buzz, cafe bag, smart alec :: my bags went to Japan with me
I've had my Buzz now for.... around a year, and it still looks new. I've abused it during its life with me, stuffing it to the max, tossing it on the floor... biking in the rain. Generally, aside from attracting cat hair like mad, the bag itself is still as aesthetically pleasing as when I first got it. The only real difference between now, and then... would simply be that the fabric has got that slightly more flexible, 'broken in' quality to it. It does continue to retain its form marvelous well.
Last month, I was in Seattle for a few days before traveling on to San Jose, and on from there to Japan. I insisted to my friend that we stop at the Tom Bihn store, several times, stating that I needed to buy 'something' there. After being pressed over and over again, my friend finally got me to tell her that the 'something' which I 'needed' to buy, was a bag, and that it had to be Tom Bihn, because I had the utmost respect for the quality of bags you all made.
I'm the sort whose backpacks have a life of around a year, and I hadn't destroyed yours, amazing.
So, after insisting high, and insisting low, I got her to agree to take me there. She also tossed in a bit of flattery, "You've got good taste in stuff, I'll probably buy a bag there, too." She wound up getting a large cafe bag. i wanted one of these myself, but unfortunately they didn't have 'my color' in stock.
I'd been oogling your website for months, trying to decide what bags would suit me best. I had narrowed it down to: The Smart Alec, The Utility Bag, and The Cafe Bag. I even had colors selected, crimson for the smart alec, steel or crimson for the utility, and cocoa/wasabi for the cafe bag. I figured, by the time I got there, I'd suddenly declare one bag infinately superior, and snatch it up.
Alas, I hadn't realized how really f'ing cool they'd all be in person. I finally decided to get a small cafe bag, but only for purely shallow reasons -- the large cafe bag didn't come in my selected color. An hour later, I went back and bought the crimson smart alec, next.
Those two purchases saw *lots* of use, in Japan. In fact, I could comfortably say they'd saved me several times, and altered my purchasing habits. The roomy-ness of the smart alec, allowed me to tote more things than my other bags would have allowed me to tote.
Example: At one time, I found a used book store in Japan. Manga was only 107Yen (roughly a dollar), and I spent an exorbant amount of money, there. If I hadn't had my Smart Alec, I would have only been able to physically lift around 20 or so books. But, since it was so durable, I filled it to the top with books (Literally, Seriously, bottom to top, books), and it didn't show any signs of distress.
The Cafe bag, small though it was, was large enough to fit everything neccessary to travel in -- passport, pda, ipod, maps, phrase books, money -- with room to spare. I was able to slip a few purchases in there, ones which needed a little more babying than being bullied into a bag stuffed with books. However, while empty, the bag itself didn't have the 'huge' feel. That's impressive.
And the pockets on both bags are so thoughtfully placed. Neither have excessive pockets, both are roomy and sturdy (I've throughally tested them both, by now), and every pocket on both bags are extremely well placed, almost unerringly perfect sized, and both seem to accomplish this with style and substance.
Oo; That baffles me. What can I do but approve intensely and restrain myself from buying more bags? The Lux looks interesting.
My only regret is that I didn't buy the bike belt (I believe it was called "the belt of truth", or something like that) which is used on the cafe bags. I often find that the cafe bag is the perfect size for quick bike rides, where I only want to bring along a few bare essentials, only to find that it keeps slipping between my legs as I ride. I'll have to amend that the next time I come into money, or manage to get myself into Seattle again.
As a Tom Bihn Seattle store employee and an avid Tom Bihn fan I too can say that the quality and design of Tom Bihn bags are nearly impeccable. On behalf of the entire Tom Bihn team I'd like to say thanks for using our products, for the great write up and for visiting the Seattle store!! The waiststrap for the Cafe bag is something that many people find helpful, not only for use when riding a bike (because we all know how ridiculously irritating it is to have a bag swinging around and smacking us in the knees when we are peddaling) but also for traveling, to keep the bag tight and snug next to them when they are afraid of wandering hands being able to easily snatch the bag from their shoulders. Thanks again and we hope that you enjoy your Tom Bihn bags for many years to come!
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