Review of bike packing bags

Review of bike packing bags

Oveja Negra top tube bag


  • XL is positively cavernous. Easily holds 2-5 snacks depending on size (I carry Honey Stingers and I can easily get 5), chamois cream individual packets, lip balm and iPhone 7.
  • Well built
  • Decent color selection.
  • Good looking though more MTB looking than roadie looking.


  • I notice it when I am out of the saddle or straddling the bike. Not in a fuck I hate this kind of notice it but I do notice it.

Adipura top tube bag


  • Great snack bag
  • Well built
  • Water resistant
  • Great looking. Would look good on pretty much any bike.
  • Easy to mount


  • Regular barely holds a iPhone 7 with a leather case. It does fit but the zipper barely slides by it. If you have one of those Samsung Phablets, this ain’t gonna hold it. Just saying. If I could have a do-over, I would get the extended version.
  • One color. It is a damn fine color but you got to like it since there aren’t any others…

Oveja Negra 1/2 frame bag


  • Three sizes to fit pretty much any bike.
  • Left side pocket would easily hold iPhone 7 and probably a Plus.
  • Holds way more than you think. On a GAP S24O, I was able to store extra snacks, extra chamois cream packets, pump, rain jacket, extra tubes (2), coffee and coffee kit, and tool kit.  You could also store a wine bottle in there, probably 4-6 beers, or a kitten.
  • Extremely stable on the bike.
  • I did not notice it at all when riding.


  • Mounts pretty straightforward but I would not be taking it off and putting it back on much. It can take a few minutes to mount. Not a bad design but takes a lot of straps to make it stable.


I would buy 2 of these three again in a heart beat and I would not hesitate to buy the Adipura XL next time since this is a bag that I think most people would store their phones.

Not Bad, Not Great

Sometimes you get out there and realize you might have been better off not riding today. It was a fine day, but the ride was a bit of a struggle. You know, the kind where half way through you’re ready for it to be done. It wasn’t tough, long or anything else. I just felt like my get up and go had gotten lost.  Happens sometimes. Later that evening, I realized I was feeling a cold or something coming on, so that explained it. I’d blame the symptoms on the Steelers being 0-3, but all this happened well before the game.

Besides all that there were an unusual number of potentially dangerous incidents during the ride. We were alert and avoided collisions but that’s never fun. Most oddly, we encountered another cyclist on our side of the road, in the shoulder, huffing up a steep long hill as we rode down it. What the heck?

Here’s a  video worth sharing about cyclists, drivers and road sharing.

Tour Day 3

47 miles today from North Hero to Plattsburgh. It would have been 43 but we took a scenic though wrong turn for a few miles. Lovely day, with a strong headwind at times. Not only has there been zero harassment from drivers, there has been help. One man backed up to offer directions. Another stopped to be sure we knew of a detour.


Another beautiful lake view.

Yard decorations near where we stopped for lunch.

Practice Run

Saturday we loaded up our panniers and headed out for a 30 mile ride. We wanted to see how tour-ready we and our gear are. My new Swift Short Stacks performed well. I did pretty well myself, even hauling the extra weight. In fact, I realized my ANT bike, built for fully self-supported touring, seems to handle best, even a little faster, when loaded. At least it did with the light load I had that day.

The year I got the ANT we went on a self-guided credit card tour. I was so worried about my ability to do the trip, I don’t think I noticed much about the bike’s handling. Since then, I’ve ridden the bike a lot. I’ve commuted on it, ridden for fun, and done two supported tours. It took until this weekend’s ride to appreciate how it’s optimized for touring. Good to know!

The Swift panniers were easy to attach and detach, stayed in place, and in appearance are fun, jaunty and visible. They’re a great design, with one large open pocket with a drawstring closure, a detachable pocket lid and a small zippered side pocket. They hold a lot. There is also an elasticized pouch on each pannier, perfect for carrying a water bottle. That’s an excellent feature if like me you are small and so is your bike. My bike frame can only hold 1 water bottle cage and I am always fussing with ways to carry a second bottle. These panniers take care of that hassle I have yet to find out how the panniers perform in the rain. This test ride was on such a beautiful day. I have a feeling that by the end of the tour I’ll be able to comment on that. Stay tuned.

Evening Ride in Real Spring Weather

This spring has had more than a couple of days of cold dreary weather. On Tuesday John commuted to work in 3 layers of wool. Yes it warmed up by the end of the day, but it started out in the 30s. Two days later it was warm with just a little rain that was over with by mid-afternoon.

Yesterday’s little bit of biking to do errands was just a tease. Today I managed to get out for an hour. Better. Not an optimal time, it was around 5 pm. But after the first few miles, I was in the park and then on a road that for the most part has a wide shoulder. It was a pretty evening and the ride was fun.

Patapsco State Park

Patapsco State Park

Once I got home I started getting the Nishiki ready for it’s move to my sister’s house. She’ll keep it for her daughter who is in the Peace Corps for about another year.  First I swapped out the saddle. I am happy to give the bike to my  niece, but I’m keeping the Brooks. Of course there were more parts to the saddle attachment than I’d realized. Of course I dropped them all on the shed floor before I could notice how they go together.

After some fumbling and swearing I got it all reassembled and the Planet Bike saddle correctly attached. Next I  removed the old cork grips. A rodent  gnawed off the end of one of the grips a few months ago. I didn’t want to give it to her like that. Those grips were glued on tight; when I first had them installed, they kept slipping off and I think the mechanic ended up super-gluing them on.  Next I repositioned the right thumbie. Another bike mechanic in DC had positioned it awkwardly after it became loose. I never got around to fixing it and it always annoyed me.

I gave it a quick test ride and all was good. It’s a sweet bike.  No one is more surprised than I am when I manage to do things like this. On a 1-10 scale of mechanical ability, I am something like a .75.  Tomorrow, I will try to put on the new grips and shellac them.

Yesterday’s Bike Commute for the Brain

I have 4 simultaneous deadlines to meet. But it’s not the kind of thing I can do 12 hours per day without a break. My brain would melt.

Realizing that, I made time for 20 minute bike ride. Didn’t get far, partly because one side street I turned on was blocked by BG&E trucks. They’re replacing all the meters in town, which seems to mean also tearing up all the residential streets, one by one.

Twenty minutes was enough for me. I was a little sore from Sunday’s ride. Not my legs either. I don’t know what went awry as the padded shorts I wore Sunday are normally perfectly comfortable. Whatever it was, I can see its going to take a few days to heal!

It was a lovely, sunny mid-40s afternoon, and my brain did feel better when I got back home.

Today has been a return to the cold, rain and wind. Not the day for a bike commute. Not the day for walking either, my dog tried to convince me.

Helmet Law Considered in MD

Whatever your personal stance is on helmet use, when you look at the evidence it’s clear there’s little to support that bike helmets offer anything more than psychological protection. Having said that, I generally use mine. But sometimes I don’t and I want that choice to be mine. Here’s one of the best posts I’ve seen discussing the contradictory research evidence on the topic.

Despite the lack of evidence supporting helmet use, the state of Maryland is considering passing a mandatory helmet law. If you’d like to express opposition to this legislation WABA has created an easy way to do so here.