Category: Gear

Seattle Sports Waterproof Pannier

Seattle Sports recently sent us one of their waterproof “Fast Pack” pannier bags to test in the harsh summer rains of west-central Florida. Any company based in Seattle will surely know a thing or two about wet weather, and Seattle Sports is well-known for their excellent gear that is built to handle extreme wetness!

Here’s a bit about the bag, directly from the manufacturer’s website:

-10″ w, 14″ h, 5″ deep
-750 cu. in. per single bag
-18 oz.
-sold individually
-AVAILABLE IN GREY
-Price: $59.95

The bag is a simple three-roll-closure bag with nylon buckles, much like traditional dry bags for kayak and canoe applications. It is made of a radio-frequency welded nylon and rubberized fabric. It features a side compression strap for keeping loads from swaying, a smallish reflective patch on the back of the bag and a small zippered interior pocket.

The interior of the bag is lined in soft nylon. Even though the bag only holds 750 cubic inches, a lot can hide down in there, and the interior is DARK. A lighter-colored liner would help a user locate small items hiding down in the bottom. The zippered interior pocket is located on the outer wall of the inside.

Inside the bag:
Inside the bag

The rack attachment system is the real showcase of this bag. Comprised of two upper rigid clips with spring-loaded locking keepers and a sliding, rotating lower “toggle” that clamps around the bottom of the rack stays, this system is absolutely bulletproof. You will not shake this bag loose, even with a heavy load!! This attachment system is well-designed and is perhaps the best I’ve had the pleasure of using.

The bag's attachment system

Here’s a closeup of the upper clips. The keepers are on the inside — no real springs in there, but these keepers pop up and press back to release the bag from the upper rail of a rack:
The upper clips w/ keepers

I’ve only ridden with this bag once so far…and only with a light load (a pair of dress shoes). In the coming weeks, I will put this bag through its paces, including some serious wet-weather testing to check the waterproofness of this bag.

So far, my only real gripe is the reflective patch on the back of the bag. There’s room on the back for a much more substantial reflector…something I’d like to see on this bag, since so many other pannier manufacturers put loads of reflective tape and patches on their bags.

The tiny reflective patch:
Tiny reflective patch

Stay tuned for more as I torture this bag!!! I’ve got to say, though, that this bag really looks like it can handle some serious punishment. We’ll see if I’m right, won’t we?

Visit Seattle Sports’ cycling products page for more details about their waterproof bags.

Cargo Bikes

The Bakfiets cargo bike sparked my interest on this type of bikes. Although most of these bikes cost over 2,000 large, Mike from littlecirclesbikes.com summed up some of the reasons why spending 2 big ones may not be that bad after all:

Expensive? Sure. About what you’ll pay in interest for a new or lightly used car. Or fuel for a years worth of SUV driving. Or 2 years of cell phone service on your new iPhone. Or the average spending on entertainment for a year (maybe two). Over a 5 year period a Bakfiets will cost you about the cost of a cup of coffee a day.

I also did a search to see if anyone else made cargo bikes like the Bakfiets that is able to carry kids and its available in the US, here’s what I came up with:


The Long Haul from Human Powered Machines, $2300


The Bilenky Cargo Bike $2495


The A.N.T Frontaloadonme, starts at $2,950

You can find countless of bike trailers, pedicabs and rear attachments, but what I like about the cargo bikes is having the kids on the front and the not-so-wide profile. I think I want one….

The great folks from Bicycle Fixation sent us their Wool Knickers to review.

Here are the quick details:

Our elegant, bicycle-friendly knickers are made in Los Angeles in a fair-wage factory from 100% wool gabardine, and will be the most comfortable clothes you own. They have been tested in temperatures from close to 20°F to over 95°F, in rush hour, over mountain passes, on Critical Mass, in the office, and at restaurants and malls, and they have proven themselves every time. Using local materials and labor when they are available reduces transport impacts on the planet.

Although the fabric feels light, our testers in Minnesota and Illinois have reported that they are comfortable in temperatures down to just over 20°F, and we have ourselves tested them in heat up to nearly 100°F. The wool transpires sweat better than synthetic so-called “wicking” materials, rarely (so far, for us, never) shows sweat-spotting, and does not hold body odors–you can wear these for several days of riding before you need to clean them.

Retail Price: $99.00

Overview:
Let me being by saying the Knickers are not my style, I prefer to ride with Hoss MTB shorts to work. I rode with the knickers on cool mornings and on hot afternoons. The knickers were most comfortable during the mornings, I really liked that my knees were shielded from the cool air. On the afternoons, well, I did get hot. However, I did find that the fabric absorbed my sweat and it was somewhat breathable.

Thumbs Up:The quality of the fabric and the workmanship is top notch. The knickers are also super comfortable, there was no itching, and the knickers didn’t ride up my butt. The price of the knickers is very competitive as well.

Thumbs Down: I personally didn’t care for the burgundy satin cut out on the bottom of the legs.

Bottom Line: If wool knickers are your style, check out Bicycle Fixation’s wool knickers, you won’t be disappointed.

For more information, go to www.bicyclefixation.com

One problem with doing any run…especially a liquor run is bringing the stuff back home. Rather than getting my Xtracycle out, I opted for the Banjo Brothers Commuter Back Pack.

Here’s how the back pack looked after we stuffed it with all the goodies. This was pretty heavy!

Here’s all the stuff that was in side it.

3-2 liter bottles of soda
2 large cans of pineapple juice
1 bottle of coconut rum
1 bottle of Captain Morgan Private Stock
and 1 bag of ice

Yup, all that was in the back pack. I also mentioned that this thing was super heavy. If I wasn’t careful, I could have tipped easily over.

So cheers to the Banjo Brothers Back Pack for carrying all the goods!