I’m getting ready to spend my first real winter of commuting. In the past I’ve dabbled with the odd trip here and there, but I’ve never particularly enjoyed battling with the elements and the traffic.
This year I’m finding that 1 car between 2 people travelling in opposite directions doesn’t really work, so commuting by 2 wheels is the only option for one of us – and I’ve drawn the short straw. Far from the heat and sun tan oil of Mallorca or the odd summer day in Northumberland, winter riding requires a completely different set of tools (and mindset) for the job.
One of my first purchases was on a whim, simply because 1 or 2 of the other staff in the shop own them – the Respro Hump bag cover. Why did I get one? Well, being new to cycle commuting, I didn’t check the weather forecast. Leaving the house in the morning the sun was shining. By 3 o’clock it was torrential rain. Without waterproofs and a bag sadly not up to the task I found myself forking out for a high vis Endura waterproof and a “Hump”.
So, what’s a “Hump”?
Well, if like me, you buy a ruck sack with no consideration of what the inclement weather might do to the contents of said ruck sack, the Hump is a great piece of kit that covers the rucksack from top to bottom and makes it completely waterproof. Not only that, it brings with it some serious high vis features too. A normal ruck sack like mine is black and covers up most of the high vis garment on your back making you a moving target. The Hump changes that and makes you visible again. It is made in high vis yellow with reflector strips throughout. It also adds a mesh pocket on the back, actually increasing your luggage capacity.
In practice, the Hump simply wraps around your bag with the elastic seams, and then using press stud fixings and elastic it clips into place under your ruck sack straps. Once in place it is fairly well secured and doesn’t restrict the straps once on your back.
Out on the road it’s impossible to tell if motorists appreciated the Hump as much as I did, but there is no question that from seeing others using one that it definitely increases your visibility. I’ve ridden behind other Hump owners and passed them in the car and there is no doubt that it is a visual aid.
Once home and out of the pouring rain, it was time for the acid test. Obviously the Hump isn’t going to stop sweat going from my back into the rear of the ruck sack but what it certainly did is stop the rain and spray getting in the bag. Everything was dry and clean, which was a relief.
So, for £25, the Hump is probably the best piece of kit I’ve bought. It’s one of those products that just does what it says on the tin and for a price that is reasonable. There is obviously a few bits and pieces that I need to buy in order to fully winterise myself but the Hump is definitely worth a look if you’re planning on commuting through the winter and using a backpack.
Buy if you want to use a backpack, be visible, and keep your contents dry.
Cycle Art has the Respro Hump in stock for £25. www.cycle-art.co.uk