So your getting ready to leave your house to go on your commute. It’s chilly out right now, you have your jacket, some gloves and a riding hat under your helmet to keep you warm, but on your way home it’s going to be nice enough that you won’t need all this extra gear. On top of that you have your laptop, your lunch and a few other miscellaneous items needed for work. Sound familiar?
In the last 2 articles we have gone over the gear that you need to both be safe and comfortable while making your commute. Now that you have all that gear. By now you should have everything from, your essential tools that you will need for just about any roadside issues that you will come across. The gear and apparel you need in order to stay dry comfortable and
visible by motorist. To the gear that’s going to make you more comfortable and confident in your saddle.
Now that you have all this Urban Cycling Gear, it is time to get it all organized on your bike. You are probably wondering what do I do with all this stuff?
Today in the urban cycling gear series, we will be covering the many options that you have for storage. If you haven’t read part’s one or two of this series check them out here. “Safety in the Saddle” and “Comfort & Confidence in Your Saddle”. Let’s get into packing that gear and putting it on the rack.
Panniers – Rack Top Bag – Backpack
When it comes to mass storage solutions for you bike there really isn’t a much better option than panniers and rack top bags. Panniers are bags that you put on the back of your bike, using a rack that is mounted over your back wheel that is bolted to your frame, to bear the weight of the load and keep the bag from getting in the spokes. You can get panniers and racks for the front of your bike. You can purchase waterproof panniers or buy a external covers to protect your gear in the event of
Panniers are an essential part of everyday commuting on a bicycle, by taking everything you normally put in your backpack and distributing the weight onto your bicycle frame. Some things you might carry in your panniers; laptop, charging cord, a jacket, bike lock, and your lunch. A rack top bag, is a great option to store your lunch more securely. It is also a great place for everything in your pockets.
If cost is an issue you can always opt for a backpack and carry all the weight on your back.
Triangle/Frame Bag – Saddle Bag – Handlebar Bag – Fanny Pack
Triangle/Frame bags are large bags that fit in the triangular section of your bike frame. This is where i like to store snacks for my ride and different things i might need to access quickly while commuting. They come in two main styles;
- Full – Larger of the two, fills the entirety of the frame and contains massive storage. This can be both a blessing and curse at the same time (gravity sucks), if you don’t have a multi-compartment bag everything goes to the bottom. This in my eyes defeats the purpose of using it for commuting. a great alternative;
- Half/Rectangle – This is a great bag to have especially if your commute is long, as i mentioned about the snacks, you need to maintain energy and hydration while riding and this bag allows you to still use your factory bottle mounts for your hydration fluid of choice, while making it easy to access your snacks on the go.
a great alternative option is a handlebar bag.
Saddle Bags are smaller bags that mount to the rear of the saddle/seat, and are an amazing place to store your Essential Cycling Tools. They help keep everything organized and easy to get to, while being easy to remove and carry into your destination. Some bags are designed with form fitted locations for all your tools, some have multiple sections allowing you to separate your kits or empty your pockets into, and some just have one pocket.
in my eyes this is an essential bicycle accessory to have.
Speed Bag this is a great alternative to the saddle bag or frame bag, what it lacks in space it makes up for with convenience. these bags mount to the top tube of the bicycle frame and the neck, talk about a convenient little place to have either your tools or a quick snack for your ride.
Handlebar Bag is a bag that mounts to the front of your handlebars allowing quick easy access on the go, they come in many different styles, sizes , shapes, and have a lot of different mounting options, some come with easily detach mounts. If you get the right size you can place your lunch, snacks and saddlebag into it and take it into your destination for security. I don’t personally use one but they are a great option.
Front baskets or the right front rack on the right bike, can be a game changer when commuting. They give you that added location to put things you pick-up during the day that are too large for your bags, or for the ladies a great place for that purse. Plus with all the new styles available they can really make your bike stand out and showcase your personality. The options are almost endless on what you can put in these. I have seen some crazy things on a front rack, my all-time fave was a end table being transported from a secondhand store.
When going out to buy your Storage Solutions here are few things to look for.
Panniers, Rack-top bags, Triangle/Frame bags, Saddle bags, Bar bags, Backpacks and Fanny packs.
- Solid rugged construction, they’re gonna be carrying a lot of weight and taking a beating on your daily commutes.
- Reinforced stitching
- High quality grommets (not sewn on straps)
- Durable fastening cords.
- Many come standard with a rigid back, to help keep the pack firmly mounted to the bicycles and allow you to carry more. The rigid back will also keep the bag from slumping and wearing out too fast.
- Multi-Purpose (some bags can double as a backpack or messenger bag when off the bike.)
- Storage needs stuff = volume
- Solid rugged construction, who knows what you will put on/in it.
- High quality materials
- High quality welds
- Sturdy tie down points
- Storage needs stuff = volume
I hope that this article was able to help you when you look to purchase you bags, racks and baskets.
Let us know about your personal storage system on your urban rider in the comments section, also if you liked what you read share our page to your social media, if have any additions you would like to add, or ideas/products you would like us to go over please leave them in the comments section.
See you in the next article where I will be going over the electronics that will make your ride more enjoyable and allow you to track all your progress.
Take it off your Back and Put it on the Rack!
Founder: Bicycle Bob’s CycleEssentials