I commute on a daily basis. I cycle about three miles from home to the railway station, get on the train for 50 minutes, pick up a Boris bike and cycle a couple of miles to my office. I like go to the gym some lunchtimes to do a class or some yoga.
I have to look smart in the office but unless I'm going to court (I'm an in-house barrister), I don't have to wear a formal suit. I find it difficult to cycle in some of my work clothes, especially on the Wisp, so I keep shoes, trainers, toiletries, a suit and a spare skirt and tights at work and dress according to the weather, temperature and what I'm going to be doing that day.
Vienna has a pannier and a rear rack but, as yet, the Wisp doesn't have a rack. I'm planning to put one on but just haven't got round to it yet. I lock my bike at the railway station and have to carry all of my kit into London with me.
The morning routine goes something like this. On Monday, I put my gym kit for the week in my bag, then I put in my lights and a reflective rucksack cover. I have a short cable lock in my panniers, a waterproof seat cover and a cargo net.
So, in my bag is my purse, phones, keys etc, gym kit, SLR camera and various bits and bobs of make up, hair thingys, hand cream and gloves, lights and rucksack cover. I put my bag on the rack and attach it with the cargo net, put on my helmet and winter hat and gloves if it's cold. If I'm on the Wisp, I carry my bag messenger style. I wear a pair of clear glasses for cycling in because my route in the morning is mostly downhill and it's pretty fast. Stuff gets in my eyes otherwise. In the summer I wear my Oakleys.
I keep a Kryptonite lock and long cable at the station because they're too heavy to carry all the time, especially if i don't need to. I lock them up on the overhead racks and leave them there all the time. The only time I bring them home is during the holidays. I always have a couple of locks at home for when I'm out and about.
When I get to the railway station I lock the frame and rear wheel to the cycle rack using the Kryptonite lock and the long cable. I lock the helmet and the front wheel to the cycle rack if I can or just to the frame if I can't. I put the seat cover on if I'm not in the undercover section. I don't leave any lights on the bike and I don't leave anything in the pannier.
At the moment I'm using a nylon canvas bag that I got from Muji. It fits everything in, has top handles and a strap that I can carry messenger style but it's not very smart. Sometimes I use an oilcloth satchel from Boden which is nice but doesn't fit enough in and sometimes I use a black North Face rucksack.
None of these options is ideal. Bags carried messenger style aren't great unless you're a messenger and need your bag to slide easily round to the front to get stuff out, because funnily enough, that's what they do while you're riding! It's really annoying especially if I'm on the Wisp and leaning forward. I can't pedal then. I have to keep pushing it back round. The rucksack is ok on the way there when I'm not working very hard but it just makes my back all hot on the way home and it's not very chic. I much prefer to carry things on my bike however, when I get on a Boris bike, there usually isn't room on the small front rack so I have to carry it all on my person. So I need the option.
When I go home, I do the same thing except this time, I put the lights on my bike and if I'm on Vienna, I cover my bag, which is on the rack, with the reflective cover. Below is a picture of my night-time set up. I don't see the need to cover myself in flouro so I don't use it other than the cover. I'm writing up a post for next week on Londoncyclist.co.uk about that.
All of this has taken me ages to figure out and lots of messing about. It isn't perfect yet. What I'm searching for is a bag which is just big enough for my gym kit and all my other stuff, which is made of lovely soft and supple leather, which has four-way handles and which looks chic. I need four-way handles so that I can carry it in my hand or on my arm using a top handle, I can carry it on my shoulder with a strap which I can then sling over my body and carry it messeger style but with the strap converted to attach around the front of my waist to secure it so that it doesn't keep falling round to the front. The Brooks Barbican is almost there, but its too messenger-like and male. I need Anya Hindmarch or Rapha to do one. I keep thinking that it's not too much to ask but that is a pretty random specification and I'm probably the only person on the planet who requires it!