On a very grey morning last year I made my way through the back roads of Lancashire to Nelson, home of Carradice, one of the original bicycle bag manufacturers. Officially started in 1932 from a small house only a stones throw away from where they are now, it was the brainchild of Wilf Carradice.
In the 1930’s leather cloth with a fibre insert for stiffness were used by a number of manufacturers including Brooks, as was canvas. Dunlop who was a major manufacturer of bags used a rubber based material. In the early 1930’s Wilf Carradice used treated cotton duck (original colour used dark tan) which was produced at the mill he worked at. From those humble beginnings he started making bags for his friends, then local clubs until he was able to leave the mill and work from his mother’s house.
During WWII Carradice made bags for the army, including rucksacks and other useful equipment. His knowledge and skills turned the company into a well known name, especially in the cycling world.
The Carradice range has grown over the years, but there have always been the steadfast bags such as the Pendle or Nelson Long Flap. These have been used by audaxers and tourers for years and for good reason. With bike-packing becoming more and more popular and with cycling on the up Carradice are the name to go to. You simply have to look through the photos from the Rough-Stuff Fellowship to see how long the bags have been in use and can survive almost any conditions.
With orders from around the world coming in you can see why. From the individual name written on the bag by the person who made it, to the custom bags they make. It shows a lever of detail and craftsmanship that surpasses many items that are made to date in large factories in who knows where.
Strap a Carradice to your bike and you know you have a trusty bag to keep items dry and ready for those long miles ahead.