Thursday, August 13, 2009

Panniers schmanniers! Rack bags are for Freds...

Truth be told, I am too cheap to invest in those bags which will no doubt be more suitable. But in the spirit of MacGyver, I dug out my old university backpack and found some bungee chords to secure it to my Blackburn rack! All I need are some chewed Wrigley's and melted Cadburys and I am set.
The bungee chord really help keep it secure despite my route that takes me through some crushed gravel paths. Gotta say, I do feel smug riding past other cyclists because of this uh... ingenuity! OK I am cheap.

Stuff I manage to carry with this setup:
- work clothes
- deodorant
- body wipes
- cable lock
- usual bike support gear
- my glass lunch container (easily heaviest of items!)
- other small nick-nacks (cellphone, snack bar, etc)

Well with anything self-rigged, there will be some teething problem. First it is in the way how one ties the bungee chord. Due to elasticity and my formless bag, there were sections of the bag that kinda went sideways after a few kilometers. So note-to-self, use extra bungee chords.

Secondly flailing backpack straps and spokes = immediate skid!(see above pic of the dangling strap). So be sure to either tie off those bag straps (see side pic) or cut them off to avoid destroying your rims. Or worse have the strap chew up onto the chain and rear derailleur.

Thirdly, I find by strategically placing the heavier items in the bag that will be situated close to the centre of gravity on the bike really helps for balance. In this case, my heavy glass lunch container. OK OK... I should eat less. Maybe just have sandwiches instead of pasta and left over chow mein.

So LBS, you can keep that $130 Ortlieb and $100 Topeak pannier. My 10-year old backpack works just fine. :=)

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