Monday, 4 July 2011

Bag To The Future!

How Do All ;-)

A bit of a departure from the expected Rope & Canvas; but no less interesting, for me in any case.
I started racing my Laid Back (Recumbent Cylce) in 2010 with the British Human Power Club, but as I have no other transport; I had to rely on outside help to get my bag of bits to the race track, later in the year I purchased a single wheel trailer which made it easier for me to get to my local circuit with all of the unnecessary crap I thought I needed to take.
Problem with the trailer is that to travel further a field would mean travelling with the bike and trailer on public transport, not an easy task getting on and off trains or navigating stairs with both items.

After seeing a set of saddle bags that fellow racer Dave T had slung over his seat and hearing that he travelled all over the country to races by train not to mention the fact he lives in the arse end of the county; down Cornwall way, talk about commitment (Hero)  ;-)
Here is a picture of Dave's bike and saddle bags; taken by me at Reading last month.

Any how I decided this year I wanted to get to more races and a set of bags like that would be just the ticket.
I first started out travelling to a race in Reading slinging a pair of Ortlieb canoe bags on either side of the seat which worked handsomely; but lacked the convenience of proper securing straps or zips to get at my stuff whilst attached to the bike still.
After making a couple of prototype designs using ideas from the afore mentioned Hero racer's bags and also details kindly given by another fellow racer Barney H; I decided the shape these guys were using did not suit my set up and the bags seem to slump under my seat, where as the cylinder shaped canoe bags seemed to sit nicely and make good arm rests too, just like a rolling armchair ;-)
Well this is where I am at now; with a  nice set of bright Orange, Polyester reinforced PVC saddle bags.
I can just sling these over my seat and ride. there is no need to have a rack mounted as the bags are supported by the seat, and the bags are joined three webbing straps.
When I get to the train station I just whip the bags off and throw them over my shoulder using one of the end straps as a shoulder strap. 

There are 3 side compression straps, so should I wish to I can carry extra items, like a full sized track pump or whatever. I have that option, the centre strap has a side release buckle for easier access to the main zip opening.

The bags sit fairly high up on the seat and close to the body so don't affect the ride of the bike or create to much drag, definitely and improvement from the energy sapping trailer with pannier bags on it.

I did think that bags like this would just swing about wildly from side to side under the seat when cornering, but they are completely stable with no noticeable movement. now all I need to add is a cup holder  ;-)


The ends on the bag bodies are hand seamed as this is easier to do by hand than machine, and gives a better and stronger finish, in my opinion anyway,

The volume of each bag is exactly 14.034 litres  making for a handy 28 litres total carrying space, same size as the average day pack.

I took some of the design inspiration from my North Face, Base Camp Duffel's, of which I have several; now battle scarred, but still going strong, a testament to their reliability and build quality, lets see if my bags last as long ;-)
Maybe at some point I will add a detachable shoulder strap, or dedicated grab handles,

                                      

Take care,
Barry ;-)