3 Aug 2017

3rd August 2017 An other bag crisis!


Thursday 3rd 60F, 16C, heavy overcast, windy and wet. [All day.] And it was. On and off. With torrential showers, with thunder, interrupted by occasional brightness and even some sunshine. No ride today.

Shopping is just not the same without the 'free' 45 liter 'donor bank' sports bag. Something must be done to restore my carrying capacity! I wish that straps were more normal instead of vulnerable zips. Or, that Carradice made a 45 liter 'Classic' saddlebag for tricyclists. If only! With such a tiny market I doubt there would be enough sales to warrant even making the trial paper patterns. The Carradice UPSO products looked interesting but there's nothing remotely suitable for my heavy duty, trike shopping needs. That said, it's not so much about weight as volume capacity. Bike oriented bags are working with bicycle limitations the tricyclist can simply ignore.

 Pro-Sports Waterproof Duffel – Waterproof Bag – Waterproof Sports Holdall | OverBoard

So I searched online for waterproof sports bags and found Overboard. They do two models in 40 liters which closely match my needs but are not cycling specific. Now I have to make the decision whether I want a large fixed bag, or want to carry it around the shop. Fixed would be nice if I just get rid of the long-serving, Carradice 'Camper' Longflap. Then I can shop with normal carrier or cloth shopping bags and return to load the 40 liter Overboard bag at my leisure.

A fixed bag really has to be just that. No swaying on corners or when taking fierce, 45°, supermarket, pavement ramps at a 45° angle and at considerable speed to avoid speeding traffic. These duffel bags do have D-rings which might be employed to fix to the Trykit SS [stainless steel] trike rack with zip-ties, straps or cord. I'd need a support base board of [say] thin birch plywood to stop the greater depth of bag from sagging like a beer belly over the Trykit rack. Aluminium marks everything it touches so that rules out this material as a bottom plate. SS plate is pretty [but] heavy!

Price and weight are reasonable for both Overboard Duffle bag models. Classic and Pro in 40 Liters. Though larger are available. I've spent literally years using secondhand sports bags bought for a 'fiver' equivalent from charity [thrift?] shops.

Rarely were these bags the correct size or even a decent colour. The ones I liked rarely lasted long. They might as well put flashing diodes on sports bags zip pullers as a warning against any false hopes of longevity. High viz yellow should be ideal on the back of a trike. PVC is quiet when riding along with no drumming like any kind of box.

I'm just wondering whether the roll top feature is a gain or a loss over a full sized, perimeter top zip with regards to shopping ergonomics. Loading takes place tightly under the rear of the saddle. I'd love to lose the short-lived zips of most sports bags. The longer lived Carradice straps are exposed where they are more easily accessible. Except that the 'longflap' on the Carradice always wants to fall forwards over the open top even when the poppers are normally done up. That's because I'm not using the saddle loops. Normally the saddlebag's "lid" would be flopped over the saddle out of the way.

The 'bank' sports bag tended to flop towards me when loading. So was always fully open when needed. The downside was constantly struggling with worn and sticky zips. I tried candle wax but it isn't the answer. Probably the bag with the tall, roll top will lean away from the trike to allow easier loading.

The various straps on the Overboard might be a bonus for fixing to the trike but are mostly removable or completely superfluous. Saddlebags usually have a rigid crossbar inside where they are hung from the saddle loops via short straps. I have an overlong top bar on my Trykit rack for hanging saddlebags lower than normal. This helps to keep the center of gravity low. Though pedants purists will argue that it increases the frontal area with dire consequences for drag. There's a joke in there about drag and an obsession with bags but I won't bother.

The internal [saddlebag] dowel is a valuable feature for bag stiffness with Carradice canvas. Stiffer[?] 'tarpaulin' PVC might not need this stiffening to retain a 'boxy' shape for easy loading. And, if it does, I can always make strap holes and dowel just as I did with the big, leather tool bag. Which despite its thickness and weight still needed a dowel for a backbone. It's not as if waterproofing is absolutely critical at this point because the rider provides a lot of protection from the rain. We'll just have to pretend that the rider never gets off when it is actually raining. To argue otherwise is simply unwanted pedantry and we won't go there.

The Overboard duffel bags are worth serious consideration I think. Their bright yellowness, with the much greater depth and height, is just what I badly need for a fixed 'saddlebag.' While the last 'bank' sports bag was all black, 50x30x30cm with shallow end pockets. Or 18"x12"x12" in Old Money. The Overboard is a pocket free, 52Lx32D x24H. Just about ideal since it won't be nearly so tight under the back of the saddle when loading. I just hope it doesn't bulge sideways to a ridiculous degree.

With sports bags I used to hang one cloth handle over the saddle pin and this was enough to support the sports bags until I used a toe-strap to secure the second handle after loading. Friction between the Camper's canvas and the canvas bank bag kept it all neatly in place. Though your definition of 'neatness,' and mine, may be worlds apart.

Adding 'slick' nylon bags on top of the resulting heap usually resulted in their sliding sideways into the wheels on corners. [THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED] These extra bags were employed for carrying lightweight but fragile items like frilly lettuce or soft bread rolls. Which is why deep bags [like panniers] are absolutely worthless on a shopping trike. You really can't reorganize a bag full of shopping outside a supermarket. It will end in more damage if the heavy carrots, spuds and milk cartons aren't already on the bottom. I tended to put those in the usually empty Carradice but that meant removing the sports bag to reach it. The one thing the Overboard doesn't offer is the Carradice's ever-ready, non-complaining, tough canvas, side pocket, waiting for the ridiculously heavy, U-lock.

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