Road cyclists abide by a lot of rules. So much so, in fact, there is an entire website called Velominati dedicated to said rules.
To be honest, I'm all for it. Road cycling is steeped in history, and that history is as marked by classic Italian, Belgian, and French aesthetics as much as it is by epic feats of human suffering. In other words, there is an elegance to cycling. As such, riding with grace, finesse, and style is (in the view of many) just as important as riding fast.
That said, not all rules are meant to be followed.
Among the Velominati tenants I refuse to abide by is "Rule #29: No European Posterior Man-Satchels."
They are, of course, referring to the small fabric bags hung under your saddle to carry tire levers, spare tube, mini tool, master link, etc. Their opinion on the matter is quite absolute:
"Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases."
In a way, I can't blame them for harboring this opinion. Most seat bags detract from the clean lines of the bike. Worse yet, they often are found improperly mounted and left to sway in the breeze like a pair of...ummm...you know. Worse still, their Velcro closures tend to fail over time, causing them to jettison onto the tarmac at high speeds, putting your fellow riders in peril.
On the flip side, I believe it to be equally awkward-looking to have bulging, drooping jersey pockets. Plus I really don't want sharp metal things close to my spine and/or kidneys in the event of a crash.
Fortunately, companies are starting to find a nice compromise by introducing tool roll-type bags that strap to your seat the same way the old-school riders used to attach their tubular tires (which is totally legit).
Simply put, it's a nicely-designed, 3-pocket Cordura tool roll with a snap closure, an adjustable nylon strap, and a 3/4" quick-release buckle. Here are some highlights:
The State Bicycle Co. x Road Runner Bags Bike Tool Roll/Pouch easily holds a tube, tire levers, multi-tool, master links, and tire boots...with room to spare.
The bag snaps shut and rolls into a tight package, perfect for throwing into a pannier, messenger bag, or (if you adhere to the Velominati) your jersey pocket.
The bag tightly and securely attaches to your saddle. Thanks to the sturdy, 3/4" quick release buckle, it's highly unlikely to eject from your bike when hitting a bump.
Also of note, the bag accommodated a spare tube up to 700x32mm (that was the largest tube we could get to fit in the larger, center pocket). It also provides extra strap length, allowing you to cinch in an oversized item, creating a tool bag burrito of sorts. This might come in handy for stashing a wind vest, additional tube, or something along those lines.
Installation on the bike took a little bit more fiddling around than I was expecting, but once I got the strap length dialed in, it was on there nice and solid.
All in all, we'd highly recommend this bag for any road, touring, or gravel rider looking for a sturdy, functional bag that won't offend the cycling fashion police.
SBC X Road Runner - Bike Tool Roll/Pouch
Visit http://www.statebicycle.com/ to learn more.
About the Author:
Brett Ratner (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been a professional journalist for more than 25 years. He has contributed to dozens of publications, including The Chicago Tribune, The Nashville Tennessean, The Nashville Scene, Guitar Player and Musician. Brett began commuting by bike in 2005. Shortly thereafter, his interest in cycling expanded to century rides, bike camping, and trail riding. The competition bug bit in 2012 and nowadays he also occasionally races cyclocross, track, mountain bikes, criteriums and gravel for The Bonebell.