throwdown laptop or PC at your workplace. Either an old laptop or a desktop setup in a broom closet or a location with plausible deniability.

Frogman said...

You do have a USB card for your G3, IIRC. You should be able to use a USB BT dongle. Of course a dongle will stick out more than just a card...

Sefauna said...

30-50 pounds? Jeez your becoming overly obsessed aren't you? To me a MAN shouldnt weigh 130-140 pounds I think a good weight for a guy is 170-190, since you started losing the weight about 35 pounds now? I would start working on toning your new body, building muscles because honestly Im seeing more flab on you then fat. So you should probably start doing other things then just riding a bike... But thats just my 2 cents.

Noah said...

I'm still close to 200, hun. My long-term ultimate goal is the 150-170 range, which I think most people would agree is neither too heavy nor too light for someone with a 5'8" frame.

A Midnight Rider said...

FWIW I agree with you on the 150 goal. I'm 6' and am shooting for the 170-175 weight. The biggest hold up I think is my obsession with deep fried chili dog twinkees. 8>)

martinoffroad said...

I only ride to work 3 days a week and occasionally I will do a 4 day. I drive to work on mondays and bring my clothes and lunches for the week and then ride tues-thurs and drive in friday to bring my clothes home, freeing me from having to carry anything at all. I have been doing this for about 5 years now and it seems to be my routine now, when I started I was doing it the full week but after a year I realized I was wearing myself down, I ride in from the southeast side of Raytown to Roanoke and Karnes in KC, which is a full 16 miles but stretch it out to eliminate some of the hi traffic areas, so I turn it into a 20 mile one way trip.
In the winter months I do the same thing in bringing my clothes in on monday but I drive halfway and park at Lakeside Nature Center and ride in from there.
I ask the folks at the Nature Center if parking during the day there was ok and they said it was no problem.
Not sure if this helps out but thought I would share.

Noah said...

That sounds like a nice ride, Martin :)

I don't have the option of driving, ever. It's a waste of $10 per day when I drive, because parking in the downtown loop is EXPENSIVE. I do have the option to hop on the slow Dreaded bus that goes through my apartment complex. I suppose once or twice per week, I could hop on it with my big duffel bag. It's definitely an option.

martinoffroad said...

Ouch! I tell people where I work when they complain about the benefits or the lack of, that we do have FREE parking.
You can always park your car in our lot at my work, it would add a climb coming back up Roanoke though.

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