16 Aug 2016

Individual UPSO bags by Carradice.


Carradice, the famous cycle bag people, have come up with a brilliant new line. They are "upcycling/ recycling" lorry side curtains, car seat belt webbing and fire hoses into a variety of bags and calling them their UPSO line. They claim they are highly selective with their choice of material and it is thoroughly cleaned before manufacture. Being a bit of an Imelda M. when it comes to bike bags I'd kill for the faded magenta series if only one of them exactly matched my tricycle rack shopping needs. Which basically means 50x 30cm [19"W x 12"H]  and at least 20cm [8"] deep from front to back [F>B].

Here I have 'repainted' the red UPSO "Ferrybridge" folder bag in magenta. Not with a great deal of artistic skill but just to show the potential colour match for my trike. The 'Ferrybridge'  is actually far too  small [on its own] for my shopping use hanging at the back of the trike due to a lack of F>B depth.

The UPSO 'Corley' cabin airline overhead locker bag is about the right size but is [rather sadly] built on a 'portrait' format rather than 'landscape'. While the 'Ferrybridge' Brompton front folder bag [shown above] is potentially a better shape it lacks the generous dimensions to allow me to lose the inevitable sports bag. That which always dangles so precariously over the top of my Carradice Camper saddlebag.

What I'd really like is a Camper Longflap in that gorgeous faded magenta of the 'Corley' cabin at lower right. But one which is far more generous in depth from front to back. It can also be slightly taller if the fixing straps are re-sited downwards to match the Camper's Trykit rack matching dimensions. My Camper saddlebag just doesn't have the necessary F>B depth for two rows of 1L milk cartons. This means they have to go single file right across the width which severely limits my capacity to carry anything else. Hence the inevitable sports bag. I have learned from years of practice at tricycle shopping that milk cartons need to stand up and not be crushed. Having milk running through ones bag[s] is apt to require disciplinary action by The Head Gardener! [Usually in the form of a verbal warning for the over-curious.]

I am often tempted to try a pair of boxy rear panniers for their greater flexibility and load carrying capacity. Instead of using a broad bike rear rack I'd hang them from a simple longitudinal pipe [rack] fixed above and between the rear wheels. Since there is no need to make room for a revolving rear bike wheel [in the middle] the rack bags could be hung literally back to back.

The problem is all the fixings and hardware usually attached to pannier bags for which I have absolutely no use. A simple pair of straps or a connecting flap to hang them both over the top bar [much like a cowboy's horse panniers] is all I really need. I just need to ensure I have heel room and easy top access to the two bags without anything dragging on the cassette. The latter's circular-saw like abilities is best known for milk cartons and always results in an infraction.

I have become used to carrying a large sports bag over the years and take it into the shop with me. This minimizes having to reload everything outside from flimsy carrier bags in the rain. The heavy and rigid or tinned stuff goes in the fixed Camper. Leaving 'bags' of room for the lettuce/eggs and other more fragile stuff in the sports bag. This works, but looks bløødy awful having a ginormous sports bag swinging off the saddle pin at the back! Tempting as it might be, I remain stubbornly fixed in my desire to avoid dragging a trailer of any kind. Nor do fixed boxes do it for me.

The big, old, leather bag was great fun for a while. I slowly went off using it when the original and vital leather straps gave up their struggle for longevity. Their sturdy, almost industrial and weathered appearance was a major part of the bag's battered charm. Despite endless searching online and in charity shops, I was unable to source anything new [and affordable] with original roller buckles. Even if the belt was affordable the postage was twice as much! I thought eBay had stamped out that con?  Rollers are an essential part of the enjoyment of strap tightening and are highly therapeutic. Even for those not heavily into leather. [sic]

Despite pretensions to grandeur as a possible, rural doctor's bag it was probably meant as a tool bag for a stone mason or rough carpenter. It had a tool rack inside for just such implements as they were likely to use. This gorgeous bag cost me all of a fiver [£5GBP in old money] at a local charity shop. It required some work to make it attach firmly and neatly to the Trykit rack.

Perhaps I should stop dreaming of weathered, magenta, lorry side curtains and try harder to find some suitable replacement straps. The leather ran quietly enough even on bumpy roads. Though not with the absolute silence of Carradice's superb cotton duck. If only Carradice made bigger bags!! The thick, hide leather retained its boxy shape which was ideal for protecting the shopping. The depth was just right for two rows of milk cartons in the corners while leaving plenty of room for other stuff. Even it's weight was not much more than the Camper Longflap. [Not true! I checked again: 6lbs : 1.8lbs] No outside pockets for U-locks and spare inner tubes either. Maybe not ideal, then.

Plus 4 more miles for 11 today. My poor old car is now repaired and tested and can now sit [almost] unused for another couple of years. At this rate it would be cheaper to hire a Ferrari when we actually need a car. The Head Gardener has lost interest in "outings." Though that sounds much worse than it actually is.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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