A few weeks ago, I posted a “first look�? at the Seattle Sports Fast Pack waterproof pannier.

I’ve had a chance to really ride with this bag — and I LOVE it!! The bag has carried some heavy loads (dress shoes, a stack of big library books, groceries) and has remained absolutely waterproof through some brutal late-summer Florida rainstorms.

In my earlier post, I talked about the great attachment system. The combination of rigid clips and a rotating toggle have made this bag impervious to shifting or “jumping�? off the rear rack of my bike, even with a 20 lb. load in it. It doesn’t rattle or sway in any way. Here’s a look at the attachment system for those who missed my earlier article:

I also really enjoy the ease with which I can open and close the bag to fill it and remove items. I was using some cheapie Nashbar-branded panniers before I got this bag to review, and with that one I have to unclip two buckles, flip open a flap and then undo a drawstring to get at my goodies. With the Seattle Sports pannier, I merely unclip the buckle and roll the top twice to open it. Reclosing it is just as simple — two quick rolls with my wrists, clip the buckle and I’m off!

The fabric, besides being completely waterproof, has also proved to be quite durable. It doesn’t show any signs of wear, even after I scraped that side of the bike against a narrow concrete passageway I sometimes pass through on my way to work. Sharp corners of books that I’ve carried haven’t damaged the bag in any way, either.

I still dislike the inky black interior of the bag — I wish the bag was lined with a lighter-colored material to help me find small items in the bottom, but in practice this really hasn’t caused me any problems.

In any case, this Seattle Sports Fast Pack bag appears to be just the ticket if you have stout commuting loads, live in wet areas and are tired of your other panniers flapping and jingling as you ride. For more information and pricing, take a look at Seattle Sports’ bike gear page.

Now, if I could only scrape together enough cash to buy one for the other side!

From LAist:

A cyclist westbound on Hollywood Boulevard hears a loud horn behind him as he rides in the right side of the #2 lane, alongside a row of parked cars and dangerously close to the door zone.

The motorist with the heavy horn hand turns out to be Metro Bus Driver #XXXXX and she passes the cyclist so closely that his left hand touches the side of the bus as it speeds past him. The number #1 lane is empty and nothing serves to prevent the bus driver from changing lanes to pass the cyclist except for a failure on her part to acknowledge the cyclist’s right to ride the streets of Los Angeles without having his life threatened.

The bus proceeds down Hollywood Boulevard to a bus stop at Wilton and stops. The cyclist pulls up on the driver’s side of the bus and addresses the bus driver informing her that honking at a cyclist with no room to spare will only serve to startle the cyclist and cause a dangerous situation and that as a professional driver she should know that if the lane is too narrow to share, she should change lanes in order to pass without endangering the safety of the cyclist.

The driver screams “You were in my way. You need to get off the road!? She slams the window shut.

The cyclist, who would have accepted a “Sorry, my bad!? and called it a day, pulled in front of the bus and informed the driver that he was calling the police to report the driver for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, the bus. She screams, points at her watch, tells the cyclist to move and puts the bus in gear.

To continue reading click here.

I woke up this morning just itching to go fishing. But I really wanted to go out for a ride. With the busy schedule I’ve had, it’s been a while since I’ve been on a bike. So I took the Nirve Ultraliner, strapped down my fishing pole and rode out to one of the local canals.

The ride itself was awesome. The temperature was cool and a breeze was constantly blowing. It felt great being back on the saddle again. Going fishing at this point was just an added bonus.

I definitely have to do this more often. The combination of riding a bike and fishing is definitely a plus in my book.

It looks like Staples and the City of Miami are Bike Commuter friendly!

The store’s green design will help:

* Improve energy performance and reduce “heat island effect? contributing to higher city temperatures through a highly reflective roofing system;
* Reduce the strain on municipal water and Florida aquifer reserves by collecting rainwater through rooftop gutter systems and installing waterless urinals and low-flow toilets;
* Preserve non-renewable, virgin resources by using drywall, steel, concrete, bathroom partitions, carpet and parking stops made from recycled materials;
* Protect and restore habitats by landscaping with 100 percent native plants and shrubs;
* Encourage alternative transportation by installing bike racks and showers;
* Lead recycling efforts by having on-site recycling for paper, plastic, glass, and cardboard, in addition to computer, electronics and ink cartridge recycling offered by Staples stores every day.

click here to read the news release

Let me emphasize this line again: * Encourage alternative transportation by installing bike racks and showers;

Man, I would settle for some businesses around my area to install bike racks, but showers??? Now, that’s going the extra mile!

Thanks to Eric Smith for the heads up

Why I do it

Since this is my first post, I thought it would be best if I gave you a brief version of my “story? – and how I became a bike commuter.

I moved to Phoenix, AZ from Mobile, AL a little over a year ago to seek my fame and fortune. After finishing college, I was ready to see a new part of the country, and my big brother happened to live in Phoenix. I drove my car across the country, found myself a job, and began the nightmare of driving 22 miles, one way, from the suburbs to downtown Phoenix – along with the other million plus people making the same drive. This was my routine for about 6 months, until I just could not take it anymore. I decided that my sanity was worth more than the money I was saving by living with my big brother in a nice house, and found a reasonable (but still overpriced) apartment about 8.5 miles from my office. I moved in during the last week of July, and on August 1, I became a full-on bike commuter.

I rode my bke to work every day for the entire month of August. I withstood 23 work days of 110 plus degree heat – and no matter how “dry? the heat is, 110 degrees still feels like a blow dryer in your face. Everyday, at least one person would ask me why I did it. I would shrug and say, “I like riding bikes,? but there is more to it:

I do it:

* because I don’t want to be like everyone else in my office, who, when seeing someone walk in with a bike, tries to justify themselves by saying, “well I would ride my bike but…?;
* because politicians can talk about global warming and climate change all they want, but I am actually doing something about it;
* because I like showing people that, despite what they tell me, it can be done;
* because the more cyclists there are on the road, the more motorists will know how to behave around us;
* because it is guaranteed exercise every day;
* because I get to see my community on a more personal level; and
* because I, being of sound mind and body, can not imagine choosing this:


traffic in phoenix
[image courtesy of USA Today]

over this:

Finally, I do it because I really do like riding bikes. They’re fun, they let you roam free, and they’re fast – if you can make them be fast. Viva la Velorution!