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Biking was my first active love and my gateway to the outdoor community.

I randomly invested in a mid-range mountain bike when I was in college and never looked back. My favorite kind of biking isn’t out on the trails though – it’s making adventures out of everyday life. There are so many weekend warriors who lament their lack of time for exercise and fresh air, but we all have to get somewhere every day, a couple times a day… and these are perfect opportunities for a little excitement.

I’m a renter and recently moved, so I was fortunate enough to be able to factor a human-powered commute into my new housing checklist. (Aren’t in a position to do so? Never fear, hybrid commutes are also an option! Once you start to think outside the box the options really open up. Drive a leg, bike a leg! Break up your public transit route! The possibilities are endless.) I’ve occasionally biked commutes in various places but last summer/fall was my first real bike commuting season with weeks that I rode ~9 miles each way, every day.

I will say this: bike commuting is a transformative experience. It affects how you see your surroundings, behave as a driver, and approach your daily life. I never feel as connected to my world as when I wake up and experience the elements, all before a day’s work.

 

That said, spring biking is a cruel temptress.Especially in Vermont. (Spring?  What’s… spring?) I mostly let my bikes hibernate in the winter months, so when the roads start to thaw and the sky starts to clear, things get giddy around here.  However, as exciting as the seasonal shift is, spring biking is not for the faint of heart. It offers a cornucopia of fun attractions, including but not limited to: mud, potholes, sand, puddles, salt, wind, sun, snow, rain, spray, wildly inaccurate weather forecasts, gross surprises thawing out of roadside snow banks, 40 degree temperature swings… basically anything and everything goes. All bets are off.

Enter: Totally Tubular. One of the few products in the world that is as versatile as spring is fickle. It weighs pretty much nothing, packs up super small (either in the bottom of a pannier, backpack, or I even wear it wrapped around my wrist), and offers a lot of options for when the conditions inevitably change. It's an absolute must-have when I commute to work every morning on my bike. I usually wear it around my neck and then pull it up to cover my face and ears on downhills or blustery stretches.

 
Pulled up around your mouth or worn as a neck gaiter, this product is a life saver to have on hand.

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 I love that it also comes in bright neons and safety colors so that I can always have a piece of hi-vis on me, even if I forget my biking vest at home!

The Totally Tubular also allows for flexibility in temperature management and helps avoid what I call “The Goldilocks Effect”:
-Unzip top of vest: too cold.
-Zip top of vest: too hot.
-Tube layered under vest zipper: just right.
A tip of mine is wearing the Totally Tubular around your wrist when you're in-between wearing it. 
Forget your hat?
Twist your Totally Tubular in half and fashion it into a beanie (that works remarkably well under a helmet) or even easier, as a headband.
Sweaty helmet hair when you get to the office? Scrunch it up into that headband and no one will be the wiser. Seriously. It’s like the accessory of all trades.
Plus it’s super easy to toss in the wash with my other laundry and then pack right back into my bag.

Speaking of my bag, I really love the Ballard Market Pannier by Detours. Why yes, it does have radishes and octopuses on it.

As a designer I obviously appreciate a well-executed design, and this bag is super clever. The tote straps pull through to become a backpack.

You wouldn’t want to trek around with heavy things in it all day, as the straps are thin, but it works perfectly to quickly detach and bring up to my office or into the store.

I stash my lock and travel bike pump in there all the time, then throw my work clothes and accessories right on top.

And did I mention it also has radishes and octopuses on it?

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...Ok, well, now we're talking about patterns, so I have to mention my favorite Totally Tubular print called Kaleidoscope Dream. It is in this year's Spring & Summer collection and is my must-have.

This pattern just feels springy to me – bright and cool, vibrant without being loud. It incorporates a few key outdoorsy jewel tones, so it coordinates with a lot of technical clothing and outerwear. And, most importantly, my bike. It may not match high-vis yellow but I’m pretty okay with that (even though I totally use Turtle Fur Fall/Winter products that do just that… stay tuned.)

The Totally Tubular is my favorite spring biking accessory because it’s versatile, versatile, versatile. Packing everything you need for the day is one of the biggest hurdles of bike commuting. A Totally Tubular takes one layer of thinking out of your ride prep, which frees up valuable space in your bag – and your brain.


Happy miles!

 




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