Friday Musings

Friday Musings: Back to the Backpack?

Not too long ago, I gave up commuting with a backpack in favor of letting my bike haul my stuff in panniers. I had just discovered the Banjo Brothers waterproof pannier and have commuted with a pannier ever since – never looking back. In the meantime, my neck and shoulders have enjoyed the added relief of being unburdened.

But today’s morning bike commute got me reconsidering the backpack. Truth be told, I’ve been thinking about getting another bike commuter specific backpack for a while now. It was seeing that bike commuter this morning sporting a hot pink Chrome rolltop bag that reignited the spark and interest in a backpack. Talk about hi-vis! I could see this hot pink pack from a block away and it actually brightened my mood on this otherwise gray Friday! (sorry I missed the photo op)

Also, just yesterday another biking friend emailed me about his collision with a pothole last August that resulted in him fracturing many ribs and a having a collapsed lung. The staff at the trauma center told him that if he had not been wearing his small backpack he would have been paralyzed. Saved by the backpack?

So – my meandering commute this morning not only took me in a less than direct path to work, but also has me looking back into backpacks again. What goes around comes around, right? This time around I think the options in commuter backpacks have come a long way.

If you commute with a backpack, what’s your preference? (Note: finding a pack that isn’t too big is an issue for me = is there one that’s “just right” for me?) I’ll be trying to figure that out.

Friday Musings: Dream lover

Twice this week on my bike commutes home I have found myself humming a random tune. Each time the tune was one I had invented and made up as I rode along, yet both times I ended up singing this oldies tune:
Bobby Darin’s Dream Lover.

Biking usually clears my mind. As daily bike commuter Phil Day from Chicago’s PBS station WTTW said in this updated segment about winter biking: “All you think about is what’s right in front of you.” ….and nothing else matters.

He’s right. Yet I often find my mind straying to random tunes or to thoughts of the tasks I have to do or any other number of meanderings. Most of the time the thoughts are fleeting and gone by the time I arrive at my destination.

Unfortunately all it takes is one such thought to distract me and cause a split second of lost focus. In fact just last week I nearly wiped out when my front wheel evidently caught a crevice in the road and I found myself suddenly struggling to recover my balance and stay upright…. My mind had wandered to my work “to do” list and thoughts about the impending winter weather and pondering just how frozen the roads felt below my bike tires; my last thought before I was in recovery mode was “it would probably really hurt to go down on this frozen ground”. One moment and one bad move = a close call.
We’ve posted about making such mistakes in the past and I even alerted cyclists to stay alert back when I was profiled (I could use some of my own advice sometimes).

Yet, I will continue to daydream, hopefully not about what I have to do at work that day or what I have to do when I get home. RL has listed all of his random thoughts while bike commuting. I’ll just keep singing wistful songs to myself. Who needs an iPod and headphones when I can entertain myself? In winter, I don’t even have to worry about someone in a car hearing my off-key humming; their windows are closed up tight.

What do you “muse” about during your bike riding commutes?

Fellow bike commuters: We’ll be calling this and future such posts “Friday Musings”. Every once in a while on a Friday we’ll post some light-hearted musing for your TGIF enjoyment. (kind of reminds me of the concept of “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey“)