The Five Commandments of J.O.Y.B.A.G.®

I have traveled into the Safeway parking lots, among the glass filled shoulders, through the misery of forgetting my spare tube. I have lugged grocery bags on my handlebars and arrived to gatherings late and sweaty. I have cursed and sworn with befuddlement at being ill-prepared to make my way through the world on my bicycle. And a voice has spoken deep from within. And it has said “Hey you idiot, stop bumbling around, just drive a car”. But I have fought back against this voice and denied it and then called it Satan. And in my despair another voice rose up and it whispered joybag.

And then in a flash, the 5 Commandments of JOYBAG came to me (over the last 5 or so years). Doubtless to say these are the 5 commandments that Moses dropped.

Are you ready to hear the truth of JOYBAG? No, well I am going to tell you anyway.

  • JOYBAG Commandment I: Thoun Biketh and all of its Part thereof shalt be capable of rapidly securething upon thyself whenstever parked.
  • JOYBAG Commandment II: There always shalth be places whereth thine mightest puttest yours Stuff while riding and may leave with Security from evil doers whilst parked (looketh back to numero I).
  • JOYBAG Commandment III: Thee Biketh must be nearly impervious to all manner of simple trauma such as tires which go flateth and gears which go Squeaketh and do not Change when the mountain draws near.
  • JOYBAG Commandment IV: This here Biketh shalt always be welcoming for a ride, not requiring specialized clothing to ride most exactingly in the areas wherest the foot striketh the pedal. The rider of such biketh shall also normally wear clothing suitable for both a fashionable presentation of ones moral servitude and profession whilst doubly serving for a comfortable cycling voyage.
  • JOYBAG Commandment V: This thereout Biketh shall giveth rapid transport to all regular destinations with ease. For many sinners, with heavy loads, hilly locals, weak hearts and suburban sprawl this means the electrification of ones Biketh and damn yee if yee say nigh!

I say to all yee sinners, Jump On Your Bike And Go!

JOYBAG, kind of, I think….

Oh wow, that was way too much fun. I must have been a preacher in a prior life.

Given the strong likelihood that you got lost in my babbling in tongues, here are the 5 Commandments of a JOYBAG bicycle rephrased:

  1. A bicycle that can be quickly and nearly completely secured in public places.
  2. A bicycle capable of carrying everyday items such as groceries, books, laptops, spare clothes etc. Not only does the bike carry these things, it can all be quickly be secured on the bike as if it were in the trunk of a car or the racktop box of a police motorcycle.
  3. A bicycle that requires very little maintenance and is nearly impervious to flats. Do I need to explain further?
  4. A bicycle without clip-in pedals. Or if it has clip-in pedals, they are flat on oneside (that’s what I have). Also a wardrobe suitable for everyday living and comfortably hopping on a bike and any given moment.
  5. In most cases, an electric bicycle because the bike that I am describing is heavy and often loaded. Unless you are an incredible athlete or rarely travel outside of a 3 mile radius, an electric bike is much more inspiring as a replacement to a car.
I need one of these on my Xtracycle

As the messenger of these pearls of wisdom on high, I must confess a few things. First off, I should admit that I just came up with these commandments off the top-of -my-head. While I do like their ring, this is definitely a work in progress and commandment is probably a bit strong of a word. Secondly, I personally am far from achieving JOYBAG Nirvana. It is a journey…

I can definitely say that I have achieved #4: a ready to ride wardrobe as well as #5: electrified bicycling (or better said, a means whereby I can get around easily and quickly with a heavy, loaded bike over a variety of distances). Whether or not I have achieved #3, a maintenance and flat free bike, is debatable, but I am getting there.

I have figure out half of the lockable, storage capacity of #2. That is I have the capacity on my bike for stuff, but it is not lockable. Where I really have the most work is in #1, making my bike rapidly and fully securable. I’ve been brewing on quite a few ideas related to bike security and plan on both making these happen on my bike and discussing them here.

Brian ready to JOYBAG his way home from a day of working away at the



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5 thoughts on “The Five Commandments of J.O.Y.B.A.G.®”

  1. plh says:

    As to #5 at 64 I am not there yet. I carry a lot of stuff and Providence RI & vicinity affords hills enough although San Francisco it ain’t. I’m sure the years will catch up then better electrified than no bike at all.
    #4: Totally with you!
    #3: Try Schwalbe Flatless or Bontrager Hard Case. I commute over typical urban streets and they hold up especially the former. Looks like you are not on super skinny tires so I don’t have to tell you about that.

  2. Robert Pait says:

    JOYBAG hilarious and yet apropos. As far as securing gear goes, on mine its all removeable and comes with me. My bike goes into my office when I am at work. As far as flats go, better tires designed to resists flats but I also keep a already flatted tube in my wheel as a liner and my flats are few-far in between. I have thought about electrified bikes, not there yet, still manually commuting 50 miles a day in traffic. I have yet to load up at home depot though, mostly just a trip to the grocery. I wish I had a wagon I could tow behind the bike on such trips but my backpack and front basket get the job done so far. Loved reading this article though, thanks.

  3. pam says:

    I caved last year and got an e-bike. Since moving out of the center of town a bit, I had stopped riding, it was a sweaty, hilly, commute and the e-ride must made all that go away. I run a lot more errands by bike now too because — I’m just gonna say it — it’s so easy.

    As these things get less dorky and more affordable, I think we’ll see more folks who wouldn’t consider commuting by bike picking up an e-ride.

    Yup. Good rules.

  4. Kevin Love says:

    I like the cargo capacity on the pictured bike. But the bike does have a few other problems.

    No fenders means I cannot ride on wet roads without having road filth being sprayed all over me.

    External gears and brakes are high maintenance.

    Most importantly, NO LIGHTS. Illegal, dangerous and just plain foolish.

  5. Crunchy Mamma says:

    Of all the problems so well described above, the one that most bothers me is my inability to quickly lock up my bike. The day someone invents a key fob for bikes will be a day to go down in history. The other downer is loading up the bike with panniers full of groceries only to get a flat or a wonky chain a few feet out of the store. Now we just need AAA for bikes! Thanks for blogging!

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