Spring, the time of the year where both humans and bikes awaken from winter hibernation to brave the road and that inevitable coating of pollen. Spring is just a few weeks away, believe it or not! The best thing about the warmer temperatures is leaving the car parked exactly where it is, hopping on a bike instead, and doing a little shopping. What way should you carry all your goodies on the way home? A backpack can do in a pinch for light loads, but if you enjoy going grocery shopping or to the farmers market then panniers are the better choice.
The first thing is to get a reliable cargo rack attached to your bike if you do not have one already. These racks at Agee’s start at only $25 with the Avenir Rear Rack and this base model can hold 25 pounds; that’s the same weight and price if you’re counting. If you plan on carrying a lot more, like I often do on my bike, then perhaps a rack by Bontrager would better suit your needs. I have personal experience with the Bontrager BackRack S, which can hold close to 50lbs of weight, and believe me I have probably exceeded that amount on an occasion or two! This rack is especially helpful for people riding smaller bike frames that traditional racks might be too big for.
Once you’ve picked out a rack that will fit your needs, its time to choose panniers. Just like racks, panniers come in all sizes, colors, and design. Some even fight the rain and keep your contents dry with waterproof coating and sealed seams. I currently use Bontrager Basic Panniers that feature water resistant fabric and a large carrying capacity. There have been many times when I’ve carried a 25lb dog food bag on one side and all my other groceries on the other side. These bags have stood the test of my overstuffing with nary a stressed seam. Both sides have front zipper pockets to keep your wallet, keys, and phone in while riding. The closure is a drawstring that keeps everything in its place while the flap with adjustable buckles make sure nothing will bounce out.
Hopefully, you're just as excited about shopping by bike as I am. Once you've got the right gear you too can make your next shopping trip an event! There are plenty of rack and pannier options to chose from. Visit our website or any of our three stores and we will help you pick the best one for your needs. Happy riding!
Nicole--Agee's Cary St.