Re: [rootsradicals] Xtracycles for the Poor (was $107 to fill up a tank...)
I was a messenger in NYC for the better part of ten years, with about
a third of that time toward the end using the Xtracycle. The trick to
using a messenger bag is to actually tighten the bag strap snug around
your torso. The only time the strap is suppose to be wide open is to
compensate for a bulkier load inside the bag. Basically the strap is
meant to expand and contract the opening of the bag, then when you
need to take something out or put something in you loosen the strap,
swing/slide the bag down and around to the front, access the inside to
modify the bags contents, then swing the bag back and tighten the
strap back to a snug fit.
In the media messengers are usually depicted with loose-strap
messenger bags, which tends to be considered a ridiculous rookie usage
of a mess bag to most professional bike couriers.
Sometimes packages/cargo will be an unusual shape, which can result in
the bag strap slipping the bag down and around to the front. In these
cases, some of the better high-quality professional messenger bag
companies provide a clip in secondary strap. The secondary strap
usually runs from the bottom of the bag around the waist or rib and
connects to the primary strap. This results in an almost Tri-strap
There is also another company in Canada, which makes the MOST
professional, fully-featured, life-time guaranteed, and most expensive
mess bags in the industry. That company is call PAC bags, with the C
kind of shaped like a T because the original designer was a woman
named Patricia, who was in the messenger industry for many years.
Anyway, PAC bags actually feature a FOURTH optional strap, which goes
over the courier's other shoulder. The fourth strap is intended for
use when a messenger is carrying a super heavy/bulky load and having
some extra support might help.
Personally, I really like Chrome bags due to all their features in
relation to their price and their support of the courier community. I
also used Manhattan Portage for many years and like them as well, but
I have to admit that is because I am from NYC, and Manhattan Portage
pretty much built up the messenger bag industry after "Globe Bags"
first started making canvas messenger bags many years ago. Now
Manhattan Portage owns the rights to make Globe Bags, but only does so
Another really good messenger bag company is R.E.Load, which was
started in Philly by two actual messengers. Their bags look good
because of a lot of the customizable options you can order and the
bags are really bomb-proof.
I am no fool. I let the Xtracycle do the lugging of my messenger bag, while I was a messenger and to this day when I am not. J
I usually kept my messenger bag in two doubled-up contractor-grade black garbage bags. This way if I just had a small package I could slip into a building and leave the baggage behind. A person does not get harassed by security as much if they do not look like a courier. The garbage bags served two purposes. They disguised the messenger-bag contents as possibly looking like trash, and they kept my messenger bag completely dry. Of course my messenger bag is designed and produced to be inherently waterproof, but when I did have to go into a client’s office during a rain storm, my bag and the customer’s packages would appear and actually be completely dry. Some clients get uneasy about handing over their precious packages to a messenger, who’s messenger bag is leaving a puddle of dirty water on their nice dry clean office floor. That never happened with me. J