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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-03-07, 07:39 AM   #1
nextstopwillbe
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Pannier Position Query

If you're using only one pannier on which side of the bike should you mount it?
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Old 07-03-07, 07:45 AM   #2
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Arkel states "Just a word of wisdom: for safety considerations, we recommend that you carry the sole pannier on the road side (left side), always." on their website. They don't explain why but that is how I always do it.
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Old 07-03-07, 07:46 AM   #3
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I always mount it on the right, but I don't know why.
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Old 07-03-07, 07:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evblazer
Arkel states "Just a word of wisdom: for safety considerations, we recommend that you carry the sole pannier on the road side (left side), always." on their website. They don't explain why but that is how I always do it.
It makes you look bigger to oncoming cars and they give you more room.
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Old 07-03-07, 08:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
It makes you look bigger to oncoming cars and they give you more room.
That makes sense.
I will say that riding my touring bike with panniers I get alot more room and less road rage then I do if I don't have panniers at all.
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Old 07-03-07, 09:41 AM   #6
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I have mine on the left, somehow I figured it might stay cleaner not being on the derailler side.
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Old 07-03-07, 10:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
It makes you look bigger to oncoming cars and they give you more room.
That's what I've aways figured, too. Also a consideration if you have any reflective material on the pannier for night riding. When overtaking cars only see the reflective material at first, better to have it further left of your body than further right.
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Old 07-03-07, 10:30 AM   #8
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Most people mount/dismount on the left, so putting the pannier on the left gives you quicker access. Also, mounting/dismounting on the left means that you'll lean the bike against something on the right side (unless you have a kickstand) -- and you don't want to lean the bike against the pannier. Therefore, pannier on the left.

I'm planning on adding a kickstand to my commuter (aka, my 40-year-old virgin bike), and at that point I'm guessing I'll use my right pannier more often.
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Old 07-03-07, 11:30 AM   #9
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Also, I imagine that if it falls off on the derailler side it could get caught up in the drive train. But being bigger to traffic helps too.
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Old 07-03-07, 11:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
It makes you look bigger to oncoming cars and they give you more room.
+1
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Old 07-03-07, 12:23 PM   #11
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Here's one vote for on the right:

It won't obstruct your mirror at all (that's my main reason).
It gives you a padding for leaning it against the wall when you park indoors.
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Old 07-03-07, 12:52 PM   #12
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Put it on the left side, opposite the drivetrain, to counterbalance the weight of the drivetrain. Seriously (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) it just looks bad to ride with only one pannier.
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Old 07-03-07, 05:11 PM   #13
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I mount it on the left—the same side as the foot I put down at a stop.

That keeps the bike leaning towards the foot I have down rather than towards the side that's still clipped-in.

When I'm using both panniers and have an unevenly weighted load, I put the heavier stuff on the left for the same reason.
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Old 07-03-07, 06:18 PM   #14
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On the left. Never really thought about why, it just feels natural to do it this way.
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Old 07-03-07, 07:20 PM   #15
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left
I put my blinkie on the back loop of the bag.
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Old 07-03-07, 08:24 PM   #16
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I prefer a single on the left, but on my commuter the salvaged kickstand is too short. Even the slightest weight on the left sends it crashing down, but I can load up the right hand side until the pannier breaks without any problems.

Of course, I mostly use a garment bag pannier, so this usually isn't an issue.
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Old 07-03-07, 09:49 PM   #17
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Aroud here, it's calm in the morning but breezy in the afternoon. I'm going to start using the single pannier on the leeward side.
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Old 07-04-07, 09:41 AM   #18
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thanks for all the responses, looks like the left side gets more votes so that's the way I'm gonna go.
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Old 07-04-07, 11:15 AM   #19
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My gf and I share a pair for commuting. I use the right because...well, I happen to have the right one.
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Old 07-04-07, 11:18 AM   #20
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I prefer of the off-side to make myself appear bigger but in the long term you have to equalize wear and tear so Im currently using a kerb-side pannier.
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Old 07-04-07, 12:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
It makes you look bigger to oncoming cars and they give you more room.
It really works, too. I'm given far more passing room with my pannier on than when I ride with no pannier.
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Old 07-05-07, 08:42 PM   #22
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I go with whatever pannier is handy. I have two for when I need two so the "one" I will grab will depend on what I haven't emptied out of the panniers from the last time. But some considerations:

. on the left side reflective material increases visibility in traffic
. if you put it opposite the drivetrain, and you need to set the bike down to get something out of your pannier, you're putting the bike down on the derailleur which could bend it. (not usually an issue in a city with tons of things to lean a bike against)
. but if you put it opposite the drivetrain you are physically more likely to be out of the way of the drivetrain when locking the bike/removing the pannier so less likely to grease stain yourself. (maybe only a consideration for a **** like me)
. if the bike is already locked somewhere I like having the pannier that matches the facing side so I don't have to mvoe it from what it is leaning on.
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Old 07-06-07, 07:05 AM   #23
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I arranged my panniers so the one with the keys and organizer pocket goes left, using the left if I only use one. Jarery once mentioned another benefit: protecting the drivetrain from road spray off passing cars. Can't hurt.

Even with only clothes and a lock, I notice the imbalance and a squirrely rear end at speed. Maybe it' just me.
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Old 07-06-07, 07:43 AM   #24
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I don't use a single pannier per se, but I put my huge handlebar bag on my rack like a pannier. It goes on the right side for a few reasons.

1) Because the zipper is on the backside of the bag and therefore is facing me when I'm on the left of the bike.
2) When I lay the bike down, the bike isn't on the bag. (drivetrain side up)
3) With the weight on the right side, I can use the kickstand and crank the handlebars and not worry about it falling over.
4) To be honest, I never gave it any thought. I just do it that way. I think had I mounted it on the left, I would have moved it to the right the first time I needed to lay the bike down.

As far as drivers giving more room, most drivers give me room anyway on the commute route. As much room as possible anyway. I noticed more respect having a blinkie or trailer than I have with panniers. An maybe it's just me, but having a helmet gets more respect as well. You'd think it would be the opposite.
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Old 07-06-07, 12:22 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeatonR
Most people mount/dismount on the left, so putting the pannier on the left gives you quicker access.
I would always hit my foot on the pannier when re-mounting after a stop, so I put the pannier opposite that foot.
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