From rucksack to pannier bag for my bike commute to work

From rucksack to pannier bag for my bike commute to work

Monday 25th March 2024, by Mark McKee

After many years of cycling to work with a rucksack on my back I decided to give a pannier a try. Why? Mainly because my shoulders and back were straining under the weight of a laptop and associated tools and puncture repair kit, as well as work clothing all packed in a certain order into my bag. I wanted to see if having a single pannier would make it easier.

There is a bit of a cycle style adjustment to make: on my first ride in morning traffic the pannier side bag slightly impeded my movement in traffic. I often squeeze into tight spots between vehicles to get to the front for a change of traffic lights, so I managed to briefly brush the pannier along a bus, but only momentarily, I hasten to add! Once I found my stride I was able to judge the widths more accurately and I've had many months of straightforward commuting.

Getting used to a pannier on one side is a bit of a learning experience but is quickly overcome, especially when taking off with the weight unevenly split as the bike leans to the left:

The setup was pretty easy. I ordered a rear carrier frame and then the pannier bag. Job done on a Saturday morning. Obviously a bike without a pannier is more pleasing to the eye, but you've got a trade off between a stiff back and shoulders or a pretty look! This is my road bike, where I only commute on it when my gravel bike is not functioning, so it won't be getting the pannier treatment!


So, would I go back to putting on a rucksack on my back? Not a chance! In fact within a day of riding with a pannier, I knew I had made a good decision and it is one I am sticking with.

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