The humble musette. Once upon a time it was a mainstay of Le Tour de France – often filled with enough wine and chicken to keep a young rider sustained over a stage. But now you're more likely to find the pros using convoluted contraptions like this water bottle vest, while the musette has been relegated to tweed runs and other nostalgic events.
But musettes are actually fantastic. They sit well on the shoulder and are an ideal shape for cycling (they also work great if you ever engage in a bit of skateboarding, by the way). But whereas previously they were made of cotton, now a number of more heavy-duty options are available so you can really make use of this classic design. They're perfect for a short ride into town, with enough integrity to carry a lock, multitool, and purse. Because sometimes that gigantic rucksack is just too much to face.
The Bristol natives over at Das Rad Klub have created this chic musette, with a strong and secure velcro flap, that's big enough to pop a laptop in. Elastic loops on the corners allow for last-minute clipping-on of anything you may have picked up while out on your ride. It's also called the Klub Sandwich bag (which is fantastic) and is an absolute steal.
A beautiful cotton twill musette by Archival Clothing who are based in Oregon. We're big fans of the reinforced bottom which should ensure it stands the test of time, and the fact that it has internal pockets for your phone and other rattly-bits. The price-tag is perhaps a bit steep, but this is an investment not just for cycling: it's certainly stylish enough to go with you anywhere.
House of Astbury are a cycle clothing brand made by women, for women. And boy do we love their reflective gear. This 'Queen of the Mountains' musette rolls down to keep the rain out, and comes with a high vis strap in your choice of colour. It's also made in Peckham, South London, so you won't feel bad about the air miles on the delivery!
Another bag by a truly artisan maker – this gorgeous, distressed-looking musette is lovingly made-to-order in Santa Cruz by a company called Strawfoot. We're particularly big fans of the second strap detail, providing extra comfort and support. Just don't expect next day delivery, as each of these are created by a man called Garrett. And he's only got two hands.
Albam has a reputation as a premium-priced establishment, so we were pleasantly surprised that this well-made musette is under the £40 mark. Made in Nottingham, it's limited edition and totally minimal. And that's why we like it – the musette is, by nature, a simple thing.
Ah, it's the old faithfuls over at Rapha making lovely things as usual. Their new AW range is gorgeous, and it includes a new selection of musettes for you to peruse and salivate over. The one pictured is our fave, but we're also into the more colourful options too.
(iL) Soigneur is also based in Bristol and has gathered quite the following over the last few years. Although these classic musettes are a little small for our taste, they do come with a very impressive lifetime guarantee. You can buy them 'off the shelf', or, at certain times of the year, you can design your very own from a range of materials including Harris Tweed. Lovely.