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6/3/14

EDC Bag Dump Contest: Bike Commuter


Being close to home and a bike commuter helps keep things simple. If it were winter time I'd have a slightly larger bag with room for a hat, gloves, and a chemical hand warmer or two. But, seeing how it's summer, I can keep things simple. If I need to bring a bunch of stuff with me I use panniers or strap it to the top of the front rack.

My bag's a small Tom Bihn Cafe Bag. It has a waist strap on it that holds it against your back while you ride. Nothing's worse than having a bag decide to slide around to your front while you're riding. Tom Bihn's stuff works really well for me.


In the bag: Keys, Swiss Army Knife, Flashlight (Protac 1L from Streamlight) Wallet, Bike Lock (also good for clobbering people), iPad Mini in heavy plastic sleeve-which seems to be all the protection it needs, I used to carry a first aid kit- now I just carry a little dental floss, allergy pills, Ibuprofen, two bandaids, and extra contact lenses. I'm new to the upper midwest and haven't figured the weather here out yet, so a NOAA weather radio comes with me most days. I can check the weather about everywhere, but I still like the radios best. Add a book or some snacks and that's about it.


From Alex:
Thanks for the entry!

The selecting the right size of bag is a tough one - having room for your daily items, plus some excess room for contingency kit and then some overflow is what I look for in an EDC bag. 

I use maybe 50% of my bag on a daily basis, which gives me plenty of flex space if I need to carry more - change of clothes for an overnight trip, stuff for a trip to the range, packing layers if with weather looks bad, etc.

With a 'murse' you're more limited. I've gone through this in a couple of the previous entries.

The size constraints are less of a big deal if you've got a truck parked 50 feet away, loaded up with first aid kits, spare food, water and survival gear. If you're commuting to work on a bike, the need to carry more stuff becomes more important.

Brain storm some of the plausible risks of bike commuting - bike breaks down, you wreck the bike, you get caught in a craptacular storm. That would lead me to consider things like:
  • Repair kit for the bike
  • More/better tools
  • First aid kit - more than just bandaids - something that could deal large cut/scrape, something to sling or stabilize a broken arm
  • Clothes repair kit
  • Good rain jacket (pop over to REI - lots of good and very compressible choices at around $100)
  • Headlamp - better for making repairs, treating a wound or riding the bike at night
Think through inconveniences, too. Chargers for phone, backup battery for your phone/tablet, spare batteries for the flashlight, etc. Spare cash. That kind of thing.

Look at areas where you can use technology to lighten your load - for example, there are several apps that can and will do what the NOAA radio does, and do a better job of it.  

And, since you're in tornado country, consider what could happen if a twister were to hit while you were away from home. Building collapse? Stuck in the building? Chemical leak? Fire?

Not saying that everyone needs to carry around a giant bag full of stuff to get through their day or to prepare for every possible scenario. Just assess the inconveniences and risks you might face, and work from there.

2 comments :

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  2. Looks like I forgot to mention a few things.

    The bike has a repair kit in a saddle bag that stays on the bike and it also has head and tail lights. I can use the headlight for repairs at night. If we're supposed to get some rain or it's cold in the morning I wrap a jacket around the bag, the jackets seem to stay in place just fine. If I need more than just a light jacket I switch to panniers and can load up with whatever.

    One of those portable USB/phone chargers would probably be a good thing to add as both of my bikes lights, as well as my iPad and phone, are charged via USB.

    I'm still figuring out what to do/cary tornado and first aid kit wise.

    Thanks for posting this.

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