Monday, December 12, 2011

Bicycle Baggage

There are all sorts of ways to carry stuff on a bike.  For fully loaded touring the front or rear rack is the obvious choice.   Trailers have certainly gained in popularity over the years as well.   If you are carrying a load, whether across the country, or from the grocery store, those are two great options.

For day to day commute riding I prefer a good backpack for its balance and stability.  I've had multiple messenger style bags, the only one of which that I felt was super well-made and had the aforementioned balance and stability, is the pacdesign bags.  Pricey but worth every penny.

One of the reasons that I prefer carrying stuff on my back is purely an aesthetic one.  To my eye bicycles look best when the "accessories" are pared down.  I mostly find that racks and fenders clutter up the natural austerity and elegance of the bicycle unless they are actively being used.  I realize this flies in the face of the current utilitarian bike chic and the randonneuring craze a la Bicycle Quarterly.   I appreciate that style and the workmanship in bicycles but unless you are almost always carrying a big load and riding through poor weather conditions I find it to be overkill.  Granted in Reno I have the luxury of not needing fenders for 96% of the year.

I was thinking about this when answering a question on the boblist about recommendations for bicycling specific backpacks.  It occurred to me that perhaps the gear I use everyday and take most for granted is my Vaude backpack.

I don't have the latest incarnation of the Vaude bag but it is amazing!  So many features, that are smart, and well-made.  I've owned two and the only reason I bought a second was because the first was stolen when my house was broken into.  The second one is 5-6 years old with no signs of giving out.  And the price is amazing for what you get.  Be sure to watch the video to get a better picture of the airflow and fit features!

Frankly, I'm shocked these aren't more popular with cyclists.

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