It's not often that we are wishing for a downpour in the UK. Usually, we have our fair share of rain, wind and even snow. But Gosia Cyganowska, a London Commuter, TT racer, GoSkyRide Ride Leader and Level 2 Cycling Coach, wanted rain, and a lot of it. But why? Well, having recently discovered a backpack from the Active Intelligence Range, a range which prides itself on its level of waterproofing and ability to withstand being thrown around, day after day, during a commute, she just had to put it to the test!
Gosia is, admittedly, one of those lycra cyclists who needs to get changed into more comfy and dry appeal at work. Getting up before the rest of the world to ensure she makes it into work on time, while still hitting the start button on Strava to clock in those precious miles. But what separates the commute from training is the fact Gosia has to carry a laptop, tablet, phone, paperwork and other daily essentials! And when it rains? Well, the ‘trusty’ plastic bags are used to protect her belongings, But, surely there’s a more reliable and safer way to protect belongings during the commute, while remaining comfortable when carrying all the essentials? Introducing the Active Intelligence 25L Backpack!
Gosia was delighted to try the Active Intelligence 25L Backpack. 'The specific materials Active Intelligence use on the Active Intelligence 25L Backpack make it incredibly hardwearing, with anti-tear and anti-scuff properties… You can throw it around and you will struggle to damage it. After two months of everyday use for commutes and abuse from road spray, leaving it on the floor in a classroom, at work and tarmac during my coaching sessions, it still looks brand new!’ The Active Intelligence 25L Backpack is made from TPU laminated fabric, which, as well as being highly scratch resistant, has an extremely high tensile strength (so there’s no need to worry about it breaking under tension from carrying too much!).
‘It’s very stylish and the attention to detail gives it a strong and very technical look’. Even with such a simple look, this bag stands out from the crowd. Although Active Intelligence have placed a reflective logo in the corner of the front waterproof pocket, due to its colour, it doesn’t provide much visibility during evening commutes or rainy days. To combat this, Active Intelligence have included an attachment for you to attach your own rear light, to ensure you can be seen. ‘In reality, this is enough for me as I use a very strong rear light on my bike and reflective booties on my cycling shoes. As a commuter who wears urban wear not specific cycling reflective clothing you may only rely on your rear lights and reflective logo on this backpack, so keep this in mind.’
Sometimes style means you have to compromise comfort and when commuting during the early hours of the day and late hours of the day, that’s not something you ever want to compromise. Luckily, the Active Intelligence range was made for and designed by avid cycling commuters. ‘On the other side of the Active Intelligence 25L Backpack, you will find a well padded back section that was created for comfort and ventilation and it does a great job of doing both’. The adjustable straps, with small reflective detailing, can be adjusted to fit your perfectly. ‘The sternum strap keeps the backpack secure at all times and doesn’t loosen like some.’
‘Inside you will find a padded, removable, internal organizer, perfect for a tablet, laptop or a notepad with a mesh side pocket perfect for pens, keys, etc.’ The organizer inside is attached securely, 'it’s removable too, so you can take it out and use it as a laptop sleeve. The backpack also has a great wide base, which means it stands up and prevents it from falling to one side. There is also one internal pocket with transparent PVC, which you could use to store ID card or a pass card. Providing you with easy access, it’s great attention to detail’. Sometimes with a large backpack, you can begin to overfill, adding unnecessary items, just because there’s space, but the organizing of this backpack is simple and Active Intelligence understand the requirements of a commuter. However, Gosia notes, ‘If it’s fully loaded it may restrict your rear vision and you will catch your helmet on it so keep this in mind.’
‘Look a little closer and you will notice welded seams and reversed waterproof sealed zippers’. After extensive testing Active Intelligence uses a highly reliable sealing to provide the utmost protection against even the heaviest of downpours. Although, surprisingly, this week Gosia managed to escape without riding through a heavy downpour and had to take matters into her own hands to test this backpack’s waterproofing. ‘I filled this backpack with newspaper, closed and fastened securely and took a 20-minute power shower, side jets and all. How else would I make sure it’s fully waterproof? All you need to know is that yes, it was as dry inside as the Sahara.’ But Gosia was surprised that the external back pocket wasn’t fully waterproof, so make sure you don’t keep your phone or wallet in there while it’s raining!
'The Active Intelligence backpack is perfect for commutes and urban living alike and I am going to continue using it on a daily basis. The initial outlay may appear high however it is a bit like fairy liquid; the quality and performance will make it a bargain in the long term and that makes it a wise investment.'