David's Carradice Story
The Original British Bike Bag Geek: It’s clear to most people who own Carradice bags that there is a whole lot of biking passion that goes into their design and manufacture. We pride ourselves on having a bag for every bike and every use – and David has every bike to go with the bags, from folding bikes, through touring and road bikes, to full-suss mountain bikes and his latest addition a rigid 29er mountain bike with Alfine hub gears.
Between running the business and family commitments, David doesn’t have time to go off on a round-the-world adventure, so he has to content himself with weekend adventures – cycling the C2C with his friends, hitting the black runs up in the Scottish Borders’ 7 Stanes, crashing down the Portes de Soleil tracks in the French Alps, completing the notorious Fred Whitton sportive and entering local triathlons. The 15 mile commute over the Pennines to Nelson comes in handy for training runs too.
Carradice Super C
It all started when David’s parents, Neville and Shiela, took over the company from Wilf Carradice, the founder, in the 1970’s. They would get David, his brothers and sister to pose with their bikes for brochure photographs and man the stands at trade shows – the whole family were very keen cyclists and involved in the business.
So, when they decided it was time for them to retire, David chose to step away from his corporate job to take on the challenge of running the family business and bring his young family back up North. That was 15 years ago, and the business has flourished under his enthusiastic management, with backup from his wife Janet.
His desire to innovate has seen Carradice’s product range extend to seatpost mounted bags with David’s own highly-rated SQR quick release mechanism and the new seam welded waterproof CarraDry bags. New bag ideas are test-ridden by David, staff, family and friends; comments lead to new prototypes and more test runs. He exhibits new products and prototypes at all the major shows to gauge cyclists’ reaction to them and also get feedback on the bags they are using – and comes back to the workshop full of new ideas and improvements. The bags now sell all over the world. It’s never a dull moment here at Carradice!
Here’s why David does it:
“It’s so important for me to keep investing in manufacturing in Nelson, rather than selling out to the Far East. Sewing cotton duck is highly skilled work and our team here take such pride in their work. The bags evolve over time as we regularly review, tweak and improve the designs, and it’s all driven by real feedback from real cyclists. In fact, the close integration of R&D is a real benefit and gives us a fast turnaround on new product development, although this approach does require investment in time and capital.
“We’re constantly amazed by the passion for Carradice bags, so are very careful not tarnish the heritage of the Carradice brand. I promise we’ll be keeping the classic, traditional look of the cotton duck bags, for the growing number of appreciative cyclists around the world, for years to come. And hopefully one of my kids will step up to the boilerplate when I decide it’s time to retire – not for a while yet though!”