Commuting with Rear Panniers

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eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture
Commuting with Rear Panniers

Today I tried commuting with rear panniers for the very second time.
I noticed that drivers gave me less room, were more eager to pass, and seemed to think they could share my lane, even when I was riding in the middle of it. One guy even sped around in the parking lane when a gap opened, only to stop at the red light half a block later?!?!. I think this is related to the perception of people with panniers and helmets as being both slower and more expert at riding, so drivers trust us more?

They load up the rear of your bike, making steering a little light, and unless you hang them way out in the back, they hit the back of my foot. Silly me for having large feet.
It's also more difficult to accelerate away from stop lights with the extra weight.

However, it's very nice to have a not so sweaty back, and the ability to carry a reasonably large amount of weight without my back hurting is nice.

Setup:
Cross check: setup with boner stem, noodle bars, fenders, etc etc. bog standard.
Jandd mountain rack. Fits great, but is very close to the seatstays.
1 ortlieb back roller pannier: It's big, it's red, it's waterproof, 'nuff said.
1 North st convertible backpack pannier: Really pretty sweet. the rack hook velcros out of the way, and the bag has lots of pockets and is comfortable. Unfortunately, it's a little on the small side, so I definitely need a second bag to carry my lunch and extra rain gear.

Rating:
Safety: D Got buzzed more, was less maneuverable, slower, weird handling when dodging debris.
Bike Handling: D. Fucked up.
Convenience: C. I have two bags to keep track of, and haul around. One of them is a backpack, which is nice, and the other can live in my office.
Comfort: A No back sweat. My shoulders and lower back don't ache. My jacket breathes. Less pressure on my hands. Really nice.

The reason I switched away from panniers the last time is the weird handling and the hostile driver interactions. For some reason, a backpack leads to more respect. Also, with a backpack it only takes about 30 seconds to lock up and head inside, whereas with panniers I had to dig my lock out after taking bags off the bike and it was a pain in the ass. However, it's much more comfortable than a backpack.

What's your experience?

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 16:09
asterisk
asterisk's picture

I think you need a larger sample of experiences. I have never really noticed a change in how drivers perceive me between a backpack/messbag or rack.

On the rack tip I have an older Tubus Logo which has a set-back bag mount area (newer model here) and unless I really try, my size 13 feet don't hit the bags.

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 16:34
Larry Winget
Larry Winget's picture

Sticking with the backpack until I can learn to carry less stuff.

I like being able to ride whatever bike on a given day.

If I were smart and more mature I'd have a single go-to bike for commuting, trailer hauling, and general all weather DGAF riding in which case I'd do a rando bag setup.

The Pitbull of Personal Development®

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 16:50
Todd
Todd's picture

Been riding with a rack and one bag on it for 9 months, never going back to a backpack. the only thing I have noticed with handling is that I cant do no hands if I got too much weight on it. I only got one back but usually pack it to 25-30 lbs without it being any kind of deal. I have never noticed drivers giving me more/less shit b/c of my bike set up. Panniers are great, keep trying it out, really the way to go.

ps. I live in the mountains, and the loss of agility is still worth it.

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 17:23
aerobear
aerobear's picture

I have been using a single bag (ortlieb downtown) to go to school.

If i get out of the saddle, it definitely feels pretty sketchy but this might be because my rack probably flexes a bit side to side because i have it mounted at the brake bridge with a single strut.

I'm also used to walking my bike by holding it at the stem and that doesnt work with single bag, shit falls over..

crowding wrote:
Every time i eat Dick's I just wind up disappointed that I'm not getting In-n-Out.

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 19:39
LADY GAGA
LADY GAGA's picture

i'm in the opposite boat - much better driver response when using panniers
i think the average driver sees a dude in a team kit or going at a decent clip and assumes they can handle a car passing them within a foot; they see a bike covered in bags and a nerd at the helm and give a little extra berth

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 21:40
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

Also: Hitting things with your panniers when you normally make it through the gap. Fuck that.

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 21:57
aerobear
aerobear's picture

lulz
i split lanes onetime with a wheel on my back
oops rear view mirror

crowding wrote:
Every time i eat Dick's I just wind up disappointed that I'm not getting In-n-Out.

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 16:47
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

Today, somehow, my rear pannier fell off in the middle of the street. Lucky for me the truck behind was able to dodge it. I must have rocked it off the mounting hooks while accelerating away from a stop light, then kicked it with my heel as it rotated forwards. I should really put ortlieb hooks on the bag, they seem to be more secure than a hook and a bungee. Also, still hate the rear load. Seriously considering a velo-orange frame for (close to) low trail x front loading x cheap frame collabo. Only problem: I fucking hate quill stems.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 17:39
mander
mander's picture

Speaking as a rear pannier and front bag guy: a front bag does work great. you can put one on a crosscheck and it's no problem at all.
But, it doesn't hold quite enough shit for winter commuting to a construction site so i add a rack and peanut for winter time.

And, riding with a backpack sucks year round. i think the full kit/ roadcycle/ backpack riders are just a lotta freds in denial.

Fri, 10/19/2012 - 09:39
pixieshatintruck
pixieshatintruck's picture

yeah the ortlieb front roller on a rear rack is the way to go
plenty of room but smaller so heels don't hit it
but my frame was made for touring so heel kick aint gonna happen...47cm chain stays
also the ortlieb panniers are super adjustable so you can move the things to where it won't move around on the rack
basically move the mounts so that the bag is wedged into the rack bars so teh movement is very minimal
if your shit fell off u doin it wrong

some drivers are gon be shitty regardless of teh bike

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 15:03
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture
(Reply to #11)

pixieshatintruck wrote:
also the ortlieb panniers are super adjustable so you can move the things to where it won't move around on the rack
basically move the mounts so that the bag is wedged into the rack bars so teh movement is very minimal
if your shit fell off u doin it wrong

Well, to be fair the ortlieb paniers i have, backrollers, don't have heelstrike problems and have never fallen of. the sw8 hipster PDX convertible backpack pannier I have does heelstrike and has a much shittier attachment system, and did fall off. never again will I buy some non-german designed bicycle luggage system.

I'm getting used to the panniers a little, but I still hate the rear load handling characteristics. I really want to get some front lowriders and try front loading for a bit, but I need to switch forks.

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 16:40
JUGE FREDD
JUGE FREDD's picture
(Reply to #12)

eric_s wrote:
Also: Hitting things with your panniers when you normally make it through the gap. Fuck that.

haha you got goss filtered

It's a struggle, but you cut out his tongue, and his last words are "atmo atmo Atmo ATMO ATMOOOOOGORIHGGHRSHGGRLMGGMMGMgrrglegurglegrr....."
– akasnowmaaan

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 19:58
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture
(Reply to #13)

Dirty Sanchez wrote:
eric_s wrote:
Also: Hitting things with your panniers when you normally make it through the gap. Fuck that.

haha you got goss filtered

Goss filtering specifically refers to running into bollards, and typically includes coming to a stop or crashing (this is from personal observation). A lean on a wall does not count.

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 20:53
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

went to 2 ortlieb rear panniers instead of one north st one ortlieb.
Bags don't sway, don't fall off, and don't hit my heels. Much improvement.
However, the bags are more difficult to use off the bike, and have less space for my school stuff since it's basically one big dry bag.
Get me into a single pannier + a commuter briefcase something or other combo.

Fri, 10/26/2012 - 15:12
asterisk
asterisk's picture
Fri, 10/26/2012 - 15:44
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

I was under the impression that that bag looked a little sleeker that that.
http://www.ortliebusa.com/prod-368.htm
Maybe:
http://www.ortliebusa.com/prod-215.htm
I like that one much better.

Fri, 10/26/2012 - 16:01
blumpkin

I have a similar setup to mander. berthoud front bag w/ berthoud decaleur which is awesome. and during winter, bungee down a big stuff sack on a rear rack cuz I also work outside and need additional winter off-bike clothes. I generally like this setup, but the stuff sack kinda sucks. might change to ortlieb pannier(s) or a big saddlebag with some sort of quick release. not into removing a saddlebag when locking up during the winter tho.

speaking of which, my gf has a pair of ostrich panniers from a few years ago with a tubus cosmo rack. they're ok, but the attachment is fucking stupid. three leather straps or something...of course, they're wearing away and take 10 mins to put on/off. thinking of ordering up the ortlieb hardware and adding them to the ostriches. not sure which hardware sets to order, though.

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 13:20
aek
aek's picture

I think it's time to add a rear rack to the Cilo. What should I be looking for in a rack?

I'm leaning towards Ortlieb coz waterproof coz Sweden.

It would be awesome to not have to carry heavy ass backpack to work anymore.

doofo wrote:
tarck eats ur soul one lol at a time

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 13:23
jimmythefly
jimmythefly's picture

Tubus fly.

deadforkinglast wrote:
But honestly, I have no idea how I am going to follow through on that plan and I already have a pretty rad bike. I think I just like fucking with my bikes.

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 13:43
aerobear
aerobear's picture
(Reply to #20)

eric_s wrote:
I was under the impression that that bag looked a little sleeker that that.
http://www.ortliebusa.com/prod-368.htm
Maybe:
http://www.ortliebusa.com/prod-215.htm
I like that one much better.

The office bags are much thinner/sleeker than the downtown. They also have pretty low capacity. Really aimed at carrying laptop and papers, and probably won't carry shoes+clothes to change into when you get to work. They are offered in a couple different sizeways though.

Arkel has a pretty nice breifcase pannier with more space IIRC. We don't stock there stuff, but a cust had one recently from a few years back and it looked pretty decent, though he was shopping for a new one since it was getting worn out (it was leather so not weathering as great as an ortlieb would).

crowding wrote:
Every time i eat Dick's I just wind up disappointed that I'm not getting In-n-Out.

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 13:59
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

I was considering getting an office bag and just using one of the back rollers for heavy hauling. Since I have an office (grad student) I mostly just need to carry a laptop and some papers, and not really haul a ton of stuff. In other words, the office one looks pretty awesome.

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 21:48
mander
mander's picture

If i may go against both the basic premise of this thread and something i said earlier: When i had cause to carry a laptop everday I didn't put it in a pannier because i was worried that it would get rattled around too much. that is an object that merits a backpack imo.

Tue, 11/13/2012 - 09:36
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture
(Reply to #23)

mander wrote:
If i may go against both the basic premise of this thread and something i said earlier: When i had cause to carry a laptop everday I didn't put it in a pannier because i was worried that it would get rattled around too much. that is an object that merits a backpack imo.

If i'm going to use a backpack, then I'm not going to use any pannier because then at least I won't have some back-steering piece of shit bike to lug around with back sweat and a sore neck. My lappy has a SSD, so I'm not as worried about vibrations, and I'm carrying it snug in a case with my lunch to cushion it.

I still hate the part where my bike always tries to fall over with extra weight on the back, and how the steering is weird and there's no weight on the front wheel. I'm going to try a front rack one of these days, and see if that is any better. I probably should just give up and get a LHT or some longtail or porteur or some crap. However, don't wanna spend money.

Wed, 11/14/2012 - 16:08
hambeki
hambeki's picture

Harder to pop wheelies with a front loader.

And wheelies are awesome.

Don't forget that.

MoonCat wrote:
All bikes are really just overpriced crosschecks with different geometries.

Wed, 11/14/2012 - 16:57
cyclocult
cyclocult's picture

I can pop wheelies, and I ramble on this!

http://cyclocult.tumblr.com/post/36095378097/new-shoes-for-le-650beast-fit-fat-and-fast

Long-low Cadillac action. This is one of the first Beloveds, so a custom campeur, but similar to their Morton porteur. It's my car. Or careur—I'm not sure. Rides like a dream. No tail wagging dog, etc. But handles beautifully with four panniers as well. If I'm only running two panniers, they go up front as well.

Low-trail front end based on a midcentury Herse campoooer. I'd have set up a Rawland rSogn like this if they'd existed when I got this. But those are sold out, but he's coming out with some new models, one of which will surely be very similar, though more versatile, sez the scuttlebutt. WINK WINK

Obligatory first post,

New Guy

Man + Bike = Cyborg!!!

Sat, 11/24/2012 - 18:52
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture
(Reply to #26)

cyclocult wrote:
I can pop wheelies, and I ramble on this!
Low-trail front end based on a midcentury Herse campoooer. I'd have set up a Rawland rSogn like this if they'd existed when I got this. But those are sold out, but he's coming out with some new models, one of which will surely be very similar, though more versatile, sez the scuttlebutt. WINK WINK

Obligatory first taste of the dicks,

New Guy

Hey New Guy, time to go post your fop-chariot in the new guy thread, so that the ritual hazing can occur.

Here's a preview: LOL UR BIEK SUX CHOKE TO DEATH ON A SATCHEL OF FLAMING PHALLUS YOU RE-ENACTMENT JAN HEINE WANNABEE LOL DICKS JARS TC: NEW GUY HAS A NICE BIKE - PSYCHE! LOL DICKS LOL

That out of the way: I want to try a front loader, but I have other things to spend money on than bikes, and little time in which to sell off my wife's obsessively hoarded collection of nice and not so nice vintage road bikes. The rSogn seems pretty OK, but I'm a <$600 made in taiwan steel frame kind of guy right now, and the only one playing in that space is velo-orange, which has certainly received a decent review from a tarck-ista, but I'm not a fan of the quill stem, and horizontal dropouts and a low top tube also don't turn me on. Rawland is nuttier than squirrel shit, and instead of making the rSogn better and ordering more frames he started making some other dumb shit-bike, and everyone else in the space is some MUSA artis-anal expensive boutique brand, or rivendell. For now, I'm polishing the turd which is my cross-check and waiting for the whole 650b thing to shake out a little bit more before getting on that band wagon. Next step: Try a 700C lot-rail kogswell fork on the cross-turd, and see what happens.

Sat, 11/24/2012 - 20:59
cyclocult
cyclocult's picture
(Reply to #27)

eric_s wrote:

Hey New Guy, time to go post your fop-chariot in the new guy thread, so that the ritual hazing can occur.

Here's a preview: LOL UR BIEK SUX CHOKE TO DEATH ON A SATCHEL OF FLAMING PHALLUS YOU RE-ENACTMENT JAN HEINE WANNABEE LOL DICKS JARS TC: NEW GUY HAS A NICE BIKE - PSYCHE! LOL DICKS LOL

That out of the way: I want to try a front loader, but I have other things to spend money on than bikes, and little time in which to sell off my wife's obsessively hoarded collection of nice and not so nice vintage road bikes. The rSogn seems pretty OK, but I'm a <$600 made in taiwan steel frame kind of guy right now, and the only one playing in that space is velo-orange, which has certainly received a decent review from a tarck-ista, but I'm not a fan of the quill stem, and horizontal dropouts and a low top tube also don't turn me on. Rawland is nuttier than squirrel shit, and instead of making the rSogn better and ordering more frames he started making some other dumb shit-bike, and everyone else in the space is some MUSA artis-anal expensive boutique brand, or rivendell. For now, I'm polishing the turd which is my cross-check and waiting for the whole 650b thing to shake out a little bit more before getting on that band wagon. Next step: Try a 700C lot-rail kogswell fork on the cross-turd, and see what happens.

Where was "HTFU, DOUCHETTE!!!" As a longtime lurker, I was hoping for a little something like that. [Sniff.]

But seriously: You'll see what you think batshit Rawland should've but didn't do actually coming down the pike. He's just making a smaht money move and abouta sell a mastodon-dump-load of fucking randos and keep ordering and selling 'em, and 'tain't no dumb shit-bike, atmo. But, yeah, the rSogn idea is alive and well and evolving, along with some other ideas. You gonna see some nutty smaht shit. Not nutty dumb shit like Moonlanders and Krampuseses but nutty smaht shit. Plus he's dropped his [steel, yes] framesets to $625, and they are made in factories in Taiwan, doncha know, so get a paper route and—boom!—ya gotcha extry 25 bones. That VO campoooer I've heard pretty good things about, too. The VO rando is not well designed, tho. Crazy toverlap, etc. I put about 50 miles on one and was done.

But, hell, yeah, thro a Kogswell fork on the CC and it just might handle all right, even with that rear wheel up your ass.

A'ight, gotta go hit the yojimg trail calculator and proofide my sac while skipping, squealing, and chewing gum in between bang flips and texting my BFF Jennifer.

Man + Bike = Cyborg!!!

Sat, 11/24/2012 - 23:17
JUGE FREDD
JUGE FREDD's picture
(Reply to #28)

cyclocult wrote:
I can pop wheelies, and I ramble on this!

http://cyclocult.tumblr.com/post/36095378097/new-shoes-for-le-650beast-fit-fat-and-fast

Long-low Cadillac action. This is one of the first Beloveds, so a custom campeur, but similar to their Morton porteur.

lololol a fucking beloved

did you pay six times too much for your made-to-order fop chariot, or only five?

also gtfo with that wigglesome abomination of a rack, I guess by being one of the first suckers you didn't get a real one in the kit

It's a struggle, but you cut out his tongue, and his last words are "atmo atmo Atmo ATMO ATMOOOOOGORIHGGHRSHGGRLMGGMMGMgrrglegurglegrr....."
– akasnowmaaan

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 04:08
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

installed the front lowrider i borrowed from evil mike. Front racks are giving me all of it. rear racks are stupid. Also, I need to get some bags which aren't straight up panniers because panniers are really good at carrying things on a bike and absolutely awful at everything else. I try to avoid locking up somewhere where the whole bike is not secure because I don't want to take the panniers off the bike and lug them around.

Also, i'm using the stock cross check fork. maybe low trail might make it better, but it's still pretty OK, except for the part where it's hard to take my hands off the bars for more than a few seconds because the bike starts turning (slowly).

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 17:14
JUGE FREDD
JUGE FREDD's picture

most porteur bags are more awkward off the bike than an ortlieb

at least an ortlieb isn't a cube and can hang from a shoulder strap

the only real "off the bike" solution is a messenger bag that goes on a big platform rack, either with bungees like Lee, or with lift-the-dot studs like Alex

It's a struggle, but you cut out his tongue, and his last words are "atmo atmo Atmo ATMO ATMOOOOOGORIHGGHRSHGGRLMGGMMGMgrrglegurglegrr....."
– akasnowmaaan

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 21:35
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

I'm beginning to think that the people on bikes with a backpack thrown in a milk crate have the right idea. I would never do such a thing, but some well-engineered version of that would be pretty awesome.

Cyclist, biker roleur: Someone who knows that you need to maintain a bike, owns some special clothes for riding a bike, and can put a helment on correctly.
Person on bike: Someone who just moved to Portland, OR, with a MFA, and is now trying to get around on a rusted, 40lb pipe-steel schwinn they bought from city bikes for $500 and who does not own, nor cares to own anything bike related besides a bicycle. Subcategory: Hobo, crackhead, anyone with dreadlocks.

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 17:32
Andrew_Squirrel
Andrew_Squirrel's picture

IMO, If you are trying to leave your ortliebs on the bike you are missing out on their best patented feature, the quick release.

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 18:56
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

It's not the taking them off the bike that's the problem, it's the carrying them around.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 02:37
Larry Winget
Larry Winget's picture
(Reply to #34)

eric_s wrote:
It's not the taking them off the bike that's the problem, it's the carrying them around.

Jack Handey wrote:
To me, it's always a good idea to always carry two sacks of something when you walk around. That way, if anybody says, "Hey, can you give me a hand?" you can say, "Sorry, got these sacks."

The Pitbull of Personal Development®

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 02:47
emor
emor's picture
(Reply to #35)

eric_s wrote:
I'm beginning to think that the people on bikes with a backpack thrown in a milk crate have the right idea. I would never do such a thing, but some well-engineered version of that would be pretty awesome.

I have tried using my Big Dumb Messenger bag in this manner on my CETMA rack. It was strapped to the rack most of the time, and if I saw some roadside junk that looked cool, I would wear the bag and put the junk on the rack. Eventually I switched to a pannier because I hated strapping the bag to the rack 2-5 times a day. I use a shoulder strap to make the pannier more easily toted around. Obviously I have no qualms looking like the giant dork that I am.

I think the ultimate solution is a pannier that becomes a backpack with no fuss. Swift Industries makes one such bag. I have no idea if it's nice or not.

"my main life goal is to have a dirtbag camper van with a bunch of bikes on it, go camping every vacation forever" -- me

Mon, 01/28/2013 - 22:07
JUGE FREDD
JUGE FREDD's picture

The prototypes I messed with the nicest implementation I've seen

But still there is some compromise in the backpackness

It's a struggle, but you cut out his tongue, and his last words are "atmo atmo Atmo ATMO ATMOOOOOGORIHGGHRSHGGRLMGGMMGMgrrglegurglegrr....."
– akasnowmaaan

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 02:04
Blakey
Blakey's picture
(Reply to #37)

emor wrote:
I think the ultimate solution is a pannier that becomes a backpack with no fuss. Swift Industries makes one such bag. I have no idea if it's nice or not.

Arkel make one of these, minimal fuss. I nearly bought one years ago, I also have no idea if it's nice or not.

The idea of a sling/backpack that attaches to a front rack with tabs/whatever is very attractive.

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 02:45
JUGE FREDD
JUGE FREDD's picture

one way to do that is with an ortlieb briefcase pannier, the ones with the hooks at a jaunty angle

you have to build the rack with an angled tube in it to match

It's a struggle, but you cut out his tongue, and his last words are "atmo atmo Atmo ATMO ATMOOOOOGORIHGGHRSHGGRLMGGMMGMgrrglegurglegrr....."
– akasnowmaaan

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 03:24
imoscardotcom
imoscardotcom's picture

thankfully I don't have to lock up outside of work. it does suck walking into wherever I go for lunch with an ortlieb backroller. to most, it looks like a large, hideous man purse.

i dont even bother with taking my little zimbale front bag off of my casseroll anymore, if someone wants it that bad, maybe karma will get them at a later date

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 09:47
jimmythefly
jimmythefly's picture
(Reply to #40)

emor wrote:
eric_s wrote:
I'm beginning to think that the people on bikes with a backpack thrown in a milk crate have the right idea. I would never do such a thing, but some well-engineered version of that would be pretty awesome.

I have tried using my Big Dumb Messenger bag in this manner on my CETMA rack. Eventually I switched to a pannier because I hated strapping the bag to the rack 2-5 times a day.

I know what you mean about strapping/unstrapping a mess bag to a front rack (V-O in my case). It doesn't seem like it should be a big deal, but somehow fussing with the bungee net and getting things sitting on the rack right and not poking through or dragging on the tire takes more time and effort than it should.

I really liked the front box I had on my Schwinn Traveler for this reason. It was super-useful, just drop a mess bag or bag of groceries or loose stuff in and go. I've had a front basket, and those are also really nice, though I grew to like the non-porousness of the box.

I don't have it mounted up now because my bars are too low on the bike that the rack is on. Plus I always feel like maybe I'll need to haul some firewood or a pizza or something and regret having the box up front. In reality, I think I would be fine, so as soon as I can cut it down or find a slightly shallower box I'm going to install it.

I've also wondered if something like a collapsible plastic crate would work well for having both a box and a platform available.

Or maybe some sort of collapsible fabric box/bucket that's permanently attached to the front rack but can be folded flat for pizza carrying?

deadforkinglast wrote:
But honestly, I have no idea how I am going to follow through on that plan and I already have a pretty rad bike. I think I just like fucking with my bikes.

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 12:52
Andrew_Squirrel
Andrew_Squirrel's picture

I really like the backpack/basket combo happening on the Cycletruck (obviously not really ideal sporty commuter though).
Like Jimmy said, the folding crate is the best of all worlds, fill it up, or if awkward load, fold it down and strap items on top.

I also met a girl last weekend with a North St. Bag (out of Portland) which was pannier and backpack.
She seemed to really like it and the few minutes I spent looking at it really impressed me. Seemed very high quality but I can't really vouch for its longterm comfort, ease, quality.
North St. Bags
http://northstbags.com/collections/custom/products/woodward

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 14:15
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

I have one of those North Street pannier-packs. It's pretty OK, but there's a few things which are a little frustrating:
1) It's small. Just a little, but noticeable. Too small for me to carry one bag only, for sure.
2) the straps are short, so don't wear too many clothes.
3) it uses a rubberized hook and bungee attachment. The Ortleib attachment method is superior. I kicked it off the back rack once in the middle of an intersection (accidentally, of course).

However if you don't mind the old-fashioned attachments and you're carrying a small amount of stuff (like just laptop and books, or maybe a lunch and a spare shirt, but not both) they are really nice.

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 17:14
tehschkott
tehschkott's picture

sup bros what are we talkin bout

DO NOT CONSTRUE MY COMMENTS AS AN ENDORSEMENT OF BICYCLING. BIKES ARE DANGEROUS, EXPENSIVE, AND EXHAUSTING. DO NOT RIDE THEM.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 18:14
eric_ssucks
eric_ssucks's picture

Oh hello. I did a test, to see if it was better to commute with panniers instead of a backpack.
The answer is yes, it is, conditionally. Commuting with panniers is generally better than commuting with a backpack, provided you have a way to stash the panniers and go about your daily business without hauling things about in a bag on your body. If you do need carrying capacity beyond your EDC + a notebook/pen collabo, then you may need to find a convertible pannier or just carry a backpack and change your shirt.

After commuting with rear panniers, I tried front panniers, and did not change back. Front panniers let you carry a load without the "tail wagging the dog" effect or having to ride some stiff overbuilt slug of a touring bike.

Conclusion: Carrying the load on the bike instead of your body works well for most applications. If you're designing bicycles or looking to purchase a bicycle avoid one designed for rear load carrying.

Sat, 03/02/2013 - 01:55
emor
emor's picture

Oh man. That box is genius.

"my main life goal is to have a dirtbag camper van with a bunch of bikes on it, go camping every vacation forever" -- me

Sat, 03/02/2013 - 13:06