Last modified: January 15, 2014

What’s in the bag? Winter Edition

I originally did this post for my personal blog, but figured, that I'd share it with the All-City crowd too, because it's potentially semi-useful information.

Every now and then I like to do a post about all the crap that I'm currently lugging around in my purse.

Although my non Midwest friends like to tease me for the fact that I carry things like spare links and what not around all the time, the bike mechanic in me wouldn't have it any other way. I like to have what I may need to fix my bike or someone else's wherever I go, and in the winter, you just may save your life. Or fingers and toes if you want to be a little less dramatic about it.

In addition to the tools, there are other items specific to winter that can really help prevent a bad time.

Let's get into it:

The items: balaclava, liner gloves, bandana, coozie, headlamp, taillight, pump, tool pouch, mints, pen, marker, chapstick, lighter, knife, combo 4/5 allen wrench

On the winter specific front: bandana, and liner gloves

A wise man once told me that the key to keeping warm in the winter is controlling your neck temperature. When you can actively cover or vent the neck opening on your jacket, the ability to regulate your overall body temperature goes way up. In addition the bandana is particularly useful because it can be worn over the neck, mouth, or ears. Or if you're my dad, you can also blow huge loogies into it repeatedly over the course of a day and keep it wadded up in your front pocket. (gross, dad)

The liner gloves are most useful when the temp in the morning and the temp at night don't match up. Having these lightweight johnnies in your bag that can be added or subtracted from the gloves you brought with for the day can come in real handy (zing!) and have saved my ass on numerous occasions.

And this is my much made fun of toolkit. It's got all I need, allens, floss (not having floss sucks when you need it), a fifteen / tire lever, lever, spoke wrench, chain links and tool.

There you have it folks, prepared for just about anything.

Lightweight balaclava: doesn't take up much space and can be added to your other ear coverage when it gets nasty. I find myself most often using it when out on the town for the night and the temperature has been dropping since dusk. I use this less often than the bandana or liner gloves, but it's still worth carrying because when you find yourself needing it, brother you need it.

These are part of my year round kit, you need a coozie (especially in winter), a headlamp is the jam for repairs, digging in your bag, or as a spare headlight, and the mints are just good for not having your breath stinking. You're not an animal, you live in society, check the dragon at the door.

The 4/5 allen combo I keep in the hood flap of my bag for quick saddle height adjustments. It's particularly handy in fall and spring as I swap between winter boots and normal riding shoes regularly, since winter boots have a higher stack height than standard bike shoes which necessitates a higher saddle position.

The pen, marker, champstick, lighter and knife are just solid things to have with you always.

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