In "What I Carried In The Original Messenger Bag"--one of my early posts on this blog-- I talked about a role the eponymous bag played in my life.
It may have been the only bag I owned at that time in my life. Or, I may have had one or two others. Truth is, I didn't have much I could have carried with them.
Even so, I was always looking at bags in stores and on street vendors' displays. After I quit messengering (I know, such a word doesn't exist, at least not officially!), I went to work for American Youth Hostels. At the time, they operated an outdoor equipment store and mail order service from the Spring Street headquarters in which I worked. One of the first things I did after getting my first AYH paycheck (which, believe me, wasn't much) was to buy a shoulder bag that I hadn't seen anyone else carrying.
These days, I seem to end up with more and more bags, even after self-imposed moratoria on buying new ones, and after giving away or selling ones I have. Even so, I'll look at more bags, as I did today in the Brooklyn Industries outlet store where Lakythia and I stopped during our ride today.
You might say I have a bag fetish. It seems that other cyclists share it. I say that after seeing how much time and space is devoted to discussions of them on various online fora, and the numbers of them available. Plus, it seemed that at the New Amsterdam Bike show, which I attended yesterday, there were almost as many displays, and more makers, of bags than bikes.
There were the classic, traditional saddlebags from Brooks, which also showed a couple of modern shoulder bags, tool rolls and other bags now in their line. There were also the icons of cordura cartage--namely, messenger bags and backpacks from makers like Timbuk2 and Chrome.
A company called Truce is making some interesting-looking bags--including long backpacks that seem inspired by rock climbers' rucksacks--in just about any kind of bright color you can imagine. Their name and palette seem to be a rebuke or parody of the pseudo-military imagery other companies try to invoke.
At the other end of the spectrum, literally as well as figuratively, Elektra is offering canvas panniers that mimic, in many ways, the Berthoud bags--which, in turn, are modern renditions of the French panniers of old.
So, tell me, dear readers: Do we, as cyclists, have an obsession with bags? Or was the high number of them displayed at the New Amsterdam show just a passing fad? Or could it be that there really is much greater interest in--and, thus, a bigger market--for bags because more cyclists want to use their bikes for transportation and in other practical ways?