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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 10-07-01, 11:06 AM   #1
Matadon
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Panniers and Racks...

I'm looking for advice on a set of panniers or a rack-pack to get for general commuting/running errands; something detachable with handles/straps that I can carry around would be the best, and preferribly something with a lot of cargo space for store-runs.

I'm also going to need to get a rack; the Crossroads I have has the eyelets for a rack, but I'm not too sure what would be a good bet...ideas?

Danke!
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Old 10-07-01, 02:44 PM   #2
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As far as the rack goes, get a Blackburn MTN rack. Mine has survived three years of carrying university text books, commuting to work and all the other sh*t I do very well. Whatever pannier you get, remember you'll also need to use plastic bags to keep your stuff dry.
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Old 10-07-01, 06:54 PM   #3
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Matadon,
I have a Blackburn Expedition 2 rack. VERY sturdy. Should handle anything you would ever need. It has 4 vertical supports. For a pannier I have an Arkel Utility Basket pannier. It is a large, VERY sturdy pannier. They are only sold individually. A simple large bag with no extra pockets for organization except one inner pocket for wallet, keys, etc. It is stricly designed for errands around town, not touring, though it would certainly work to carry a load of anything. Large enough for a single LARGE standard paper grocery bag filled to the brim and then some. Some people are concerned about balance with a single pannier. I assure you, your body automatically compensates and you never know the difference even with a heavy load. Believe me, I have loaded it up! The pannier has a carrying handle as well as D-loops for attaching a shoulder strap. I used mine every day for commuting for months and I love it. I still use it when I have extra stuff to carry. Technogirl has a UBP also. Are you out there, TG? The UBP is made of waterproof fabric but is not completely waterproof since the seams are not sealed. I may seal them someday, but for now I have a waterproof rain cover for it.

My regular daily bag is now a Carradice Seatpost Quick Release (SQR) Slim. I got it because I like to ride my road bike once a week or so but did not want to put a rack or anything extra. By purchasing an extra SQR block, I can now quickly move the whole bag from one bike to the other rather than run down a checklist of the individual items (wallet, keys, ID, ...) I used to transfer from my regular bag to a backpack. The SQR slim is about 1400-1500 cubic inches, about the size of a small backpack and rides very securely on its mount. Very stable, no sway or bounce, even when standing to accelerate and rocking the bike from side to side. You don't know it's there. It holds everything I need for daily commuting except changes of clothes, which I take about once a week in the big Arkel bag on my regular commuter. The Carradice bag is 100% waterproof heavy cotton canvas. I got caught in a long heavy downpour a few days after I got it so I can attest to that. It has a handle for easy carrying. A backpack accessory is available. I decided to hold off on that to see if I really needed it.

The Blackburn Expedition 2 is available from most bike shops and several online sources for about $50. The UBP, available from Arkel at arkel-od.com, is $55. The Carradice is available from Wallingford Bike at wallbike.com or Peter White Cycles at peterwhitecycles.com for $85.

Don't get inexpensive panniers. I can tell you from personal experience that they fail quickly. I had a pair of Performance panniers that appeared to be well made. The suspension bolts pulled through the plastic stiffener panel after about three months. The stiffener was made of a corrugated plastic like those mail tubs the post office uses. They are pretty tough but not tough enough for the bouncing and stress of hanging on a bike. The Arkel board is thick solid high density plastic, and Arkel panniers are designed to be repaired.

Hope this helps when you start researching.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 10-08-01, 05:55 AM   #4
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Nashbar makes some pretty durable, completely waterproof panniers. They are huge and cheap. They don't have any pockets, though, and being waterproof means that any moisture inside the bags stays there until you dry them out.
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Old 10-08-01, 07:18 AM   #5
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I just bought a pair today that look reasonable and were strongly recommended by the LBS. Altura Skye Panniers - Claim to be 26 litres for the pair (they look a little more), tough cordura, quick release system that looks like it should last, inner drawstring, small outer pocket (about the width and height of an English OS map and about an inch deep), good sized main compartment. They're supposedly heavy showerproof as they are, but have a built in bright yellow rain hood that pulls out and reputedly makes them 'near waterproof'. I've yet to fit them but they come with a 2yr guarantee and cost £49.99 UKL sterling for the pair.

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Old 10-08-01, 04:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by latakiahaze
They're supposedly heavy showerproof as they are, but have a built in bright yellow rain hood that pulls out and reputedly makes them 'near waterproof'. I've yet to fit them but they come with a 2yr guarantee and cost £49.99 UKL sterling for the pair.
WARNING - the yellow rain hood will not be effective in heavy rain. I've got that thing on my panniers and the problem is that when it really pisses down (something it hasn't done for a while here), the water will get caught in the bottom of the rain hood, and all the stuff in the bottom of your panniers will get soaked.

To combat this, you need to put your stuff inside plastic bags in the pannier. That will work.
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Old 10-08-01, 04:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L




WARNING - the yellow rain hood will not be effective in heavy rain. I've got that thing on my panniers and the problem is that when it really pisses down (something it hasn't done for a while here), the water will get caught in the bottom of the rain hood, and all the stuff in the bottom of your panniers will get soaked.



To combat this, you need to put your stuff inside plastic bags in the pannier. That will work.
I used to backpack a lot, and one of the most important things was to pack everything that shouldn't get wet in plastic, no matter how waterproof the damn pack was. I learned this one the hard way, of course...
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Old 10-16-01, 05:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
I'm looking for advice on a set of panniers or a rack-pack to get for general commuting/running errands; something detachable with handles/straps that I can carry around would be the best, and preferribly something with a lot of cargo space for store-runs.
I've had my panniers for two weeks now and find them extremely useful. Be warned though, fully laden they effect control of the bike quite noticeably. Uphill is understandably harder going and downhill is noticeably faster. I find cornering quite sluggish, sharp turns are a lot harder.

I also find riding over sleeping policeman with bottles of beer clanking together in the panniers really brings sweat to the forehead.

Richard
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Old 10-16-01, 06:24 AM   #9
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A friend who comes on Audax rides with me has a Carradice bag that fits to and adapter on his seatpost. It goes on an off really easy and he reckons he gets more into it tha he used to fit in his old panniers.

I'm quite jealous of it and may get one myself

Stew
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Old 10-16-01, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by stewartp
A friend who comes on Audax rides with me has a Carradice bag that fits to and adapter on his seatpost. It goes on an off really easy and he reckons he gets more into it tha he used to fit in his old panniers.

I'm quite jealous of it and may get one myself
Personally, I wouldn't be going anywhere near a seat-post rack, no matter how much they can hold. Not unless you want to end up with a broken seat post and having to ride out of the saddle all the way home.
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Old 10-17-01, 09:12 AM   #11
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Blackburn for me, with Karrimor panniers. Mind you since I use the right hand one for commuting (reflective strip you see) it's starting to look a bit ropey after 10 years.

I agree with Chris tho', and if using in rain always line with a big poly bag.
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Old 10-26-01, 10:26 AM   #12
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If your bike had fenders, then avoid the racks with a solid plate. The open frame style of rack has more attatchment points for bungee chords when you carry larger loads. The plate is a useful mud-catcher, but does detract from its utility.

As for panniers, look for one with a modern clip-on fitting. This is much better than the old-fashioned elastic chord and hooks.
Get a set with good stiffening boards (esp at the bottom)
Cordura nylon is not a particularly good material for bags. Any waterproof layer will wear out within a year, then they soak up water. Welded polyester (like Ortleib) or cotton canvas seem to work better.

Dont skimp on quality. Poorly made panniers are a real drag.
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