I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a custom front bag for my 1984 Shogun 2000. The search for a front bag that meets my needs has been somewhat prolonged, due in part to the long cheap streak that runs the entire length of my spine (such bags are decidedly not cheap!), and further complicated by my inability to source the ones I wanted. Berthoud bags are de rigueur for the classic randonneur “look.” They have an excellent reputation and are frequently out of stock; trying to poach one on eBay was a lesson in frustration. Acorn and others either had a long waiting list – or in the instance of one bag maker, there was no waiting list at all. They would send out an announcement when bags became available and took the orders on first come, first served basis. I waited patiently until the very second the bags were available, clicked on the order button and … shit! They were already sold out!
I have a Carradice Super C handlebar bag with a very sturdy and functional quick release system, but it fits the look of my 1984 Puegeot P8 “rando” much better. And besides, I wanted something special for the Shogun: a classic “box” design, but maybe with a bit of color. In my searching, I came across Swift Industries and was impressed with the attention to customer detail evidenced on their website. Swift has a small product line dedicated to handmade bicycle panniers and accessories and I quickly decided upon their Ozette Rando bag.
However, a custom handmade bag means a wait of, at this writing, about nine weeks. So I was happy to find a package from Swift awaiting me upon my return from Scotland and wasted no time installing the Ozette. It was immediately apparent that I’d need to add a decaleur to stabilize the rather sizable bag, but in the mean time it seemed to be stable enough for a ride, and to test things out to see if the addition of the bag would affect steering and handling in any way, this being a matter of no small anxiety for me.
A ride gone awry.
I rode off yesterday morning, happy to be on the Shogun again. After riding the Giant POS hybrid in Scotland, I can categorically state that the ride quality of my bike is far, far superior! Encouragingly, with the Ozette Rando Bag installed and loaded, there seemed to be no change in handling either – I could, for instance, still ride hands free.
In addition to simply getting out on the road for a few hours of enjoyable riding, my secondary motive was to find some nice country location to photograph the Shogun with the bag installed. I’ve been documenting every phase of the build and it seemed appropriate to continue to do so for the final tweaking. I tossed some food and tools and camera gear into the bag and took off. My first indication that the ride was going south came only twelve miles into the journey.
I am perfectly aware that the Missouri River is currently at flood levels throughout its length and breadth, including my own favorite routes. It never occurred to me though, until I zoomed down a hill, came around the bend and – zowie! No road! I discovered I could go no further. As the evening news will attest, the Missouri River has flooded rural areas and created lakes where formerly stood farmland, parks – and yes, even my regular stretch of nice, flat river bottom highway. The water stretched as far as the eye could see and I had to double back for about eight miles to get around the mess.
Sadly, about twenty minutes after these photographs were made, I badly miscalculated a shift between chainrings as I came out of a hill too slowly and encountered a very steep incline. Attempting to mash and shift to the granny at the same time was stupid: I bent the middle 44t ring and now I need to replace it.