For the discerning lady or gentleman who cares to cycle (discerningly of course) there’s is a bicycle not for high sport performance or weekends going down a mountain but for a civilized mode of transport used at a leisurely pace.
Of course such a cyclist is also in need of a way to carry their essential kit and such like but in the style most befitting of their wheels. A bag you may say, and fear not because such a bag exists in the form of the Trowbridge Saddle Bag made by Cardiff and available from that fine bicycle accessories shop Saddle & Spoke. This beautifully designed bag is specifically designed to fit Cardiff/Brooks-style touring saddles the like of which you find on sit up and beg and more traditional style bicycles. The Trowbridge Saddle Bag fits the bill very nicely indeed. It’s vintage look and classic well thought-out design plus it’s ample storage space make it a very attractive choice.
It’s a powerhouse of a saddle bag it’d make a good standard bag due to it’s lovely looks and decent storage space. You’d certainly get a small tool kit, tubes, waterproof, your keys and I’d say four packs of prawn cocktail crisps and possibly a share bag of mini twirls. The main pocket is augmented with two side pockets that will comfortably hold the spare tubes these side pockets are held closed with tanned leather straps and a cup over flap so you’re stuff is very safe in these.
The main hold of the bag has a capacity of 427 cubic inches / 7 litres and for extra functionality there’s a waterproof material surrounding the top of the bag that has a draw string so you can really seal your contents inside safely. The large main flap comes over the front of the bag and is extendable to really put this bags storage capabilities to the max, again held in place by two tanned leather straps which are very securely sewn onto the bag and have been built to last.
The bag attaches to the saddle with the use of two leather straps near the top of the bag at the back these are held onto the bag with a screwed in thick piece of dowl wood inside the bag. I love this, it’s such a vintage and novel idea that I could see coming about as there was no other solution at hand when it was first done and now has become the norm for every bag that has been constructed since. It also gives the bag stability when it’s empty sitting on the saddle and won’t waddle as you ride.
The entire bag’s material (not including straps) is made from 28 oz waterproof cotton canvas so the contents were quite well protected during a rain soaked cycle home, that being said I would be concerned about the Trowbridge’s long term water protection as the inside is not lined apart from the waterproof material at the top of the hold. These classic designs from the past fit right into the modern cycling lifestyle.
There is a reflective strip on the top handle of the bag to aid with visibility if you’re cycling at night plus an led hanger to support your main rear light. Two features not needed as standard but just nice nods to the environment the bag will be used in.
Although not available with a shoulder strap there are 2 D rings either side at the top of the Trowbridge saddle bag which would make it ideal to slip off the bike and carry it around with you. A great little feature as it mean’s you’re not awkwardly carrying around a bag and gives you use of both hands. It’s superb look and feel mean it fits effortlessly in every day style. The fact it doesn’t come with some kind of shoulder strap is a bit of a shame and maybe something that can be looked at in the future.
All in all, it’s a very nice looking bag. Superb quality throughout and real care to it’s build and construction. Whilst it won’t suit or for that matter fit every bicycle it will fit the style of bicycle it’s best aimed at and thus matching the style of the rider who uses it on his or her bicycle wherever they discerningly do go.
Value for Money: 7.5/10
The Trowbridge Saddle Bag is available from Saddle & Spoke for £75