My family uses our bikes for a large part of our transportation needs. I ride my bike to work and back most days which amounts to about 50 miles a week plus some occasional added distance for recreational rides or weekend tasks. When you ride this much you need a lot of functionality in your bike which means you need a good way to carry stuff. We have become masters at carrying everything we need to the beach including coolers, chairs and umbrellas; all piled high on our bikes. It is kind of fun seeing just how much you can bungy onto one narrow bike rack. I have, however, been dissatisfied with the bags I was using to get to work.
I had a pair of front wheel mount type that were a good size with functional compartments. They served me relatively well for several years but had some major problems. I did not like carrying the bags around in my hand when I was off my bike and they did not stay on the rack very well; sometimes slipping off mid ride. The bags depended on an elastic cord at the bottom to create a tight fit on the rack. The cord was a nuisance to attached and over time became less and less elastic. On one ride this cord came loose and wound itself around the front axle. It wound and wound and wound around the wheel until the bike eventually came to a dead stop at which point I did an extraordinary flight over the handlebars. Lucky for me I stuck my landing. I was quite proud of myself even though I was still not sure exactly what had just happened. The force caused by the tangled bag cord was great enough to bend the forks. Needless to say, these bags had to go. For more than a year I shopped for a bag that would satisfy me (I am not really that picky but I am also not into surprise acrobatic stunts either). Finally after getting a tip from a biking client (“you need to buy an Arkel bag” he says.) I found what might be the perfect commuting bag.
Arkel is a small Canadian bike bag maker has which has put some real thought into making high quality yet not outrageously priced bike bags of all types They have made the kind of innovations that seem so obvious but are for some reason rare in the industry. For instance their commuter bags have fold away shoulder straps. The bag turns into a back pack when you are off the bike. That just makes too much sense. No more carrying by hand! They also developed an ingenious cam style rack mount system which locks the bag onto the bike with one simple move. Removing the bag is just as easy but the bag cannot inadvertently come off during your ride because it is locked in place. The bag I ordered fits my needs 100%. If you are looking for bike storage gear this company has no competition at the moment for quality well thought design. They do not have much of a presence in the US so your best bet now is to order on-line but make sure your nearby bike store is aware that this is a great line of products that they need to carry.
There was not a Youtube video for the bag I purchased but this will give you an idea about the kind of innovations Arkel thinks about in biking storage.
Images are from the Arkel Facebook page.