Unit Garage Panniers

One of my main takeaways from this little jaunt that I did over the summer, was that I needed to figure out a real luggage solution for my bike if I was going to be taking anymore multi-day trips. I had been passively scanning the Revzilla spam emails, and paying a little closer attention to the other bikes I saw with good looking boxes or bags affixed to them. But I didn’t see anything that really stood out to me. A few weeks ago one of my friends from Union Garage randomly sent me a message about the new stuff they had received from the Italian outfit Unit Garage. So many garages!! At any rate, I knew right away that I had found the gear I was looking for. Can’t beat that Italian design!

Initially I ordered only the side boxes, hoping that I could retain the existing rear rack. Soon after I began installation, I realized that the existing rear rack would not be compatible with the pannier racks, and ended up ordering the top case as well. The Union Garage guys were very cool about making sure that I had matching lock cores for the whole set, so that I wasn’t carrying around extra keys (or worse, forgetting to carry them).

Installing the racks to the frame was a piece of cake. Getting the OEM under-tail unit to play nice with them is a different story. Ultimately I had to reposition the indicators a few inches to the rear (the pannier kit included parts for this), and shortened the stocks down to about an inch in length. I also had to take a sawzall to the stock tail light bracket and plate holder. I ended up going with an after market plate holder, but was able to use the original OEM tail light after trimming a few inches of plastic from the original housing.

I am very happy with the way they came out. The boxes are super nice with neoprene liners and leather top straps. Now I just need to plan another road trip!! Here are a few additional photos–

Burton Glove Liners

Burton glove liners are awesome.  As a person who prefers mittens over fingered gloves when participating in winter sports, I have found these glove liners to be nearly essential on very cold days. It enables one to remove the mitten while on a ski lift in order to shoot off a quick gram or two without getting frostbitten fingers. I also keep one of the heavier weight pairs (seen above) in my jacket pockets to use as commuter gloves. Back in the days of riding the subway, they kept my paws toasty and enabled me to be a strap hanger without having any actual skin contact with the strap. Both index fingers and thumbs are outfitted with touchscreen friendly material. Seeing how it has been snowing almost every day since we have been in the Catskills, I’m really glad to have brought these with me. A wintertime must-have, in my book.

Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor 1980-1983 by Tim Lawrence

I first discovered this book from the Benji B. radio show on BBC Radio 1. I guess the author, Tim Lawrence and crew put together an LP compilation of the music that is part of the subject matter in this book. Benji played a bunch of tracks from the compilation (which were awesome) and talked up the book enough that I had to check it out. I still haven’t finished “Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor 1980-1983” yet. But I’m enjoying every chapter. If you are a sucker for NYC’s cultural history like I am, I would definitely recommend this book, whether you are a music fan or not.

Muji House Slippers

Some of Japan’s Finest Slippers, Together with the Author’s Veiny Scarred up Ankles.

First of all, everything Muji is awesome. Britt got us matching pairs of these for like $4 each. I was never the type to wear slippers around the house until these ones came along. They were one of the last items to go into the duffel when we were packing to get out of dodge. Man, am I glad I brought ’em.

Garmin 645 Music


I have had a few different GPS running watches. One was powered by Tomtom. The rest were all Garmin. This is my favorite, to date. I picked it up last year on Prime day when Amazon had it for like 50% off. The beauty of the Garmin 645 Music, is that it pairs with bluetooth headphones and I can listen to my Spotify playlists without having to bring a phone with me. This is also the first Garmin that I have owned with a built in heart monitor. Heart rate has been a fun new metric to track. The watch has all of the regular smart watch functions as well for those who want to get alerts on their watch, count steps, etc..

As far as the GPS system is concerned, it works the best of any that I’ve owned. When I have GLONASS enabled (this allows it to talk to the Russian satellites as well the GPS satellites), I rarely have to wait more than a couple of seconds for the GPS to link up when I start an activity. I use it predominantly for running. But when I was recovering from surgery I used it on the bike quite a bit. It has also been fun to wear on some hikes that we have done here in the Catskills. The only drawback is that the battery life is not great compared to other models I’ve used. But I don’t mind charging every couple of days, so whatev. It is an awesome device that I have really enjoyed using.

BR Chinos

The Author in One of His Daddest Getups | Photo: Britt

Business casual gets a bad rap for being boring, and rightly so. Boring or not, I find nicely fitting khakis to be much more comfortable than jeans. This was part of the reason that I brought these along with me. I would get sick of wearing jeans every day, and unfortunately it has not warmed up enough yet to wear shorts (other than when running). At this juncture I still have too much self respect to wear sweat pants all day (except for those days when I have been sick). Not ruling out the possibility that could change in the near future if current status quo persists.

They are super boring pants, for sure, especially when paired with dad shoes like in the photo above. They do look pretty decent with boots though. I don’t have any special affinity for Banana Republic, but they do seem to be what I usually buy. It is mostly because I know exactly how their various cuts fit me without having to try them on. Also, the perpetual 40% “discount” makes them the right price for a person who goes through as many pairs of chinos as I do.

 

Canon 5D x 50mm f/1.2

My most used rig.

I love this camera and lens combo. I have been a Canon guy since before the digital era, and this 5D is my favorite camera I have ever owned. My 50mm f/1.2 is essentially glued to this body. It is not the most versatile lens, but in my opinion the quality of images that it produces makes up for the extra work required to get the shot. I did a cheesy unboxing video over here, the day that this body arrived. I was super stoked that day, and have subsequently been stoked every time I feel the shutter click. In case it is not already clear, I heavily endorse this setup.

Laser Range Finder

If you have ever made a floor plan with a regular tape measure, you will see the value in this thing. I picked it up on Amazon for under $20. It has been a game changer, especially when measuring larger spaces and ceiling heights. Also: lasers…

Rag & Bone Jeans

I was going to style up a little shoot for my jeans, but after seeing these action shots Britt snapped the other day, I thought that they would work just as well. Rag & Bone has been my go-to for jeans since the first pair I bought over 10 years ago. I love the way that they fit, and they have just enough stretch. I have worn out 3 pairs, and plan to continue replacing them with the same thing when I wear these ones out.

Even though it is tempting to just wear sweat pants all day every day in the current times, I feel like it has done me some good to get up, shower and put on normal clothes every day. These jeans have served me well while we have been camped out in this place. They have also picked up some custom paint details along the way.

[Photo: Britt]

Canon AE-1

Canon AE-1 (with 50mm f/1.4): This kit is very similar to the one that I used in Jr. high when I was learning how to use an SLR. I picked it up a few years ago, with this project in mind. Since then, I have collected a few additional lenses (thanks Mike), and amassed a stack of exposed yet undeveloped film at home. The great thing about shooting film is that it causes me to be much more selective about what I actually snap. I have been observing my new surroundings for the past month, and finally broke out the 35mm this week to start documenting some of my favorite aspects with film as well. Here are a couple of more from a bygone era of normalcy.