Thursday, July 16, 2009

Maybe it's the new backpack?

When I get to work, I often come to the office in a T-shirt or a synthetic running shirt, and shorts -- usually cargos, depends on my mood and the state-of-the-laundry-pile, though. In a strictly biz-casual environment, I often get a few comments about my bicycle commuting regalia. Backpacks aren't uncommon around here, but panniers look strange when you're carrying them -- especially TWO of them. So I'm no stranger to getting the odd comments. I always head straight for the locking bathroom and change. People know my routine.

This morning, the comment was a new one. "You look ready for a hiking trip! I want to work in that department!"

I chuckled before explaining my situation. Maybe it was my new backpack (scored cheap at Costco last night, the Purchase Order was approved by my lovely and wonderful household CFO)

I got my Kensington Contour for Christmas back in December 2006. It's served me quite well, but it's kind of ratty and I've made some impromptu fixes to it along the way. Last night, a buddy of mine asked if I need a new backpack for my birthday, jokingly poking fun at how tattered it's become. I suppose it was about time for a new one anyway.

Usually, I'm an avid fan of the panniers. When it rains, I often use my backpack and take the bus. I use the backpack because it's a pain to remove both panniers and bring them onto the bus, and a bigger pain yet to get them back onto the bike for the two-block trip to the office once I get downtown. It also sucks to leave one or both panniers out in the elements on the front of the bus, especially since one of them contains a wallet, mobile phone and often a fairly expensive laptop computer.

This is all to say that there are times when the backpack simply makes more sense. Short jaunts to the bus certainly qualify. I'd have likely rode all the way in but I got barely a wink of sleep last night. I tagged Lorin and we hit coffee. I doubled my caffeine intake with a quad-shot beverage, and augmented my backpack with a few cans of Mountain Dew from the fridge for good measure.

I think I'm probably going to go to sleep right after work tonight. 6 hours of sleep in the past 72 hours is NOT good for the mind, the body or soul.

If any of the dozen-or-so people who reads this happens to be from Las Vegas, I'll be in town again for the annual DEFCON conference at the end of July into the beginning of August. And like last year I'll be sure to take lots of pics. I picked up some last-minute side-work that will cover the trip's expenses. The conference schedule is packed pretty tight, but let me know if you'd like to meet for lunch on Friday July 31. There's a block of time in there over the early afternoon hours (starting about 1:30) where there's not much interesting stuff going on.


Matt said...

You mentioned that you wear cargo shorts when you ride - do you wear padded shorts underneath them? If not, you really, really should. Especially on days when you ride the whole way to or from the office.

Noah said...

It depends. When I take the bus both directions, I'm only traveling about 5-6 miles total (round trip) on my bicycle. about 2.5 to get to work and about 3 to get home (depends which buses I take and what stops I use)

In those cases, padded shorts really don't make much difference. When I ride the whole way, I'll usually have bike shorts on under my cargo shorts and then take the cargo shorts off as I get on my bike to ride home. When I ride all the way in, I'll also ride in bike shorts but put something a little less startling on OVER them before coming into the office.

I also have a padded mountain bike short liner which is NOT designed to be worn alone. I often wear some thin athletic shorts along with it.

Matt said...

Cool. I was just curious. You can do a little damage if you go padless on rides over 5 miles.

I tend to just keep a light pair of shorts in my panniers to throw on over the sausage casings.

RANTWICK said...

Ever since I got good panniers, I can't stand a backpack and the sweat under it. I hear you about the bus thing, but I don't do that.

I allow my co-workers to see me in all my spandex glory for about one minute, until I can close my office door and change... those poor bastards.

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