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A love affair | My Bailey Super Pro XL

by , July 9, 2010

A love affair | My Bailey Super Pro XL

There are some pretty amazing people reading Carryology, and a recent comment stream turned in to some emails, which then turned into the retelling of a classic bag love affair that we really wanted to share.

So here is ‘The Reverend’, sharing his story of a bag that has served him well…


“I’m currently banged up from a bike crash and so have time to kill on the web. It has me thinking about bags again…

For years I’ve hauled my life around in a courier bag. For the past 8 years it’s been a Bailey Super Pro XL.

Living here just outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire it’s not easy breaking with the local courier bag brand of Bailey Works. John Bailey has been making bags here for a good run now. When I bought my Super Pro 8 years years ago, it was a great experience to walk into the small storefront, the rhythms of sewing machines meshing in the background, and order my bag from the guy whose name is on it.

The bag has served me well. Years ago I lived in the Pacific North West and often found myself wandering off into the National Forests with the Bailey on; food, water and all the essentials carried on one shoulder. I knew at the time that it didn’t make much sense. But that was my bag and so I made do.

Recently my fiance offered to launder it as it was literally covered in blood from my cycling accident a few weeks ago. I was very hesitant, weighing the vulgarity of leaving the layer of dried blood intact against sacrificing the well collected patina my bag had acquired from hundreds of bike commutes, travel, hiking in National Forests, airplane floors, etc. Even a container of lunch exploding in the interior of the bag would warrant no more than a wiping with Simple Green.

In the end, I succumbed and the bag was sent through the gentle cycle. I chalked it up to another unfortunate conclusion from my bike crash the previous day.

My bag was going to look brand new, as if I’d just caught on to this fantastic urban cycling craze, the one strap messenger cargo bag. I momentarily envisioned myself, 40 years old, with a moustache, and neon green Ray Ban shades, women’s white stretch jeans, listening to Dirty Projectors on my iPhone. I quickly shook the haunting image. I knew who I was, no matter how shiny new my 8 year old Bailey looked.

To my relief, the bag’s skin remains a dark splotchy hue of its original red, the name of a band I was in years ago, still visible in permanent marker; Chased And Smashed.

How could one not become attached to such an item, that has not only been present for so many monumental events in my life, from collisions with cars, exciting dates, exotic travel adventures, mundane daily commutes to the bike shop, but even more so played an integral role in these moments, as an artificial exoskeleton strapped across my back.

Looking through photographs from the past, on tour with a band, on the beaches of Oregon, in Mt Hood National Forest, picking peaches in an orchard, there’s my Bailey Super Pro, doing what it’s done for years and continues to do, being a part of daily life.

But people change. Since those days wandering off into those gigantic forests accompanied by the single strap Bailey XL, I have not been able to get away from the idea of carrying my life on both shoulders. Why should my right shoulder rest idle while the left bares the load? This reasoning has slowly won me over to the idea of two strap courier backpacks that would get me the huge cargo space in a double strap bag.

Don’t get me wrong, I dig the Super Pro bags. Since I moved to the area I have even serviced a few of John Bailey’s bikes for him. If you want to let people know you’re not a touron, you’ve got do don the Bailey. But when it comes to backpacks, Bailey Work’s offerings remain a diamond in the rough.

In searching I found Carryology which is a great subject to dedicate one’s self to. I was very turned on by those Mission Workshop Vandals. But for the money and simplicity I went with a Chrome Sultan.

It will likely be a few weeks before I can comfortably don my new Chrome bag. It remains, awkwardly clean and fresh, ready and waiting for my injuries to pass. I already know it will not replace the Bailey Works Super Pro XL. Both bags will comfortably fill specific needs with some overlap.

So the Chrome and I patiently wait, looking forward to what adventures lay ahead. We’ll see…”

The Reverend


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