When I was younger I used to buy my bike bags at the army surplus store. They weren’t actually army surplus equipment. There was nothing army about them. They were cheap junk. I still have some of them.
I’ve bought several cheap bike rear racks too, including the classic cast-aluminum “mousetrap” rack, shown here pinching someone else’s wallet.
Stand by, because I’m about to tell you about a sale on Ortlieb, Tubus, and Racktime products. (Click that link if you can’t wait.)
I never use those bags anymore. They were cheaply made, with no organizational features–basically nylon pouches designed by someone who vaguely recalled what a bike looked like. They’re mementos now.
I do still have the rack and baskets and they may ride again one day. The picture on the right is me, commuting with my dog, Chamba, around 1998. I still have those cheap folding wire baskets too. Even the shirt.
And that’s the only bike I ever owned that I threw in a dumpster. I don’t even remember what brand it was.
Chamba died, as must we all one day.
Death. Impermanence. The futility of life.
Do I have you in a buying mood yet?
In retrospect, the bags and the bike played out about as you’d probably expect. As for the rack, I feel like I’ve beaten the odds. Cast aluminum is weak, but cheap to use in manufacturing. Those shopping baskets will probably last forever, but they’re heavy as hell.
Now that I’m in the cycling industry, I’m in a position of being constantly reminded of the Philistine that I am with regard to my gear. And I frequently hear unprompted testimonials from cyclists who made better gear investments:
I’ve had these panniers for 50 years, and the only problem I ever had with them was when a volcano shot a blob of red-hot lava on the zipper! Dang thing jammed until I could put come Crisco on it. Still got burn scars on my thighs, though. Wanna see ’em, feller?
So some things are built to last.
Which brings me to…
Until August 24, all Ortlieb, Tubus, and Racktime Products are 10% off at Bike Bag Shop.
Let me help you get that image of me in a tank top out of your mind:
The Ortlieb Back Roller Classic waterproof panniers are rear panniers suitable for an expedition, or a rainy commute, The roll-top closure, waterproof fabric, durable design, and easy mounting system make these rear panniers great for daily use.
Now available with the Campfire Cycling logo.
The RackTime Shoulderit is both an attractive shoulder-bag and bike pannier. Functional and ready for a trip to town. This bag clicks on and off your bike rack in seconds. A strong magnetic flap holds the shoulder strap aside when you are riding.
The Tubus Cargo comes in two sizes: 26″, which fits most 26″ wheeled mountain bikes and 700c road bikes, and the 700c, which is designed to provide extra clearance on road bikes with full-wrap fenders.