It is all very well for cyclist and blogger Tejvan Pettinger in his truly excellent Cycling Info blog to talk about buying the largest saddle bag you can, he has neglected the above Carradice saddle bags, still made in the UK (thankfully).
I was amused by the thought of other roadies asking him “are you going camping?” upon seeing his somewhat compact saddle bag on his training bike. If they saw mine they’d be asking if I was moving house.
There are so many fantastic things about Carradice saddle bags. They’re so durable as this one testifies – being circa 1988 or thereabouts. They’re probably “bomb proof”, timeless and that adds to the charm, I think. Certainly heavy duty and comes in handy for carrying some paperwork to and from work, my lunch, mobile phone, wallet, ID badge and clothes for the day. Permanent occupants are a spare inner tube, some spiders, tyre levers and a spare pair of glasses.
It is amazing what these can carry, having stuffed them full of tins from Sainsburys; I use my pannier bags for less robust cargo. It is easy to carry a 4 pint bottle of milk, smoothies and tins knowing they’re strapped in there really securely. Hardly anyone ever cycles to our Sainsbury’s to stock up on loads of shopping – people look at me and think I’m either a disqualified driver, weird or too mean to drive my car.
These bags are hardly elegant, aerodynamic, modern or trendy. Instead they look a bit dated, a bit CTC-ish of old and generally twinned with a Brooks B17 saddle but I couldn’t care less. For use on an all-purpose bike they are great bags. Mind you, I can’t imagine Tejvan Pettinger et al using one – unless you know different (and now there’s a challenge).