Riding a bike to work is great. There are obvious health benefits, you can (sometimes) blow right past traffic, and you can save a considerable amount (particularly if you’re able to commute so much that you do not need to own a car). However, there is always the challenge of what bag to carry. You might not be the person that wants to (literally) roll into your office with a tricked-out multi-color custom Chrome bike bag. Additionally, the structure of a lot of bike bags—a cavernous and undivided interior designed to allow you to cram as much as possible inside—isn’t necessarily great for someone that needs an organized commute.
Fortunately, there are a number of less flashy—but still very functional—bike bags that you could bring to the office. How casual you can be depends, of course, on your personal office situation.
A caveat: if you actually do want to tote as much stuff as humanly possible with you on your journey, these are probably not the bags for you. You’re better off with an insanely capacious backpack like the Ortlieb Velocity or going the large pannier route. The bags we’re discussing here are for people that need a place to stow the normal items of work life—a laptop, your lunch, an extra sweater, some files, a water bottle, your iPad, and the like—while biking. Also not on the list: a ton of perfectly great leather briefcases with straps, such as this one from Saddleback. They’re gorgeous, they’ll hold a ton, but they are also heavy and typically don’t have stabilizer straps or any other touches that will make your commute easier—you’d just be biking around with a weighty bag that keeps trying to swing itself around to the front of you.
At the more laid-back end of the spectrum, you could still consider a Chrome bag if you went with one of their all-black tech bags, like the Conway (MSRP: $120).
The Conway has more pockets than Chrome bags usually do and also has a built-in padded laptop sleeve. It doesn’t, sadly have Chrome’s cool seatbelt-style shoulder strap, but the lack of one makes the bag look a bit more professional anyway. It retains several other features usually found on more hardcore bike bags: a stabilizer strap, bike light lash points, and it’s weatherproof. It also has a grab handle, which makes it a bit easier to tote around once you’re actually at the office.