February 2009

Objectified 12: Kryptonite Bike Lock

If you read this blog you know I ride bikes, and I’m a little obsessive about my bikes so I really really don’t want them to get stolen. The best way to prevent this is to keep them inside all the time when not riding them. Of course that doesn’t work so well if you want to go somewhere by bike like the store or work or something like that, so that’s where a good lock becomes a requirement. There are a few things I take into consideration when choosing a lock – the first of which is what are the chances someone can defeat it quickly and secondly how will I carry it around with me. The first part of that is because with enough time and determination no lock will hold up, what you need is something that will deter someone for the time you have it sitting there. The second part is because after years and year of all kinds of different locks in bags and on frames it’s a huge pain in the ass that I want to avoid. I’ve found what I consider to be the best combo of those two, and that is the Kryptonite Evolution Mini. If you follow that link you’ll see what they look like new. The secret is that most of the accessory plastic on them comes off making them even smaller and much more light weight. This is what mine looks like:

Kryptonite Evolution Mini

This is not some pansy dinky lock either, it’s thick and solid and very highly rated. And, it’s small enough to fit in your back pocket or through a belt loop (or in a lock hoster if you have one of those). This makes it extremely quick and easy to access and doesn’t take up space in a bag or add extra weight to your bike. I’m really a big fan and often take mine with me on trips to ensure I don’t have to lug around someone elses bulky lock if I borrow a bike in another city. Combine this lock with the Sheldon Brown ‘through the back tire’ method of locking it and I’m good to go in most situations. Depending on where I am leaving my bike and for how long I’ll sometimes bring a cable lock to use together with this which I’ll secure my front wheel with as well, though in most cases and the places I go that isn’t a requirement. I’ve got a few other anti-theft tricks I’ll explain in another post in the near future.

Objectified 11: Sigg Bottles

Depending on where you live the water that comes out of your tap ranges from delicious and drinkable to pukeworthy. Even when it’s good, you are faced with the task of carrying it from that tap to wherever you intend to drink it. At least I was, and it bugged me all the time. I tried several things including buying cases of small water bottles from the store and a refillable bicycle style water bottle. The store bought stuff sucked because I knew how much trash I was creating, and the plastic bicycle ones get gross quick. I made the mistake of touching the inside of one after using it for about 2 weeks and I could never drink it again without thinking about that slime.

Sigg BottleI kept hearing about these metal bottles by SIGG after finally seeing them for sale at Whole Foods I gave in and bought one. I’d be lying if I said that the fact that they had this slick flat black one didn’t help saw me as most of the ones I’d seen before that were all brightly colored with different artwork all over them. There are lots of colors and sizes available so if you are into the colors and artwork or want something a little smaller then you are still set. It’s weird, but water actually tastes better after being in it and I find myself filling and drinking out of it at home far more often then I used to with glasses. And for being out and about (or even traveling) it’s bad ass. Since it’s metal it’s durable as hell, and the clipable lid makes it a snap to carry around. It’s slightly larger than the bicycle bottles I was used to before, but that’s not really an issue. I think I paid about $25 for mine and easily saved in about a month that by not buying water throughout the day like I used it. Highly highly recommended.

Reflecticons… Transform!

Warning – late night rambly post here: I’ve been jittery lately. Maybe jittery isn’t the right word, in fact I know it’s not. Because depending on the time of day that’s just from the lack of or the over consumption of coffee. The word I’m looking for is something more like nervous but in a cautious kind of way with a touch of foreboding garnished with a dash of reluctance. Anyway I don’t really know what the word is otherwise I’d just say it. I don’t even really know what it’s specifically about but I think it has a lot to do with putting myself out there and both crossing comfort levels and embracing that which makes me comfortable. I know those sound conflicting, and maybe they are, and maybe that’s part of why I’m jittery. I’ve been told, most of my life actually, that I sell myself short but I’ve heard it quite a bit more often recently. I think I have, maybe I’ve just noticed it. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it and it concerns me. In my youth I was filled with massive amounts of not giving a fuck what anyone said about anything and just going for it. I never considered that something I attempted wouldn’t work, and I always assumed that if I wanted something to work out it would. Something I had a say in anyway. Things out of my control like girls liking me or getting jobs I knew would be a disaster no matter what I wanted, but if I was going to set out to do something the only possible outcome was it happening exactly as I planned.

I feel like I’ve lost some of that, but worse that I’m constantly chasing it. The fact is things didn’t always work out as I’d planned them to which I was able to ignore for a while but eventually would stick in the back of my head when I’d attempt the next thing. I didn’t grow up to run a TV station, become a high profile music exec, or a world famous graphic designer. Those were all things at one point or another I was sure would happen. But they didn’t, and I learned that the outcome wasn’t what was important as much as the experience of attempting them. I wouldn’t trade in those experiences for anything and now when I attempt something new I try to not think about where it will go but instead what cool things will happen along the way. I was having a conversation with an old friend from high school the other day and he was expressing a bit of regret over somethings that had happened in the past and how he’d turned his life around since then. I tried to console him and said the first thing that came to my mind – basically that it’s not what we did yesterday that matters but rather what we learned from yesterday and how we apply that to what we’ll do tomorrow. The specifics of that don’t apply to this at all, but I started thinking on a grander level maybe they do apply in a some way.

Objectified 10: Chrome Messenger Bags

I know I’m going to sound like some kind of Chrome pimp since this is my second entry about something they make, but the truth is they make good stuff and the hype is justified. This time I’m talking about the thing that made them who they are, their messenger bags.

Chrome Bags

I’ve had a “messenger bag” of one kind or another for pretty much as long as I can remember, and by that I mean a horizontal bag with a single shoulder strap. These all worked to different degrees until I tried to actually ride a bike with one – then it became nightmare after nightmare. They would swing around to the front, or hit my leg, or hurt my shoulder or any number of other things that made me dread wearing one on a bike. A two strap backpack worked better, but had similar weight placement and shifting issues. The more I road the more I needed to find something actually workable and the more I kept noticing people with Chrome bags. And when I say people, more often then not I mean actual messengers. At first I wrote it off to fashion but after talking to a few people with them I realized that if people who had to used these bags packed with any and everything, for 8+ hours a day many days a week were choosing this one brand over everything else there had to be a reason for it beyond tasteful design.

After being my usual wishy washy self for a while, I found a slightly used one on ebay for cheep and bought it. The first time I used it I understood exactly why they were so popular. Immediately it’s clear they were designed by people who ride bikes and had experience the same issues I’d been struggling with. First of all they distribute the weight perfectly – load it up as full as you can, put it on and climb on a bike and you won’t even realize you are wearing it. It’s crazy really. But this is an important note -these are designed for the position you are in while biking. I’ve tried wearing one around while walking and a few hours into it my shoulders are killing me so if you want something for hiking or other non-biking activities I’d advise against (though Chrome makes any other kinds of bags that are probably pretty good for that). So right away I knew what the hype was all about, but as I continued to use it the attention to detail really hit me.

A few bad ass features – reflective material woven into the straps, essentially waterproof inside pockets, side strap to keep it in place, water bottle pockets that won’t sweat into main pockets if filled with an icy beverage, super wide & padded shoulder strap. After having one in very regular use for almost 2 years I haven’t had a single thread come loose or buckle break. These things are designed for hard daily use for sure. The initial one I bought was the mini.metro and it’s small, but still large enough for my 15″ MacBook Pro and some cables and stuff. Recently I picked up the Metropolis because I wanted something larger that I could go grocery shopping with and that’s pretty great, though I often find myself thinking I need more in it to justify using it – I can’t even imagine if I had a Kremlin. Tara has the Citizen size and that’s pretty much ideal, if I was starting from scratch I’d probably grab that one. So, if you didn’t gather already, I love these bags.