Author Topic: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!  (Read 11040 times)

igthebold

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Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« on: July 17, 2012, 08:31:05 AM »
I'm wondering if/what I should obtain to fill out the carrying capability of my bicycle and having a hard time making a decision. Ideally I would be able to get 0 or 1 items, and I'd love your feedback.

Here's what I do on my bike:
  • Biggish errands, like library, then groceries, then farmer's market
  • Smallish errands, like buy milk, drop off a video at library, etc
  • Go to appointments, taking my laptop with me to work while I wait
  • Go to work at the coffeeshop, with my laptop and accoutrements

Here's what I have now:
  • BOB Yak trailer, which I use for biggish errands
  • Backpack, which I use for everything else
  • Rack, which I attach my backpack to awkwardly with bungees

The problem is that the backpack + rack combo is a major pain to attach/detach, and the trailer is a bit overkill for many trips.

I'm considering some combination of the following options:
  • Attach crate to rack and use it to carry stuff like my backpack. Not sure how to attach it reliably.
  • Buy two grocery panniers, and use one to carry my computer when that's all I'm bringing. Not sure how safe that is for the computer.
  • Buy a more generic pannier and use it to carry my laptop
  • Make my backpack into a pannier using an instructable. I like this option, but it doesn't solve the small errands problem.

What do you think?

$_gone_amok

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 11:21:57 AM »
I'd go for the panniers, if you are into DIY, check this out:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=1841

igthebold

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 03:20:20 PM »
I'd go for the panniers, if you are into DIY, check this out:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=1841

I like that idea for shopping. They seem less like a "dump your stuff in a bag and go" kind of thing, unless I were to put my backpack straight into one of them. That might work.

Had a somewhat frustrating time going to the eye doctor today, since I couldn't attach my backpack to the bike very easily, so I just wore it in 108F heat index weather. The RackTime Buyit that velocistar1234 (sorry) recommended looks nice, but the price seems steep. Is it worth it?

velocistar237

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 05:07:29 PM »
Had a somewhat frustrating time going to the eye doctor today, since I couldn't attach my backpack to the bike very easily, so I just wore it in 108F heat index weather. The RackTime Buyit that velocistar1234 (sorry) recommended looks nice, but the price seems steep. Is it worth it?

It was $35 when I bought, but it looks like the price has gone up. I like it, though I do cram it full pretty often. You could get something like this if you didn't want to make something.

igthebold

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 06:43:21 AM »
Thanks, velocistar237. I'll probably give that one a shot. That one seems like it would work, even for holding my backpack. The extra weight won't be much of a problem, since pretty much all my trips are < 3 miles.

galaxie

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 01:28:12 PM »

I'm considering some combination of the following options:
  • Attach crate to rack and use it to carry stuff like my backpack. Not sure how to attach it reliably.
  • Buy two grocery panniers, and use one to carry my computer when that's all I'm bringing. Not sure how safe that is for the computer.
  • Buy a more generic pannier and use it to carry my laptop
  • Make my backpack into a pannier using an instructable. I like this option, but it doesn't solve the small errands problem.

What do you think?


How would the backpack pannier instructable not solve the small errands problem?  I have a pannier (not a former backpack, though -- that's a cool idea) and I do use it for small errands.  Just because the errand doesn't fill it all the way up doesn't mean it's no good for that.  Also, it's a lot more comfortable and less sweaty than wearing a backpack.  I go around with a mostly empty pannier all the time.  Also, many store-bought panniers have a shoulder strap for carrying them like a messenger bag when detached from the bike.  That's pretty handy.

 What you need is at least one pannier, two if there's room for them in your budget.  Your computer will be totally safe in them, unless you wipe out on top of it or something, and then I doubt a special foam sleeve would be enough to protect it anyway.  Get (or make) panniers that can be closed up in a waterproof way if rain is a potentiality, since you're thinking of putting your computer in there.  There's nothing really special about "grocery" panniers -- you can use a regular pannier to put groceries in, too.

rjack

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 01:34:21 PM »
I'd go for the panniers, if you are into DIY, check this out:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=1841

I made these DIY panniers. They work really well for the price! If you do create these, then drill some small holes in the bottom of the bucket in case you get water in them.

igthebold

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 02:32:59 PM »
I'm considering some combination of the following options:
  • Make my backpack into a pannier using an instructable. I like this option, but it doesn't solve the small errands problem.

How would the backpack pannier instructable not solve the small errands problem?  I have a pannier (not a former backpack, though -- that's a cool idea) and I do use it for small errands.  Just because the errand doesn't fill it all the way up doesn't mean it's no good for that.  Also, it's a lot more comfortable and less sweaty than wearing a backpack.  I go around with a mostly empty pannier all the time.  Also, many store-bought panniers have a shoulder strap for carrying them like a messenger bag when detached from the bike.  That's pretty handy.

I'm not quite sure what I was thinking. I'm guessing it was that fitting a gallon of milk in my backpack seemed like a stretch, but it might not be. I'd just not thought of it.

What you need is at least one pannier, two if there's room for them in your budget.  Your computer will be totally safe in them, unless you wipe out on top of it or something, and then I doubt a special foam sleeve would be enough to protect it anyway.  Get (or make) panniers that can be closed up in a waterproof way if rain is a potentiality, since you're thinking of putting your computer in there.  There's nothing really special about "grocery" panniers -- you can use a regular pannier to put groceries in, too.

Sounds good. I'll give the bucket panniers and backpack modification, and if that fails, I'll buy a pannier. I think the backpack will help cover the rain and portability issues.

Thanks everybody, great feedback!

onehappypanda

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2012, 08:22:05 AM »
Kinda late to the party here, but I just attached a milk crate to my rack using zip ties. Holds my backpack reliably and doesn't weigh a lot, and I can toss small things in it during the day. I threaded two bungee cords through the top so I can secure things and keep them from flying out, if necessary. The zip ties are cheap so if you don't need the crate, you can just cut them off. I also have some reusable velcro zip ties in an attempt to be less wasteful, but I hate them because they don't tighten very well. I used a bungee cord threaded through the rack and the crate to secure it, but it was a bit wobbly. Secure enough to not fall off, but if it shifted with something heavy in it it'd throw me off balance. I prefer the regular zip ties.

igthebold

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2012, 07:55:35 AM »
I tried the backpack mod, and I'm pretty happy with it. Only change I need to move the bottom loop's offset to the other side so I can put the backpack on the side without my deraileur.

onehappypanda: I've considered the crate+zip-ties. What about something like this to attach the crate: lashing strap? It wouldn't attach the same as zip ties, but it seems easier to manipulate than velcro.

onehappypanda

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 11:47:46 PM »
I tried the backpack mod, and I'm pretty happy with it. Only change I need to move the bottom loop's offset to the other side so I can put the backpack on the side without my deraileur.

onehappypanda: I've considered the crate+zip-ties. What about something like this to attach the crate: lashing strap? It wouldn't attach the same as zip ties, but it seems easier to manipulate than velcro.

Looks like it has potential but the excess length and having to weave it in and out of the crate would annoy me. Plus that leaves room for it to loosen over time. Zip ties are easy to trim down and hold on tight.

velocistar237

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2012, 06:43:52 AM »
onehappypanda: I've considered the crate+zip-ties. What about something like this to attach the crate: lashing strap? It wouldn't attach the same as zip ties, but it seems easier to manipulate than velcro.

Is it that you want to be able to remove the crate? If you want something removable, why not just make the kitty litter panniers? Lower c.g. is the way to go on a bike.

James

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2012, 06:54:34 AM »
I use a pannier, I keep it on my bike even when empty and keep a couple bungees in it for holding anything larger on the top of the rack.  It seems whenever I take the pannier off I realize later that I needed it for something.  I have used the bungees to hold our rather large and heavy farm box on the rack.

igthebold

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2012, 07:53:27 AM »
Is it that you want to be able to remove the crate? If you want something removable, why not just make the kitty litter panniers? Lower c.g. is the way to go on a bike.

The kitty litter panniers are on my TODO list, but I'm having trouble obtaining them for free. I'll have to go see if Lowe's sells them like they do the 5-gal round ones.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2012, 01:17:23 PM »
I'm also a bit late, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents.
For small errands have you considered a cargo net? They are relatively inexpensive, but far more useful and convenient than bungee cords, I've had good experience with each of these for example: 1) http://amzn.to/OiWmM0 , 2) http://amzn.to/MmsThK
I'm currently using the latter and I think I paid a little over $4 for it from REI on sale. Cargo nets combined with a rack are surprisingly versatile, they are good for quickly securing a backpack to a rack, and can also hold down bags of groceries easily if you have the right technique. I think I've managed to hold two large reusable grocery bags plus a large bag of ice in the past.

I do own a pair of panniers (http://amzn.to/OiYEej), but only ever needed to use one. I bought them as a pair on sale from REI, ended up selling the extra one and accidently made a profit that paid for the cost of the panniers (longish story). I find this my to go thing for most stuff, but the cargo net fills in when I don't want to carry around the pannier.

As for attaching boxes, crates to the rack, I've done this in the past using things ranging from bungee cords, to zip ties, and now screws. In fact I have to attach something to my rack soon, I will try and post pictures if it works out.

zoltani

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2012, 01:29:01 PM »
Depending on the day/errand I may use:

- Backpack
- Panniers
- Messenger bag

They all have their place IMO.  Panniers are a must if it is hot as they will prevent you from sweatinga s much as a backpack or messenger bag.


Kinda late to the party here, but I just attached a milk crate to my rack using zip ties. Holds my backpack reliably and doesn't weigh a lot, and I can toss small things in it during the day. I threaded two bungee cords through the top so I can secure things and keep them from flying out, if necessary. The zip ties are cheap so if you don't need the crate, you can just cut them off. I also have some reusable velcro zip ties in an attempt to be less wasteful, but I hate them because they don't tighten very well. I used a bungee cord threaded through the rack and the crate to secure it, but it was a bit wobbly. Secure enough to not fall off, but if it shifted with something heavy in it it'd throw me off balance. I prefer the regular zip ties.

May work for small light items, but don't try loading weight into it, it will be top heavy and really affect the handling of the bike. 


igthebold

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2012, 02:07:51 PM »
After some adjustments, the backpack pannier mod works pretty well. Well enough to postpone other purchases until I try out the kitty litter pannier idea.

I do like having a bag I can attach to the side of the bike. I barely notice it. Also much easier than trying to strap my bag to my rack using bungee cords. Though the cargo net idea does seem pretty nice.

onehappypanda

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2012, 04:05:39 PM »
Kinda late to the party here, but I just attached a milk crate to my rack using zip ties. Holds my backpack reliably and doesn't weigh a lot, and I can toss small things in it during the day. I threaded two bungee cords through the top so I can secure things and keep them from flying out, if necessary. The zip ties are cheap so if you don't need the crate, you can just cut them off. I also have some reusable velcro zip ties in an attempt to be less wasteful, but I hate them because they don't tighten very well. I used a bungee cord threaded through the rack and the crate to secure it, but it was a bit wobbly. Secure enough to not fall off, but if it shifted with something heavy in it it'd throw me off balance. I prefer the regular zip ties.

May work for small light items, but don't try loading weight into it, it will be top heavy and really affect the handling of the bike.
[/quote]

So far I've made it work with my fairly heavy backpack (carrying laptop + books) and fairly large/heavy loads of groceries. Not at the same time, naturally. So far so good. It does mean I have to be more cautious on turns, but I'm not exactly trying to race my bike home anyway.

zoltani

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2012, 04:38:34 PM »
Glad it works out for you. 


Regardless it affects the handling, you are raising the center of gravity of the bike.  I prefer the load lower on the bike. 

jwystup

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2012, 08:08:24 PM »
(Note: didn't really read the whole thread)

I made THESE http://www.bit-of-green.com/crafts/crafts-extreme-bike-makeover-roll-up-paniers
Mine are more of a tan-ish canvas color but I got some legit backpack-style clips (like the squeezy ones, not sure what they're called) and strappies  and snaps. Wait, I might have a picture...

Anyways, I already had a rack and made these to fit. I've fit some pretty large shopping trips in these. If I strap on a soft-sided cooler to the top, it's perfect!

Note, if I did this again, I'd angle the corners by where your feet might hit. If these are full, I wind up riding with my heels on the pedals to avoid hitting the bags :\ I still might do that.

jawisco

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2012, 08:33:57 PM »
I vote for the milk crate zip-tied to the rack for your situation.  Easy to put the backpack and small things in and you have the Yak for bigger missions...

I also have a bike with panniers on it - nashbar panniers are cheap and last a long time.  I zip tie the panniers on the rack and keep them permanently mounted.  This works very well, but I still think the milk crate is cheaper and easier, especially if you don't own panniers already...


igthebold

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2012, 08:07:02 AM »
I made THESE http://www.bit-of-green.com/crafts/crafts-extreme-bike-makeover-roll-up-paniers

How much were the materials, all told? Those look pretty nice.. have you gone grocery shopping with them?

I vote for the milk crate zip-tied to the rack for your situation.  Easy to put the backpack and small things in and you have the Yak for bigger missions...

I'll try it out. I am a bit hesitant due to handling issues. I've noticed a difference between my backpack as a pannier and my backpack strapped onto the top of the rack, and the crate would bring it a little higher even than that. Also, it would block my under-seat bag, but that's a lesser issue. Thanks for the recommendation!

jwystup

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Re: Panniers, basket, trailer, backpack/rack!!!!
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2012, 12:07:32 PM »
I made THESE http://www.bit-of-green.com/crafts/crafts-extreme-bike-makeover-roll-up-paniers

How much were the materials, all told? Those look pretty nice.. have you gone grocery shopping with them?

I'd say probably about $20 for all of it with a good chunk of leftover fabric (I also made a new little front bag for my handlebars, similar to one I had made before, to keep all of my little tools and things). And that was just at walmart, if I had shopped around or something I might've found something cheaper.

I have gone grocery shopping with great results. These hold a LOT. But I think I mentioned I kick them a bit when riding with my toes on the pedals - I'd chop those corners off next time or I might do it eventually anyways. Paired with a small soft-sided cooler bungeed on top of the rack I can get a pretty big shopping trip done and keep the cold stuff cold in the cooler. I wouldn't be able to do a BJ's trip (like costco) with them though, I kind of want to get a trailer for that but I haven't seen any cheap ones anywhere :(