Sunday was a meeting of the bicycle commuters board of directors and as I sat in a hallway waiting for other board members to show up, I was interested in seeing how everyone would carry whatever food they were contributing to the potluck that we had decided would be our lunch. Being a bicycle commuters society, nearly everyone would be arriving by bike.
I don't know what type of bike most of them ride - I imagine being mostly university students, their bikes are modest and most likely secondhand or at least older models. What surprised me was as each person showed up, they had all manner of panniers (saddlebags). Large ones mostly. Some were hard - shelled cases. Most were the softer ripstop nylon ones. What struck me most was the condition of the panniers. To a one they all looked brand new. Just out of the box brand new. So maybe they don't spend much money on a bike but they do spend money on their saddlebags. And judging from the condition of the bags - they take good care of them as well.
It was with astonishment that we all watched as Chris - like a magician pulling an endless scarf from their sleeve - pulled a cast iron frying pan, a combination lid/strainer, noodles,srouts,vegetables,rice, a cutting board, a spatula, a large glass bottle of olive oil and a stove out of his bags Well maybe not a stove but something more than a hotplate. It was a device that I had never seen before and heated by some sort of mysterious magnetic pulse. The stove/element itself didn't warm up but the cast iron frying pan was hot enough for Chris to cook up a delicious concoction that put a whole new spin on potluck.