Iceland Biking and New Looxs Bag

The Mechanic and I didn’t get a chance to do any bike riding while we were in Iceland, but saw some familiar bike things in Reykjavik. And I bought a lovely new pannier!

Edgar got to bike in Reykjavik

Edgar got to bike in Reykjavik

Apparently and understandably, mountain biking is a bigger deal in Iceland than basic city bicycling. I did see a group of women geared up against the cold biking past us while we sat in Slippbarinn having lunch. We also saw a consistent number of what appeared to be bicycle commuters every time we drove through Reykjavik, and even spotted a proper European bike lane.

The guy standing in the bike lane was also taking pictures of it. I wonder if he was American too.

The guy standing in the bike lane was also taking pictures of it. I wonder if he was American too.

There were also some fun bike racks around town, along with a complicated version in several places downtown.

I did find one “urban” style bike shop, catering to the Pashley/dandy crowd. I have Americanized the name to Berlin Bike Shop (Sorry!) because the true name is a bit complicated. I ducked in quickly and admired the bicycles and accessories, but didn’t linger because The Mechanic was sick. But I did grab a new bike pannier – a New Looxs bag I’d seen in Germany during our honeymoon and regretted buying ever since.

Turns out this bag was pretty expensive, after I figured out the exchange rate. Oh well – it’s extremely versatile and I’ll get a ton of use out of it.

New purchase on the couch at Slippbarinn

New purchase on the couch at Slippbarinn

It’s a nice size that can carry a folder and water bottle, but isn’t as huge as my full size pannier. It has shoulder straps to carry like a purse, pannier hooks in the back with a Velcro flap system to cover them up when not needed, a large front pocket and a small inside pocket that perfectly fits my phone.

Having a lovely new bike bag was probably the only thing that got me through my first day back. New Looxs 8As you can see, if fits nicely on my bike, and naturally coordinates.

I normally prefer my purse in my front basket, so I have my keys and phone and Kleenex close at hand. But this bag does indeed also fit in my front basket, so the days recently when I’ve had both my large pannier and this, I just put the New Looxs bag in my front basket. It doesn’t fit perfectly but close enough. Because it’s narrow, it does fit perfectly in a Capital Bikeshare basket, something few of my bags do.

I’ve been thinking about a new purse, and had decided I don’t need a bike bag to throw in my front basket, but having the ability to do both actually makes this a brilliant option. I wish the handles were a bit more comfortable on the shoulder, but it’s not that bad.

New Looxs 9

Wearing my #memade unicorn blouse on an early spring-like day

It’s hard to find these Dutch bags here in the US, of course, so even though this was crazy expensive (about $100!), I guess I would have ended up paying a small fortune in shipping if I decided to order if from overseas. And since we don’t (yet) have firm plans to return to Europe, well, let’s just say I am glad I spent the money!

Product Preview: Target Bike Tote Bag

Target is one of my favorite stores, but it just rose a notch in my esteem, after discovered a Target-brand bike bag! Imagine my surprise at finding cute tote panniers on an end rack in the sports section, and then discovering that they were on clearance – half off $20! What?! Not that I need a new pannier, but heck, it was cute, it was the right price – how could I not buy it?!

Although I love stripes and ditsy florals equally, the pink and blue is one of my favorite color combinations.

Although I love stripes and ditsy florals equally, the pink and blue is one of my favorite color combinations.

I haven’t actually used it yet, which is why this is more of a preview than a review, but I wanted to share this as soon as possible, in case anyone else is interested in buying a bag of their own (or buying it for someone as a Christmas present!).

It is a pretty decent size, although I prefer a more vertical shape, rather than the horizontal of this bag. I was able to fit a package fully into the bag, and made use of the pleated zip top, which adds a few more inches of height. Smart! As you can see, it is fairly comparable in size to my other panniers.

Notice a theme in my bike bags?!

Notice a theme in my bike bags?!

After playing with it for a while, I realized that there is a strap in the front pocket that can be used to hook over the bag and clip onto the rack. Because it is adjustable, this means I can fit it over tall things I’m transporting, in addition to making the bag a bit more secure. This is a pretty cool feature that my other bags don’t have.

The bag also fits in my front basket, which isn’t a requirement of any sort, just a nice feature. Target Bag 6It has pretty sturdy hooks on the back, with a zip panel that pulls up over them. The hooks are sturdy enough that I really had to pull to get the bag off the rack! This is the first time I have had this sort of hook cover, and I’m glad I have a skirt guard, because I might worry about the flap catching on the spokes of the wheel. Maybe it wouldn’t ever get that close, however.

It is lacking any sort of reflectivity, and has no inside pockets, which isn’t a huge drawback. I’ll have to figure out how to add some reflective trim without clashing with the design. Excuse to buy a new reflector from Funflector.com, perhaps?

See the reflective tape on these other bags? And nothing on the new bag. Yet.

See the reflective tape on these other bags? And nothing on the new bag. Yet.

Inside - no internal pockets

Inside – no internal pockets

This is probably not a bag I would use in rainy weather because that pink nylon doesn’t seem to offer any sort of water resistance. I probably won’t use this much in the winter and save it for the spring, but it’s cheeriness might be just what the winter needs. Now that it is officially winter!

I guess I’ll report back after using it a while to let you know how it’s holding up. I couldn’t find it on the Target website, by the way, so I hope Target doesn’t consider this a failed product idea and not repeat the concept. I think it is a good example of how mainstream bike transportation is becoming, for a huge retailer like Target to produce something like this. Maybe if we all rush to stores to buy what’s left, they will see the interest, and design new ones for next summer! I might just rush back to get another one anyway – can’t beat the price! Target Bag 13

Bicycle Bag

First and foremost, I’d like to brag a bit about my cool new pannier for Fauntleroy.  I stumbled upon it on The Bicycle Muse website (which has apparently closed, according to UK sister website London Cyclechic), and instantly loved it. The color I bought has sold out, but there are others – just not in colors that would go with Fauntleroy.  I preferred to keep in the tradition and style of the lacy basket, so I picked a black and white design.

Kitsch Kitchen Pannier

(Shown with reflective tassel, sold separately and discussed in a future blog)

It happened to arrive the day I was wearing my Jason Wu for Target cycle print dress! How perfect!

I love this bag because it simply clips onto the pannier, and is quite secure.  The Mechanic was concerned about it but ultimately concluded that since it was from a Dutch company, they must know what they are doing, so it would be fine. I’ve been  using it for over a week now and I haven’t worried about it falling off.  If anything, I still have to pry it off the rack when I reach my destination.  It’s made out of waterproof vinyl, although I’m hoping I’ll never get caught in a bad rainstorm!  A zipped inside pocket holds my keys and headphones, while the two outside pockets are great for smaller stuff I need quickly, like sunglasses and sunscreen.

I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to get it if I hadn’t seen a review of it by Lady Velo, and seen the great zip cover over the clips.  Also, because she holding the bag, I had a good idea of how big it would be – I need to fit work stuff, a lunch bag, change of clothes, gym stuff, you name it, it’s got to fit.  Okay, overflow goes into the front basket, which I naturally left in place.

I like this photo of Fauntleroy because it shows off his cool handlebars. (The new bag is stuffed full here, so it’s pulling the bike a bit off balance, hence the funky turn of the front wheel.)

The other cool thing about this bag is that the weight is distributed differently so I can actually carry the bike up the stairs without removing the bag.  This makes a huge difference, let me tell you!

Today would have been the perfect day to load up this new bag with some picnic gear and have dinner outdoors somewhere, but The Mechanic was dutifully studying, and I wouldn’t have disturbed him.  This glorious weather will hopefully last for a while so we can get in a few picnics!  This bag just screams for them.