questionsit seems lately that a shoulder bag has been…

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IMO a messenger bag should have a long strap so it can be worn across the back if needed, and it should have a large flap on top that can be secured over one side. If the top just opens (no flap) it's a manpurse.

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@akaflavor: I know to what you are referring when you say messenger bag, and yes, the general description has changed, especially based on the responses here. THIS is a bike messenger bag: http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/custom?productId=2103924#/sizeId=4&customProductSetId=9&uid=11780.

There is actually a second smaller strap that goes across the chest to hold it in place while riding, and once you cinch it down that bag isn't going anywhere. They were designed not only to be out of the way while riding, but also so you can easily unclip that cross strap and swing the bag around to get at whatever you were delivering.

Backpacks don't really work out as well during serious riding, as your back tends to be far more horizontal towards the handlebars than the vertical stance needed for the backpack to be secure.

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Pretty much just marketing terms.

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Pretty much agree w/@mtm2 & @rprebel - Messenger bags, shoulder bags by any other name are purses. If you're a man, they're called murses. Best to get a backpack designed to wear on your back if you really don't want it shifting. Unless I'm mistaken, shoulder/messenger bags only have 1 strap & are not intended to be worn on your back, but on or over 1 shoulder. Could be wrong, though.

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On another note, is it because a male could be comfortable with a "messsenger" bag instead of a handbag?

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@mtm2: Obviously you've never tried to ride a bike with a shoulder bag. It doesn't work. the bag keeps shifting to the left or right and not staying on your back where it's supposed to be.

Pride has nothing to do with it. Functionality does.

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What mtm2 said, and marketing. Messenger bags are "in", so anything that looks like one suddenly is one.

They're all purses...not that there's anything wrong with that.

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Your pride is the only difference.