I figure it’s about time to make my inaugural mark on Bike Commuters. I’ve been a busy, busy guy lately without a lot of time to sit down and write much of anything. I use my bike to get to work every day, where my job involves information security and other IT geekery.
Redundancy is a major part of information technology. “N Plus One” means that you should always have one more of something than what you need, so long as it’s practical. In terms of bicycling, you don’t have to carry a spare everything with you, but it might be wise to keep a few spare parts on hand at home or in the office drawer.
You wouldn’t embark on a cross-country road trip in your car without a spare tire, would you? And how much help would the spare tire be if you didn’t know how to change the tire, or didn’t have the tools and a jack to get the old wheel off and the new one on? For those of us who rely on our bikes to get us around town, carrying stuff to fix common failures is a good idea. Usually, that means a patch kit, some way to inflate the tires, and some tools. My essentials all tuck nicely into the wedge pack under my seat, and I include a spare inner tube as well. It’s lightweight and packs small. Knowing how to use these tools and supplies is equally important, though.
I got to thinking about redundancy on Friday night. While I was camping at a nearby lake, the bulb in my trusty Mini-Mag bit the dust. Mag Instruments packs a spare bulb in the tail cap of their flashlights, so it was no big deal at all. That’s the kind of redundancy I like!
While a Mini-Mag is not very good to see the road with when compared to my 15W halogen, any light that can mount to a bicycle is better than nothing at all if you find yourself riding in the dark. Most stick-style flashlights can be rigged up easily with a rubber band. Carrying a whole spare bicycle light around is perhaps a little bit ridiculous. Using a flashlight in a pinch isn’t quite as strange, assuming you have a flashlight with you all the time.
You do carry a flashlight all the time, right? What else do you “carry just in case?”