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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-05-05, 07:06 PM   #1
gwd
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Panniers without Panniers

Today I stopped at the grocery to pick up one or two items on my way home and bought
too much to bungee to the rack. No problem. I asked for plastic and tied them to the rack.
As I cinched the square knots I thought that the newly car free might need to know that
square knots in plastic shoping bag handles hold well. Just cut the bags when you get
home. The weight of the groceries seem to deform the plastic so that you have to do an
Alexander the Great to get them off the rack. Anyone know of a better knot for
tying plastic bags to your luggage rack? I hold the weight of the groceries on a
bent knee so I can gain some purchase while tying the knot. Depending on your rack
you can get more than one bag on each side. Make sure that they don't get caught
in your spokes. Sometimes I'll tell the checkout clerk to give me one paper bag
and the rest plastic. The plastic bags tie onto the sides. The paper bag seems to
bungee to the top of the rack better than plastic. Do the plastic first because the
paper bag on the top of the rack can obscure the plastic attachment points.
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Old 09-05-05, 07:19 PM   #2
jamesdenver
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wouldn't these break with heavier items? they always do for me

as for knots, ask a chinese food delivery person
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Old 09-05-05, 07:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdenver
wouldn't these break with heavier items? they always do for me

as for knots, ask a chinese food delivery person
No they never have broken. I forgot, the left one in the photo was the heaviest, it had two large cans of V8 juice and a head of cabbage. The clerks usually double bag heavy things. You are right though there are different quality plastic bags in the different shops. If you need to do this maybe you should make sure they double bag. The bags from the major groceries seem thinner than the bags from the mom and pop shops in DC. The thinnest are the Safeway bags. I forgot to report that I ask for double bags if the bike loading seems sketchy. I explain that I'm on a bike. This morning I didn't have to ask, the clerk just doubled both bags. After I took the photos I had to cut the bags off, they don't come off easily without scissors or a knife.
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Old 09-07-05, 12:38 PM   #4
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Why don't you try tying a bit of string/twine/whatever to the rack for whenever you need it. For the groceries, just loop the string through the bag loops and tie the string to the rack. At home, you just untie the string. I'd suggest not using a thin string or you'll end up having to cut the string. If the bags hang too low, just tie the string to the opposite side of the rack so that the bag's loops lay across the rack. I suppose for added bit of security, you could clamp the loops on the rack too. Not sure if any of this would work though. I'm also thinking the bags might want to slip to the other side with the latter method in which case, you might want to tie the loops to both sides of the rack. Does any of this make sense? Mind you I've never tried this. =)
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Old 09-07-05, 01:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkap
Why don't you try tying a bit of string/twine/whatever to the rack for whenever you need it. For the groceries, just loop the string through the bag loops and tie the string to the rack. At home, you just untie the string. I'd suggest not using a thin string or you'll end up having to cut the string. If the bags hang too low, just tie the string to the opposite side of the rack so that the bag's loops lay across the rack. I suppose for added bit of security, you could clamp the loops on the rack too. Not sure if any of this would work though. I'm also thinking the bags might want to slip to the other side with the latter method in which case, you might want to tie the loops to both sides of the rack. Does any of this make sense? Mind you I've never tried this. =)
I was just sharing something that works for me when I don't plan ahead. If I think ahead I bring the panniers. A friend has a rack that a U-lock fits on so she finds it easier to fit the bag handles through the U-lock which is like your rope idea. Tying to the opposite side of the rack also works to keep the bags up if you need to. The rack in the picture keeps the bags out of the spokes but on my other bike I sometimes need to tie to the opposite side to keep them up. All these little details of transportational cycling that we take in stride but newbies worry about.
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Old 09-07-05, 01:49 PM   #6
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Wow, what a neat idea! I have needed that solution several times, when my wife has asked me to pick up stuff on the way home. Thank you
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Old 09-07-05, 08:20 PM   #7
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Sorry, I thought you were looking for a solution to not having to cut the bags hence using string. The idea stems from when I used to have a steel chain (ages ago) wrapped around my seatpost all the time. I'd use it like a makeshift rope when in such situations. I never felt confident that the bags would stay out of the spokes so I had to do some rather creative stacking and tying on the rack. But you're saying this works safely? On all racks? I've got those old fashioned types (it's old). I just might have to try this out. Thanks!
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Old 09-07-05, 08:32 PM   #8
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Could you keep a couple of string/mesh bags in the pannier? They wouldn't take up much space or add much weight and they hold a lot. You could also stash a couple of small S shaped hooks from a hardware store to hook the bag handles together through the top of the rack when you hung them outside the panniers. Thay way you wouldn't have to use plastic.
Robert
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Old 09-08-05, 06:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkap
Sorry, I thought you were looking for a solution to not having to cut the bags hence using string. The idea stems from when I used to have a steel chain (ages ago) wrapped around my seatpost all the time. I'd use it like a makeshift rope when in such situations. I never felt confident that the bags would stay out of the spokes so I had to do some rather creative stacking and tying on the rack. But you're saying this works safely? On all racks? I've got those old fashioned types (it's old). I just might have to try this out. Thanks!
OK I thought I was sharing an I idea and end up learning a new idea... On my other bike I usually keep the Kryptonite chain around the seatpost, but next time I'll try to wrap the chain on the rack and pull it through the bag handles.... It has potential. If I keep the chain on the seatpost the bags will hit my legs as I pedal so it won't work if I keep the chain up there. Actually I don't mind cutting the bags, they get used as trash bags in the kitchen and I can still tie them up one more time before they hit the trash chute.

Yes it works safely on the two racks I use and on several others that friends use. I didn't come up with this trick I saw other bikers use it. The racks I've seen it work with have two or more down braces. The cheapo racks with only one downward brace might not keep the bags out of the spokes. You need to assess your own rack and they way you tie the bag and the way the items are arranged in the bag.
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