Monday, October 19

Bike Purse

Last August, I made mention here that I picked up a bag. Without details, it escaped notice of rabid fanny pack fan(s). I now have operational history with it. Here’s the story.

I got a SPI Belt at the HH100. The HH100 has a giant “for sale” area where bike shops and manufacturers come and sell stuff for half price. In a corner a guy was selling SPI Belts for full price as quick as he could haul them out of the box. I ALMOST walked by. I looked - and instantly parted with $20 for one of these puppies. Watch the video to see why cheap Steve forked over. I wish I’d bought two.

Modeling and dancing by Aurora A, Irish dancer,
bassoon player and various other activities.

I used it the next day to keep my iPhone, money, and keys safe, secure, and sweat-free in a way jersey pockets can’t. I routinely use it on my commute when there’s a possibility of adverse weather. I carry a empty sandwich bag in the belt and can keep delicate electronic stuff or paper bone dry under almost any conditions. I wore it on Saturday, simply AS a belt since the weather was nice and my cargo shorts had lots of room.

SPI is NOT perfect. The first problem is the pouch is directly in the back of the belt. If used with pants that have belt loops, one loop will line up with the middle of the pouch. Put stuff in the pouch OR use that loop. An offset or moveable pouch might be an improvement; maybe I’m just picky. There IS another version that uses an existing belt. It’s only a problem if you have belt loops you want to use with a SPI Belt.

The second problem is I don’t think this’ll last long enough to become an heirloom like a Brooks Saddle. It’s too early to tell, but I guess I’ll get 2 or 3 years of solid, daily use out of it before the threads deteriorate and the elastic loses spring. Not bad as bike stuff goes, but it’s made of stretchy cloth stuff.

The third (biggest) problem is that this thing just isn’t available at local LBS or the usual sporting goods places. According to SPI web site at, the only place around DFW that has it is Luke’s Locker. Other places, go here. I never heard of Luke’s Locker before I got my SPI Belt, and I’ve still never gone in one, but I notice there’s one in Colleyville - directly on my commute route. Perhaps Luke’s will be visited by me, courtesy of SPI Belt. It is entirely possible that Luke is ignorant of what he has – these things don’t LOOK like much just sitting there and I can't find it via a search of Luke's site. Every LBS and gym in the country ought to be carrying these things.

The SPI Belt is made in Texas (Austin, which some say is not in Texas) and it works. My wife calls it a “man purse.” Sporting women would find it equally handy. It was invented by a woman runner. Perhaps that explains the belt loop problem. Maybe we need a “MSD” version. Regardless, it keeps small stuff out of sight, out of the way, and keeps it with me without being a PIA, the way a pack or bag would be. It’s perfect when traveling light. As long as I have non-pink choices, I’m OK with it. Heck, I’d use one if pink hearts were the only option. My shirt would cover it anyway. Man purse. Proud man purse...


Filigree said...

That is an excellent idea. But why did they have to make the shape of it in the unfolded state a classic "fanny pack"? It seems they could have easily given it a more hip aesthetic.

Steve A said...

The video is somewhat misleading in that it doesn't so much unfold as "stretch open." The idea is that carry a bit or carry a lot, you won't have stuff bouncing around. I imagine better loaded up aesthetics could have been done. Besides the pouch, I didn't find the big "SPIbelt" lettering to be a fashion statement.

It helps a lot that it usually resides out of sight. Even the pouch is not then usually noticeable. Normally, I don't actually put more than the cellphone & a money clip/plastic. The actual wallet & watch & coins don't need rain protection.

Watch & main wallet can usually stay at home.

ChipSeal said...

Steve showed this to me on the BABBLE ride. To liken it to a fanny pack may be misleading to his readers.

Imagine the material used to make pantyhose, nylons or hosiery, it is a stretchy material like that. Because it forms to whatever is put in it, it's size when worn loaded is no larger than its cargo.

I wonder, Steve, since the back loop is so important to you, why must you buckle the belt centered in the front? ;)

Steve A said...

The small of the back is the driest spot to carry stuff. I think that I could adjust the straps to offset the pouch relative to the buckle. It's a minor complaint.

Luke's Locker is on my commute route. I may just find out if they mind Buddy stopping in for a visit...

Chandra said...

neat stuff. nice irish dance by your kid too!

peace :)

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