The right bag for cycling’s greatest adventures

Posted: January 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Cycling, Gear Review | 1 Comment »

Cycling’s biggest, most demanding adventures are not found on the physically demanding trails of Moab, nor the inspiring coast-to-coast road or at the top of heart-soaring vistas. Nope,

Great adventure is not found here

Great adventure is not found here

they’re found day-to-day, in the close-shave traffic flow, of a commuter cyclist.   The jumped curbs, the abrasive repositioning of frame to bike rack, the slightly lopsided messenger bag that swings clunkily around when you try to access your phone, each of these challenges can overwhelm the frail and vulnerable. It’s the bags, over-stuffed with commuting adventure necessities: lunch, extra pair of shoes, cute scarf for the ride home later in the evening, that both takes and dishes out the brunt of commuter demands.

I have struggled to find a bag that can match the high-intensity, big adventure challenge of daily commuting.  My messenger bag, straps loosened to their very tips, to accommodate everything I may need for my 15 minute commute: flair, change of clothing, whole foods bag, smashed my chest and created a rut in my right shoulder.  I eventually questioned my packing system and applied a less is more approach and started using a slim line back pack, that forced me to limit what I carried to a lap top and single credit card, just not at the same time.  This was not working as a long-term solution since I also wanted to pack a lunch. At this point, many smart, savvy people would have considered panniers but if there’s a more complicated, less successful method, I’ll try that first.

I’m not a Rapha acolyte—I just dress like one

Big adventures awaits

Big adventures awaits

It may appear that I have a Rapha fetish but in reality I have a weakness for bags (just not panniers). Most times simply browsing and imaging how I might use a certain type of bag satisfies the deep need to gather up things and put them in a container.  Mostly the desire is linked to traveling; I imagine where I would be or the types of amazing activities in which I would be engaged; as my line thinking progresses it naturally lands on the type of pack I  would require to get there.  In reality, my daily adventure is a swing and a swoop down the Boulder bike paths but an adventure all the same and one that requires a pack. Enter the Rapha back pack.

I’ve been using it for about a year and on the whole I really like it, despite the very pink, quite garish rain protector. There’s a pocket for everything and it expands to accommodate most commuter’s needs (read: male). This is not a criticism; it’s just it’s virtually impossible to stash a pair of heels in the expandable front packet when there’s a laptop in the main compartment.  Although, most times I do wear my heels when I’m riding there are some days when it makes more sense to go with a closed-toe option and, so I would like to be able to take both my lunch and my shoes together—in the same bag.  Minor quibbles aside, they have really thought of most things:  organizing compartments for pens, key fob,  built-in tube opening for reservoir, made with durable, reflected canvas.  This pack should serve me well  through my commuting adventures for a very long time.

One Comment on “The right bag for cycling’s greatest adventures”

  1. 1 Ambuclao Rider said at 2:01 am on January 9th, 2014:

    You’re right about cycling’s most ‘demanding adventure.’ Would be riding more often were it not for the motor traffic in my city. Weekends are when we ride.

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