I am about to have my debit card taken away from me or frozen. Seriously, I'm trying to hold down spending. But there's always this quest to adjust the bike setup, and darn manufacturers are always coming out with new products. The Chrome Kadet that I recently bought is a great little bag, but sometimes it's a little too little; some days it's tough to fit in it everything that I carry to and from work.
The Velo-Orange Porteur Bag has been out for a year or two. I'd been thinking of getting it or the Chrome Front Rack Duffel Bag for a while (at REI here - don't see online now at Chrome). The VO bag requires use of the fence that goes on their porter rack. You'll see how I got around that; there are other ways. It attaches using short non-adjustable straps to the sides of the rack. The fence keeps it from sliding forward or back. I'd read a few generally positive reviews and didn't notice the short straps until I took it out of the box.
The Chrome is a better design (doesn't require the fence as it attaches in 4 spots with adjustable straps), holds twice as much, is waterproof, and is only $2 more. Free shipping from REI, $12 priority mail from VO. So wait…why did I go with the VO bag?
(edit 6/4/16: whoa holy cow! just searched online and found the Chrome for $74.99 at Sportique. Never heard of Sportique.)
I didn't think I needed as large of a bag as the Duffel, and to be honest, I thought it was more expensive so hadn't searched for it lately. Had kinda forgot it. The VO has an outside pocket in the rear which is nice; no pockets on the Duffel. VO is MUSA. Looks very well made.
The VO has daisy chains on the bottom for alternate attachmenting, so I picked up some buckles and straps. The straps kept sliding through the buckles, so I got out Debbie's little hand-held Singer sewing machine and sewed one end of the strap.
Go ahead and laugh. I gave up on the machine and managed to thread a needle and sewed up the other one by hand. Way back in grade school a next door neighbor friend was into sewing, and we used to sew a few things together. I mean this was when we weren't doing manly boyish things like playing army, indians and cowboys, jumping our Stingrays over dirt jumps, having rock fights (true story, I'll have to tell you about that some day). So it brought back some dim memories. Anyway, here's the result:
I attach the back straps over and around the vertical posts of the rectangular doo-dad on the back of the rack. This works pretty good and is easy to get on and off the rack. I don't like the short, non-adjustable side straps as they squish the bag down, so maybe when the newness has worn off I'll do some cutting and sewing to attach some longer ones on there. Might seek professional help for that.
The bag holds about 20 liters which is usually enough in summer. I can think of some items that will be easier to carry now - flowers, potluck dishes, take-out. The bag includes a hand strap so when I bring home Mod or Verraci's pizza I can carry the bag like a messenger bag (except I just tried it this way today, and it kept swinging off my back around to the front). And since the fence isn't on the rack, can easily strap on a pizza box.
Now all I really need (or want) is a Wald or Topeak basket for my Marin Muirwoods grocery/dog hauler/rain and all-around fun bike. At least they're inexpensive.
Tune in next year when no doubt I'll be back to rear panniers, having solved my Orlieb/Salsa rear rack interference problem.