I put the final touches (for now) on my Kickbike City Cruiser commuter. A footbike presents special challenges for those wishing to carry things.
Less so than a touring footbike, a commuter still sometimes needs to carry his day’s food if his place of work is not near any restaurants or stores and he doesn’t want to spend his lunch break kicking to them. Or if he has any special dietary needs.
Also a commuter should carry tools, spare tubes and a pump; actually, I don’t leave my driveway without them, on any kick.
And so, through trial and error and a steady accretion of racks and bags, I have realized a setup that serves me very well on most trips I can take short of an overnighter.
In an earlier post I complained about my handlebar bag, which is one of the footbiker’s first solutions to carrying things – it must hang from the handlebar, and no matter how strong the bracket, the bag will sway, especially when it’s crammed. And footbikers must cram, as there’s no rear rack to put things on nor seat to hang them from.
The late bicycle tourist Ken Kifer, though he had four panniers on his bicycle, nevertheless needed a handlebar bag in which to stow things he might need quickly, and had the same complaint about bags fastened to the 'bars. His solution was to create an early
rack trunk for his front rack, probably before readymade ones became available.
Today plenty of commercial trunk bags are available, perhaps due to the popularity and influence of Kifer’s website. The same goes for front racks. He also complained that low-riders, which had no platform, were all that were available when he wrote, and used an old front rack that he had. Today there are at least two full-sized front racks available, with tops, and I’ve combined a Jandd Extremefront rack with a Detours Transit Box to hold my daily victuals, plus extra gloves and a wool hat in the winter, to boot. The setup is very stable and I can even hang a light on the front of the bag.
Tools, spare tubes, a pump and a patch kit (plus sunglasses and a few other things) fit nicely in my Jandd Mountain Handle Packthat was originally developed for the obsolete triangular Bull Moose mountain bike stems, but which straps to any handlebar with a 3″ or longer stem. This goes on any bike I take out, for a short workout to an overnight trip, and needs no bracket.
The handlebar pack leaves room on my 'bars for a second light – my Cateye Opticube.This is a bright little light with a strap that will fasten to other places than handlebars, if need be: a stem, a front fork and your helmet are just a few.
And that final touch (for now) that I put to my bike was to mount a waterbottle higher on the frame with hose clamps, replicating the waterbottle position on my AW Footbike, which makes it much easier to reach on the fly, as it were. When I get another cage I’ll put it on the original braze-ons for a second bottle.
And while I’m out and about, if I buy something or get a book from the library, I can shove it in my ancient Guerciotti musette from my bike-racing days that’s folded up in my toolbag.