After one begins to ride a bicycle, one begins to figure out ways to not haul things on one’s back. At least that is how it worked for me. I hate having things on my back. I think this comes from my very first forays into bike commuting taking place during Idaho summers. Hot and sweaty backs and backpacks with sweat saturated straps are not for me.
Here was my first solution. These are very nice panniers which I paid a lot of money for in 2000. I think they were $70.00 apiece. When I eventually ride across the country I will take them along as they hold tons and are sleek and well designed. I have used them a goodly amount; when I was student teaching I rode to teach each day and all of my materials fit right in there.
But sadly, they are not quite perfect for Portland. It rains here. A lot. And every time it starts to rain, I had to stop and get out the rain covers. I didn’t like that so much and began looking with envy upon the rain proof panniers of other bikers. Also, I worried about them getting stolen and took them with me everywhere.
Here was my next solution. I don’t know about other towns, but these bike buckets are HUGE in Portland. It’s not surprising. They are fairly rain proof, not super expensive, and they are made from recycled materials. You can even make them yourself. I did not do this, however, instead choosing to purchase mine from my favorite bike store Citybikes. They were $25.00 apiece, so two of them set me back $50.00. Not cheap, but $20.00 cheaper than one of the above two panniers.
I used canvas shopping bags and they fit right inside the buckets. When I had to make a stop at the library or grocery store, I just lifted the canvas bags out of the buckets and walked away. It made hauling things simple.
Also, I put this fun reflective tape on the back to keep people aware of me.
So with all this perfection of my bike buckets, why would I need to go with another style? Well it had to do with not wanting to carry around canvas shopping bags all the time. Durable they are, but they look so sloppy. I bought this bag last winter, and it didn’t fit in my bike buckets. So began the search for a good but cheap expansion of the bike rack.
My solution came from wandering through Home Depot. I spied in the closet makeover section a variety of wire drawers. They turned out to be just the thing. I bought one and some zip ties to attach the drawer to my rack and voila! Bike rack expansion. The zip ties and drawer together came to $22.00 which is less than one of the bike buckets.
With this handy bungee ($4.95 in bike stores) my rack holds a variety of things. When it rains, I take a piece of plastic sheeting and set it across the top and we have a quick rain proof way to cart things around.
With all that evolution, I’m ready to evolve to the Extracycle. Someday.