I decided to go with my rack and panniers today. It’s a passing fad, but so was lite beer and now it’s a staple in even the surliest of bars.
My panniers always change my mood for the better, even with the extra drag they create. In combination with the flat pedals I’ve resorted to, riding’s become really fun again and not just another reason to wear really tight clothing. I highly advise riding with flats if you feel as though your in a rut or you need to work on your technique.
The most important variable to keeping commuting much like relationships fresh, is variety. Instead of rambling along my normal route I veered north into Montclair onto Grove St. Grove is abundant with shoulder. It’s like commuter Heaven, Valhalla, Jannah or wherever you believe lies beyond. Taking the alternate route adds about a .5 miles onto my commute, but what’s a little extra mileage when the sun is shining and I’m not wearing 4 layers? My normal route is faster, but allows me about 12 inches before I find myself in life traffic. I’m used to getting buzzed, but that doesn’t mean that I like it.
Riding with panniers forces me to commit to staying saddled. Getting out the saddle just means swaying bags that may clip the tire and generally just don’t look sexy. Since I’m not engaged in trying to break land speed records, I also greet people as I ride by. Why not add a pinch of sunshine to someone’s day before flipping off somebody else for coming a little too close to my bars? All that’s missing is a rainbow set of suspenders ala Mork-style.
The destination is the cost of the journey and that’s what commuting is really all about.