Baggin' It
by Richard Risemberg, Editor

As a bicycle commuter and occasional tourist, I have a strong interest in panniers, rack trunks, seat bags, and the like. My main bike currently carries a large rack trunk and two medium panniers, supplemented on occasion by a front rack with its own panniers. I almost invariably carry, on the bike, a U-lock; pump, tubes, and patches; tool kit; and rain cape. This is supplemented, depending on the chore and the season, by windbreakers, sunblock, sweaters, extra gloves, rain socks, bagels, and extra locking cable. I would guess that often enough my luggage weighs more than my bike itself. And that's before I get to the store on a shopping trip! In addition, my son's bike has a rack trunk and my wife's a pair of saddlebags, and then there's the grocery bike with its seat bag and town baskets. In the course of the last few years, I've tried a variety of brands and types of bicycle luggage, and the best I've found so far is the JANDD, from Santa Barbara.

The JANDD name comes from the initials of the founders--hence the capital letters. The bags are actually built where they're designed, instead of being jobbed out to anonymous contractors in Taiwan or Korea. The materials are strong and labeled water-resistant, although I must say I have found them to be water-proof in practice (and this El Niño winter gave me lots of practice!). I have had my rack trunk on the bike for three years and my panniers on for two; the streets of LA are rough and full of potholes and ledges; and I often carry heavy loads--yet though the material has faded from the summer sun, there is not a single wear-through, tear, or burst zipper on any of the bags, and none of them leaks in the rain. The only failure I've experienced with one of the JANDD bags was when I left the bike parked by a hillside while I went hiking. There was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one bag, and the squirrels knew it was there, and they chewed through the bag to get it. (I should have known better; the same thing has happened to me on backpacking trips.) When I called JANDD asking about how much they charge to fix it, they said they'd fix it FREE. So I sent it in. Well, they never got around to fixing it--a few days later I got a NEW saddlebag in the mail. Add to their durability the intelligent design--the bags I have expand for greater carrying capacity and have a secure yet easy-to-handle attachment mechanism--and you have luggage that you can recommend to anyone. And I do!

Besides bicycle gear (including racks of a superior design) they also make backpacks, knapsacks, soft luggage, shoulder and messenger bags, and other odds and ends that can serve for carrying things about with you. My son has one of their knapsacks for his immense loads of schoolbooks (kids no longer use lockers in LA, since they're often found full of drugs or guns), and I use a rucksack for off-bike travel, and a tiny shoulder bag for my laptop. Everything I've bought from them has proven worthy of the investment in money and expectation.

You can reach them as explained below and request their excellent catalogue:

JANDD Mountaineering
2365 Marconi Court #F
San Diego, CA 92154
Phone: (760) 597-9021

Richard Risemberg