Panniers make it easy to carry stuff safely on your bike and you’d be surprised just how much pannier bags can hold. image source
If you’ve ever ridden your bike whilst hanging shopping bags from the handle bars you’ll know how awkward it can be ride …it’s not safe either.
A pannier setup makes your bike well balanced – you should ideally put equal amounts in each pannier bag – ensuring that you have a safe ride. If like me, you have carried shopping home in carrier bags hanging from the handlebars you’ll know how easy it is for the bags to get get caught in the spokes. Once when it happened to me, the plastic bags ripped and I spilt fruit and veg all over the road
Cyclists use panniers for all sorts of reasons and they’re not the preserve of touring cyclists. You can:
- get stacks of shopping in them
- carry sports gear in them – ride to the gym
- carry allotment grown fruit & veg – a popular use for panniers by me
- carry your clothes and laptop to work in them
- You can choose from front or rear panniers, or have both of course. You can also get pannier racks for both your handle bars and for small, on-frame bags. If you don’t need to carry too much stuff on your bike then rear panniers are probably your best bet. Chainreaction have a wide range of pannier racks to choose from.
You’ll need a pannier rack and pannier bags. The pannier rack (pictured) is the metal (often alloy/aluminium for strength and lightness) which fits onto the back of your bike frame over the rear wheel and mudguard if you have one. There are lots of easy fitting solutions including seat post clamps and systems for bikes with disc brakes.
Then you need some pannier bags to put your stuff into. You’ll find a wide range of pannier bags from the ultra stylish, postman bag style, backpack style, courier, low rider, the list is long! Basil, Deuter, Agu and Ortlieb are all brand names to consider.
Satchels clip onto one side of your rack and are much more practical than pannier bags if you need to carry things around on your person during the day. Typically suited for A4 size pads and folders, satchels are popular with students and office commuters.