Whether you are commuting to work, touring round the country or just out for a weekend ride; you need somewhere to stow your gear. Bicycle bags come in all shapes and sizes; cycle panniers which fix to a rack, saddle bags to stow repair kits and other small items, bar bags for sunglasses or anything else you may need whilst on the move, and front panniers when you need to carry more than just a bit of shopping or some waterproofs.
When cycling, a lot of people simply put whatever they need to carry in a back pack or ruck sack and head off. This is fine for short journeys or if you only cycle occasionally, but even then it can still be dangerous as it adds weight at quite a high point above the ground. Your centre of balance is extremely important for safe cycling and lowering that weight from your back to your bike also makes for a less strenuous cycle.
Cycle panniers are bags that fit onto a rack at either the front or rear of your bicycle. If you only use your bike now and again just one is fine but for touring two bike panniers at the rear and at the front ensure you evenly balance your load of luggage. One of the first things to look for when buying bike panniers are that they are easy to fit and remove from your bike rack whilst ensuring that the fastenings are good enough to make sure your panniers stay on your bike whilst riding. Waterproof panniers are also essential unless you only use your bike for short journeys or only on sunny days. External pockets and pouches come into their own when you only use one bike bag because you can stow keys, wallet and other essentials in them that you might need quickly, this saves having to rummage round the bottom of a large bicycle pannier to find a small item.
Of course if you are going to fit cycle panniers you need to first fit a bicycle rack. The case with cycle racks is almost always that the best cost the most, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that a good rack is going to break the bank. Make sure that any rack is easy to fit and all joints are robust and preferably welded (the less nuts and bolts to come undone the better!). Most bicycle racks will have a reflector at the rear and once fitted make sure it doesn’t foul your bike in any way.
Handlebar bags are fantastic both for touring and for short journeys where you are not going to carry much. You can stow in a bar bag all the things you may need whilst on the move such as sun screen and sunglasses and also put your keys and valuables in one. Again, make sure that any handlebar bag is easily detachable so you can take valuables with you when you stop (many double up as shoulder bags). For touring a bar bag is the perfect place for your map and many have fitted or detachable map covers so you can see your map whilst you are riding.
Other Bicycle Luggage
There’s still a couple of places on your bike for fitting a bike bag: seat bags fit up underneath the seat and are normally used for storing tools and spares (as you need to get off your bike to get to a seat bag). And if you have fitted a rack; as well as fitting bike panniers to it you can also fit a rack bag – these fit to the top of the bag and are useful for bulkier items that you may need quickly such as waterproofs, pumps and of course food.
Here at Bicyclebags.org.uk we have gathered a great selection of bicycle bags from most of the online retailers so that you can see what is available and compare prices on particular bike bags.