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If you’re a big fan like me (or a moderate fan) of Planet Bike’s great bike accessories and advocacy, you probably have one of their lights on your bike.  Their popular LIGHT FINDER for this year is up.  I have the new Blaze 2 Watt and the Blaze 1 Watt.  They’re freakin awesome.  But the Alias?  Wow.  When Baby comes to ElRo and I, we might have to score one of these for whatever cargo bike we adopt.


A [terrible cell phone] picture of me with my sweet fanny pack. Read about former Baltimore resident Rantwick’s fanny pack.  You know, it beat a messenger bag for not sliding all over the place or hurting my shoulder or both.  And it beat a backpack for not making me sweat.  I caught a lot of guff for it, though, which I think is funny.  It smelled like campfire for a while, but it’s largely gone away.  I used it to carry my camera (etc.) to Sunday Streets this weekend, on foot.  Now that makes me a geek, probably.  I’m too tired to wax philosophical about this blue nylon tonight.

I was going to post this while down the beach but given the recent events I decided to hold off until now. So here it is…

My original plan was to ride from 139th to the OC inlet at the end of the board walk but, after careful consideration, recommendation of a local and a reader of this blog, I decided to ride North instead. I, liking to beat myself up, decided to begin my ride around one p.m. on the hottest day we where down there. You know 90 some degrees with 100 heat index. Whatever, it’s flat on the shore, right? Anyway my first stop was of this watch tower.

For anyone who doesn’t know, these towers are haunting reminders of how close German subs came to our coasts in WW II. I’ve always been fascinated with these concrete sentries. I think they’re creepy in a neat sorta way. Moving on, I next rolled into the town of Bethany. In my opinion this is what a beach town should look like.  Quiet, sandy and lived in. I pasted the Bethany bike shop. I don’t think I have to explain why I took a picture of this.

I wasn’t ready to turn back towards home so I continued North on 50. Before I knew it I was looking 2 miles down the road at the inlet bridge. I road down alone side the bridge where there is a parking lot for folks wanting to fish, go to the beach or out on a boat. There I took a water break and a few more pictures.

After hydrating a bit I jumped on my ride and headed home for the day. The ride took me about 2 hours to go up and back, with a few breaks of course. Over all total mileage was just under 25 miles. It was a very relaxing ride. I highly recommend it. The only draw backs are no shade and you are riding on 50 where vehicles pass you are doing, well, 50 or so. That was the most surprising part of my ride is that I did not feel unsafe on 50 at all. Delaware really has it together when it comes to bike lanes and markings for them. The lanes where very clearly marked and there was signage everywhere saying “Look out for bicycles” which, is much more to the point than “Share the road”.

Maybe next time I’m “danny oshin” I’ll ride South. I think that with be in the off season.

If you access the Jones Falls Trail at the switchback (where Wyman and Druid Hill parks meet), be careful — if what you are doing there involves anything but leaping.  Turns out that someone thought it would be in everyone’s interest to put a huge pipe across the trail.  It’s not painted orange or surrounded by warning tape or a even a sign down on office paper with a Sharpie.  No.  Nothing.  So when someone like me was running late for work Monday morning and barreling downtown a little bit, such an obstacle came as a shock.  I mean, I wasn’t exactly going full steam because there’s a sharp (i.e. 120 degree) turn to make to start the descent down the embankment.  But I still almost crashed into it and credit the large amounts of coffee I drink with fueling my reflexes into not smashing my front wheel over it and falling down the hill.

Big surprise: it’s not hooked up to anything, and no one’s doing anything with the frikkin thing.

You have two options if you still wanna use the trail here:

1) Stop, lift your bike over the pipe and get going (and it’s pretty high, if you carry weight on your bike).

2) Use the bridge, where you have to go half way across to get through the weird curb thing there and turn around.  I choose this because I am too lazy to get off the bike, and — you know — you do get a nice view of Horseshoe Falls from the bridge, which was a nice surprise to me yesterday while I was cussing under my breath.

If it’s still there and still not used Friday, I say we get together and dismantle the part that is in the way.

Better coverage, with a photo at Cyclosity.

My favorite rear blinky was bought a few hours before my bike, two years ago.  It’s served me well, despite getting rained on, being dropped and kicked down St. Paul Street on a cold day last winter, falling off in traffic on University Parkway, etc.  All you could ask for from a light.  Well, the week before last.

Two weeks ago, I was leaving work and crossing the bridge on Charles Street that goes over 83. This is a tricky spot with horn-crazy cab drivers, buses and wanker-weiner-poopheads who insist on parking there, next to the signs that say not to.  You know, in addition to drivers flooring it as they get on 83 or otherwise try to get in front of one another before the messy construction on Charles Street. I heard a bump-clatter-bang and knew it had fallen off because I had, once again, not put on it correctly.  Out of the corner of my eye, as I approached Lanvale, I saw the grey bubble bouncing and heard crunching repeatedly.  I couldn’t stop because, well, I’d get flattened.

I knew it was a goner and got really sad.  Er, mad because it fell off from me not connecting it correctly.  I cussed a lot on my ride up Charles Street.  I was entirely too upset over a light, probably.

A day or so later, I was walking up to Sofi”s to get coffee with a co-worker, and I found this big chunk of my light.  It made me feel better.

While we hear of gear failing us, it’s sad when it’s we who fail our gear.  Or something.

A long time ago, I bought a fake German bread bag.  It’s a cool little canvas bag, the kind that makes people make fun of you for carrying a man purse from the comfort of their frikkin carseats.  I liked it but never really used it because I have a cool vintage map case from my Dad’s time in the Army.  I looked at the loops this winter, and I thought it might work as a mini pannier, to carry stuff like a multi-tool, tube, patch kit, Moleskine, etc.  Turned out to work great, so I bought Mule and ElRo each one for Christmas, though theirs were the real deal, complete with awesome canvas smell.  You can find them anywhere, and the knock-off I own was like $10.  It won’t break the bank, and you don’t need hardware.  A vintage one is probably better, but this is what I had. Above is the bag.

This is what it will hold, with room to spare.

This is my rack (huh huh).  Just a normal, $30 rack.

First, this is how we will attach it.  The belt loops go on the top rail of the rack.

Pull the webbing straps as tightly as you can. If you have long enough straps and want your bag to bounce less, you can wrap the straps around the supports of your rack a few times.

If you have some electrical tape around, you can dampen possible metal-on-metal action from your buckle slamming your rack. I did, and it worked very well.

If your straps are long, make sure to tuck them back into the buckle so that they don’t find their way into your spokes.

The view from the other side will look like this.

When you are finished looping both straps, you’re done!

You now have a little trunk on your bike that has way more class and kicks way more ass than a $200 pannier or a butt wedge pack.

If you have a light with a clip, there are usually tabs for clipping on the sides you can use. I have two blinkies now, and the one on my seatstay got blocked by this bag, though the side of the bag is a better spot for seeing me and not running me over.

I can provide larger images if you can’t see what’s going on. Sorry for the flash photography. My blood sugar was low, and my hands were shaking. I had to get the photos before I packed up and rode. It’s very dusty now, which is, you know, awesome. It’s nice to keep the sweat off my back and my supplies onboard.

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