Monday, October 26, 2009

saddle bag troubles

About this time last year, well actually it was at the H.O.T. race last year that the first saddle bag I ever bought finally after several years of faithful service finally bit the dust. I was riding my first lap during the race and I felt something odd brush the inside of my leg. I looked down to see that my saddle bag was hanging on by the seatpost strap only. The two seat rail straps had lost their magical velcro power and let go allowing the bag to slide down the seatpost till it hit the frame. I had to stop and reattach the top straps for one it was swinging around as I rode and two it contained all the necessary tools needed if I were to have a small mechanical or a flat. Before I made it back to the start finish line I had to stop 2 more times to reattach it. Why I didn't take it off and stuff the whole thing in a jersey pocket the first time I'm not sure. I get kinda nervous during races so logical thinking does not always come to me in certain situations. Once I finished my lap I busted out some duct tape and made sure that my saddle bag would stay in place for the duration of the race.

This saddle bag was not a bad design or made of lousy material, it had served me well, longer & better than any piece of equipment I've have owned since I started riding. It was something that never got serviced and barely saw any attention other than the occasional spray of the water hose. I guess you could say I never thought much about the saddle bag until this one passed on to saddle bag heaven. How do I know it went to saddle bag heaven, well think about it. A saddle bag is abused constantly, it sits in a place where it is constantly being exposed to mud, nasty water & in my case dog poo and whatever might fly off the rear tire. It only gets attention when things go wrong and there is a good chance your upset and not gentle with it. My particular saddle bag lasted well beyond it's years, took alot of abuse and never complained once. That is how I know with out a doubt it went to saddle bag heaven.
Rest in Peace little buddy.
After the demise of my good friend I went saddle bag shopping and picked up a Topeak. It looked alot flashier but it's looks were deceiving. I really wasn't impressed with it's straps and the way it attached to my seat but I needed a replacement and it's good looks said BUY ME! BUY ME! I bought it, said I would learn to like it's flaws and move on. I thought it's just a saddle bag, who cares. About two months later it bit the dust, actually it still works if you don't mind the hole in the bottom exposing all your tools etc. to the elements. Time to go saddle bag shopping again.

My next purchase was this bag made by Bontrager, honestly I wasn't impressed with the way it attached either but I needed something quick and this was my only other choice, that or another Topeak. Not only did this one fail but the zipper came apart and dropped my sweet little Crank Bros. multi tool that was worth it's weight in gold somewhere on a trail in Big South Fork. I didn't notice it was gone until it was too late. Whoever found that little jewel scored big time. Time to go shopping again. This time I took my time, looked at various models and gave it some thought. I wanted something along the same lines as my old bag.

One day while riding with Alan I started complaining about my saddle bag troubles and he showed me his new one that he picked up at our LBS, a Lezyne. A new and cool feature that this bag had that I had never seen before was the additional outside pocket on the bottom made just for multi tools. Now you can access your tools with out having to empty the entire contents of the saddle bag which in my case can be very troublesome because I always try to fit everything into the smallest bag I can find. Nothing drives me more crazy than loose tools bouncing around inside an obnoxiously large saddle bag. Not only did this bag fit my needs, have a cool tool pocket but it mounted exactly like my old trusty saddle bag. I haven't had this bag for very long but they must be good because obtaining one was very difficult, they fly off the shelves as soon as they come in. I have a feeling this one is going to be much better than the last two, will it be as good or better than my first? Only time will tell.

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