A few weeks ago, I entered the Timbuk2 Venice store for the first time ready to have my introduction into the world of cycling bags. They had just agreed to sponsor Finish the Ride, but I wanted the full rundown because I’m a savant when it comes to matters of style.
Timbuk2 is more than just bags to carry things, but also offers the opportunity to make a fashion statement, something that I’m adept on a Lou Albano level. Fortunately, the staff there of Robert and Diana were knowledgeable and enthusiastic enough to overcome my handicap.
The first time I came in, at about the ten minute mark into going over products, I knew I was in a lot of trouble. I was no longer the same person that just stepped foot inside. Instead of being the guy who was fine shlugging things in his high school backpack, I was now this person who wanted to take home everything in the store. Physically impossible, but I thought about it.
They were nice enough to donate a couple of bags to the cause, so I focused on work-type gear which narrowed my search. Slightly.
I first went with the Custom Classic Laptop Messenger Bag. I thought it would be neat to choose Finish the Ride colors, so I went with a red stripe along with a woven reflective black base adding to the safety factor. It quickly became my go to bag because it’s amazingly efficient getting into all the different pockets of the bag. Add in the comfort factor, I can’t even remember where my old backpack was anymore.
The second bag I got was the Custom Prospect Laptop Backpack. My idea was to use this bag to carry larger goods, but also to make it look more business like. I opted for the hunter’s tweed fabric accented with the textured gray. I didn’t use this bag at first, since I had already settled into the messenger bag, but gave it a try after having to carry a loadfull of clothes along with my laptop to City Hall.
Full disclosure: I did take the Metro Red Line there, but chose to ride back to the valley. Counting my bike lock, my contents were pretty heavy, but I figured I’d give the backpack the full test by riding through Griffith Park over Mt. Hollywood with it on. No small task.
I was a bit worried that I’d come away with some back discomfort with all that gear, but it ended up being far easier than I thought.
So which bag do I use now? It goes back and forth between use. Which is the way it should be.
That is, until now.
Just like Brett Farve, I new I’d be back. Despite thoroughly enjoying the bags I got, I also needed a small, light bag for when I’d make trips just carrying clothes with no laptop.
Once again, it was hard to stay focused, so I was lucky that the two that fitted my need most were hung side to side.
The bag I originally thought I’d buy was the Red Hook Crit Travel Bag, remembering from my earlier visit how light and versatile it was. The bag is efficiently compartmentalized, but I wanted a one with a little more structure.
Since the Raider was similarly sized and placed right next to it, I had to give it a look. I liked that it had two exterior pockets you could use for many things, especially since I tend to backpack when riding my cyclocross, which comes iwth the drawback of holding just one water bottle.
The interior is cleanly organized, but not as many pockets as the Red Hook Bag. Instead, the Raider features a really cool folding panel to use for dress clothes, a hook to hang your bag and a main compartment that folds open easily.
I’m sure you guessed by now which one I went with. I bought the Raider, stripped it out of its packaging and away I went. I rode to West LA to pick up my Bicycle.net Team Racing Kits(more to come later) ready to test out the bag’s fitting.
Once it was filled, I had a bit of discomfort, but it came from having the straps not tightened properly. Once I adjusted the chest closer, the bag was hardly noticeable.
It’s early and I’m already very happy with bag #3. I feel like it’s a very special family I’ve formed so far, but Timbuk2 also makes panniers…..