Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Want it Wednesday – got it for Christmas–only just stuck it on the bike!

Wednesday, 13th March 2013: When out cycling in the countryside I like to carry some tools with me just in case.  The main hazard encountered when cycling tends to be punctured tyres. You do get other problems though, I have had a chain snap on me, a rim split, blots go missing from, mudguards getting caught, saddle clamp problems and a broken seat tube – to name a few.

For a long time I have used an Altura RackPack, something like this Arran Rack Pack. It is great for day touring, but mine got filled with all sorts of stuff even and got heavier and heavier. I would carry spare change, inner tubes loo roll, a pump, a multi-tool, spare spokes, various nuts and bolts, a rain proof jacket, spare gloves, zip ties, puncture repair kit, tyre levers, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream, suntan lotion, plasters (band-aids). The list grew.

I was pleased with mine, although it was fairly waterproof several hours of riding in absolutely torrential rain around tea plantations in India proved too much for it. I ended up having to dry out money, maps and my passport and so started bagging up stuff before putting it in my rackpack. It had the advantage of being easily removable from the bike. So when heading to Cambridge city centre for meetings it was remarkably easy to remove and it always used to surprise me how much lighter the bike felt.

Now that amount of gear is a bit over the top when pootling around the Flatlands so having seen reference to Carradice saddle bags on My Orange Brompton I stuck one on my Christmas list – and lo and behold after Santa’s visit I was the proud owner of a Carradice Zipped roll saddlebag. I do have a pair of Carradice Super Cs that still are super and great for cycle touring. Although I do have to work at not over-packing them.

So why haven’t I mentioned it before. Well when I went to fit it onto my bike’s (Maisie) green Brompton saddle the leather fixing straps were so wide I gave up trying to get them through the buckles. I have half-heartedly tried if few times since but it has always been too cold.

Anyway this week I decided that I wasn’t going to give up. Here is the bag sitting on my kitchen table – daring me to stick it on the bike. It was quite a sunny day, but pretty cold still when I made the attempt.

It probably looks more battered than it does in real life as a result of the “HDR” picture. The material is designed to be robust. The straps are leather and there are two for the saddle and one for the seat tube. The bag is upside down.

Carradice Zipped Roll Saddlebag

Well I persevered and by squeezing the straps managed to get them to fit through the metal buckles. As you can see the green colour is somewhat lighter than the green of my saddle but the two are in keeping in style and colour I reckon.

I will probably have to slip the Knog light down a little bit to ensure it can be seen from behind. (Note the Knog light is an emergency light – I have a Cateye LD1100 – now there is an excellent rear light. They are so good I have three, on different bikes.

Carradice Zipped Roll Saddlebag

All that remains is to stick a few tools into the bag and I am ready to roll. Which means a pump, a couple of inner tubes, a multi-tool, some tyre levers,  puncture repair kit, zip ties and a bit of first aid stuff.

The last time I used my first aid stuff was after getting bitten by a dog a few years ago on a byway in the middle of nowhere.

Here is the rear view – alright it looks a bit crumpled – but it will look a bit more shapely when I fill it out with stuff.

Carradice Zipped Roll Saddlebag

So here is the result of my short-term review. The long-term will have to wait – naturally.


Seems tough
Not too large not too small
Will probably allow me to use a rackpack as well.
It will take a bit for someone to unbuckle if they want to steal it

Similar style to my Brooks Saddle


It won’t be easy to take it off and on, so I will need to be able to fit my rackpack underneath it for longer day rides.

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