Technical > Luggage

Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?

(1/4) > >>

Andre Jute:

--- Quote from: Moronic on July 23, 2021, 05:55:26 AM ---Although I've been as far afield as Paris
--- End quote ---

I remember Paris, and a wonderful girl who struck out fearlessly on her bicycle on the Périphérique. Not wanting to seem a coward, I followed. I've been shot at, and hunted by the assassins of sovereign governments, plural, parachuted from 600ft to cut deals with revolutionaries, set a record from Adelaide to Darwin and on the way back broke my own record (you need to be an Australian to picture the dust storm, holding who knows what, raised by a big artic with nine long trailers -- called a "cattle train" for a good reason -- travelling at 90mph on a dirt road), and several determined efforts have been made to cancel me, but the Périphérique on a bike was the most frightening thing I've ever done. I wasn't surprised at all when she became a hanging judge in child abuse cases. I still have the Madeleine of Paris doctor's gladstone bag, with bicycle rack straps, that the Resistance gave to her grandfather as recognition for services rendered, and which 25 years later came to me as a graduation present because she, an only child, with a Renault executive as a father, didn't intend practising medicine. It was in use until a handful of years ago but I'm retiring it to a fashion or medical museum before it gets any more worn. Here it is, closed and open so you can see the brass mechanism; I'd buy another if I could, for the sheer bicycling convenience of it:

That lining weave was a trademark in bicycle luggage on Rene Herse and similar bikes of the period, something like wearing the whitewalls on your VW Beetle on the inside. The whole thing, though serviceably sturdy, is surprisingly lightweight -- all my bar bags are heavier.

Notice that I've matched the leather for protecting strips on the mixte rails against my number twelves for my bike's irreplaceable coach paint by Meister Kluwer, who shortly after that at the age of 89 or 90 got the craftsman's supreme accolade, the Nobel of the Artisan, being honoured by VW as the greatest living craftsman. Also the small leather bag which holds all 68gr of my tools.


--- Quote ---Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
--- End quote ---
Oh, but they do...almost!

Andre, I know bags of this type from Grainger's Kraft Tool line. But for the bottom straps -- which could be easily added by a shoemaker or local saddlery -- it appears very similar to yours (but lacking the provenance and rich heritage, of course, as well as the backstory!).


These have a leather bottom, making them perhaps even more resistant to rack abrasion.

Quiff camera bags are remarkably similar but the 519.00 € price tag comes a little dear and bottom straps would still need to be adapted. See:

A friend of mine adapted a messenger bag to serve dual-duty as a rack-top bag, though I think it is a little narrow and tall to be ideally suited to the task:



Andre Jute:
I like the look of those Quiff bags but the price is, as you say, a little steep.

But your friend with the messenger bag has the right idea, except that he needs two, and to attach them as panniers.

Long time ago, when I rode on Dutch vakansiefietse (vacation bikes), Dutch items with every luxury including coat guards in case someone was careless enough to commute on them -- and leave them at the station or in shared parking! -- I saw on the net a fellow who had two messenger bags in leather, same as I had one of, which he'd made quick clips for, which he showed with well-deserved pride, attached to the pannier rails of his commuter, which he rode in a Hugo Boss suit and ankle-length Bugatti overcoat. Not wanting to buy another messenger bag if I didn't like the idea in practice, I bought a couple of plastic briefcases at a poundshop (a dime store) and attached them, and all the weight weenies in lycra suddenly nodded approvingly. It actually worked well enough for me to keep them for a year or so, until it came to me that I don't want to carry a few folders of papers but six bottles of wine each side, and I went over to the open-top Basil open-top pannier baskets I still use, usually only one on offside (the drive side) because it is a convenient place to tie a traffic yellow strap around, which also holds the bottom of the basket to the seat stay, not so elegant but much more convenient.

Still, all these years later, nothing beats the Madeleine cycling doctor's bag for style, utility, space and speed of operation.

From a time when a bicycle was a utility vehicle for many more people than so use them today. A bag like the doctor's bag would have been valued more highly then than now, I imagine.

Since my Thorn Mercury came equipped with a rear rack that I am not likely to demount, I have looked around for a bag like that in which I could carry various bits for a day trip - from tools, wallet, phone, pullover and pump to all that plus food for a picnic. There is surprisingly little around, and what is around isn't very exciting.

I ended up with a so-called Trunk Bag from Ortlieb. A laggard in the beauty stakes but it does work quite well. Compared with the doctor's bag, it looks a little less accessible but more waterprood and more easily demounted. And doubtless more cheaply constructed.

I doubt many Australians have seen a nine-trailer road train. Maybe fewer than have survived a leap from an aircraft at 600ft. Does one carry a reserve chute for if the main mis-deploys, or is it recommended that the unlucky spend their last seconds in quiet contemplation since a reserve at that height wouldn't help?

Caradice make a couple of good rack bags: The Super C and the Caradura I've got both. The former claims to be waterproof while the latter has a smaller main compartment and a couple of drop-down mini panniers. While the Super C is only held on by velcro straps, these seem to be durable.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version