While my indecision over bicycle transport systems hasn’t waned much, I had begun leaning toward removable “shopper” panniers that I could attach to my rear rack. The $50-$60 price tag of most of them was making me reluctant to take the plunge, and I just so happened to come across a much cheaper solution on the side of the road.
Here it is all loaded up for an evening of crafts and snacks. I admit it may be lacking in elegance, but you know what? It works. That crate holds A LOT. It can handle everything I need for work or a significant load of groceries. Another thing to recommend this method is the ease with which you can remove the crate and put it back on. I quickly and easily took it off for a long ride this weekend without cargo.
There’s definitely a part of me that just loves the simple way that the crate gets securely bungee’d to the rack, and of course I love that it was free. Maybe I’ll invest in nice waterproof panniers or a stylish bag soon, but for now this milk crate is meeting my needs nicely.
My trusty panniers, which have served me so well, are no longer in great shape. I’ve forced them to carry a lot of heavy and awkwardly-shaped objects, from my bike lock to laundry detergent to a dozen Mason jars. One compartment has had a broken zipper for almost a year, and all of them have developed ripped corners. They’ve proven very practical, even delivering cupcakes one winter evening, but I think I’m ready for something new, and not just because they’re so worn.
trust me, there are cupcakes in there
As nice as it is to be able to throw everything and anything on my bike at once, I think it’s almost more bags than I need. They’re really designed more for touring, and I should be able to get my work clothes/workout clothes/groceries to somehow fit on my bike without them. Right? They were a permanent fixture on my bike for a long time, and riding without them lately has been liberating. I don’t really want to go back.
However, clearly I need something. I buy groceries by bike, and like to be able to make modest Target trips and so on from time to time. I was strongly considering folding wire baskets to hang on either side of my rack, but was somewhat discouraged by the bike shop salesman, who thought they would be heavy and would rattle a lot. My panniers were not very easy to take on and off, and after seeing how liberating it can be to ride without them, I also like the idea of a “shopper” style bag that I could attach for specific trips and take off when I’m not using it. Then again, I don’t really want anything nice enough to encourage theft. The less I have to take with me when I lock up my bike, the better. Any suggestions/reviews of particular products would be appreciated!