Monday, February 8, 2010

Louis Garneau trunk bag

I've been riding with this bag since last summer.  There's a lot to like and really only one drawback of any significance.

The stuff to like:

  • It fastens with four Velcro straps in an idiot-proof manner.
  • It has three outside pockets, putting your phone, repair tools, keys, etc. within easy reach and eliminating the need to root through the main cargo compartment.
  • There's even a cool pair of straps for holding a pump. 
  • The main compartment is insulated and very roomy.  It's more than enough for lunch, work papers or a change of clothes.
  • And, the compartment expands via a simple zipper.  Once expanded, the thing could probably hold a mid-sized pumpkin -- should you need to transport a pumpkin for some reason.
  • Finally, and maybe best of all, it retails for around $35.
The drawback:

It's a bit floppy when it's not full.  This bugged me at first, and I went so far as to use foamboard strips to give it a more rigid structure.  This definitely made it look better on the back of the bike, but the trade off was (slightly) diminished capacity.

After I read a couple of reviews of $150 bags that included this same complaint, I eased up on the Garneau bag significantly.  Capacity requires flexibility, and flexibility is going to translate to a certain amount of sagging on the rack, apparently.

I'm still coveting a Sackville or Carrdice bag, but until I spring for one of those, I'm going to use the Louis Garneau pretty contentedly.

Now, about that capacity...  I took it to the grocery store and decided to see what it could do.

Here's a look at the groceries in the cart... will they fit?

They did, including eggs, a pound (!) of deli ham, a huge tube of polenta, a loaf of bread and a huge bottle of cooking oil.  I considered buying brie and fancy olives purely to impress you dear readers, but in the end bought the real stuff.

Here's a couple of shots of the loading in progress.

The bread and bananas had to ride outside, under the handy mesh thingy that snaps at the four corners.

I won't say it was the most stable load in the history of bicycle-grocery relations, but it did get home, safe and sound.

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