scooterlife - photog's blog

Motorcycles. Scooters. Wheelchairs. Tape. Whatever rolls.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Messenger Bags

There are plenty of great bags out there. Chrome, Aerostich, and Timbuk2 come to mind. Other mainstream companies like Jansport and Columbia have messenger bags. Inexpensive knock-offs can be found at any big-box retailer like Wal-Mart and Target. But what is a messenger bag? It's made specifically for bicyclists and motorcyclists. The bag has one big compartment, a wide strap that goes around the shoulder, and another smaller strap that snugs the bag against the waist. The bag rests at an angle across the back, conforming to the rider's body. While the fine points may differ a bit--organizers, dividers for the main compartment, and so on--that's the basic idea of a messenger bag. The beauty of the bag is that it's very rugged, tends to shed water amazingly well for its design, and can be accessed by releasing the waist strap and sliding the bag to the front.

Here's a few of my Timbuk2 bags, showing off a few features.

Another option is the sling bag (look for the ones with a waist strap). This one is from REI:

Why the messenger bag over the ubiquitous backpack? Easier to get into it without removing it. Sits low on the body so it doesn't bump into the helmet. Fewer straps to flap about in the wind. Typically has reflective bits all over it. And allows for the maximum amount of mobility.

It's an acquired taste but most folks who ride with them swear by them. Most companies offer computer sleeves to make them laptop-friendly. When I'm not riding with mine, it's in use during the week as my laptop case. I have several Timbuk2 bags, used for everything from riding to travel luggage to camera cases. I'd like to try out a Chrome, but my budget isn't budging right now.