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I’ve used both, hated both and loved both. I’ve traveled with two messengers for a weekend trip and hiked with one, and I’ve cycled with very heavy backpacks that almost took me down with crosswinds.
I get a sweaty back; so I was carrying a messenger bag this summer and fall. But usually I hate adjusting them (even with the cross-strap) and the Messenger Bag Should Sloop (where you’re just bent from those things). I used to like that carrying a messenger bag identified me as “a cyclist.” But, for one, that’s not really true. Just as everyone with a backpack is not a backpacker, traveler or vagabond, not everyone with a messenger bag is a cyclist. Secondly, I don’t want to be identified by my favorite mode of transportation. I do also walk and take transit a lot. Plus, well, if we want everyone to cycle, the cyclist/non-cyclist distinction is counterproductive.
I do notice that I over-pack with backpacks. Right now I have 17 pens and four Moleskines on me. No kidding. Add work papers, dissertation drafts, a 40 oz water bottle, lunchtime book and other junk, and it’s a lot more weight on my back. Sweating is not usually a worry this time of year, but I think my high-riding daypack can get in the way of my helmet a little.
Lately, I’ve been throwing my stuff into an old totebag and strapping it to my rack. I do feel like a sucker with a bag on and an empty rack. I call it my Bike Bindle. I’ll have to do a post about that.
A [terrible cell phone] picture of me with my sweet fanny pack. Read about former Baltimore resident Rantwick’s fanny pack. You know, it beat a messenger bag for not sliding all over the place or hurting my shoulder or both. And it beat a backpack for not making me sweat. I caught a lot of guff for it, though, which I think is funny. It smelled like campfire for a while, but it’s largely gone away. I used it to carry my camera (etc.) to Sunday Streets this weekend, on foot. Now that makes me a geek, probably. I’m too tired to wax philosophical about this blue nylon tonight.
If you read Timbuk2’s blog, you probably saw this very cool bag a few months ago. Lots of people asked them to make/sell it. And now they are. Display your pride/support of everyone’s right to share their life with who they want to. Available here (only in Small size). They are also working on panniers. They said this a year ago, but now they have pictures of them being tested!
A long time ago, I bought a fake German bread bag. It’s a cool little canvas bag, the kind that makes people make fun of you for carrying a man purse from the comfort of their frikkin carseats. I liked it but never really used it because I have a cool vintage map case from my Dad’s time in the Army. I looked at the loops this winter, and I thought it might work as a mini pannier, to carry stuff like a multi-tool, tube, patch kit, Moleskine, etc. Turned out to work great, so I bought Mule and ElRo each one for Christmas, though theirs were the real deal, complete with awesome canvas smell. You can find them anywhere, and the knock-off I own was like $10. It won’t break the bank, and you don’t need hardware. A vintage one is probably better, but this is what I had. Above is the bag.
If you have a light with a clip, there are usually tabs for clipping on the sides you can use. I have two blinkies now, and the one on my seatstay got blocked by this bag, though the side of the bag is a better spot for seeing me and not running me over.
I can provide larger images if you can’t see what’s going on. Sorry for the flash photography. My blood sugar was low, and my hands were shaking. I had to get the photos before I packed up and rode. It’s very dusty now, which is, you know, awesome. It’s nice to keep the sweat off my back and my supplies onboard.