With the sun finally starting to rear its head and fight off the grey skies of Albion, it won’t be long before we can expect the usual outbreak of summer cyclists and ‘fixie’ fanatics.
A situation the renowned bicycle saddle manufacturers, Brooks England will no doubt relish. Established in Birmingham back in the sepia days of 1866 the brand has long been a favourite with touring and audax cyclists. Having made a sizeable dent in the market with their comfortable yet delightfully archaic looking saddles, by 1910 they had also turned their hand towards the humble saddle bag.
Their current stock consists of 12 bags of varying designs, each patriotically named after a different area of London or English coastal districts. Various cycling staples are covered from the more bulky and practical Barbican with its spacious pockets and stabilising belt to the decidedly feminine Hoxton wire basket.
A Personal favourite would have to be the Cornwall Handlebar Bag, reminiscent of a Victorian doctor’s case. If Jack the Ripper was a fan of fixed wheel cycling, I would like to imagine he would no doubt have been packing something very similar. They also carry a brilliant looking tote bag, entitled the Camden. If you’re unsure of the recent emasculating trend of the tote, it is probably a good subtle introduction.
Each bag is made for practicality, either designed to easily and safely attach to your bike or be worn on your body. The addition of a belt for added stability is the killer app on several of their designs and something that I am sure many a cyclist will welcome. Materials vary from waxed cotton to leather finishes, the primary focus reassuringly being longevity and water resistance.
Aesthetically they have a traditionalist look to them and carry an endearingly British vibe. It’s certainly evident that this is a brand with ancient roots and there is a more than a little World War chic going off. The Islington in particular conjures up a whole host of images of railway children and couples evading ‘Zee Germans’ in the French countryside.
Pricewise they fall on the steep side which some may find a little off putting. Indeed, you could definitely find a cheaper courier bag to suit your purpose, but you’d be hard pushed to find something as both image conscious and practically hardwearing.
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