Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Grass Is Greener... On the Marsupial Bicycle Bag

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
With the gloomy weather outside, this seemed like a good time to feature the most unusual pannier I have been asked to review so far: the Grass Shopper from Marsupial Bicycle Bags.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
I received this pannier shortly before leaving for Vienna, so I took it with me and tested it on Jacqueline.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
If you are wondering whether this is what it appears to be, the answer is yes: The pannier is constructed from Astroturf (single piece, folded and riveted).

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
Made in England, these bags can be purchased directly from the manufacturer online, with prices starting at £50.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
The Grass Shopper is available with a variety of (faux) flower attachments and matching inner linings. I chose the poppies with the red lining. The bag arrived with the flowers in a little packet inside, and an envelope full of green zipties, requiring a bit of DIY. I felt like a kindergartener engaged in an arts and crafts project as I sat on the floor with my housemate arranging the poppies and attaching them to the bag. The nice thing about doing this yourself, is that you can spread the flowers into any configuration you want and every bag will look a bit different. 

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
The Grass Shopper is available in one of three configurations: as a pannier with hook attachments (the version I got), as a pannier with strap attachments, or as a KlikFix compatible front basket. The hooks on my version are plastic and very similar to the ones Basil uses. Some racks' tubing diameter will be too thick for these, so be aware.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
Inside the bag is an expandable waterproof lining that can be pulled closed with a drawcord.  There are no compartments, as it's intended as a shopper. The interior was spacious enough to swallow my workbag whole with room to spare.  

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
An optional shoulder strap attaches via plastic hooks. A leather tab in the rear can serve as a tail light attachment.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
To be perfectly honest, I am not entirely sure how to "review" this bag. It is obviously meant to be a fun item, for those who are into colourful and quirky accessories. In that respect, it certainly succeeds. Me, I prefer a more classic style, but I know plenty of women who'd love it. From the standpoint of functionality, the choice of materials actually makes a great deal of sense: The bag is waterproof and durable. However, as a bag intended to be a shopper, I felt it was missing handles. The shoulder strap didn't quite do it for me, as it would start to slide out of adjustment and expand (lengthen) when the bag got too heavy. I would also suggest replacing the currently offered hooks with the R&K KlikFix system, which is compatible with a wider range of bicycle racks. 

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
When I rode around Vienna with the Grass Shopper, it was a great hit with the cycling ladies, and before I left I gave it away to a local reader who fell in love with it. Marsupial Bicycle Bags are a fairly new business and I wish them the best of luck with these fun and cheerful bags. The choice of flowers and the attachment customisation options are nice, allowing the owner to put a personal touch on their bag. It's difficult for me to judge whether these are too wild to appeal on a large scale, but they will certainly brighten up a gloomy day in an instant. Not a bad idea for long urban winters.

27 comments:

  1. This goes nicely with your previous post and the pictures of irises in the snow! Do they offer iris as an option?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Peppy the Long CatOctober 29, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    What is this I don’t even

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brenda - I don't see iris on their site, but I suppose you could get the version with the violet lining and then add your own irises from a craft store. It's modular, so you don't have to buy the flowers from them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How fun. I love quirky bags. Thanks for reviewing anything and everything...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was *just* looking at the Basil Grass for rear racks (http://www.icargobike.com/v/vspfiles/photos/BASIL-GRASS-1.jpg) or DIYing something similar. I love it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Shoot. The one item I truly want and you give it to a Vietnamese.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jim - I thought I gave it away to an Australian.

    Brittney - I've seen that on someone's rear rack and didn't realise it was a commercially made product from Basil. What is it for?..

    ReplyDelete
  8. Tell us of this Australian cyclist in Austria!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, an Aussie in Vietnam.

    A friend came up with instead of A Night in Old Vienna she re-scribed A Night in Old Vietnam.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love it!! Will the hooks fit a Pletcher rack?

    ReplyDelete
  11. What'll they think of next?! I have to hand it to those creative types who come up with these ideas.

    I can see it now -- our entrepeneur is at a hardware store, glances at the tacky, fake grass floor mats as she makes her way to the electrical aisle for a new light socket to fix that pesky floor lamp.

    The next morning, she prepares her bicycle with the ho-hum vinyl panniers for the grocery run, and it all comes together. Voila!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Strawberry Jill - Yes, they will. It's the Dutch racks with very thick tubing that they won't fit.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Not really my thing, but I think it's cute and it would brighten my day to see something like this on someone else's bike. I'm glad yours found a happy home.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anon 4:07 - Ha. Well, why not? I am with CJ in that these would cheer me up on someone else's bike.

    ReplyDelete
  15. this could work nicely for the halloween ride!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It seems we are skipping Halloween this year and going straight to XMas.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think it's Japanese...

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is definitely a bag for a bike with character and attitude (like Jacqueline). Oh, and a bike owner with character and attitude :-). I like the funky looks and the practical lining with the drawstring bag. Very much a spring and summer accessory I think.

    ReplyDelete
  19. These are super cute and I would love one for the holidays. My only concern is that the flowers look delicate. Did they catch on stuff when you used the bag?

    Elise

    ReplyDelete
  20. Elise - The flowers are not really delicate. But they do stick out from the bag itself, so I suppose it's possible for them to catch. Did not happen to me, but I only used the pannier a few times.

    Re the whole Vietnamese/Australian thing: some really do confuse Vienna with the former and Austria with the latter. I once met a woman who told me she was surprised when her cousin's Viennese girlfriend "didn't even look Asian at all." It took me a while to get it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I like the pannier as a visual: it reminds me a little bit of Gene Pool's ouevre.

    http://www.artcars.com/cameravan/images/grassbus.jpeg

    You don't have to water the pannier, though.

    I suspect it would amuse the average resident of Hanoi to know their capital has moved to Vienna. They'd dig the coffee though.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I met a Vietnamese guy here, saw him yesterday actually. A real character. Rides around on a '51 somesuch, carries eight by elevens of his old, dearly departed stolen bike worth "a lot!" The setting is Saigon. Dresses like a French Colonial Green Beret on a Lovely Bicycle rideabout.
    Prefers Sachertorte over Bahn Mi.
    Nice guy, thought he was going to salute me.

    ReplyDelete
  23. its kinda ugly and uniquely cute at the same time. lol cool!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Noticed that there is another review of this bag on Velo-City Girl. Interestingly, her readers find it beautiful!

    ReplyDelete