Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bike Cargo

We’ve talked briefly about this before (See Schlepping), but I’m sure you’re all burning to read more detail, even though you're too polite to say so.

Quickly, there are three types of stuff:
  1. Stuff to lock up the bike with ... commonly called locks
  2. Biking stuff (helmet, water bottle, tools, etc. PLUS foul weather gear!!) 
  3. Stuff to go where you’re going (papers, books, computer, etc.) 
If you have a multi-modal commute, you have to lock your bike somewhere and carry stuff on a train, bus or whatever. (But you get to say “multi-modal.”) That complicates matters even more. There's no good way to leave the biking stuff (tools, winter gear, etc.) on the bike without risking theft. There are two big questions:
  1. What do you do with stuff on the bike? 
  2. What do you do with stuff off the bike? 
Some of the more common solutions include:
This works, but is not especially comfortable to wear while riding. Also, backpacks tend to make you sweat, so you'll arrive at your destination looking like the Creature From the Back Lagoon.

Pronounced pan-yers or pan-yay or pan-ears, depending on who you ask. To simplify, we'll just call it bike badonkadonk, as seen here:

Note also that in a wind, panniers are about as aerodynamic as a refrigerator.

Milk Crates
The classic milk crate is very convenient, since you can put just about anything inside. The drawback is that they can make your bike top-heavy. You may feel the bike has a mind of its own. On the plus side, the milk crate makes a statement. It says “I'm a free spirit ... a rebel ... a maverick who steals from the local dairy.”

Yeah, if you want to look like a paper boy from the 1950’s. Seriously, a single basket in back is not a bad way to go, and you can carry a backpack or other gear in it. But be careful. Remember what happened to Toto!

People use bike trailers for work stuff, groceries, vacation gear and even kids. Of course, it is possible to go overboard.

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