Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Things I Carry

Forgive the Tim O'Brien reference, I am just a regular person who decided to give up her car and will now have things I must carry.

There are some days that take me from one excursion to another, being out of the house from 8am to 8pm. In the old days (those days with the auto) I had a built-in closet: my trunk or back seat that I could rely upon. During the rainy season (uh, or day), I had a handy umbrella or raincoat; during the winter, a heavy coat; in case I get the urge to sprint, a pair of running shoes; in case of a particularly inviting patch of grass, a pair of juggling balls; get caught in traffic, a few books....you get it, I liked having certain things--just in case.

Well, now the trunk/back seat is gone and I must be more purposeful with the things I carry. Having a year carless, I have had lots of practice forgetting the "essentials," and now I know better what to call "essential."

The Things I Carry:
1. My headlamp. I have a light on my bike, but I like the security of my headlamp. My light still isn't bright enough to aid my night vision and I still don't trust the night drivers in this city.
2. My raincoat. Although it is Albuquerque, and although we find ourselves in another historic drought, when we have that one 10 minute downpour, I am ready.
3. My bike repair kit and extra inner tube. I have that little pouch on the seat post, so my extra inner tube is always available.
4. My pump
5. Loose change in case I forget my pump and need to go to a gas station for air
6. Loose change/cash in case I forget my lunch or need a snack for the ride home
7. A reflective vest. I haven't worn it much, but, much like in the early 90's when my mother wanted me to take a cell phone on long trips (just in case) despite the fact that I would often forget to charge it up and often left it in the trunk or back seat- I do at least carry the vest with me.
8. An Albuquerque bike map. I don't have an I-Phone or other fancy devices to "google" bike maps, so this comes in handy. For example, the other day when Don and I were riding back from a book store near Wyoming and Paseo del Norte (after first biking the 22 miles to Corrales) we needed to insure that our "ride down hill" would be as direct as possible. Sure enough, the map came in handy--we took Wyoming to Osuna, then went on to Pennsylvania, took the overpass onto Constitution, to Washington and to Silver where we were fortunate to pass by a much needed fuel stop--(Tractor Brewery). We made it in no time thanks to the map.
9. My lock and key (of course).
10. Lots of pens, scrap paper, lip balm, sunscreen...the kind of stuff I usually had in my back seat or car floor...just cause some habits are hard to break.
11. My saddle bag is also my purse, so my keys, wallet, etc.
12. Oh, and even if I get hit by a car and the helmet cannot be guaranteed to protect me from great harm, I bring and wear that helmet anyway (I won't have anyone give me that "I told you so" look).
13. Water bottle
14. Sun glasses
15. an extra layer-always
16. extra sun glasses, in case I forget my other sun glasses.

Of course, there are nights when I go out without my saddle bag and I simply have a purse. In that case, I carry the headlamp, the keys to the lock, my wallet and usually my raincoat-just in case.

These are the things I carry....

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