Would you be quickerbybike?

Quickerbybike.com is a campaign to promote cycling to non-cyclists
& decent cycling to existing cyclists.

If you commute to work or school but not by bike,
would you consider switching?

It's probably quicker, healthier, more friendly, more independent, cheaper, quieter & brighter.

If you already ride, would you promote cycling via your shorts?

If you ride like a bit of a wally, running red lights & annoying other road users,

would you wear the shorts and ride decently?

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Ortlieb Velocity long term test

I can’t think of many days over the past 5 years when I haven't used my Ortlieb Velocity bag. I bought it after a string of unsatisfactory bags for my cycle commute. I’d had bags from brands I trusted but they either weren't practical (timbuk2 = sweaty back) or their zips fell apart (macpac/camelbak).

It doesn't look brand-new now, after its five years of constant use, but it looks good still and not ragged.

I would happily pay double what I paid for the Ortlieb. It has certainly far outlasted its similarly-priced predecessors.

My commute is now 20 miles each way. I do it throughout the year. I don’t normally have loads to carry but now and then I have extra kit or I pop to the shops on the way home for dinner.

The bag is waterproof. Just forget that aspect. Don’t give it another thought, I never do.

Don't go underwater with it, it isn't a canoe-bag!  But ride 20 miles in the hosing rain, carrying your laptop, your gran's family album and your winning lottery ticket without hesitation.

The bag is durable.  Functionally the bag has not changed despite daily use over 5 years. Crucially, and setting it apart from other bags I’ve had, the channels on the back are unchanged. The foam has not compressed over time and it hasn’t degraded or cut up or even worn down.

The straps are similarly unchanged and have kept their shape. I can’t find a loose thread, I wouldn’t want to try to pull any of the fixings off as I think it would be unrewarding work.  This is the back of a strap.

The rigid plastic internal panel means the bag keeps its shape. Getting stuff in and out is easy.

The little feet keep the bag from being scuffed much, although I think you’d need to drag it behind a car for a couple of hours to scuff it much anyway.

The light-attachments are OK. I usually put a light on the back for commuting through the winter. They’re not perfect because they’re higher up than the point at which the bag starts to slope towards your shoulders, so lights attached here point to the sky.

I’ve never found the waist belt important, so in the early days I chopped off the strap I was never going to need and wrapped the rest around the buckles.

The little pouch press-stud fitted to the inside is really useful. I keep wallet and keys in it and can also slot in phone or Garmin in a different pocket and out of the way of scratchy stuff.

The closest thing to a failing I have found is that if you walk along with the bag nearly empty and with some stuff in the pencil case, it bump-bump-bumps against your back. I am over this failing.

I was concerned about the Velcro at first. I thought it wouldn’t last. It has. I think I’d still rather have a buckle but I can’t in fact fault the Velcro.

The bag isn’t sold as expandable but if you go into the supermarket for a pint of milk and come out with 20 items you hadn’t planned for, the bag can easily take a third more with the top open than you can put in when it’s closed.

It comes with me on the bike every day, it comes to the shops, it comes on weekends away, walks in the hills, It comes to meetings and site visits and it comes to the beach. Really, it’s in service every day.

I’ve carried tools, my best (ok, only) suit, piles of dripping-wet sandy swim stuff, dozens of picnics, laptop and work papers, various sports kit. I wouldn’t use it to carry a bonfire or a horse but otherwise I think it will be fine with most stuff.

I think it’s still cool. People still comment on it. People stare at it.

If you want a bag for commuting by bike in all weathers then just get this.  As with my Brompton, when I see people with the alternatives, I just feel sorry for them.