Getting What You Pay For: The Carradice Bike Bureau

BB

You're sooooo good lookin'.

At some point not too long ago, I quit wearing messenger bags.  As my days of student-hood draw to a close, and the glinty glare of an academic career comes into focus (which is really just an extension of student-hood, but I digress…), certain changes are necessary.  It is no longer appropriate (or practical) to sling a fakenger bag over my shoulder.  Sadly, this leaves me with few options: a backpack? a briefcase? one of those super sport pannier-to-shoulder bag combos?  Obviously, none of these would do.  After a little soul searching (the “soul” is what I call the internet), I found myself back at the Carradice website. It did not disappoint.

The Carradice Bike Bureau isn’t “hip” so much as “classic.”  I paid about $160 (including shipping and customs), so it wasn’t cheap but also wasn’t prohibitively expensive.  Cotton Duck, leather straps, and thoughtful design made it an easy choice.  It’s a pannier-to-shoulder bag that looks as at home on a bike as on your back, which is no small feat.

bb

Back view. Pannier clips covered.

When used as a shoulder bag, a flap (for want of a better word) covers the clips.  This is a zippered compartment, which I have used to store a rain cover (thus providing extra padding over the clips, which dug into my back a little).

Flap (held by velcro) flips over to reveal clips.

The mounting system isn’t the easiest I’ve used, but it’s no real challenge.  The important thing is that once on the bike, the bag feels secure.  The velcro flap folds over to help protect the bag and keep it as clean as possible.

Visible. Nice.

So far I’ve been using the bag with my winter bike (a modified Dahon Jack) with a standard rack, but I’ve also tested it out on my Surly LHT (with the beefier “Nice Rack“), and it fits like a charm on both.  I had to slide it all the way to the back of the rack, but once positioned there I had lots of foot clearance.

Sweet slippers.

Most importantly, the bag feels good to wear (especially with the extra padding), and looks devilishly handsome.  It doesn’t look like a pannier, which is key.  It also holds a tonne of stuff (26 litres worth, to be exact).  Not pictured is the padded laptop compartment, which is removable (but when installed suspends the computer a little to ensure you don’t smash it up if the bag falls). This is a huge benefit for pretty much everyone, because who doesn’t have a laptop?  It will also work well with a tablet, if you’re one of those early adopters.

Contents. Including retina-burning rain wear.

Here’s what I had in the bag.  And it wasn’t full, or too heavy.  Needless to say, this bag can pretty much handle whatever you throw at it.

So, for those of us for whom the messenger bag simply no longer fits the bill, there are other options.  Better options, I dare say. Yes, you will have to install a rack on your bike, but that’s not the end of the world (even if you, like Dubya, fawn over the clean lines and simplicity of a fixed steel frame).  Racks are awesome, get over it. Less back sweat and fewer shoulder aches are well worth it.

In conclusion, some things take more than four sentences to review.  Others agree.

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Getting What You Pay For: The Carradice Bike Bureau”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: