Roadies don’t typically ride with backpacks. Carrying stuff is what jersey pockets, seat bags, rack trunks, panniers and handlebar bags are for. But a trim, lightweightbackpack sure is handy for doing errands around town by bike. It lets you take valuables and necessities safely with you when you’re on foot.
I like having one at cycling events. This way, I can bike or walk to sign in and pick up my registration packet. I don’t have to cram my wallet, keys, cell phone and glasses into my jersey pockets. And I can toss my registration papers and any event schwag into the pack to take back to my car.
So I was interested to try the 3-in-1 Reversible Traffic Cone Bag (TCBfor short) designed by Lynette Chiang, dba Gal From Down Under. The product name makes it soundlike a heavy plastic car impediment but it refers to the bag’s high-visibility orange color. It shows when the TCB is used in cycling mode, one of this chameleon-like bag’s 3 configurations.
Before I get to them, you’ll want to know that the TCB is sturdily constructed and built to last with 2.2-ounce Taslan nylon, which is water and abrasion resistant. These bags are made by hand in the garment district of New York City by Caroline Fu Designs. I’ve turned my tester inside out several times (keep reading), tugged and clipped the straps, and tossed it aroundloaded with gear. It shows no signs of wear or damage.
The bag’s coloris changed by turning it inside out. Nylon clips on the ends of the straps click onto 4 nylon D-rings on the bag’s bottom corners (2 on the orange side, 2 on the black side). You unclip the straps, turn the bag inside out, and re-clip.
Or, you can unclip the straps from the D-rings and attach the clips to each other to create a shoulder strap to carry the bag that way or messenger-bag style across your chest. The straps also close the bag. Simply pull to scrunch the top shut. There are no zippers on top or anywhere else.
In the orange cycling mode there are 2 external pockets that accept water bottles or keep small items easy to access. The main compartment is big enough to carry a helmet. An internal pocket is just right for file folders or a compact laptop. There’s also a loop for attaching a taillight.
Inverting the bag turns it into inconspicuous black for off-bike use. The main compartment is the same size but orange, making it easy to see those small items that disappear in dark interiors. The organizer pockets are reversed — twin pockets on the inside, folder pocket on the outside.
The shoulder-bag mode is possible with either color showing. From this configuration you can convert it into the third mode, which changes the TCB to a smaller purse-type bag like a musette. Now you have a smaller main compartment (11×16-in. for the size large bag and 10×14-in. for the small). You still have the internal and exterior organizer pockets, although they shrinks lightly too.
I like how sturdily built the 3-in-1 Reversible Traffic Cone Bag is, how you can downsize it if you’re carrying less, and the ability to wear it on the back, shoulder or chest. And I love having something so visible for riding in traffic. The TCB is an impressively versatile and well-built bag that has many uses on and off the bicycle.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.