Tooling around on my bicycle this afternoon, I made my mandatory stop at Absolute Bikes to both stare at the Globe Live2 and check out the accessories section. The Globe Live2 and the Globe Haul recently moved to the front window display and after paying them their due honor I strolled over to accessories, where things appeared delightfully amiss. It seems someone has been weighing style equally with function, with many, many new and attractive messenger bags and pannier displayed, most of them clearly targeting the female shopper. Without hesitation I marched to the checkout counter and made my purchase. Here's why:
My eyes and hands were instantly drawn to the Toocan Urban Utility Pannier by Detours. This pannier is from the Expresso Collection. The product information tag indicates that the Toocan has a "carbo factor" of 10 baguettes so I'm guessing that the folks at Detours both have a sense of humor and understand this customer, for Bob and I have entered baguette-and-cheese-on-the-front porch-season. More objectively though, the bags dimensions are 15"x13"x7", also large enough to carry my Dell Studio laptop. Since it could be carrying my computer, my pannier needs to be sturdy. The Toocan is indeed pretty tough. It features a heavy-duty, quilted, nylon exterior and a thick, rubberized, flat bottom, which stands up easily without falling over when placed on the ground or another surface. The handles have rubberized grips making it comfortable to tote when weighed down with a computer or numerous loaves of French bread. The pannier also comes with a detachable, padded shoulder strap for additional convenience off the bike.
The exterior hooks that secure the pannier to the rear rack fitted the racks on both my Specialized and the Breezer perfectly. They are placed close to the middle of the pannier making it sit fairly high behind the saddle. I like this because I can now easily reach in to the zipper opening for my camera or an extra water bottle.
I really appreciated the interior of the Toocan. The pannier has a nylon lining in a floral pattern that matches the center floral panel on the exterior. Incorporated into the lining are several pockets making it easier to keep items organized, a helpful feature for me since I'll be taking this bag with me to work most days.
Finally, I was relieved to find hidden in the interior zip pocket a bright yellow rain cover. It doesn't rain that often in Flagstaff but we are prone to short but sudden monsoons during the summer and early fall. I believe that the pannier alone is probably very adequate to keep things safe and dry but the bright yellow cover will both protect the pretty exterior from mud but also add to visibility.
I couldn't be more pleased with my find. The Toocan is modern and attractive. It will draw less unwanted attention than my strictly utilitarian boxy, black panniers, be easier to carry when stopping at a boutique or restaurant, and somehow make me feel a little more professional when I arrive at work. Unlike the black panniers I been using for the last few years (and will keep for trips to the grocer or Home Depot)I can easily carry two of them while shopping without worrying them knocking things off shelves or the having the contents spill out. The Toocan Urban Utility Pannier retails for $60, which for me was not inexpensive, but given the quality I did not hesitate.
Flagstaff Tweed Website is Up!
The Flagstaff Tweed website is up and running. Over the next few weeks details regarding the May 16 and June 18 rides will be added, as well as exciting art to market the event. Here is the link. Anyone planning to visit Flagstaff for either event should not hesitate to contact me about places to stay and things to do. The weather should be great!