Carry All The Things!

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I thought I did a quick product review of my first pannier, but it appears I have not done one. Unless I missed it somewhere in my archives, in which case this will be a quick recap of that because I got me a new pair—pair—of panniers, thanks to my REI deductible.

Outdoors is fun.

For the last year or so I’ve been hauling my junk, mainly to and from work, with a Seattle Sports pannier. Nothing too special—blue and black. It’s a decent-sized compartment with a single zipper pouch on the exterior. Rolls over on the front with pinch clips (or whatever those things are called; finger smashers).

I only really need a single pannier to haul my work clothes with me to and from the office. And to throw in random things for those rides which called for extra carrying capacity.

So why throw my REI deductible on a new pair of panniers?

Groceries.

I confess, bike community. I live, maybe not even two blocks from a Giant grocery store and, on occasion, I have driven to haul my food wares back to my abode.

Shameful. I know. I hang my head.

When I’m not driving, I’m (psuedo)hulking out with 4-6 bags of reusable grocery bags dangling precariously from my arms. It becomes an interesting balancing act when fragile foods are involved like eggs and bread. And drivers passing through the East-West Highway and Colesville Road junction are not your most patient types. *jerks*

But despite these modes of grocery shopping, I’ve longed an attempt to do more by bike, including hauling chicken, eggs, veggies, and foodstuffs galore. I was determined to try; to cross that hell-hole of a intersection, buy groceries, and haul it back to the apartment. I wanted the speed without being in a car. I didn’t want to feel the mixed-fiber straps of the grocery bags digging into my shoulders, and tangling my hair. Nope. Done with that.

I made my first maiden voyage with the new panniers a couple weeks ago (this should be given names, like those twins on Bob’s Burgers or something…), and bike friends, they did well.

In addition to the bags being slightly more voluminous than the Seattle Sports one, having that extra carry capacity (the extra pannier) does make a huge different for being on the bike. All the weight isn’t precariously balanced on once side of the bike anymore. It’s (more or less) balanced across both sides, and my back (I also bring a small backpack with me).

While I’m not bringing home a week’s worth of food, having that extra carrying capacity still makes a difference compared to just one.

The other things I like about these panniers is the material.

My Seattle Sports pannier was water proof, but unlike these Ortlieb panniers, you couldn’t easily just wipe off the dirt. Short of dunking in a bath tub full of water, you were just swirling the dirt around into the slate-blue exterior.

The Ortliebs are nothing like that. During my first ride to the office with them, there was mud on it. And then there wasn’t. It was like one of those Tide To-Go pens doing some kind of magic on your ketchup and mustard stain. Miracle.

Needless to say, these panniers will in commisson for quite some time. And they’re bright yellow, which makes nice for riding down city streets. Or even empty residential streets. People seem to give me more leeway now that I have these yellow bags hanging off my bike.

Interesting how you can, for the most part, influence some drivers’ behavhiors with something as simple as a pannier.

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