Bum bags. Fanny packs. Enduro fashion. Call it what you want, but a hip pack is actually a pretty useful piece of kit. What goes around comes around, and now that it’s safe to be seen in public with one again, options are flooding the market.
Seagull has been sewing its bags by hand in Columbus, Ohio, since 2003, and they sent us their new Trail Buddy to try, and so so far I’ve been using it on all kinds of rides. I’ll do anything to get a backpack off my back and not content with the sweat mess it leaves behind. The Trail Buddy holds the basics for short rides or keeps the essentials close at hand while touring.
Built from 1000d Cordura, it’s super thick and tough. I have no doubt this thing will outlive the cockroaches at the Apocalypse. While not 100-percent waterproof, the YKK zippers are water resistant and it kept the contents clean through a generous dousing of mud. The zipper pulls are huge and easy to grab with gloves on. The main pocket has a double zipper to make it easier to get into.
There is a U-lock sleeve in the back, but I actually preferred attaching it to the daisy chain loops on the front so it wasn’t touching my back. There is a secondary exterior pocket behind them with room for small items like keys or a phone.
The main compartment is big enough for a thin jacket, bike tools, a book, a beer (or two), or whatever you need to keep within reach. It can also attach to your handlebars with two Velcro straps, but there’s no way to tuck the waist strap in so it kind of gets in the way.
The waist strap is thickly padded and has cinch straps at either end that can help keep the bag snug against your hips even when it’s not full. The main buckle is BIG, but luckily it is adjustable on both sides, and I found it most comfortable wearing it slightly off-center.
There really aren’t any downsides to this pack except there were a few times I wish it were a tiny bit bigger. It won’t fit my Amazon Kindle, for example, or an external water bottle.
The Trail Buddy is available in black, olive, rust (pictured), plus two more Spring 2016 special colorways.
Measurements: 11.75 inches wide, 5.5 inches high and 2.75 inches deep.
More info: seagullbags.com
What’s your take? Do you ride with a hip pack? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.
Velo Cult bike shop, now located in Portland, Oregon, is more than just a place to buy bikes and accessories. It’s also a popular tavern, repair service (featuring guaranteed 24-hour turnaround on tune-ups), music venue, and de facto meeting place in town for many bike-related events and meetings. Now, it’s adding it’s own line of custom bikes to the showroom floor, with two options for anyone seeking a very special ride of their own.
The Velo Cult Randonneur is a traditional long-distance road bike designed with input from the shop and built by Mark Nobilette in Longmont, Colorado. The lugged steel construction can be mated to all sorts of build options, with new or old components. Each bike is made to order, with full custom geometry, paint and detailing. Built around 650b wheels and 42 mm tires with fenders, the bike is designed to deliver a comfortable ride over any surface.
VC Mosaic Custom
Velo Cult has also partnered with Mosaic Cycles in Boulder, Colorado, to build custom steel and titanium frames with special touches unique to the shop bikes. Starting with a blank slate, customers will be able to build their own made-to-measure dream bike from scratch.
If you’re interested in ordering either bike, give a shout to Velo Cult to get the process started. Pricing and turnaround time will vary greatly depending on the customer’s desires and specifications.
We were somewhere over Iowa when the bourbon kicked in. Dammit, AAmerican, is Jack Daniels the best you’ve got? Wait, that’s not even bourbon. I’ll assume Louaville has better. But then I started to see the patterns on the ground as the sun set over the vast midwest. Is it just the whiskey or is something else kicking in?
Loueeeville here I come. Bikes and good Kentucky bourbon. After a good nights rest I managed to negotiate my borrowed Tern folding bike over the frozen, rutted trail to the convention center. It would have flown completely free but my “Silver” status with what used to be my airline had been removed. Still, the Tern flew in the samsonite for a mere $25.
Wandering in, I found myself drawn magneticly and immediately to the judging area. I had judged before, enjoying the company of people like Patrick Brady, Nick Legan, and Jeff Archer, No one had asked me to judge in advance, this year or any other, but I stopped by to say hi and see what was up. It’s a TRAP!
“Wanna help with the mountain bike judging?” Patrick says, as he reeeeels in another fish in the name of Maurice J Tierney. Ummm, ahhhh, ok. Trapped. I had promised myself not to get involved, yet another addiction kicks in and I start going off right away, injecting what I can into the proceedings.
Thing is, I really like to get into people’s heads sometimes. Only days earlier I had volunteered to review my friend Zo’s photographic portfolio. I got me a four-year degree in fine art photography and if there’s one thing I learned it is how to expose the weakness in a batch of photos and bring out the best of the bunch. This talent is useful for bikes as well.
So How does one judge a bicycle show? I already have enough people mad at me for speaking my mind-truth in public. Maybe it is the bourbon, or maybe I just don’t give a shit. Or maybe it’s just the battle to keep it real.
So let me share a bit of my personal criteria, which should not to be cornfused with anyone else’s idea of judging, or any actual written rule book. First of all, builders, you’ve got to have your craft down. No mistakes. Perfect construction, paint and build. Then you can pursue the art of the handcrafted bicycle. So unless you’re in a bare-frame category you better bring a complete bike.
If the pedals are missing that is one thing but everything else better be there. And make sure the pedals are all the way screwed in and the headset is not loose or you will see me motioning with a neck-slicing hand across the throat indicating you are out of the running (No you don’t get a pass for bad weather). You’re product better be tight. One really amazing favorite builder lost points for a missing cable. Although the bike’s owner never bothered with it, I felt it needed to be there for show purposes to complete the deal.
After all that weeded out I get to look at the art. What has the builder done to rise above and really create something I’ve never seen before? Some judges are more interested in the bike they’d like to take home and ride. My winner needs to be that and more. There’s where I find my winner.
Bottom line? One guy in the aisle stated that you can’t judge personal preference. True, it is a beauty contest. But I can assure you of one thing, we judges work real hard to honor the best of the best, and they deserve it.
2015 NAHBS award winners
- Best TIG-welded frame: Eriksen Cycles (Honorable Mention: Holland Cycles)
- Best Cyclocross bike: No. 22
- Best Mountain bike: Retrotec Fat Bike (Honorable Mentions: Mooman and Funk)
- Best Road bike: Repete
- Best Tandem: Black Sheep
- Best City bike: Brodie
- Best Experimental bike: Sycip
- Best Finish: Shamrock Cycles (Honorable Mention: Peacock Groove)
- Best Artisan: Cykelmageren
- Best Lugs: DiNucci
- Best Carbon Lay-up: Alchemy
- Best Campagnolo equipped bike: Sarto
- People’s Choice: Mars Cycles
- Best New Builder: Love Baum
- President’s Choice: Ron Sutphin
- Best in Show: Groovy Cycleworks