Hello friends, welcome here!
I’m back with some more riveting bike content for you all! A little while ago, I shared what I learned from a year of commuting by bike. My commuting set up has changed a lot since I started biking (still the same bike though 😂). The first few weeks of biking, I rode around with a backpack – which is functional and economic, but in the Florida heat and humidity, not practical. Then I switched to a backsket zip tied to my bike’s rack, better, but not the best. Finally, I invested in a pannier, which was truly a game changer!
What is a pannier? Essentially, a pannier is a basket or bag that attaches to or hangs over the rack of a bike for storage. There are many different styles of panniers out there. It took me a little while to get one because of the upfront cost and the worry the bag would pull the bike one direction or another. My cyclist friends insisted I wouldn’t even notice the bag was on the bike and that a pannier was worth the money.
They were right.
Now, I am the cyclist that encourages everyone to get a pannier as they are life changing. After my first pannier bit the dust, I purchased my current one from Anhaica Bag Works, a bike accessory company that is locally owned!! Highly recommend. It is beautiful and functional and smells wonderful.
And now for the juicy stuff: What I keep in my pannier.
If you are a year round commuter like me, you know riding when it gets chilly without gloves is a painful experience (somehow, I never learn from my hands and wear Chacos though, so…). So, I keep gloves in my bag ready to go for the first morning my fingers get cold!
Cable and U-Lock
Since I commute around town on my bike and have to leave it locked up for long periods of time without eye on it, I use a heavy duty cable and U-lock to secure my bike – especially because I have quick release tires… Wouldn’t want one of those to walk away 😅. Whenever possible, I run the cable around my front wheel and frame and connect the cable to the U-lock, which is run through my back wheel and frame, then lock the U-lock to a bike rack or secure location (never lock up to a chain link fence, your bike may not be there when you get back). Either way, I would highly recommend a U-lock in the very least to help prevent theft. Cable locks are too easy to cut.
In addition to commuting by bike, I also bike for exercise and recreation. Sometimes that means I am 30+ miles from my house, that is not the place to need an allen wrench and not have one. A multi-tool, like this one I purchased from Amazon, is a handy thing to have that could save you or a friend!
A Spare Tube and Tire Levers and a Frame Pump
In addition to a multi-tool, I carry everything on me I need to change a flat if needed. If you are unfamiliar with bike anatomy, a tube runs between your tire and wheel that holds air in your tire – although tubeless tires do exist. Tubes are a specific size to fit your set up. To check and see what size tube you need, look for raised text on your tire. The PSI to inflate your tire to will be there as well!
Light Charging Cords
A while ago, I made the jump to high powered, rechargeable lights. They are amazing. And you have to remember to charge them – which is a struggle. I keep my cords in my bag so I can easily charge my lights when I am on the go or in a pinch!
My Work Tote
I typically leave my pannier on my rack and take my work tote in and out of the bag. In most cases this is the most efficient system. Sometimes I do take my pannier off my bike and bring it in buildings with me if it is going to be unattended for a long period of time or if I think it is at risk of being stolen.
My Nalgene Water Bottle
One feature I truly appreciate about my Anhaica bag is the large water bottle holder! My bike has two water bottle cages, but they are too small for my favorite Nalgene water bottle to fit it. In my Anhaica bag, it fits like a glove. 10/10 would recommend.
That is all I carry in my pannier on a daily basis. I know it sounds like a lot of stuff, but it is mostly small and lightweight. I have collected this stuff over the past year and a half commuting by bike. By no means do you need any of this stuff to commute by bike, this is just the set up that makes me feel secure!
Cyclists, let me know what you have in your panniers below!
With love, love, love ❤ Cyndel