When I was a kid, my dad used to carry stuff on his bike by lashing it on to a pannier with a complicated arrangment of elasticated bungie cords. Whenever I attempted to replicate this, I usually ended up bruised and battered as the bungies pinged all over the place. If I did manage to get the shopping / bag / lunchbox attached to the bike with bungies, it inevitably fell off in the middle of the road within seconds of me starting to pedal.
Then, in my early years of bike commuting, I would carry stuff in a backpack. Although moderately preferable to the bungie arrangement the backpack did result in an aching back and neck almost everyday (I am a girl after all and carry a lot of clobber). It also unbalanced me on the bike, and worst of all meant I arrived at work every day with the dreaded sweaty back.
Then came the pannier revolution. I discovered that you could get a sensible-sized bag which clipped on to a rear-mounted bike pannier, fitted all my stuff in, and had a shoulder strap so could be carried reasonably comfortably off the bike. Bloomin’ marvellous. Achy, sweaty backs were a thing of the past once I had one of these. But oh my word, didn’t this monstrosity fall out of the ugly tree?
Cycling to work every day means that any bag I took on the bike was essentially my work handbag and therefre had to go with me to any off-site meetings, training days, networking events etc. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. And yes, I did use this one every day for the best part of two years. *Insert ashamed face here*
When my bike was recently stolen while I was at choir rehearsal the wonderful, wonderful members of the choir organised a collection and presented me with a donation towards the cost of replacing the bike. I was completely blown away with their generosity, and decided to use the money for something really nice, not just putting into the overall cost of the bike. So I bought myself a lovely new bag for the bike 🙂
Now that’s better isn’t it? It’s by the Dutch brand NewLooxs (bought at Halfords for £59.99), and what the Dutch don’t know about stylish cycling simply isn’t worth knowing. It clips super-easily onto the pannier, is waterproof and is big enough for an A4 folder / laptop plus change of shoes, spare layers, lunchbox, notebooks etc etc. And it looks alright too.
So, cyclists of the urban commuting variety, there is no excuse whatsoever these days for ugly luggage (or bungie cords). There are now loads of really lovely bike bags – take a look at these to get you started…