I have to say, when I saw someone noodling past me on their road bike one day with their out front bag on I was like “hell no, not a chance will I ever deface my beloved road steed with one of those Yokies”.
Yet - here I am today with two of those darn critters. Both different sizes. And I am not even slightly embarrassed to say I absolutely love them. Let’s take a moment to see what the heck happened from “hell no” to “I’m buying a second one”.
Once upon a time, I used to cram everything I needed into my jersey pockets. Rain coat, puncture repair stuff, snacks, mobile phone, keys, money, gloves, lip balm, more snacky stuff. Yes, the jersey pockets had a ton of room for all of this but it always half annoyed me. Sweaty back means sweaty mobile phone and all sorts of delightful stuff. My gloves were damp from being in my sweaty pocket. My snackies were starting to get soggy. What was the solution - someone tell me quick!
Oh yeah. The handlebar bag. I bought it just before one of the trips to Mallorca. We all did in fact. One of the lads even put it on the gorgeous aerodynamic handlebars of his rental bike. Nobody batted an eyelid! This was it. The solution. Nothing in the back pockets at all. Nice and breezy. Magnificent.
But would I use it when I got back to Ireland? A bit but not as much as I thought I would and it got relegated to the box of “cycling stuff” under the stairs. That was until this here road cyclist was introduced to gravel biking and a serious love affair started. The little handlebar bag had the dust gently blown off it and was lovingly attached to the handlebars of my shiny new gravel bike. I crammed it full of all sorts of crap that I rarely needed but had to have - cos the bigger the bag, the more stuff you pack (you should see how much luggage I bring on regular holidays! Michael O'Leary - you make a fortune out of me!)
Hands down, the handlebar bag is one of the handiest bits of cycling kit that I own. And damnit, I feel like an awesome hipster gravelling graveller when I out with it. A personal favourite that many of us in our wee cycling group use is this one:
There’s also some gorgeous bags featured on this website from Road Runner Bags (Hand Made in the USA!).
But for something really special, check out CamelChops Inc, based in beautiful Scotland. So colourful, so beautiful. I want them all!
That’s all from me about my infatuation with out front bags for now. And yes - that’s my beloved gravel bike below. And yes again - I did name him Bike Tyson.
And no - he's not normally that shiny and clean......