It was a year ago this week that I bought a road bike, the 2014 Jamis Ventura Comp, and I’ve been tearing around the streets of Austin on it ever since. I’ve gone hundreds of miles, through traffic and along trails, alone and with friends. The Texas heat sometimes makes it hard to motivate myself to hop on the saddle in the summer, but once I get going I always lose myself in the thrill of the ride. My bicycle has become one of my most cherished possessions, and cycling far more than a passing fancy. Here’s my current setup:

  • Panaracer Pasela tires – very durable, with tread that lets me stay stable on gravel despite the narrow width. This is especially useful when I’m riding along the river, one of the best ways to get from my place to the East Side. Adore these.
  • Specialized Milano saddle – bought this back when I was rehabbing after my bedridden period in 2009, and still like it. This is the third bike I’ve installed it on, and expect I’ll keep riding it until it wears out.
  • Shimano Click’r platform/clipless pedals – these made a huge difference to my rides, giving me better form (I used to pedal on my arches rather than on the balls of my feet) while transferring more of the energy from my legs to the bike. I got the half platform style so I could still ride with regular shoes if I wanted, but I almost never do.
  • Bontrager rear rack – originally got this for my Trek hybrid. It took a tumble in my accident on that bike and picked up a few dings, but still works just fine.
  • Arkel Urban Commuter pannier – the newest thing here. Up until now I’ve been wearing my Tom Bihn Synapse 19 backpack, still my favorite bag, but in this heat I just can’t stand having the airflow around my body obstructed. I used to dump the backpack into a collapsible basket on my rear rack, but didn’t like the way it threw off the balance of the bike, nor did I feel as comfortable riding in traffic with how far out it protruded. I tried a few other pannier types, and settled on this, a laptop/shoulder bag style pannier was also The Sweethome’s favorite. It’s working well so far, but I wish Tom Bihn would make a pannier bag.
  • Delta Cycle smartphone mount – best solution I’ve found so far, in that it’s sturdy, doesn’t require me to use a special phone case, and leaves the whole screen accessible. But the two halves get misaligned easily, and the lock clip doesn’t have enough clearance on the handlebars. I don’t love it.
  • Specialized KEG with flat repair kit – most folks around here keep their flat kit in a saddle pouch, but I don’t have room for one. Since there are braze-ons for multiple cages and I don’t need more than one bottle in the city, this works well as an alternative.

Not listed: my light kit. Up until now I’ve been using the Bontrager light kit that I got in Iowa with my Trek, but I’ve been meaning to switch to something brighter, with rechargeable batteries. Just last night my rear light got lost on a ride, so it’s time to take the plunge. Tomorrow I’ll be buying my Jamis a birthday present.