Author Topic: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?  (Read 1944 times)

Andre Jute

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Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« on: July 23, 2021, 03:39:35 PM »
Although I've been as far afield as Paris


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.

Danneaux

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2021, 04:23:49 PM »
Quote
Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
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!).

See: https://www.grainger.com/product/43Y560?ef_id=Cj0KCQjw0emHBhC1ARIsAL1QGNe-Es7qN8OWrQYYmETVWdI96lW_or-4jT9r4cr-Jfrm-G6_feXkEfUaArlIEALw_wcB:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!496359971695!!!g!502447222717!&gucid=N:N:PS:Paid:GGL:CSM-2295:4P7A1P:20501231&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0emHBhC1ARIsAL1QGNe-Es7qN8OWrQYYmETVWdI96lW_or-4jT9r4cr-Jfrm-G6_feXkEfUaArlIEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

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:
https://www.barbershopbags.com/en/doctor-bag-quiff-brown-canvas-and-leather_bbs-qu-1.html

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:
https://buffalojackson.com/products/military-canvas-messenger-bag-dakota-field-tan?variant=7954018730036&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0emHBhC1ARIsAL1QGNfhTmahN3PNgCSmBt-orSwE2OxT1NjG5FafteEl7Ofz8yO2bdDLk_4aAjaIEALw_wcB

Best,

Dan.

Andre Jute

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2021, 07:07:36 PM »
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.

Moronic

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2021, 07:24:01 AM »
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?

JohnR

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2021, 08:30:05 PM »
Caradice make a couple of good rack bags: The Super C https://www.carradice.co.uk/bags/rack-packs-stuff-sacks/super-c-rackbag and the Caradura https://www.carradice.co.uk/bags/rack-packs-stuff-sacks/carradura-rack-bag. 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.

Andre Jute

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2021, 10:45:50 PM »
Definitely a utility rider's rack bag, Ian. But it has never leaked while I used as a bicycle bag. I'm sure your Ortlieb will be more waterproof when it matters, and might surprise you with its longevity.

Back in the days of conscription, everybody got two jumps from a tower and one "passing-out" jump from around a thousand feet and then you got your wings. But I was a political soldier, working out my six weeks every year of "national duty" (for the Americans, something like being a reserve officer after ROTC) on liaison duty in the prime minister's office, so I had one jump from the tower, and that was it. The jump master wasn't impressed with my eminence in service to the nation (none!) and flung me out while I was still gauging our elevation.

I didn't see a truck with nine trailers either -- if you see anything through that dust storm, your memorial will be a hubcap from your car on the bull bars of the truck -- though one of the passengers counted sudden suctions as the spaces between trailers, and Norm Shearlaw, who was a prospector up and down that road for decades, said beside the bar of the Feathers in Adelaide the next evening that it was a short count, that there were ten trailers for that many vortices or whatever they were. That road north from Ayers Rock was a lawless region of Australia back then. But there are members here with much more recent experience of it than mine; perhaps someone will tell us what the legal limit of trailers is these days, and what the road is like in the summer.

JohnR, the rack bag in which I currently keep the large battery is some version of the Carradice bags you link, for which thanks, though I don't know if mine was made by Carradice for whoever branded it (possible, as the details are pretty closely matched), or in China without benefit of design royalties. I bought it at the biggest bicycle shop in Cork City for about 80 Irish punt, which tells you it was around 25 years ago, and when it proved itself after a couple of years tried to buy two more for my other bikes; no dice. Never seen again. Mine must have seen 15+ years of bicycle service (the rest of the time it served as a grab and go camera bag) and, except for being faded to deep charcoal, is good as new. It fastens with Velcro straps and the part that most amazes me is that they still work well after all these years; a quality item all round. One thing which distinguishes it from the Carradice bags is the small zippered pocket inside at the back of the bag into which you can put whatever small valuable you want.

Danneaux

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2021, 01:52:17 AM »
We've wandered a bit off-piste here -- as we do -- but I suppose a road train's trailers are roughly analogous to a rack-pack if you squint hard enough.  ;) ;D

With that thought in mind, it appears there are actual Guinness records for longest road train, the winner described as 113 trailers long (and hauled briefly for the record): https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-road-train#:~:text=The%20record%20for%20the%20longest,Australia%20on%2018%20February%202006.

Some videos of these longer trains are interesting; here's one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iFkKRh5kcM

For those as fascinated as I by the topic of such long trucks, there's more here...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSMtSrWO1po

Quote
...perhaps someone will tell us what the legal limit of trailers is these days...
53.5m according to...
https://www.nhvr.gov.au/road-access/mass-dimension-and-loading/general-mass-and-dimension-limits


Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 01:55:31 AM by Danneaux »

Andre Jute

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2021, 07:39:09 PM »
We've wandered a bit off-piste here -- as we do -- but I suppose a road train's trailers are roughly analogous to a rack-pack if you squint hard enough.  ;) ;D

Squinting hard, heh-heh! I take the view that road trains, especially on that lightly-policed road (at least in my time in Australia), is something other cyclists should be warned about. The multi-trailer labelled BP and carrying petrol gave me a shiver: that thing is a rolling bomb.

Thanks for the amazing links.

energyman

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2021, 09:26:22 PM »
You obviously have never lived on 275,000 tonnes of crude bombing along at 18mph.
(apologies for being off topic !)
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 09:28:51 PM by energyman »

Andre Jute

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2021, 11:26:05 AM »
 Nah, I've left my reckless yoof behind me.



PS That sounds like a ship large enough to cycle around.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2021, 11:29:27 AM by Andre Jute »

energyman

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2021, 07:58:54 PM »
We had RSW on the big 'uns but they removed them when apparently the H&S people found out.
Wet steel decks are LETHAL !

Rouleur834

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2021, 09:50:17 AM »

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.

Hi. Looked at that bag for my Mercury but discounted it due to the fitting. What carrier do you have? My bike came with a Tubus Vega which has variable width front-to-back.

Best

Ray

Moronic

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2021, 04:50:50 AM »
Hi Ray,

Yes I also have a Vega and I had the same concern. In practice the mounting system works quite well with the Vega. With parallel rails it might be even better, but the mounting is a clever clamp system that can accommodate the Vega geometry.

The issue for mounting is not so much the security of the clamps as the rack becoming overall narrower or broader depending on how far fore or aft you want to mount the bag. So it took a little fiddling before I  found a setting for the adjustable clamps that gripped tightly and didn't allow the bag much  possibility of slipping forward. Note that even with a looser setting the bag was held in place securely enough that there seemed little risk of it self-releasing. I'll admit to checking from time to time while riding that it's there - an indication of how imperceptible is its presence.

Rouleur834

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2021, 10:27:53 AM »
Hi Ray,

Yes I also have a Vega and I had the same concern. In practice the mounting system works quite well with the Vega. With parallel rails it might be even better, but the mounting is a clever clamp system that can accommodate the Vega geometry.

The issue for mounting is not so much the security of the clamps as the rack becoming overall narrower or broader depending on how far fore or aft you want to mount the bag. So it took a little fiddling before I  found a setting for the adjustable clamps that gripped tightly and didn't allow the bag much  possibility of slipping forward. Note that even with a looser setting the bag was held in place securely enough that there seemed little risk of it self-releasing. I'll admit to checking from time to time while riding that it's there - an indication of how imperceptible is its presence.

Excellent! Thank you.

Best

Ray

PH

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Re: Why don't they make bike luggage like they used to?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2021, 07:25:25 PM »
Apologies I've only skimmed through the thread as rack bags are of no interest to me.  I did see this one from Altura and thought it might appeal to those who like such things, not least for the aesthetics:
https://www.altura.co.uk/products/detail/ALHERAC/heritage-rack-pack/?ng=116&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=SS21%20-%20Heritage%20Range&utm_content=23847531840260519&fbclid=IwAR3cHZXk5ynOh4dBmZkK7oZ_OkpI2UJ8Wj-4aIR0e2Winu_IjeLY9mcM3lk