I’m not really one to write about gear. Talk about it, obsess over it, over-analyze it, yes, but there’s something about personal blogs that feature gear reviews and gear talk that makes me nauseas. I didn’t start this to get free gear, free trips, whore myself or promote the continuation of our material culture that is leading to the degradation of our environment. Lest you believe I’m a total cynic about this sort of thing have yourself a read of Craig Childs’ piece of the “Buying and Selling of Nature”, and Dane’s piece about the “Elite” attitude of sporting becoming the norm. Although these pieces might not actually say much it is a pretty good jumping off point for the conversation of the amazing duality that exists between outdoor enthusiasts and the material “gear” culture that we’re so entwined with. We rely on our gear, it’s a huge part of what is enabling us to push our boundaries and find new limits. You’ll not be finding a thousand-word blow-fest about a mid-layer polartec hoody here, we can leave that for the “athletes” with pretty faces who’s job it is to sell things. Mostly themselves. What I do want to offer you is a glimpse at the gear I use, how normal and average it is, how it fits on the bike, and how easy it is for you to make the transformation yourself.
The impetus for this post is a recently published write-up of our Zion trip to my friend Ed’s site VerticalMinded.com. If you haven’t yet, check it out, it’s mostly a bunch of pictures but there’s a little bit of the insight and reflections that went into (and came out of) that trip. I don’t plan on re-posting it here but I thought I would instead include few things that I left out of that posting, mainly, a look into the gear we use, what we brought, and how you can do it too. In the hopes that others might follow suit, here’s a quick look into our panniers, our minds, our bags of gear, and why packing all of the same stuff into your car is weak sauce. Enjoy.
Nothing fancy here, just a bunch of pictures. No need to spray a drawn out trip report or step-by-step account of our adventures. We climbed, we played, we ran errands, we did all the shit everyone else does, only we rode our bikes.
For those of you that missed it, 2013 was Salt Lake City’s Year of the Bike. Personally, a claim like that brings to mind the far reaching social and infrastructural changes required to undermine urban motorized transportation, make cycling the primary mode of personal transportation, and take a big step towards ending the air pollution or “inversion” that has become a near constant threat to the health of SLC’s Residents. Laws prohibiting single occupancy vehicles, expanded bike lanes and trails, economic incentives for cycling… Basically shutting down all vehicular traffic inside city limits except for trucks, buses and trains is pretty much what I have in mind when I think of a city giving over an entire year for the advocacy and awareness of bicycling. Claiming anything as “Year of” should mean it’s influence is far greater than any other social or political force. Think, Year of the Axe Murdering Homeless Man, or, Year of the West Valley City Gonorrhea Infection. Although those might be titles you’d affix after the point, they pretty well capture what has happened. So looking back on the last year, it’s hard to notice any real changes in Salt Lake’s transportation hierarchy. Although I’m not a resident of SLC, and my time spent there usually amounts to a few weeks in the spring and fall, from my perch atop Little Cottonwood Canyon it’s easy to look down and see the murky, poisonous soup, and know damn well that it’s not a bunch of cyclists that’ve caused it. But while SLC didn’t under go any major cycling-themed transformations, they’ve still managed to put together a few initiatives worth mentioning. Also, in honor and celebration of the year gone by, I’ve dumped a bunch of pictures and captions in the following post that wrap up our bike-powered adventures in and around SLC this fall.