Simplicity is the purest form of genius, as Albert Einstein once remarked. And nothing could be simpler than a proudly South African water-resistant pouch that is taking the cycling world by storm.
“Some people may look at it and say it’s just a little bag,” says pOcpac engineer and manager Andrew Georgeou. “But it’s designed to do exactly what a cyclist needs.”
Made from the same recycled PVC as popular hydration bladders, the various pOcpac models, with a zip locking mechanism, carry everything from cellphones to spares and personal items.
“What we saw was that everyone, myself included, was using disposable zip-locked sandwich bags to keep their items in when they went cycling.”
After finding that the heavier items would eventually tear through the bags, Georgeou and his team of engineers and cycling enthusiasts decided there had to be a better way. “So that’s how we came up with the pOcpac idea.”
The challenge was to create something that was both durable and lightweight. “Nothing had really been done for cycling and what was out there was over-engineered.
“Personally, I never liked the idea of a saddlebag. I couldn’t understand the concept of spending so much money on the lightest possible equipment and then lumping all these spares onto the bike.”
With the rise of mountain biking, water resistance during river crossings had also become a factor. Georgeou says they found that the waterproof items on the market were bulky, made of harder plastics and more expensive.
“Previously, people never thought there’d be a requirement for a completely waterproof bag for your tools, spares or phone. You’d never be underwater on a bicycle!”
He says sponsored riders successfully put their products to the test during last year’s bridge Cape Pioneer Trek and this year’s Absa Cape Epic and sani2c, presented by BoE Private Clients.
On the Cape Epic, for example, pOcpac issued Team Tread with both the pouches for cellphones and spare parts in order to put these products through their paces under the harshest possible conditions.
Both products got the thumbs up after withstanding multiple river crossings, eight hours of torrential rain on stage five, several falls in the dry and wet and assisting with four quick-fire tyre changes.
“Next year we may go back and shake the sani2c floating bridge as they’re crossing it as a marketing exercise,” laughs Georgeou.
The first prototype appeared in the field in May last year and, after ironing out a few kinks, the product was officially launched at the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge expo in November.
Georgeou says the most popular of the three pOcpac sizes is the Mobi, which fits most smartphones. “It is touchscreen-friendly, so you can navigate, make and take calls without removing your phone from the bag.”
The larger Pro and MTB bags are designed for road and mountain bike use respectively and fit into all ladies’ standard tops.
“They can carry a spare tube, tyre levers, CO2 canister and actuators, with a separate compartment for personal items.
“You’ve got everything in one place in the small of your back. It only weighs a few hundred grams when full, so you hardly feel it.”
Currently available in the Eastern and Western Cape, Georgeou says pOcpac should be distributed nationwide by the end of the year.
“Our newest ranges, made from more robust material, will be launched shortly on our new local website (www.thepocpac.co.za).”
The product is sold online in 72 countries and has retail distributors in the United Kingdom. “We’ve also had wholesale and distribution enquiries from the US and, strangely enough, Brazil.”
Although manufactured overseas due to the ever-changing technological requirements, this locally inspired product seems to have riders’ storage problems in the bag.
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