Most of the year, the road bike is not well adapted for bike commuting. There’s nowhere to carry stuff, like a cycling jacket that isn’t needed in the afternoon after it has warmed up, not to mention sweatpants and mittens. Skinny, 23c slick road bike tires do not play well with potholes and rough pavement that evade headlights (but not wheels) in the dark.
By May, when the morning temperatures climb into the 60’s and 70’s, the cycling jacket becomes extraneous and “the layered” look reduces down to “the less the better – within reason.” Some bike blogs advocate commuting in work clothes, but I do a 20 mile commute in 100+ North Texas heat. Office clothing is simply not meant for such things. What’s more, Buddy is ready for its 5K overhaul, so it is time to take a minimalist approach until the “Hotter ‘n Hell 100” shortly before Labor Day.
With a cell phone, I COULD just forgo spare tubes and pumps and such for the road bike and simply call for help if something goes wrong, but I have discovered the flat fairy is most likely to appear when I am furthest from convenient help of any sort. On my road bike, I carry a spare tube, a patch kit, two pumps, and tire irons, using one of the water bottle mounts. In the seat bag, I carry my lunch and my cell phone. If I need more carrying capacity, I can bring along my SPI Belt. Conveniently, light mounts on the road bike are the same as on the main commute bike, so the lights move around easily as needed.
Panniers and racks, who needs ‘em? Clunky handlebar or tube bag? I sneer at them. During this season, I can ride Buddy occasionally or drive in “the Laundryschlepper” for laundry exchange. The rest of the time, the road bike keeps Buddy’s mileage down AND it is a good five minutes faster to work.
The "Water Bottle" Carrier Makes it all Work. There's a Spare Tube in There, Too