Hey Look, it’s January!

No words of great import will be found here today.

But that’s OK, not a lot going on.

We had some warm days after I got back to Denver, and I got a good chance to get the motorcycle out of the garage for a while. Last night gave us a reminder that it is still January, though. An inch or two of snow and another reminder of the joys of a north-facing driveway.

I don’t mind winter so much, but it would be great if those 60 degree days could show up on the weekend and the snow stick to weekdays. Then at least I could get a bike ride in. For the past few years I’ve been neglecting my riding more than I should, and I have big riding plans for 2012. Meeting my goals means I need to start getting on the road soon.

I’m debating eventually redoing most of the components on my Trek, maybe going with a triple up front or a compact double and a 10 speed cassette. I’m also considering a new set of wheels, changing from 27” to 700c. That would give me better wheels in general and a much larger selection of tires. It would also require new brakes since my current ones do not have enough reach. New brakes then might require new brake levers.

If I go all the way, I will have essentially replaced every part on my old Trek with new components except the frame and fork. I love the old bike but at some point you start wondering about just building a brand new bike instead.

Ron at the bike shop back in Ames recommended that I should get a Waterford if I ever want to build that “best bike in the world for me” custom frame bike in classic lugged steel style. I had mentioned Rivendell, whose frames are built by Waterford, but he thinks that for a custom it’s better to go right to the source, and choose any color and style you like. I’ll think about it, but no matter what a new best bike ever will not be cheap.

In other boring news, I spent the last couple of days trying to find a good laptop case. I don’t actually own a laptop but I do have my work machine, a typical 14” Dell. I have a backpack style case that came with it, and they have a briefcase option as well, but the cases all suffer from the same disease that so many bags have contracted. Bags these days tend to be filled with so many liners, pockets, dividers, cubbyholes, and padding that they are already large, unwieldy, and heavy before you even put the laptop in.

I wanted a bag I could easily slip into the middle pocket of my carry-on for one-bag business travel, but slip out to carry my laptop and a few things to a meeting or conference. That backpack is simply too big and too annoying. I also wanted a bag that had metal rings for a shoulder strap rather than plastic or sewn in, so I could travel with only one strap. The idea being that I could pop the strap off my carry-on and onto the laptop bag for the meeting, then back again when it is time to fly.

I did look at another Red Oxx bag, the Metro Briefcase, but $140 seemed like a lot to spend on a bag that’s not even for my own equipment. I’d rather go cheap for something for work. Maybe another time, if I buy a laptop of my own.

Great, now this sounds like an ad for Red Oxx.

I ended up going with the smallest and simplest sleeve-type case I could find locally with metal strap rings, some cheap Samsonite thing from the Office Depot. It is small enough to slide right into my other bag, and readily takes my good shoulder straps. We’ll see in just over a week how well my idea works. The bag is big enough to take the laptop, a notebook, and a few pens easily. Hopefully it will also hold my travel mouse and power adapter without looking lumpy and bloated.

I own too many bags, by the way. I should get rid of the ones I don’t use.

— Steve

Posted on 08 January 2012