I’ll admit it: I have a weakness for retro-grouchy things like lugged steel bikes, leather saddles, friction shifting,….and canvas bags.
This is kinda funny, given that my two functioning road bikes are TIG-welded steel bikes with integrated, indexed shifting. One of them even has…gasp…a carbon fork. Go figure.
And even though I also own a (disturbingly large) number of non-canvas bike luggage of one sort or another (including a couple that will eventually get their own posts in the Stuff I Like category), it’s the canvas bags that I like best.
And the canvas bags that I like best of all the canvas bags that I own are made by Acorn Bags. A little about the fine folks behind Acorn:
Acorn Bags is a husband/wife team dedicated to creating traditional bicycle bags…with a few new twists. Our goal is to create simple, yet functional designs that you’d be proud to strap on your bike. Each bag is handcrafted in Southern California. Please note that we’re a tiny cottage industry with extremely limited production. Thanks for your continued support and patience.
They aren’t kidding about the limited production. It’s not possible to simply navigate to their website and buy a ready-made bag. And, unlike most the other small, by-hand bag makers, they don’t take orders. Instead, they post a batch of completed bags about once a month at a date and time they publicize shortly beforehand. At the appointed time, there’s a feeding frenzy lasting mere minutes during which all of the bags sell out. If you can manage to score one or more of them, they appear on your doorstep a few days later.
As little as two weeks ago, I owned just one Acorn bag: the Roll Bag.
The Roll Bag is a small bag that one can mount to either the saddle, handlebars, or another, wider saddlebag (such as their Medium/Large Saddlebag), with room for a basic set of tools, a tube or two, an energy bar, and whatever else you can roll up in the middle. I’ve managed a wind vest and arm warmers together, or a rain jacket.
Since I bought it last summer, I’ve been trying in vain–until just recently–to acquire several more. And until just recently, I’d failed. This is in part due to their production schedule: they don’t make all the bags in all the colors in every batch–and I’m sticking with black. But it’s due also to the fact that I’ve either not been able to be online when the new batch is released, or because I just haven’t been fast enough.
The Handlebar Bag is just the right size for the array of things that I am likely to carry for just about any ride: camera, phone, snacks, map, sunscreen, nuun tablets, bandana, windvest, and cycling cap.
The Boxy Rando bag is big enough to carry all of regular gear plus more clothing and more food. It’s also big enough to use when commuting in the summer–as long as no grocery stops are planned.
To date, I’ve only put the Handlebar bag to the test–but I already know that I’ll be riding with them for many thousands of miles over the coming decades. They will certainly last that long, and the sheer awesomeness of being able to reach my stuff without dismounting, contorting myself, or having to carry everything in my jersey pockets (which I’ve never liked much) has me wondering why I didn’t start using them years ago.
For now the Handlebar Bag is mounted on the Soma ES, but that will be replaced with the Boxy Rando once I’ve mounted the Nitto rack. Then the Handlebar bag will likely be shuffled from bike to bike, depending on the ride at hand.
Note: This post is part of an ongoing series: Stuff I Like. These are unsolicited reviews of things that I use and like. In the unlikely event that anyone gives me something to review, I’ll make sure to let you know.