The long, hot summer is coming to an end - this weekend's Bank Holiday marks the turn towards autumn with glorious mellow weather and shorter days. It's back to work for most of us - time to get organised and be visible on our commutes again.
Ride Velo picked up a the military inspired Bermondsey backpack from Lumo at Spin London back in May. Lumo, of course, is famous for its innovative illuminated cycle wear but its products stand up to scrutiny even without the super effective built-in flashing lights.
At the time, I was looking for a commuter bag to take me to my new workplace six miles from home. Previously I've been pedalling away with a pannier stuffed full of bits on an old aluminium hybrid bike. For my new commute I needed something faster and more aerodynamic to help eat up the miles in record time rather than pottering around on London's traffic strewn streets. I wanted a rucksack that was comfortable, could hold a change of outfit and all my other girly clutter while still feeling comfortable and looking good. Was that too much to ask?
There are millions of rucksacks on the market, but somehow none of them were quite right - they looked bad, were too small, the shoulder straps were uncomfortable - there was always something amiss. But when Lucy from Lumo showed me the Bermondsey - I thought it was perfect.
I've been road testing the Bermondsey backpack over the summer months. The first thing I noticed was how comfortable it was - I could ride and ride and barely feel the weight of it on my back - which is surprising considering that it's fairly large and can hold litres of belongings. The only time it was uncomfortable was when I neglected to put my D lock into the the carefully positioned clip specifically made for that purpose. The D lock was agony and I had to stop and put it were it was supposed to go. Silly me!
The bag itself is made from Scottish waxed canvas. I've ridden it through some pretty hefty summer downpours and the contents remained untouched by moisture, while the exterior laughed off the challenges. Lumo claim that the backpack looks better with age and that's certainly true - all that weathering has only improved its looks and the suppleness of the fabric.
Of course, the real reason people buy Lumo is for improved visibility. Most of my new commute is a gorgeous coastal road, but the end runs right through an industrial estate with HGVS bearing down on you while you pedal up the narrow, bumpy road.
Brains behind the brand, Doug Bairner was knocked off his bike commuting home via Battersea. Not good - but it provided the inspiration to create a product which would prevent that from happening again. I can cycle with increased confidence knowing that the 14 4 lumen LED sight strips are bloody bright! You can even make them flash if you like. But if you'd rather not stand out from the crowd, you can switch them off and you'd never know they were there.
Aside from safety, what we love about Lumo products is the beautiful detailing - from the dust-jacket the bag came in, the Lumo signature red and white polkadot fabric that crops up on all their products, to the lovely Italian leather touches you find in unexpected places. The Bermondsey bag isn't the cheapest, at £200 currently (though there are usually special offers to tempt you) but there's no question that you're buying a quality product that will last you a lifetime. Roll on autumnal evenings!