“Own the city any way you can with this brand-new concept in urban mobility. Designed for speed and easy access, the EASTPAK Velow Collection lets you grab, stash and carry your stuff however you choose to get around. On the road: a stack of high-visibility features make this the bag to be seen with. Underground: the integrated metro card holder lets you tag on and off without even lifting a finger.”
Riding a bike is better than walking because you’re sitting down. You also get somewhere to hang your handbag. This is a Faustian compact because – if you want to be reliable – you need a bag for your puncture tools. Of course you could ride solid tyres…
…but for that to be practical, at least one of the wheels needs to be preposterously big, to eat up the bumps.
Handbags may be a stereotypically female accessory but really obsessing about what exactly you need to carry is more of a bloke thing; check – for example – Everyday-carry a US-based site where guys compare their penknives and wristwatches. I understand the term ‘guy’ can be gender-neutral in the USA, but guess they’re mostly men?
Maybe it’s because worrying about whether your watch-strap matches your wallet, or the precise make and model of your cigarette-lighter is quite gay – that’s ‘gay’ in the ‘theatrical’ sense nothing to do with sexuality – that an alarming number of the featured pocket-dumps include knives – clearly meant for more than slicing malt-loaf – and firearms? As in… “I may be a detail-oriented hair-stylist but I have got a pistol”.
Eastpak – a noted luggage brand that began by supplying kit to the US military – have moved into the bicycle bag market – they must have been watching – Timbuk2, Crumpler, Chrome, etc. – apparently people use courier bags on the bus? Another symptom that we are unvanishing.
My dealer passed on an invitation to the launch party – he knows I’ll go to the opening of an envelope – where I was presented with a nice example in butch shades of black and grey, which makes coordination with shoes and handlebar-tape less of a headache. Like most Eastpak products it comes with a thirty year warranty which – at my time of life – is a lifetime guarantee.
Two loops on the flap are meant for red lights but I channelled the roughty-toughty aesthetic by hanging my Lezyne, Micro Floor Drive HPG on with two Zéfal – Eugène Christophe – toe-straps in white leather. This not only makes me look vaguely like a firefighter, paramedic or security consultant, it also means I’m always carrying two extra toe-straps. Their original function may have been superseded by more practical downhill-ski spin-offs, but toe-straps have more applications than anything made by Gerber, Victorinox or Leatherman. I can also never make the schoolboy-error of going beyond walking distance without a hand-compressor.
Courier bags are useful because…
- …you don’t have to worry about luggage security when parking, the bag goes with you.
- …anything delicate is isolated from road-shock by the rider’s body.
- …they work well when carrying only a tube, two levers, a little pump and a ‘D’ lock but can also easily accommodate £35 pounds of impulse-purchase groceries.
…is a reworking of the traditional throwaway item…
…the Eastpak Velow isn’t really a courier bag.
Couriers need – or used to need? – instant access to letters and packages with minimum fuss. The Eastpak Velow has two plastic buckles, and Velcro™, and a zip; not authentic but – unless you’re pushing parcels on piecework – much more practical.
The Velow has a pocket in the bottom for an ‘Oyster Card’ which I’d always assumed was something to do with seafood but is, apparently, some kind of bus pass?