Commute by Nishiki – Update

I’ve been using the Nishiki for the past week for the Union Station – office end of my trip to work. So far, so good. Cycling to and fro from Union Station is far more pleasant than riding Metro, even with part of E Street torn up.

Most days my loads have been light, but the day I had to tote my laptop along worked out ok. Last week we had some gorgeous weather, so it was a pleasure to be cycling, especially in the morning. I have worked out that my most efficient route involves, in the morning N Capitol-E-15th-Pennsylvania-15th M. Returning it’s L, and then reversing the morning route. It’s about 3 miles and takes me about 25 minutes. One evening when I have a little extra time, I’ll take a ride around the monuments.

Logistics: I’ve been riding in regular office clothes, figuring I don’t need to change into anything special for so short a ride. In this hot summer weather I do carry water.  I leave a helmet on my bike and have a few maintenance and emergency things in the bags I leave on the bike (one Sakaroo pannier and one roll-up saddlebag tool bag). These include: chain lube, a small multi tool, tire levers, a spare tube, and conditioner for the Brooks saddle (the one I bought used from Lovely Bicycle!

To carry my stuff, I use a Tom Bihn Synapse back pack and, if there’s overflow, one of two city panniers. The  Synapse carries my everyday stuff: papers for work, iPad, lunch. If there is a small extra load, I use the Minima Cyclelogical pannier. I like it’s stylish looks and the reflective fabric woven into it. It zips shut and hooks onto the rack easily. It looks rather like a purse. The handles and the flap that covers the rack hooks make it easy to carry off the bike. The only think I don’t like about it is the way it sags away from the rack.  For larger loads, I have the Cherry Pine Shopper from Bicycle Muse. I love the looks of this bag. It holds an amazing amount and is great for groceries, or a laptop, or other bulky gear. It has a zipper top with a flap that Velcro’s over that, and  an inside zipper pocket. It mounts onto the rack with 3 plastic hooks, one that tightens on with a thumbscrew. They don’t look too sturdy but they hold the bag securely and so far (after a year of use) have not broken. The outer two hooks rotate in so they don’t bother you while carrying the bag off-bike. It is a little awkward to carry by hand, but do-able.

Minima and Cherry Pine Shopper

Updates: The first time I rode from my office to Union Station, I must have turned off Pennsylvania onto 12th, since 13th has no bike lanes. Also I figured out that if you do have to use an upper rack in Bikestation, there’s a handle to lower it down, so you’re not lifting your bike up overhead! Good to know.

Thursday  evening I passed a guy hauling 4 adults in a bike rickshaw. It looked laborious to the extreme, but he seemed to be taking it in stride. It made me thankful to be hauling only myself on this warm summer evening!

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