Muscles Not Motors May 2011 Gear Guide

baileyworks bagBaileyWorks 253 Courier Messenger Bag

Talk to a bike messenger, and you’ll hear of the many rigors bike messengers face: lousy pay, physical exhaustion, scorn from disagreeable drivers, potholes, etc. Talk to a messenger bag, and you’ll hear of the many rigors messenger bags face—constant exposure to all kinds of nasty weather, being stuffed to capacity with heavy loads, repetitive opening and closing, scorn from elitist designer handbags, and the occasional slide across the pavement while strapped to a bike messenger’s back. Designed first and foremost to withstand these abuses, BaileyWorks bags (proudly handmade in Portsmouth, N.H., since 1993) are durable, simple, and functional bags that anyone can appreciate. Built for bike messengers, urban commuters, and pedestrians alike, the 253 Courier features a highly durable Cordura shell with a reflective strip, a Coverlight waterproof lining, and a corrected angle strap and removable waste belt for a more stable and comfortable fit. Inside, it features two bellows pockets, a rear interior pocket, and a zip pocket. Choose from more than 20 colors and three sizes: small (840 cubic inches), medium (1,232 cubic inches), and large (1,728 cubic inches). $119–$139.

Brunton SolarisBrunton Solaris USB 4 Solar Panel

Portable electronic devices are great, but when they don’t function because the batteries have died, they are useless pieces of junk that can only do one thing: break your heart. Ever been on a plane when your iPod suddenly dies, and you’re stuck listening to that guy behind you blabber on about his Caribbean cruise? Ever missed that life-changing phone call because your cell phone ran out of juice? Ever pulled out your dead digital camera and missed your chance to capture an image of the elusive bay cat of Borneo, the long-legged warbler of Fiji, or perhaps the albino moose of Norton standing on its head? The 9-by-13-by-25-inch Brunton Solaris USB 4 portable charger—which generates solar power for your USB-compatible MP3 player, cell phone, or digital camera—aims to minimize these dreaded moments. Made with four flexible CIGS solar cells, the durable, lightweight, and easily foldable Solaris 4 works in all types of weather and is ideal for traveling, camping, or at home, and it can charge your electronic device even when sunlight is low. You may have missed your chance with the albino moose, but the elusive quetzal of Costa Rica cannot hide forever, so be ready the next time it appears. $252.

Freeline SkateFreeline OG Skates

I consider myself a fairly coordinated person, but the first time I put a set of Freeline skates under my feet, my right foot suddenly felt a lot like my left foot. I was intrigued nonetheless, especially after watching the expert dude effortlessly zip around me in circles. The first time you see someone cruising around on these things, you’ll probably say, “Hey, look at that guy! What the heck are those?!” My best explanation is as follows: They are two small decks, each mounted with trucks, supporting two wide wheels, one in front of the other. They are designed to be ridden sideways like a skateboard and are self-propelled by alternating your feet back and forth. If you’ve ever watched figure skating, you’ve seen the technique. Once you get the hang of them, you can carve smooth turns, achieve exceptional speeds, ride uphill, and enjoy a totally new and exciting riding experience on the street or in the skate park. And as you would expect, the kids are already out there pushing the limits, dropping into vert, catching air, thrashing, shredding, grinding, and doing all sorts of insane tricks on them. You may see me catching air on them too, but it won’t be intentional. $149.99.

Ryan James Leclerc

Ryan James Leclerc used to be single and used to work on the sales floor of Onion River Sports. He is now married and works in the office of Onion River Sports. The creative license he procured in a back alley allows him to occasionally narrate from the past as though it were the present.