Which is the best commuter bag for urban cycling?
Since I use my bicycle for a myriad purposes, and I often have to carry things with me, I have gathered an impressive array of bags I use when on the bike. But which one's the best commuter bag?
Mine is the Deuter Futura. With its impressive 32 litre volume, it is big enough for pretty much everything – whether its the week’s groceries, a weekend city trip or my triathlon gear. It is comfortable off-bike and is unrivalled in its versatility. It has been with me all around the world and is still going strong. Its drawbacks are the relatively high price of 125 € and the looks – the “backpacker” style does not fit every occasion.
The bike bag
My Ortlieb Back Roller City has a big advantage. It is the only one of my bags that is 100% rain-proof, and that is a feature that is not to be underestimated in the Dutch climate, so it is totally worth the 45 €. The Ortlieb is easily clicked onto the cargo rack, so that I don’t come to the office with a sweaty back. The lack of internal pockets and its relatively small 20 litre volume are slightly limiting and it is also rather bulky off-bike, something that is partially offset by the additional back-pack style carrying system, which costs an additional 33 €.
The “not a bicycle bag”
Weirdly, the makers of the New Looxs Utah advertise their products by saying “before these bags are attached to the rack, nobody thinks it’s a bicycle bag”, as if being seen with a bicycle bag is a felony. Nevertheless, the 19 litre Utah is quite handy. It is a bit of everything – an office bag, a shoulder bag, a bicycle bag. It is water-repellent and the folding flap that zips over the suspension does increase the carrying comfort. The abundance of pockets makes it especially handy as a bicycle-compatible diaper bag. It is a typical compromise product, perhaps a bit pricey at 57 € for a compromise.
The Messenger Bag
Freitag messenger bags like my green Dexter or messenger bags from Timbuk2 are the ultimate pass into the hipster cast. The rugged design, the use of recycled materials, the flashy colours and the well-thought internal layout make them a valuable asset on- and off-bike. The basic 10 litre capacity can be extended to 18 litre, but carrying big loads over larger distances in the Dexter is still not really comfortable, even with the hip belt. Of course, the price tag of 180 € is quite high, but I’m a big boy now and can afford it.
And the winner is...
So which bag is best bike bag? I really can’t say. They all have their pro’s and con’s, and are best suited for different purposes. That’s why I have so many, and which bag I take depends on where I cycle to, what I will be doing there and what I need with me. I guess the fact that I have them all says a lot about my cycling habits.