I rode to work today. I like to ride on Mondays because it gives me something to look forward to when my alarm goes off that morning after the weekend. Normally, I keep a tank bag on my bike for essentials and a small amount of storage for the unplanned. Since my bike sits in an unattended parking lot all day, I don’t like leaving anything on the bike. In order to not have to take the bag off and put it back on and take it off and put it back on again, I carry a backpack to work with essentials.
My tank bag was fairly inexpensive ($35) and there’s nothing of real value in there. It usually contains an extra pair of gloves, a bandana, a microfiber cloth, a plastic shopping bag, some ziplock bags, and a small pencil bag with hand sanitizer, eye drops, chapstick, glasses cleaner, bandaids, and a few doses of Aleve/Advil/Tylenol. I can also shove a bottle of water in there if I’m strategic. Still, I’d prefer not to have to replace any of that if I can help it, so I transfer all of that into my backpack on days I ride to work. The only extra thing I carry to work is a small insulated lunch bag.
Today, I decided to go out for lunch instead of bringing my own. I decided on Panera since I had a coupon about to expire. Since I was just zipping down the road and back, I thought I could do without my bag of essentials for that trip.
Normally, when I go to Panera I get a salad and a sandwich and take part of the sandwich home. Today I got a salad and a sandwich, and asked for a to-go container for the sandwich. As I’m sitting in a nice, comfy booth eating my salad and thinking about how good that sandwich will taste for lunch tomorrow, I realized something. I didn’t bring my backpack with me! And I don’t have my tank bag on the bike. How am I going to carry a sandwich back to work?
In addition to the sandwich, I also had two side items–a small baguette and a bag of chips. Those would also be really delicious tomorrow or maybe even later this afternoon. What am I going to do? I don’t want to just throw the food away, and I can’t eat it all right now. I resolved to think up some ingenious solution for this problem before I finished my salad.
I could put something inside my coat. I have a little space near the chest where there’s extra material that always pops out a bit when I’m sitting on the bike. But the sandwich container doesn’t seal very well, and as soon as I hit a bump, it would probably break open and I would have Mediterranean veggies all over my shirt (and jacket). Okay, so sandwich-coat, not going to happen.
I started eating the first half of my sandwich. Maybe I could put the baguette inside my coat. It’s not messy. But what if it fell out? I don’t want to lose it. My pockets are too small to fit much of anything. Maybe I can squash it down and shove it into the inside pocket. I started eating the second half of my sandwich.
But what about these chips? I can’t put them inside my coat or a pocket because I’ll smash them all. A bag of potato chip crumbs isn’t very appetizing. Maybe I could slip them under my helmet and hold onto a corner of the bag with my teeth. My top speed on the trip wouldn’t be more than 40 mph, so the wind blast wouldn’t be too bad. Still, when I turn my head to look for a turn or a lane change, the wind could catch the bag and rip it out of my teeth.
I finished the last of my sandwich. Okay, now I only have to worry about how to get the baguette and the chips back to work. I bit off a hunk of baguette because I thought even one bite will make it smaller and easier to carry. I kept thinking about possible solutions. Maybe I could go next door to Staples and ask for a small shopping bag with handles and put the chips and baguette in the bag and wrap the bag around the center of my handlebars. Or maybe I could sit on the edge of the bag and rest it between my legs. By now, I was halfway through the baguette. I might as well just try and finish it.
Good news! I was able to get the rest of the baguette down. Bad news! I could feel it trying to sneak back out my esophagus. I gulped down some water to help keep it down. Okay, so, the chips. I definitely couldn’t eat the chips. There was just no more room in my stomach.
I have two built-in storage spaces on my bike. One near the foot peg which is a short triangular box that contains a wrench and a tire pressure gauge. I might be able to fit the chips in there. So, I grabbed all my gear and my chips and headed out to the bike. I sized up the box. No dice. The chip bag was far too big.
Okay, the only other storage space I have is under the seat. There’s an open space by the rear taillight that measures about 4 inches wide by 2 inches high by 4 inches deep. Removing the seat is not hard, it’s just tedious. I have to open the helmet lock, press on a lever that unclips the back end of the seat, then wiggle it out of the two hooks that secure it to the bike. It’s sometimes a pain getting those hooks lined up again when putting the seat back on. Again, not difficult, just tedious.
I was pretty sure I didn’t have anything stowed away in that space, but couldn’t say for certain. I didn’t really want to take the seat off, but it’s either that or throw away my chips. *sigh*
I unclipped the seat and slid it out of its clasps. Phew! Nothing in the space. The bag of chips fit with room to spare. Hooray! It took me a couple tries to get the seat lined up right and reconnected. Then I fired her up and rode back to work. I decided that I didn’t want to take the seat off again just to retrieve my chips since I wasn’t planning on eating them until tomorrow. So, I left them in there. It’s about 80 degrees out with the sun shining and a slight breeze. I think they will be all right for a few hours.
Now hopefully, I’ll remember to take them out of there when I get home!