Choosing Bags For Your Bicycle
If you want to ride your bike for long distances or use it for commuting, then you need the right kinds of bags to pack your gear. The wrong type of bag, especially if heavily packed, can weigh your bike down and make it heavier and harder to handle. The right kinds of bags can actually make your trip or commute easier. Here are some tips to choosing bags for your bike to fit your needs without making handling more difficult.
Bags that need cargo racks:
Many of the larger bags needed either for long trips or commuting require a cargo rack. Racks are easy to install and the ones you choose should be able to carry slightly more than what you actually plan to carry in weight. They can be placed both on the front and back wheels, but be aware that riding with two loaded racks will definitely make handling and riding more difficult. Racks support large bags called "panniers" which are handy for packing clothes as well as for taking home groceries. Bike bags, or "trunks," sometimes have smaller, fold-out panniers and are great for shorter trips and running errands when you don't need a fully-loaded bike.
Bags that don't need racks:
If you're not planning on a long trip, or if panniers and trunks seem too large for your needs, there are smaller bags that can be attached to various parts of your bike. Under-seat bags are great for storing small amounts of tools, a patch kit, candy bar or other useful items. A frame bag is usually a bit larger and can store spare tubes, tools and food. Handlebar bags are often useful for storing everyday items as well, and some are available with a water bottle compartment. These bags come in a variety of color choices which add visual appeal. The downside of the handlebar bags is that they add extra weight and instability to the handlebars on some bikes if they are overloaded.
If you're someone who is either planning to use your bike on long rides, or even if you only want to use it for your daily commute, then you will definitely want to use bike bags. When choosing them, make sure that they are large enough for the purposes you need them for, but don't overload them to the point where you can't handle your bike. Contact a bike shop like Tri-A-Bike Inc to see what types of bags, racks and other accessories they have to offer that will help you outfit your bike for your long ride or commute.