A few years ago when I moved to Austin, TX, I decided it was the perfect place to start biking more and driving less. My friends helped me get a deal on a good road bike and a u-lock, and I was ready to roll. But after a few rides around town with my backpack or sometimes my purse, I realized why I had seen so many bikers sporting cool specially-designed biking bags – they really are a better way to go.
I did some research on the internet, asked friends, read reviews, and finally decided to buy the Manhattan Portage Vintage Messenger Bag in brown. It was a little pricier than your standard backpack, although now you can probably get a better deal than I did by using a coupon. Still, over the years I have not for one second regretted my purchase. Here’s why.
1. They’re Durable
I’ve taken my bag literally around the world in the 4 years I’ve had it – from biking in Texas to trekking in India to wandering Istanbul, Madrid, and Santiago. I’ve used it as a day-to-day backpack, a grocery bag, a hiking day pack, and an overnight bag. The amazing thing is that after all this, it still looks exactly the same as it did on the day I got it. No fraying, no rips, and the color hasn’t even faded. The velcro closures haven’t become fuzzy and useless like velcro sometimes gets, and the zipper is still in perfect condition. Manhattan Portage bags are made to last.
2. They’re Comfortable
After biking with a backpack that bit into my shoulders while I rode and a purse that would swing every which way, my first ride with my new Manhattan Portage bag was like a revelation. The adjustable strap fit perfectly over my shoulder, holding the bag snug against my back. The design is such that even when it’s full and heavy, I don’t feel the weight on my shoulders while I’m biking. The same is true for walking with it.
3. They’re Water-Resistant
One day, soon after I got my bag, I had to run into the university library for a quick second before biking to class. In the approximately 4 minutes I was inside the library, it began to pour rain, a real deluge. That’s part of the charm of Texas. I stood watching the rain, thinking maybe I could wait it out. It showed no signs of letting up, and I was going to be late for class. I decided to go for it – it was just a 2 minute ride to class, how wet could I get?
As it turned out, in 2 minutes I could get wet through a jacket, sweater, and a shirt. As I biked, I fretted about my laptop and cell phone inside my bag. They were surely getting just as wet as I was! But when I arrived, I looked inside my bag to find the contents completely dry. The outside of the bag was soaked, but my papers, books, laptop, and phone were cozy and dry inside my Manhattan Portage bag. That’s definitely more than you can say for a regular backpack.
Bonus Reason: They’re Cool
Yeah, the really cool bikers use Chrome bags, but those are just too expensive for me. Still, since I got my Manhattan Portage bag, I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it. Manhattan Portage bags are recognizable from their trademark New York skyline logo patch. Even for those of us who don’t live in arguably the coolest city ever, we can at least carry a little bit of the Big Apple around with us every day on our backs.