I am a biker. I ride a bike.
This is the result of being too cheap to afford a car and feeling that cars are a step back into the past, a means to further enslave and slaughter the planet. So, I bike.
The sacrifice that comes with biking is having to lug around a backpack. If I’m going to a dinner, the backpack is in tow. If I go to interview someone, a backpack is there. If I’m going to some trendy ass party after work, the fucking backpack is there with my helmet, clunking around the ground and flopping from leg to leg to leg.
It’s a childish albatross and the sort of mark that you are not a “real adult.” But I am! I am just a biker. Bag and helmet and sweaty brow aside, I am an adult.
I’ve always been somewhat ashamed of this and in search of a discreet bike-to-bar bag and might have stumbled upon it but it’s still drilled into my brain that having a backpack as an adult is dumb. They age you down in a way that is neither cool nor classy: you just look like the elderly equivalent of a child wearing adult clothes in dress-up jest.
This brings me to a point raised by my dear friend Emily, who posted the following on Facebook yesterday. The comments went crazy, in support and opposition of the thought.
If you’re old enough to be in a bar, you’re too old to wear a backpack. No backpacks in bars, please.
This was triggering in two different directions.
As mentioned, if you are old enough to be in a bar, get that fucking backpack off or get out of the bar. No one wants that shit slamming around! Grow up, people. Get something sensible and adult because you obviously are.
In the other direction, some times you have to have a bag because—Well.—it is a necessity. I cannot leave my computer at work or carry my jacket as I speed around town by bike nor am I going to be that guy with an all-too-large bike basket: a backpack is a necessity.
Thus, the question: can you bring a backpack to a bar? Let’s dissect to find the answer.
• If it is a tote bag, sure. Those are acceptable. The more utilitarian parallel to a purse, a tote slides between people and places and doesn’t make you look like a twelve year old turtle. If you have a hybrid tote-bookbag, you win the bar-backpack battle.
• If it is made of canvas or from a brand like Eastpak, never. It does not matter how expensive or fancy or whatever this shit is, get that bag out. If it is in any way tied to children, it does not belong at a bar. I don’t care if it’s a part of a high end branded collaboration: it is still a backpack. Get out of the bar, bag.
• If it is made of leather, OK. An exception because these are truly fancy and modern briefcases. Think of how sleek this Want Les Essentials bag is: that is an acceptable bar backpack. Why? Because it was designed to hold three or four things—not your entire life, you vagabond.
• If there is a doorman or coat check, yes. Check the damn bag. Check your helmet. Check yourself before entering.
• If you are seated at the bar, maybe. You can hide your bag (and shame) at your feet. That is an acceptable place for a bag (and shame).
• If you will be standing or walking around, fuck no. Just go home. No one wants your damn bag slapping into their calves.
Thoughts? This is a very tough subject—and this post was mostly my therapy and reenforcement to not bring my backpack to bars.