Have a bike? Probably. Maybe you use it, maybe you don’t. You almost definitely know how to ride a bicycle – per a recent FiveThirtyEight article an estimated 94% of Americans know how to ride a bike. Why such a high percentage? Because bicycles are cheap, efficient, elegant modes of transportation that are fun and socially engaging.
If you already bike, you really need a rear rack and a pannier bag or two. What’s a pannier bag? It’s a fancy word for a bag that hooks onto your bike so you can hold stuff. They are awesome and an instant, cheap upgrade that makes takes your bike up about five levels. You have a European man purse to impress friends with at parties. You can carry things like laptops. You can pick up a six-pack of beer or a picnic without having to do the handlebar hang wobble ride.
For a long time I didn’t have a bag but bought the wife one for taking to work on her daily commute. I was jealous so I got the same bag – a Linus “The Sac” canvas pannier bag. The official site lists it at $69 but I think I paid $55. Either way, it’s a nice bag that lasts well so I think a good value at either price. It’s mostly waterproof except for probably in a heavy downpour – living in San Diego I wasn’t concerned on that count.
To show just some of the functionality even a basic bag like this provides I took some photos of my trip to the grocery store today. Grocery shopping by bike is a somewhat frequent topic of conversation at bicycle meetings – non-riders can’t understand how one can carry groceries without an SUV. Basically, you buy groceries slightly more often – probably a benefit if you mostly eat fresh produce and food instead of mega-size boxes of industrial junk. You also use a functional bag to carry your groceries and buy some fancy chocolate as well with the money you saved on not using an expensive car for every minor trip in life.
That’s it. Bonus: you already have a reusable bag wherever you’re riding so you can help to kill less fish, turtles, dolphins, humans, and generally make our planet a better place. Since you’re riding a bike you’re also not giving small children in your neighborhood asthma so feel good about that one too.