Over the last 22 years that Ive been bicycle commuting regularly, I have often tried to be a messenger-bag-kinda-gal, but it never seemed to work out. The bags felt too floppy, or too small, or too big, and always too heavy on my shoulder. They often swung around while I was riding, and I can think of few things more un-hipster like than having to constantly fling your bag out of your lap and into its proper place on your back.
I’ve looked at others with a mixture of envy (she looks so much cooler than I do with my nerdy backpack!) and curiosity (is one of her shoulders naturally higher than the other? Does her neck get stiff?) as I tried one different bag style after another. Having quit both coffee and Facebook-surfing in the same week, I had no vices left except for a slightly embarrassing infatuation with the internal pockets, organizing pencil holder slots, and hidden features of bags and purses and backpacks. And with my Masters program resuming in a week, I knew I needed to get my shit together.
Fortunately for me, this year my commuting once again looks a lot more like this:
(but on the proper side of the road)
like it did last year. A shifting around of carpool situations and school schedules has opened the door to regularly pedaling at least 10 miles a day, sometimes more like 25 on a good day.
The first week I had the KP Faceoff, I hated it. Yes, its organizing pockets and slots and features were exciting and enticing to my meticulously perfectionistic side, by my other side (specifically my left shoulder) was crying out heck no! (Did I mention Im a Gemini? You know, two opposing sides?) But somehow, either through reduction in thinking I needed to bring every item I might possibly need for an apocalypse with me for a day that lasts from 7:30-4, or not always lugging my 23 pound, 10 year old laptop with me, or simply through cowgirling up and developing a bit more strength in my shoulder and spine, things are working out for us.
It turns out that the KP Faceoff is crazy convenient, fits the just-right amount of stuff, and slides perfectly into my larger pannier.
But as for the interchangeable covers? Completely useless. I roll with the utilitarian cover every time.
Former top pro mountain bike racer Dara Marks Marino now coaches cyclists and triathletes through TheMindfulAthlete.net. Most of her commuting these days is with a trail-a-bike.