Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

ARKEL PANNIERS And Loren's Pooper Scooper Service

What?  How are these related?  Actually, they're not.  Just two items that are presently on my radar screen for two very different reasons.  Loren's Pooper Scooper Service is on my mind right now because I just spent a few minutes deleting a number of photos from my cellphone.  While in Tucson in August for one of those over and back drives, I snapped this shot of the ad on the back window of a pickup truck stopped in front of our car on a Tucson street.  Here's the photo:

Somebody has to do it, right?

This is the type of advertising that I find humorous.  There should be more.  We do take ourselves way too seriously as a race.

Ok, now, on to the Arkel panniers.  Several years ago, perhaps 2009, I met up with a couple of bicycle tourists up in the Gila.  These two women were coming up Sapillo Hill, which is a kick-your-ass 3 mile climb up from the intersection of Rt. 15 and Rt. 35.  They were doing a more scenic, but harder, section of the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route.  The first woman waved and kept riding, while the second woman stopped to chat, which, considering the climb she was on, amazed me.  Anyways, I noticed her panniers and inquired about them.  Turns out, they were Arkel panniers.  Love at first sight.  Not the woman.  The  panniers.  These are made in Quebec, Canada, and are made with material from the U.S.

What I truly like about them is the different compartments on the rear and front panniers.  Top loading panniers, while functional, create a situation that makes me think harder than I want to or should have to.  When packing gear, etc, into a top loading pannier, it is a requirement to plan precisely what goes where.    If this process isn't followed, frustrations will escalate and...sooooooon....stuff will be flying all over inside the tent, motel room, wherever you might be, trying to locate EXACTLY where the hell did I put that item that I'm looking for???  To be honest, this isn't critical mass stuff, but, for less stress, compartments make life, and searching, easier.  It's not required to remove EVERYTHING from the pannier to locate something.  When I cycled across country in 2010, I did manage to put everything exactly where I wanted it and had minimal times where the searching ensued.  With the Arkels, that is significantly reduced.  The ones that I particularly like are the GT-54 and GT-18 panniers.

Here's a video about the GT-18 and GT-54 panniers and the waterproof covers that are an integral part of both of these panniers, besides the pannier itself being waterproof:

Now, a few photos:
Arkel GT-18 Front or Rear Pannier

Arkel GT-54 Rear Pannier
I purchased the GT-54 panniers last year at a 15% discount, which was a good deal, and recently saw that the GT-18 panniers were on sale at 15% off.  Eileen and I were having breakfast.  I turned to her and said that the panniers I wanted were on sale finally and would she be interested in buying me an early birthday present.  Being the sweet, loving wife that she is...most of the time...she smiled and said, "Yes", so I ordered them.  They arrived this week.  I do like these bags.  What a treat.  Recently, when Etienne and Pablo stayed with us, Pablo had the same Arkel bags that I wanted...in red.  Etienne also had Arkel bags, but his were black.  I also have the Arkel Tailrider rear rack bag.
Arkel Tailrider Rack Bag
Now, it's time to slog through the colder months, going to the gym, riding in the afternoons, preparing for Spring when I can do a few overnights carrying camping gear and break these puppies in.

To my wife, Eileen, thanks and ssssmmmooooocccccchhhhheeeeesssss!!  You do know how to do things right.

After I've given these a try, I'll do a little review of them.  From what I've seen, I do believe that I'll be enjoying these panniers for many years down the road.

Ok, now, a tune to exit for, and a grateful thank you to, all the military personnel and civilians who were at Pearl Harbor all those years ago and exhibited bravery, fortitude, and a strength on a scale that seems beyond human endurance.  The Andrew Sisters doing, "Bugle Boy of Company B".