Sunday 29th 45F, 7C, breezy, overcast, showers. As I swapped between saddle bags the other day I noticed how well my Carradice saddlebags are holding up despite daily use. The heavy cotton duck cloth really is remarkably robust. Even the taped edges still look good. The tan leather straps tend to darken where they are repeatedly flexed. The buckles do rust when not handled frequently but do at least have rollers. The rollers act like pulleys and allow a tighter pull when tensioning a strap. The reflective 3M[?] badge has long faded away and pointed at the sky anyway. So was of doubtful purpose. I would have liked longer straps on the Junior to allow taller loads to be strapped down by the lid. Spare clothing will often go safely under the ample lid but then cannot be fastened for want of a couple of extra inches on the lid straps! Cord can be used but is crude, slightly unreliable and inconvenient. I carry a few cords in yard lengths with a woven cover rather like thin climbing ropes. It hardens with age and holds knots well while allowing easy tying and untying.
The Camper Longflap gets the brunt of daily wear and tear [by far] but looks as if it will go on for years more. It slouches from the weight of the Abus U-lock in the same pocket but seems not to mind. Being organic material it tends to improve with age after a rather drab beginning.
Sadly my required saddlebag capacity is not remotely matched by the Camper. Presumably Carradice limits itself to its main market of bike saddlebags. Which do have a reduced size limit due to the intruding back wheel even when hung from a very high saddle with a strong rear rack fitted.
On a trike one could easily use a very much taller and deeper bag but nobody actually makes a proper one. I have to make do with a sports bag draped over the top of the already, well-stuffed Camper. Hung by its loop handles over the saddle pin, the present sports bag has lasted for ages. It cost about £3 as a special offer from a supermarket. I bought two and am now wearing out the second one. The only time it ever looks tidy is when it is well stuffed but even then it's hardly a serious way of transporting shopping. I keep looking at baskets, willow, metal and otherwise. Motorcycle top boxes are just too heavy for my liking.
I suppose I could hang another Camper from the saddle bag loops and have the other sitting on the rack. Except that it would probably make both bags inconvenient to load and unload. It is sometimes a struggle to load the Camper on the rack when the sports bag is already full. I split the load between light or fragile to go in the sports bag. While tins, jars and milk cartons go in the Camper. The system works very well with damage occurring only extremely rarely these days. A "Super-Camper" Longflap about 15" high and 12" deep [f to b] would work wonders for my needs.
I have often wondered about the air drag of my bags. In their defence they do slope nicely while resting on their rack on the rear stays. The 'untidy' air spilling from my whirling legs will tend to hit the bag and flow downwards. The original idea of a saddlebag was obviously to hide it behind the bike rider's bum. So that it did not increase the frontal area and thus cause more drag.
On a trike a low centre of gravity is more desirable. Not that I have ever noticed any effect from heavily loaded bags while cornering. I do tend to remove the Camper and the Trykit rack before fitting the Junior bag when I have decided on a longer, fun ride. I still have the [pre-rack] stainless steel crossbars to hang the Junior. I am not keen on saddle hung bags anyway because they tend to hit the backs of my legs. Due to my constant search for the perfect bag option my wife refers to me as the Imelda Marcos of bag ladies. [Amongst other things!]
With no pressure to go shopping and the irregular showers I may/shall treat today as a rest day. So I tidied the trike shed instead. I know I have some spare spokes but couldn't find them. I shall just have to try an LBS.