Earlier in the spring I decided to cycle across Wales, sleep on the beach, and then cycle back to the Welsh-English border. Having never embarked upon a cycling adventure like this before, I turned to my good friend Giacomo for some packing advice. Giacomo is mad for bikes of any kind, and his passion for life on two wheels, has taken him on some epic bikepacking journeys and challenges throughout Europe.
Thankfully, his packing advice extended to lending me a couple of the bags he uses for his biking adventures, one of which is a custom-made handlebar bag made by SpoK Werks.
I loved using the bag, but with little to compare it with, Giacomo has kindly shared his thoughts on the newest addition to the SpoK Werks bag collection:
SpoK Werks is a small family run business based in Mettmenstetten, Switzerland. They make custom handmade bikepacking bags in just about any colour variant you can dream of.
The latest addition to their bag collection is the Quickie. A small handlebar bag designed to fit neatly between a pair of road bike style drop-bars; made for those long days in the saddle,where you have a little more gear to carry than usual, and when getting the weight off your back and shoulders is a must.
The Quickie is ideal for touring, bikepacking, long sportives or just heading to the local park for a picnic. It’s extremely versatile and I can see it being swapped between my bikes regularly.
I ordered two, one for me and one for my girlfriend. The design remit on hers was ‘the colours of the Jamaican’ flag. I wanted something a little more subtle but still with that custom-made flare so I opted for black with a bit of camo. We left Spok Werks to dream up the design and we’re very happy with the results.
The bags are extremely well made and feel very robust. They feature a water-resistant full width zip, a daisy chain style adjustable attachment system for your handlebars, an elasticated drawcord at the back for attaching to the head tube. They also have a hard back plate to prevent wear and tear and to keep your brake and gear cables running true. Inside they are both bright pink which is fantastic to help find the smaller items you may put in there.
It’s not the cheapest handlebar bag out there, but you’ll struggle to find one made with such craftsmanship and attention to detail. They really feel like they will stand the test of time.
On the road
During my ride, I was overly aware when parts of my kit started rattling or sounding loose. The quiet of riding solo heightened my senses so that any noise became incredibly annoying after even a few minutes! But not once was it the Quickie bag that needed adjusting or tightening. It sat firmly in place for the duration of the trip, and the positioning of the zip gave me easy access to the contents without having to dismount it from the handlebars. I was also amazed at how much I managed to fit into it:
- Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag
- 0.7 litre cooking pan and lid, with soda can stove and fuel inside
- 1 zip-lock bag of peshwari porridge mix
- 1 zip-lock bag of polenta dinner
- Bar of chocolate
- Plasters and painkillers – in the internal mesh pockets
- House key – clipped onto the internal key hook
Additionally, the cheery colours of the Jamaican flag design did a great job of lifting my spirits during some of the tougher parts of the ride!
About SpoK Werks
Michael Cleveland, an avid cyclist and bikepacker, made his first bikepacking bags in response to his struggle to get hold of anything suitable on the European market. The bags survived the 2012 Tour Divide, as did he, and so SpoK Werks was born.
Michael handmakes the awesome range of SpoK Werks bikepacking bags, which include:
- Cookie Jar – the ‘do it all’ food bag
- Nomad – great for sleeping gear
- Hobo Harness – used to secure your own drybag
- Ramora Add-on – attached to the Nomad for extra storage
- Loopy JJ Bag – fits inside the loop of a Jones Loop Bar
- 12 pack – custom made to fit the full frame of your bike
- 6 pack – custom made to fit half of the frame of your bike
- Junk Trunk – front top tube bag for on-the-go access
- Quiver – rear top tube bag
- Tramp Stamp 2.1 – adjustable saddle bag
If he’s not working on new SpoK Werks bag designs, then Michael is sure to be improving and perfecting his existing creations. So it really is no wonder that demand is on the rise for the custom-made touch of quality craftsmanship.
Take a look at the SpoK Werks website for details on how to get hold of your very own custom-made bikepacking bag.