Ortlieb was founded by Hartmut Ortlieb in 1982, after an ill-fated and waterlogged bike tour in England left him miserable. He was inspired by the trucks he saw on the road transporting goods (and keeping them dry) throughout the country. Hartmut got his hands on some of the tarp material used on the trucks and stitched a set of bags using his mother's sewing machine. It's hard to imagine such humble beginnings for a company that today is a globally respected, well-distributed brand. Ortlieb was able to take a simple concept--the bike pannier--and make it completely waterproof and give it a more intuitive, well-engineered mechanism for attaching it to the bike. Those two simple improvements were all that was necessary to make the bag that has now become nearly the consensus preferred bag amongst bike touring aficionados, wet-weather city commuters, and bike industry geeks. If you know a group of people who ride their bike to work every day, you probably know a bunch of people with Ortlieb bags.