Pedal Strike

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February 24th, 2010

a mixed bag

Other than the whole addiction to work thing, my mom and I are not that similar. She’ll mention that we are when both of us are somehow awake at 3am, pursuing our passions, but at first glance, I’m much more my father’s daughter. On the other hand, people don’t have a hard time recognizing my sister as one of my mother’s daughters. Me, they express slight surprise and search my face for similar features. And meanwhile I’m like well, I don’t think I’m adopted…?

But if you judged only by my and my mother’s addiction to shoes and handbags, we are clearly of the same genetic material.

My closets at home are bursting with bags of all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. My mother and I vie for space to cram our plethora of shoes. It’s a friendly obsession that we share…until, of course, space gets tight. Then we point out the unused parts of our respective collections while we simultaneously try to hoard as many bags or shoes as possible. My mom once advised me to pick one to focus on: shoes or bags. I asked her why she got to do both. [She claimed that she chose shoes, but I’m not buying it.]


I still have a huge box full of bags here in my small apartment, but these days, the choices are slim. And when the weather forecast tells me that it’s going to rain/snow all week, the choices dwindle even further.

I have, as you may have noticed, two main ones: the giant Ortlieb and the small Baileyworks. Both have protected my life laptop from the harsh elements thrown at me by cars full of teenage boys and the wheels of huge trucks blowing through slush or giant pools of water. I love both, too, and if you have stronger arms and shoulders [thank you military presses, push-ups, and planks], neither is an issue even on a bike with more aggressive geometry. But when you know the sky is going to dump large amounts of water on you all week, and that therefore you’ll be carrying not only your essentials [laptop, books, lunch, tools], but also your entire wardrobe on your back, you really sort of start wanting at least a rear rack. And then you start to wish you had panniers, which is kind of a bad thing, because that is a slippery slope, people.


I know, I know, it’s not a bad thing, per se. The thing is, if I’m going to be in the dorkiest attire in the entire world [read: rainpants] this week, arriving at school with eyeliner down to my chin, the last thing I’m going to be seen with are a pair of saddlebags draped across my rear wheel [I have enough of those on my hips? HA HA…okay I set myself up for that one]. I have enough trouble as it is sneaking into a bathroom – one of those with only one stall so you can completely lock people out – unseen, trying to creep there unnoticed while those damn rainpants swiiisshhh, swiiishhh like some extreme dork alert. At that point, panniers would not only slow me down, but spell instant death to any presumption that cycling can actually be cool.

Not that my classmates would know or care if I was seen with panniers. They’ll probably just say, “oh, is that a new bag?” and be on their way. But it’s the principle of the thing. Just like I wouldn’t ask you to wear a helmet or a jersey that doesn’t match your bike [the horror…the horror…say it like Brando]. Yeah, I might be obsessed/addicted/whatever, but who said that precluded looking good…or at least less dorky?

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 alex Feb 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    ahhh, so good to hear the stories of another female boston winter bike commuter, i am with you! i HATE the shiwshhhh swishhhhh of bike pants, it makes it so hard to sneak them off. also- hate the grime from the roads during this time of year that comes onto ALL my shoes as well. BUT- what else beats the feeling when you arrive home saturated and put on warm clothes, and think ” i am a badass biker’. bike on my friend!

  • 2 pedalstrike Feb 25, 2010 at 9:39 am

    alex — ahaha i hear that about the shoes. i think mine are still wet from yesterday! i agree – getting home and feeling badass/like you accomplished something is pretty awesome. ride safe!

  • 3 chr15 Oct 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Which Baileyworks bag do you use? I have the whalemouth and looking for a smaller bag for the everyday commute, Bailey workls was one of the first I looked at, naturally.