Carradice is famous for its use of cotton duck canvas and leather, but it has created a sub-brand to manufacture and market a new range of PVC bags made from recycled truck tarpaulins. UPSO from Carradice stands for “up-cycling through sewing.” Managing director David Chadwick said UPSO also uses old fire hoses and seatbelts as leather and webbing substitutes. Each UPSO bag is unique, and this poses a challenge for online ordering. Consumers and bike shops who order bags from the UPSO website will get the actual bags seen in the photos.
“We’ve set up a production line with a photo booth – when you click and order a bag, that’s the actual bag you’ll get,” said Chadwick. “After it’s sold the picture goes offline.”
The bags are robust, colourful and weathered, but they’re not smeared in road grime.
“We only choose the best ‘cuts’ and we get the curtain sides washed by an industrial cleaning company close to us.”
When driving on the motorways of Britain Chadwick is now on the lookout for truck curtains he thinks would make good bike bags.
“I have taken to emailing truck companies, ‘I’ve seen your truck curtains, when they get torn can we have them please?’ There are a few I’ve got my eye on.” However, most of the tarpaulins are sourced from a company that makes new curtain sides.
“They usually have to dispose of the old ones,” said Chadwick. “These companies have piles of curtains in the corner. We go in and hand-pick the best ones.”
The UPSO range consists of a full line of bags, from fanny-packs to rucksacks. UPSO panniers are sold singly as there’s no such thing as a matching pair. All of the bags are sewn in the Carradice factory in Nelson, northern England. Each bag is signed by its maker.