Wednesday, January 6, 2021

I love my Carradice Camper Longflap. And all the patches on it, too.

For seven of the last eight years I've enjoyed participating in the Coffeeneuring Challenge.
Each year, I've shared my ride reports, paid for the cost of the goodies, and earned a lovely patch to applique to my saddlebag or backpack. This year's patch came the other day and I set about moving a couple of patches around to make room for this one on my Carradice saddlebag. (Photo shows my newest Coffeeneuring patch, above one from a few years back.)

Hand-sewing the patches on has gotten harder, as my eyes have had to adjust to wearing reading glasses for close work, and also as patches have become more thickly embroidered, making them much harder to applique by hand.

Since my bag is getting pretty close to full of patches, I think this will be my last application on this particular bag. It looks fine and I don't want to make it looks clumsy with too many patches.

I got my Camper Longflap well over fifteen years ago, when I was still working at Citybikes and could buy it on my shop discount. It has been on my bike pretty much ever since. Over the years I've added patches, pins and even a little talisman of sorts (one half of a tallit-clip that I found in a synagogue parking lot ages ago). The bag has taken age gracefully, fading into a light gray color wherever it wasn't blocked out by a patch; removing and moving a couple of patches around has revealed a couple of darker spots underneath that show just how faded the bag has become over time.

But all that fading has not led to any sun damage to the actual canvas fabric, which remains as stout and as strong as ever. The only giveaway to the bag's wear and tear is that the primary set of leather straps that hold the flap down have begun to crack; at some point one may break. If and when that happens, I'll probably remove the broken strap, and make a new one out of some thick leather and stitch it into place with dental floss (really great, strong thread for this purpose), poke some holes for the buckle and call it good.

Carradice bags have been made since the 1930's, and continue to be made in Nottingham, England by a small team of trained craftspeople. And I still love my Carradice bag. Even when it gets wet outside, things inside the bag remain fairly dry. Repeated application of wax every five or six years helps the canvas retain its waterproof qualities. And the older it gets, the better it looks.

With the recent downsizing to the Burley Travoy trailer, I had to go ahead and purchase a quick-release bracket for the saddlebag, so I can take it off quickly when I want to use the trailer.
After researching multiple options and looking for something used, I ultimately bit the bullet and bought one of the last Nitto quick-release brackets from Rivendell. It should be here soon.
Happy riding!

1 comment:

Dave said...

Carradice bags have stood the test of time, I have a handlebar bar on my Dahon which is years old. Interestingly they still have the straps to hold a cycling cape, something you dont see very often now. I have used a cape and for cycling around town its ideal as it keeps your legs dry as well, no good for longer rides though.