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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: AceStache on July 30, 2016, 10:28:47 AM

Title: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: AceStache on July 30, 2016, 10:28:47 AM
I just purchased a bike a few weeks ago (Trek 7.2 FX) and would like to start riding it to work a few days a week.  It's about 6 miles each way.  I also pack my lunch for work everyday, so I'm wondering how you all transport things like that with you.  My lunch, possibly a pair of jeans and a polo to change into once I get there if I wear shorts and a t-shirt on really hot days, my keys and phone, stuff like that.  Do you use a backpack or a rack and pannier or something like that?  Any links to specific items you find work for you would also be great.

Thank you,
Andy
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: davisgang90 on July 30, 2016, 11:40:39 AM
This is my setup
bike rack:
https://www.amazon.com/Topeak-63107030-Explorer-Bike-Rack/dp/B000FIE3WI/ref=pd_bxgy_468_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RSHVQV2R75AGE2A1A97W

panniers:
https://www.amazon.com/Topeak-Trunk-Bicycle-Molded-Panels/dp/B000ZKATZG/ref=sr_1_84?ie=UTF8&qid=1469900350&sr=8-84&keywords=bike+rack+and+panniers

bought this setup 3 years ago and it is still working great!
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Lagom on July 30, 2016, 11:45:11 AM
I also prefer the rack and panniers. My back gets too sweaty with a backpack. I bought my gear at a bike shop years ago, so I can't provide links, but davis has some good suggestions there. It's definitely worth investing in a little higher quality if you intend to use your bike as much as you say.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: letired on July 30, 2016, 12:45:05 PM
+1 for rack + panniers. I got fancy/spendy and got my rack from Rivendell Bicycles and the Ortlieb panniers.

Rack: http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/r15.htm
Panniers : https://ortliebusa.com/product/back-roller-classic-pair/
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Rubic on July 30, 2016, 01:29:39 PM
I use a waterproof messenger bag:

http://www.chromeindustries.com/citizen-messenger-bag

Since I'm close to FIRE, I'm selling mine.  PM if you're interested.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: frugaliknowit on July 30, 2016, 02:18:32 PM
This is my setup
bike rack:
https://www.amazon.com/Topeak-63107030-Explorer-Bike-Rack/dp/B000FIE3WI/ref=pd_bxgy_468_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RSHVQV2R75AGE2A1A97W

panniers:
https://www.amazon.com/Topeak-Trunk-Bicycle-Molded-Panels/dp/B000ZKATZG/ref=sr_1_84?ie=UTF8&qid=1469900350&sr=8-84&keywords=bike+rack+and+panniers

bought this setup 3 years ago and it is still working great!

Ditto.  Lunch within the panniers:  http://www.target.com/p/up-up-side-dish-containers-24-oz-5-ct/-/A-14695635
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: gooki on July 31, 2016, 01:47:31 AM
I use a messenger style laptop bag. Having it lower on the back prevents a lot of sweat that you get from a backpack.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: dilinger on July 31, 2016, 03:23:46 AM
Backpack
Pros: You already have one
Cons: Back sweat (especially after 6mi)

Rear rack + basket
Pros: Reasonably cheap, and you can just throw stuff in there w/out thinking about it. When your lunch leaks/spills, clean up is as easy as going for a ride in the rain.
Cons: Not waterproof (will require a plastic bag if riding in the rain), and stuff will fall through holes if it's not mesh-lined.
Recommendations: Axiom Journey is my favorite rear rack; it can handle lots of weight and runs around $40. Compare that to other quality racks like Tubus, which are $100+. Zip tie a milk crate to it for a cheap option, or get Sunlite Mesh Folding Baskets for $25 each (just be sure to reinforce them with zipties, as the folding baskets aren't as robust as the rack).

Rear rack + waterproof pannier
Pros: Waterproof.  You can find combination backpack/panniers for extra convenience.
Cons: Expensive.  Loose cables/straps or not attaching the pannier well enough can get things caught in your rear spokes, damaging the spokes and/or pannier (and/or your face when your back when suddenly locks up).
Recommendations: Ortliebs waterproof panniers are $150 each, but well worth it.  One of the things I like about the  aforementioned Axiom Journey rack is the wide side; too many other racks look like a triangle, which can lead to the corner of your pannier hitting your spokes.  A rack with a wide side will protect against that
 
Front rack + basket/large platform
Pros: Same benefits as rear rack + basket, plus you can see what your carrying at all times.  You can probably reach in and snack or drink while riding.  Probably cheap.
Cons: Severely limited in weight.  A rear rack can take 50+ lbs with no problem.  A front rack (attached to the fork) gets kinda hard to steer at around a mere 25 lbs.
Recommendations:  Origin8 Classique can be had for $60, and has a platform wide enough to carry a pizza. If your front wheel has a quick-release (instead of a bolt), Sunlite QR-Tec can be used and is only $45 (but carrying a pizza is more iffy, and the installation is painful).  Pair with a folding basket or milk crate.

I wouldn't stick panniers on a front rack.  I know people who do, but I've had my rear wheel lock up before.  It's unpleasant but I've managed to keep control of the bike.  Locking up the front wheel is a different matter entirely; you fly over the handlebars immediately.  For that reason, I prefer things that attach solidly to the front rather than loose bags.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: alsoknownasDean on July 31, 2016, 03:48:48 AM
I've got one of these, which I've hooked up to a rack on the back of my bike:

https://www.ortlieb.com/en/Commuter-Bag%20Urban%20Line/

I bought it last year, and it's been a fantastic bag that's well worth the money I spent.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: johnny847 on July 31, 2016, 06:42:24 AM
A con for rear rack plus basket: you don't want to put heavy things in there without securing them. Otherwise you will be top heavy with mass that slides around, which makes it awkward to control your bike sometimes. And really light things can bounce out.

I personally like the rack + panniers. As for waterproofing I use a plastic bag for the stuff inside, and applied a superhydrophobic coating to the panniers (it causes water to bead up on the surface instead of getting absorbed). Works well enough.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: gggggg on July 31, 2016, 06:54:39 AM
I used to use a backpack when I rode my road bike. I got sweaty all over anyway, so I didn't care if my back did. I put my lunch in a plastic container, and looped a velcro strap around the container, after having an experience of one leaking.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: johnny847 on July 31, 2016, 11:11:09 AM
Oh yeah if you do end up buying panniers pay attention to your bike geometry. You don't want to get panniers and then have your heel strike the bottom of them while cycling.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: AceStache on August 04, 2016, 03:57:34 PM
Thank each of you for taking the time to respond and give your recommendations, this is very helpful.  Now to decide on something...
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: dodojojo on August 04, 2016, 05:16:20 PM
For a long time, I went with rear rack and panniers.  The panniers worked fine but I hated carrying them around off the bike.  They're Nashbar brand and they only have a small nylon handle for carrying.  A pain if you're walking around quite a bit.  When these panniers bite the dust, I'm either going to go with the wired baskets or spend good money on more functional and stylish panniers.  They have to be comfortable to carry around off the bike.

Recently, I installed a front basket.  It's great for slinging my crossbody bag and light shopping.  Really handy so I don't have to always bring one of my panniers.  Front basket and rear panniers, I think I am complete in terms of bike luggage.  Except...how about those large saddle bags...
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: mm1970 on August 04, 2016, 06:04:52 PM
Panniers /two bike bags.  One for clothing and the other for my laptop.

Then I have a lunch bag that I put on top of the rack between the two bags.  I tie the strap to the rack and then use a couple of bungee cords to keep it steady.

But sometimes, if I have extra stuff, I'll use a backpack also.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: johnny847 on August 04, 2016, 06:41:10 PM
Panniers /two bike bags.  One for clothing and the other for my laptop.

Then I have a lunch bag that I put on top of the rack between the two bags.  I tie the strap to the rack and then use a couple of bungee cords to keep it steady.

But sometimes, if I have extra stuff, I'll use a backpack also.

Do you ever get nervous about damage to your laptop in an accident?

I haven't made up my mind about that yet. On one hand, if you're in an accident, the laptop is probably the least of your worries. On the other hand, if you could easily avoid the issue, then why not? (though it doesn't seem easily avoidable to me).
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: mountains_o_mustaches on August 04, 2016, 07:16:48 PM
I second the recommendation for bike rack + pannier type option.  Panniers are $$$ and can be a pain to lug around off the bike - things to keep in mind.  I have a set of panniers that I bought at the REI garage sale for $70 (for the pair).  I also bought this bag: http://www.linusbike.com/products/the-sac because it clips onto my rack, is easy to carry, and looks good.  They have a briefcase option: http://www.linusbike.com/products/the-harrison-briefcase if you're looking for something a little more masculine.  Before I bought any of the fancy bike gear I used to just bungee cord my backpack onto the bike rack and the whole kit and caboodle only went flying off once.  Good luck!!
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: cacaoheart on August 04, 2016, 07:37:32 PM
Do you ever get nervous about damage to your laptop in an accident?

When I used to bike 6.5 hilly miles to nursing school, I had a rear rack on my Trek 7300 Hybrid with yellow waterproof Ortlieb bags and my Macbook in a Pelican case within one of the bags. With it being in the case, I saw it as relatively safe.

For lunch, glass snap lock tupperware works well. I've also used an insulated bento by Zojirushi.

It's been ~20 years since my last cycling accident, and I do what I can to stay safe, wearing a reflective vest, having a large mirror on my helmet so I can always see any car that is approaching me from behind/to the left, an LED strip on my front wheel, flashing red tail light, and a 400+ lumen flashing light on top of my helmet that shines wherever I look (helps make sure any car pulling into traffic sees me). Enjoy your riding.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: dilinger on August 04, 2016, 08:07:07 PM
I used to just bungee cord my backpack onto the bike rack and the whole kit and caboodle only went flying off once.  Good luck!!

This is pretty much what you need to be concerned about more than crashing your bike.  You want to avoid crashing your bike, obviously.  But with a rear rack, you can't see what's going on behind you.  That's why I like having a front rack (but it can only comfortably handle around 25lbs or so).  I've had lots of stuff fall off my rear rack, some of it getting pretty badly damaged.  Luckily, never a laptop; though I did have a laptop get damaged when it fell out of the back of a car because someone left the back open. :)

People have mentioned what a pain it is to carry around panniers.  This is why I got the Ortlieb Vario, which is a combo pannier/backpack.  But they've changed the design over the years, so I don't recommend it any more.  Instead, just google for "backpack pannier combo" or "backpack pannier convertible" and you'll find plenty of options.

Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: tallen on August 04, 2016, 08:16:46 PM
I've been using a backpack but I just ordered a rear rack and commuter bag combo- http://bikepakmart.com/ib-ba14-ra5.html
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: dodojojo on August 04, 2016, 08:24:39 PM
I second the recommendation for bike rack + pannier type option.  Panniers are $$$ and can be a pain to lug around off the bike - things to keep in mind.  I have a set of panniers that I bought at the REI garage sale for $70 (for the pair).  I also bought this bag: http://www.linusbike.com/products/the-sac because it clips onto my rack, is easy to carry, and looks good.  They have a briefcase option: http://www.linusbike.com/products/the-harrison-briefcase if you're looking for something a little more masculine.  Before I bought any of the fancy bike gear I used to just bungee cord my backpack onto the bike rack and the whole kit and caboodle only went flying off once.  Good luck!!

Linus bags look great.  This being MMM...I wonder if there no-name brands that would suffice?
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: elaine amj on August 04, 2016, 10:14:25 PM
Ouch. Some of these options are nice...but pricey!! I am still hunting for my gear but the above are all out of my price range. In the meantime, I am using a smallish bike bag that straps on to my handlebars (enough for my shoes and a very small lunch). If I have a bigger lunch, I pack it in my lunchbag and bungee cord it to my rear rack. Not the most secure, but it works and I just check on it every once in a while through my commute.


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Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: letired on August 04, 2016, 11:31:54 PM
Ouch. Some of these options are nice...but pricey!! I am still hunting for my gear but the above are all out of my price range. In the meantime, I am using a smallish bike bag that straps on to my handlebars (enough for my shoes and a very small lunch). If I have a bigger lunch, I pack it in my lunchbag and bungee cord it to my rear rack. Not the most secure, but it works and I just check on it every once in a while through my commute.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

That is completely legit! I answered as someone who has been biking for many years. My first bike was a loaner mountain bike from a friend who was out of town for a year and I carried everything in my (small) messenger bag, which flopped around a lot. Thankfully, it was a pretty short ride in those days. It's reasonable to start out much smaller!
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: elaine amj on August 05, 2016, 08:01:09 AM
get Sunlite Mesh Folding Baskets for $25 each (just be sure to reinforce them with zipties, as the folding baskets aren't as robust as the rack).

@dilinger inspired me to check out these baskets on Google. Turns out they are on sale at sunandski.com (http://www.sunandski.com/p/7747057580490/sunlite-folding-bicycle-basket?gclid=Cj0KEQjw8pC9BRCqrq37zZil4a0BEiQAZO_zrNesQ3bLbQ_dTPJV8dLRiUEapluEgmifTRzykwpbm40aAuL98P8HAQ). But about $5 in shipping. AND Walmart has them for $13 - $20.

Now I'm wondering if I should buy my baskets now?

I also found cargo nets on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0048U88UW/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3NY6IRPSQ8J63) for $2.85. This could solve my problem for my rear rack so I could manage without a basket...I could just use my existing lunch bag. Or any other bag really.

I WANT a basket though - especially for my front handlebars. Then I could put my dog there :) The only thing is - its rare for me to bike ride in the evenings. Mostly I just commute to work. The couple of times we've taken the dog, we've popped him in a duffle bag. A basket would obviously be better - but don't know if it would be worth $12-$20 for such rare use.

SO tempted to buy front AND rear baskets - but even on these cheap sales, that's about $30-$50. Trying to channel Mustachian thoughts here...
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: SeaEhm on August 05, 2016, 08:25:08 AM
As others have mentioned, I would purchase a bag that fits on the bike to limit any unnecessary additional sweating.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: onlykelsey on August 05, 2016, 08:27:21 AM
For a long time, I went with rear rack and panniers.  The panniers worked fine but I hated carrying them around off the bike.  They're Nashbar brand and they only have a small nylon handle for carrying.  A pain if you're walking around quite a bit.  When these panniers bite the dust, I'm either going to go with the wired baskets or spend good money on more functional and stylish panniers.  They have to be comfortable to carry around off the bike.

Recently, I installed a front basket.  It's great for slinging my crossbody bag and light shopping.  Really handy so I don't have to always bring one of my panniers.  Front basket and rear panniers, I think I am complete in terms of bike luggage.  Except...how about those large saddle bags...

My pannier clips on, and also has a long adjustable cross body strap so I can carry it in to the grocery store and use it for shopping. love it.  I don't have the brand, but it was probably only $30. 
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: GuitarStv on August 05, 2016, 08:32:16 AM
I used a bike rack with panniers for years.  It's a pretty awesome setup for commuting.  Your stuff is secure on the bike, there's plenty of room, your back doesn't get sweaty, etc.

The Axiom Journey is the cheapest good quality bike rack I could find five years ago.  https://www.amazon.com/Axiom-Journey-Tubular-Alloy-Racks/dp/B003UWEUK6 (https://www.amazon.com/Axiom-Journey-Tubular-Alloy-Racks/dp/B003UWEUK6)  It has been very durable and was easy to install too.

My word of advice is not to pay extra for waterproof panniers.  Just wrap your stuff in plastic bags if rain is forecast, and it'll be dry when you get to work.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: robartsd on August 05, 2016, 08:43:19 AM
I use a rear rack with a pannier and a trunk bag. My bike tools go in the outside pockets of the trunk bag and my lunch goes in the main compartment. My clothes go in the pannier. My rack and bags were originally purchased by my dad for his cycle commute decades ago. I would like a rack that sits further back on the bike to allow more heal space. I currently ride a hardtail mountain bike frame with 26" wheels (mid 90's Mongoose Alta). While not ideal for carrying off the bike due to the mounting hardware, my bags do have places to clip a shoulder strap which helps a lot.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Jack on August 05, 2016, 08:57:36 AM
Here's the best inexpensive pannier I've been able to find:

http://www.sunandski.com/p/7753063201222/blackburn-ex-single-deluxe-saddle-bag-pannier

It's discontinued, so that site is one of the few places left to get it. Whoops, they're out of stock too. : (

The reason why I think that pannier is so good is that it's just about the only one I've been able to find that has an easy-on/easy-off clip (as opposed to a bungee cord or strap that you have to loop through the bottom part of the rack). It's almost as as good as Ortlieb's system (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCay7Aq5NJY). The main disadvantages compared to an Ortlieb is that it is only water-resistant instead of waterproof and that it isn't as well-made, but at a small fraction of the price that's a worthwhile trade-off.

It's also one of the few panniers I've found big and square enough to fit my gigantic 15.6" work-issued laptop.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: mm1970 on August 05, 2016, 09:12:53 AM
Panniers /two bike bags.  One for clothing and the other for my laptop.

Then I have a lunch bag that I put on top of the rack between the two bags.  I tie the strap to the rack and then use a couple of bungee cords to keep it steady.

But sometimes, if I have extra stuff, I'll use a backpack also.

Do you ever get nervous about damage to your laptop in an accident?

I haven't made up my mind about that yet. On one hand, if you're in an accident, the laptop is probably the least of your worries. On the other hand, if you could easily avoid the issue, then why not? (though it doesn't seem easily avoidable to me).
A little, but it's the work laptop so...

I haven't ridden in a couple of years (had a second baby, went back full time), but we are probably going to start riding again, once/week.

Generally, I opt to have the laptop in the outside bag (the right bag), and it usually has  my shirt in there with it. It's up against the bike with the shirt on the outside.  So I guess it would be slightly protected?

I'm a 46 year old mom though, I'm MUCH more worried about damage to myself than the computer.  I've had a couple of friends get hit or get into bike accidents...and after about the age of 35, it can be a long recovery.

I don't always bring the laptop home either...in the winter I do because I never know which of my kids are going to wake up barfing.  (sorry TMI)
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: therethere on August 05, 2016, 09:16:35 AM
I have two Wald folding baskets. They're a little heavy and bulky but are perfect for grocery trips, driving to work, or whatever. They fit the brown grocery bags perfectly. As a bonus when you use paper grocery bags you can fit a ton more since they stickup ~6-8 inches above the sides of the baskets.  I bought a motorcycle helmet net from Harbor Freight to go over the top if I overload them. I love that I can throw whatever I have directly in the basket. I have a cooler that fits in perfectly for beers or picnic lunches! If I have to bring my laptop home I just bungee it down so no one can grab it quick.

The baskets do make it a little tricky for the over the hatch bike rack we have. You need to have the pedals just right to be able to get two bikes on it. We got a 3 bike rack and don't put a bike in the middle slot to make it easier. Other than the added weight no complaints. I was hesitant at first to spend so much for 2 baskets and a rack. But now I can haul a ton of stuff.

Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: elaine amj on August 05, 2016, 09:18:25 AM
The grocery bag pannier at sunandski (http://www.sunandski.com/p/7753063201223/blackburn-ex-grocery-pannier) is even cheaper - $20 vs $30 and bigger 16L vs 13L. That website has some GREAT prices! The only thing is - how does the pannier attach to the bike? Do you use two or just one? I'm completely new to panniers so have no idea. I was thinking of eventually getting a basket for my rear rack for groceries.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: acroy on August 05, 2016, 09:23:54 AM
Biking for 15yrs to work, 14mi r/t. Biked today. 80F this am, 100 this afternoon.

Red Jansport backpack. Cheap, durable, flexible, very visible. Back sweat? you should see the salt buildup on this thing. Revel and take perverse pride in it! ;)
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: galliver on August 05, 2016, 11:05:39 AM
Not the most badass or cheap solution, in fact rather splurgy, but a company called Arkel (www.arkel-od.com) makes panniers that function as regular bags off the bike. I was not going to splurge myself, but someone wanted to get me a nice gift.

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Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: dilinger on August 05, 2016, 11:57:32 AM
Not the most badass or cheap solution, in fact rather splurgy, but a company called Arkel (www.arkel-od.com) makes panniers that function as regular bags off the bike. I was not going to splurge myself, but someone wanted to get me a nice gift.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

All of my Ortlieb bags have either been gifts or REI basement purchases ($50 instead of $150, whee!).  :)

If I were paying retail, I'd probably have gone with a cheaper, non-waterproof pannier and a plastic bag.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: TrMama on August 05, 2016, 12:08:14 PM
I've been biking to work in the PNW for years. I use a messanger bag that has a waist strap and wear it like a giant fanny pack. Less back sweat and back pain than a backpack, but it doesn't affect the handling of my bike the way panniers do. I just put my lunch in a plastic grocery bag and my clothes in another one inside the bag. Nothing have ever gotten wet. Skip the waterproof rubber bags, they look like they'd weigh a ton.

Note: My "commuter bike" is a clownish carbon fibre racing-style road bike that doesn't have braze-ons for panniers and I would never sully it with such pedestrian equipment anyway.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: robartsd on August 05, 2016, 12:39:28 PM
The only thing is - how does the pannier attach to the bike? Do you use two or just one? I'm completely new to panniers so have no idea. I was thinking of eventually getting a basket for my rear rack for groceries.
The pannier attaches to a rack on the bike. Mine attaches with two hooks at the top of the bag that hang on the rack's rail and a hook on a bungee cord at the bottom that hooks to the bottom of the rack. To mount, I hook the lower hook and lift the bag to hang the top hooks on the rail, then I pull a strap that tightens the bottom hook so the bag stays secure. I understand that this is the common method for most cheaper bags. You can use just one pannier if you like, provided you don't put in enough weight to off balance the bike too much. Many panniers are tapered in the front to provide more heel clearance, but that makes them only work on one side. I could see a pannier on one side and a basket on the other side being very useful for cargo flexibility. Also be aware that loads on the rear wheel can make the bike much less stable when leaning on the kick stand. I have a heavy duty kickstand mounted at the rear triangle on my bike. Many cargo bikes use double leg kickstands which raise the front wheel slightly off the ground instead of leaning the bike.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Jack on August 05, 2016, 12:57:49 PM
The only thing is - how does the pannier attach to the bike? Do you use two or just one? I'm completely new to panniers so have no idea. I was thinking of eventually getting a basket for my rear rack for groceries.
The pannier attaches to a rack on the bike. Mine attaches with two hooks at the top of the bag that hang on the rack's rail and a hook on a bungee cord at the bottom that hooks to the bottom of the rack. To mount, I hook the lower hook and lift the bag to hang the top hooks on the rail, then I pull a strap that tightens the bottom hook so the bag stays secure. I understand that this is the common method for most cheaper bags.

And take a look at this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCay7Aq5NJY) to see (IMO) the best way to do it (which is proprietary to that one very expensive brand).

You can use just one pannier if you like, provided you don't put in enough weight to off balance the bike too much. Many panniers are tapered in the front to provide more heel clearance, but that makes them only work on one side. I could see a pannier on one side and a basket on the other side being very useful for cargo flexibility.

Even when my single pannier is heavy, it doesn't mess up the handling too bad once you get used to it.

I used to use a Wald basket on the other side, which worked great. I took it off only because I got an even-larger front basket. The front basket doesn't hold as much as I thought it would (mainly because too much weight there does screw up handling!), so I might put the rear basket back on.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: GuitarStv on August 05, 2016, 01:00:33 PM
My issue with the Wald baskets came about when I started using the bike for longer rides.  Those bastards are really heavy!  At least with a pannier you can just pull it off to lighten your bike up.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Tester on August 05, 2016, 01:20:00 PM
My experience:
Get good recipients for lunch (which don't leak).
Then it is a matter of your taste on the backpack/pannier/messenger bag.
I used a backpack for the last year but on Monday I am getting a pannier.

One more thing: don't overthink it.
Until last year I did not have a bike for the previous 10 years.
I got a bicycle and started riding it to work.
That is the most important step, to start riding it.
After that you will realize that it is easier than you thought and you will find solutions for the problems you have.

I just bought fenders one month ago because now I know I will ride the bicycle enough to justify them.
I am getting a pannier because I got tired of carrying the backpack (plus I am not young anymore, except my mind still is in some areas :)) - it gets heavy with the laptop, lunch, bike lock...
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: GuitarStv on August 05, 2016, 01:23:33 PM
it gets heavy with the laptop, lunch, bike lock...

Protip:  Leave your lock attached to the rack at work.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Jack on August 05, 2016, 01:52:00 PM
Protip:  Leave your lock attached to the rack at work.

I don't do that because then I'd just have to carry around a second lock anyway, to lock up the bike when I run errands on the way home.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: GuitarStv on August 05, 2016, 01:53:27 PM
Protip:  Leave your lock attached to the rack at work.

I don't do that because then I'd just have to carry around a second lock anyway, to lock up the bike when I run errands on the way home.

I use a cheap, light weight lock for quick errands where I'm going to be in and out in a short period of time, and leave my heavy duty one at work where my bike is parked in the same spot for many hours a day.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Jack on August 05, 2016, 02:05:13 PM
I use a cheap, light weight lock for quick errands where I'm going to be in and out in a short period of time, and leave my heavy duty one at work where my bike is parked in the same spot for many hours a day.  YMMV.

Yeah, I wouldn't want to leave my bike locked up with anything less substantial than my current U-lock.

I have considered getting a separate lock to leave at work, but if I did then it would be one of those ridiculous 10-lb super-heavy-duty chains. I haven't done so because (a) those damn things are $100! and (b) my office's bike parking is probably less insecure than the other places I go anyway.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Tester on August 05, 2016, 04:16:44 PM
it gets heavy with the laptop, lunch, bike lock...

Protip:  Leave your lock attached to the rack at work.

I thought of leaving the laptop at work  - that way work stays at work too :).
But I still carry it for the very rare eventuality I need it at home for a fire.

About the lock, to be honest I just have a very bad cable to lock the bike so it does not weigh a lot, but it adds up.
It is like preparing for 10 days of backpacking while camping: You put everything in the backpack, you can still lift it and put it on your back.
Then you put on your toothbrush and paste and you can't even move it sideways on the floor, you have the impression it was welded to the floor :).
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: mountains_o_mustaches on August 05, 2016, 06:02:45 PM
I used to just bungee cord my backpack onto the bike rack and the whole kit and caboodle only went flying off once.  Good luck!!

This is pretty much what you need to be concerned about more than crashing your bike.  You want to avoid crashing your bike, obviously.  But with a rear rack, you can't see what's going on behind you.  That's why I like having a front rack (but it can only comfortably handle around 25lbs or so).  I've had lots of stuff fall off my rear rack, some of it getting pretty badly damaged.  Luckily, never a laptop; though I did have a laptop get damaged when it fell out of the back of a car because someone left the back open. :)

People have mentioned what a pain it is to carry around panniers.  This is why I got the Ortlieb Vario, which is a combo pannier/backpack.  But they've changed the design over the years, so I don't recommend it any more.  Instead, just google for "backpack pannier combo" or "backpack pannier convertible" and you'll find plenty of options.

I only had that problem with my Macgyver-ed situation (bungee cords and backpack) - my panniers and the Linus bag have never gone flying off.  So if you're really concerned about damaging what you're carrying, maybe splurge and get a bike-specific bag (pannier, etc.) to keep it secure.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: mountains_o_mustaches on August 05, 2016, 06:06:53 PM
I second the recommendation for bike rack + pannier type option.  Panniers are $$$ and can be a pain to lug around off the bike - things to keep in mind.  I have a set of panniers that I bought at the REI garage sale for $70 (for the pair).  I also bought this bag: http://www.linusbike.com/products/the-sac because it clips onto my rack, is easy to carry, and looks good.  They have a briefcase option: http://www.linusbike.com/products/the-harrison-briefcase if you're looking for something a little more masculine.  Before I bought any of the fancy bike gear I used to just bungee cord my backpack onto the bike rack and the whole kit and caboodle only went flying off once.  Good luck!!

Linus bags look great.  This being MMM...I wonder if there no-name brands that would suffice?

I've found that specialty items like this don't come in "no-name" brands.  You could try to make one yourself - the Linus bag is a pretty simple design - if you could find the rubber/plastic coated hooks you could probably make one.  When I wasn't sure if I'd bike regularly I just used the backpack I already owned and bought a pack of bungee cords (I think the pack cost around $10 and had cords of different sizes, which was nice).  That worked most of the time and was cheap.  I decided to splurge on the Linus bag so that I would ride to work more (and have used that bag for 2 years now) and the panniers were (relatively) cheap at an REI garage sale.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: wileyish on August 06, 2016, 12:46:59 PM
Check out bike buckets. Mine appears to be a repurposed kitty litter bucket. The bicycle commuting gods were smiling down on me one day at a bike-y event; when I went to leave, someone had installed a bucket on the rear rack of my beloved ride. It has been incredibly useful. Mine has hauled beer, groceries, camera equipment, lunches, clothes, and a tree (not all at the same time). 

There are several DIY tutorials online. It looks like this cargo can be made for less than $10.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: myrax on August 06, 2016, 01:58:03 PM
I use a milk crate strapped to my rear rack with a bungee cord. It can fit a surprising amount of stuff, I don't have to worry about anyone stealing it,  and I can remove it in a few seconds if I want to. I pack my lunch in a ball jar and put it in my purse, which goes in the milk crate. The whole system is very cheap and pretty efficient.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: elaine amj on August 06, 2016, 09:44:58 PM
Proud to report that after drooling over all these gadgets and baskets and panniers inspired by this thread, today I exercised some Mustachian muscle and strapped a milk crate on my bike to go grocery shopping. DH and I hit a farmer's market and a couple of local stores. Couple of surprises:

- groceries are heavy (especially since today was carrots, zukes, and honey). My bike felt so different with the extra weight. Almost dropped it once.

- the milk crate changed things up enough that I had a really hard time swinging my leg over my bike. I an very short so I guess that makes things worse. Had to lean the bike really low to awkwardly swing my leg over.

I am starting to think of panniers/folding baskets for the lower profile. In the meantime, I will just bungee cord my lunchbag on for work and add the milk crate for any grocery shopping. Prices for baskets are decent, but I really don't need them for now.


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Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: dilinger on August 07, 2016, 12:04:59 AM
Proud to report that after drooling over all these gadgets and baskets and panniers inspired by this thread, today I exercised some Mustachian muscle and strapped a milk crate on my bike to go grocery shopping. DH and I hit a farmer's market and a couple of local stores. Couple of surprises:

- groceries are heavy (especially since today was carrots, zukes, and honey). My bike felt so different with the extra weight. Almost dropped it once.


Congrats!  The milk crate (when loaded) will make your bike top-heavy and definitely affect how it rides.  The more weight, the worse it is.

If you get baskets or a pannier that hang off the side of your rack rather than sitting on top of it, the weight will be lower and your bike will be easier to ride.  You could probably even zip-tie that milk crate to the side rather than the top of the rack, though I've never tried that.  The lower, the better; but watch out for your heels hitting the crate/basket/panniers.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: cacaoheart on August 07, 2016, 07:48:59 AM
- the milk crate changed things up enough that I had a really hard time swinging my leg over my bike. I an very short so I guess that makes things worse. Had to lean the bike really low to awkwardly swing my leg over.

I am starting to think of panniers/folding baskets for the lower profile.

It may help to step over the bar in front of the seat rather than swinging your leg over the bike behind the seat, depending on which point is higher now .

Panniers are definitely nice in how they can keep weight centered lower on the bike, but you're doing well with what you have for little cost so far.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: jacksonvasey on August 08, 2016, 07:18:23 AM
I have a rear rack on which I put a big Bell brand (I think; it was like $10 on clearance at wal mart) basket and my backpack just fits in it.  I have panniers that fit on the sides of the basket.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: TravelJunkyQC on August 08, 2016, 09:49:56 AM
I have a backpack: http://www.deuter.com/CA/ce/bike/race-exp-air-32133-1794.html which is great for biking because the pack doesn't rest directly on my back (has mesh and a good inch of space that helps air pass through).
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Tester on August 08, 2016, 02:00:36 PM
Or you can go both ways:
I just got a pannier (use, because I don't know if I will use it enough to justify a new one).
Looking at it, I think I have a smaller backpack which will fit in.
So I hope I will be able to put the backpack in and get it out when I need to walk.
The pannier can stay attached to the bike as I leave it in the bike cage at work... :).
Will see how things work out after I get a rack installed and ride a few times.
I got n Ortlieb pannier at 30 USD - it is used but it is perfect for starting I think.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Tester on August 10, 2016, 05:41:41 PM
And the result:
Riding with the backpack in the pannier is a success (for now, for me).
The only thing bothering me is that the pannier has a smell - it is an old pannier and it smells of static air inside a plastic bag.....
I used wet cleaning wipes to get the most out of it but it still smells.
So, in the long run the backpack will start smelling too - and potentially the clothes inside the backpack/the clothes I am dressed in from the contact with the backpack.
But I only carry a rain shell inside and I only carry the backpack 5 minutes while I am using the elevator.
Will see if the backpack will get so smelly that it will create discomfort for my colleagues I might have to double down on cleaning the pannier/buy a new(er) one.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: GuitarStv on August 10, 2016, 07:42:28 PM
If the pannier is waterproof, what probably happened is that it got wet inside and some mould/mildew took root.  (This is a problem with waterproof panniers - they're waterproof, so they will keep moisture inside them really well . . . and you get some wet, warm, dark areas with some of the random bits of fluff and crap that always find their way into panniers that's a mold paradise.)  I'd try turning the pannier inside out and leaving it out in hot sun for a while, if that doesn't work maybe try some bleach and water to kill the mildew.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Tester on August 10, 2016, 11:39:42 PM
Yes, it is exactly that smell. And yes, the pannier is an Ortlieb waterproof model.
I am keeping it opened all the time when I am not using it and leaving it outside while I am home.
Will use some more disinfecting wipes and let it dry, then try to turn it inside out.
Another thing to sort out is to fix it further away from my heel. I think I can move it half a centimeter further back which will make it so I don't have to push it after I go over a bump.
When it is empty it is fine but when I put the backpack in it it gets very close/too close.
All in all, 30 USD for the pannier plus 28 for the rack is worth it:-).
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: FLBiker on August 11, 2016, 05:13:25 AM
I use a milk crate strapped to my rear rack with a bungee cord. It can fit a surprising amount of stuff, I don't have to worry about anyone stealing it,  and I can remove it in a few seconds if I want to. I pack my lunch in a ball jar and put it in my purse, which goes in the milk crate. The whole system is very cheap and pretty efficient.

I love the milk crate on a rear rack.  I use a combo of zipties and bungee to hold the crate on, with another bungee over the top to hold my backpack in.  I just drop my backpack in (which has lunch, basic bike tools, etc.) and go.  Actually, I missing the over the top bungee right now and it doesn't matter.  In my backpack, I also have a kitchen garbage bag to put over the pack in the rain.  I've been doing this for over 10 years.

It's true that this is probably not the lightest set up, but part of the reason I'm biking to work is exercise.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: JackieTreehorn on August 11, 2016, 08:05:59 AM
I just got the Osprey Radial 26 for my birthday.  It's a backpack specifically designed for bike commuters and has a suspension system to keep the pack off your back so you get airflow back there and don't get (too) sweaty.  Plenty of room for a sack lunch and clothes.  Also has a "lid lock" so you can easily attach/detach your helmet to the outside of the pack.  They also make a 34 L size if you want a bigger one.

http://www.ospreypacks.com/us/en/product/radial-26-RADIAL26.html

Shop around...don't pay $170 obviously.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: mskyle on August 11, 2016, 08:13:07 AM
Protip:  Leave your lock attached to the rack at work.

I don't do that because then I'd just have to carry around a second lock anyway, to lock up the bike when I run errands on the way home.

I use a cheap, light weight lock for quick errands where I'm going to be in and out in a short period of time, and leave my heavy duty one at work where my bike is parked in the same spot for many hours a day.  YMMV.

This is me, too, sort of - I use a frame-mounted lock for quick errands. It just locks the back wheel to the frame so you can't ride away, and the lock is always attached the bike so I can't forget it. Obviously someone could pick the bike up and put it in a truck while I'm in the grocery store, but it hasn't happened yet.

For "no-name" panniers I have some REI store brand panniers that I've had for like seven years, using them most days. I love the quick-release system, which is similar to the Ortlieb version. They have <a href="https://www.rei.com/product/881250/novara-nucleus-deluxe-pannier-pair">a similar pair on sale for $59</a> right now - $59 for both is a pretty great deal IMO.
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: mountains_o_mustaches on August 11, 2016, 08:36:53 AM

[/quote]
For "no-name" panniers I have some REI store brand panniers that I've had for like seven years, using them most days. I love the quick-release system, which is similar to the Ortlieb version. They have <a href="https://www.rei.com/product/881250/novara-nucleus-deluxe-pannier-pair">a similar pair on sale for $59</a> right now - $59 for both is a pretty great deal IMO.
[/quote]

These are the ones I bought a few years back at the REI garage sale - they've held up well and a good size for grocery shopping (it's just me and my SO).
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: elaine amj on August 11, 2016, 10:21:15 AM
I just got the Osprey Radial 26 for my birthday.  It's a backpack specifically designed for bike commuters and has a suspension system to keep the pack off your back so you get airflow back there and don't get (too) sweaty.  Plenty of room for a sack lunch and clothes.  Also has a "lid lock" so you can easily attach/detach your helmet to the outside of the pack.  They also make a 34 L size if you want a bigger one.

http://www.ospreypacks.com/us/en/product/radial-26-RADIAL26.html

Shop around...don't pay $170 obviously.

I used my $30 hydration pack from Costco yesterday. It also has the suspension system to keep the pack off your back. I only had a bit of water in there - decided to keep most of the weight for my clothes/shoes/lunch. It was OK - I much prefer strapping stuff onto my rear rack because
- even with the suspension system, it is a little sweaty. I kinda like a bit more freedom when riding
- I'm stuck to wearing sporty clothes and I often wear my work clothes when biking to work.
- in continuation of above, I know I'm not being super practical - but from a fashion perspective I just don't care for biking to work in sporty clothes and a backpack. I kinda like the feel of biking in work clothes, especially when I wear a dress. I just change my shoes when I arrive and I'm set. Plus it means no one sees me until I'm work-ready (I change my shoes and add jewelry when I store my bike). If I need to change, I have to come into the office and while its fine, I prefer to avoid it.

In conclusion, strapping a small bag onto my rear rack with bungee cords has been cheap, practical, easy, and suits me. I still drool over pretty baskets and panniers (especially the $60 set from REI posted above!) but I think this will serve me just fine for now. I add a milk crate when I go grocery shopping. Not so crazy about the milk crate but I figure at least I am not going to work with it. (and yes, I'm finding I'm a little vain - I absolutely don't want to ride to work with the milk crate).
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: robartsd on August 11, 2016, 11:22:33 AM

Quote
For "no-name" panniers I have some REI store brand panniers that I've had for like seven years, using them most days. I love the quick-release system, which is similar to the Ortlieb version. They have a similar pair on sale for $59 (https://www.rei.com/product/881250/novara-nucleus-deluxe-pannier-pair) right now - $59 for both is a pretty great deal IMO.

These are the ones I bought a few years back at the REI garage sale - they've held up well and a good size for grocery shopping (it's just me and my SO).
Do these have attachment points for a shoulder strap?
Title: Re: Need rec. for carrying lunch, etc to work on bike
Post by: Tester on August 11, 2016, 11:32:35 AM
I still drool over pretty baskets and panniers (especially the $60 set from REI posted above!) but I think this will serve me just fine for now. I add a milk crate when I go grocery shopping. Not so crazy about the milk crate but I figure at least I am not going to work with it. (and yes, I'm finding I'm a little vain - I absolutely don't want to ride to work with the milk crate).

If I would have seen the above set I would not have my current pannier (30 USD used - and quite used, it has a smell as I said above) :). And I only have one, so the price is the same as for the new ones...
Now I am thinking if I should buy the new ones - and I realize on what forum I am :).
My idea is that if the new ones don't smell (and I hope they don't), my wife would not get nausea from the smell.
It is not that strong, but she has problems with bad smells.
I think I will stick it out with the current one for a while, I only used it twice.