Insights (First in an occasional series)

It should be an easy thing to do one of the things I love so much: ride a bike. But as you may have gathered from reading my blog for any length of time, I’m somewhat a retentive stickler for details. So while some can just hop on and go (and I’m somewhat envious of them), unless I’m just rolling over to the local liquor store for a tallboy, I pack as if I’m going away for a weekend… well, not quite. But an inventory of what I carry with me is pretty extensive.

Of course in the under-seat pack you’ll find a hex wrench set, at least one innertube, a patch kit, a spoke wrench, chain link tool, small pliers and a set of tire “irons.” I don’t really count that as that stays with the bike. It’s what I’m packing on my back where you’ll find I’m doing my best to expect the unexpected. So let’s pretend I’m getting set to do a simple roll (about 8 miles roundtrip) down Sunset in Silver Lake to the central library downtown on 5th and Flower and check out what I’m hauling (in no particular order):

  • tire pump
  • pocket lockblade knife
  • cell phone
  • my every-day sunglasses (I’ll be wearing my Bolle wraparounds)
  • bandana
  • u-lock
  • swiss army knife
  • 6mm hex wrench (just in case the cranks get loose)
  • spare spokes (three or four)
  • twist ties
  • pack of Orbit spearmint gum
  • ballpoint pen
  • pencil
  • flashlight
  • transistor radio with earplug
  • wallet
  • palm pilot
  • bus tokens (usually two)
  • whistle (around my neck; much better an attention getter than a ding-a-ling bell)
  • digital camera
  • spare camera battery
  • spare AAA batteries for flashlight and/or radio
  • iPod
  • wireless iPod headphones
  • flask of Drambuie (aka “synthetic lubricant”)
  • first aid kit, which includes:
    • antacid tablets
    • packet of bullfog sunblock
    • antiseptic towelettes
    • triple antibiotic ointment
    • 250mg ibuprofen tablets
    • sterile gauze pads
    • bandaids of various sizes
    • cotton swabs
  • newspaper (for padding between my back and the laptop)
  • whatever book I’m currently reading (in this case Michael Chricton’s “State of Fear”)
  • laptop
  • mouse
  • any necessary storage media (although Cybele and Manny got me this cool USB jumpdrive pen for Christmas that oughta come in handy)
  • notes/papers
  • waterproof/windproof matches
  • emergency mylar blanket
  • safety pins
  • washcloth
  • reflective windbreaker for night riding
  • little clip on blinky lights for night riding
  • spare T-shirt
  • bottle of water

Excessive? Maybe, but let’s put it this way: here in LA anything can happen and usually does. If I had a bigger pack I’d consider throwing my one-person camping tent in. Oh, and before I forget there’s also my helmet, gloves and bike shoes that pretty much go everywhere The Phoenix does.

I was going to dump everything out and take a picture for posterity/proof, but then I’d have to put it all back. And man that’s a chore.

Published by


Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."