The bag that changed my life
I have long been a proponent of the back pack. I love both of my cycling back packs for many, many reason, but mainly because they can carry a lot of stuff and are so well designed that the weight is distributed evenly on my back through my chest and hips allowing the bulk of the pack to not give me back pain. I used to take my back pack grocery shopping and could fit a basket size amount of food into a bag and ride home 4 miles. I loved the feeling of accomplishment that I could go grocery shopping on my bike and get it all home myself.
Then, I discovered panniers! A friend suggested I try them out a couple of years ago and while I purchased the rack, I held off on getting the panniers. I had quit my full-time job and trying to save money to open the shop. I didn’t want to purchase any items that weren’t necessary to my survival. Little did I know how much they were going to change my life.
Moving back to Texas, the memory of extreme heat that I had suppressed while living in NYC, came back. The heat is hot and brutal, and while I wanted to use my back pack to carry everything like I did in mild weather conditions, back sweat became a problem.
When looking for a brand of cycling bags, we wanted to find an established brand that made quality products and were based in the US. Timbuk2 fit exactly what we needed and they were killing it with their new fabric selection. I ordered the tandem pannier when we placed our first order with Timbuk2, Figured the best way to get to know a brand is to do product testing. I watched the video on the Timbuk2 website on how to attach the Tandem Panniers then put them on myself. It was super easy and took less than 2 minutes. My first test ride I put my computer, dslr camera, purse, and u lock in the panniers and rode 3 miles to meeting at Justin’s house.. NO BACK SWEAT! The real test was a visit to the grocery store. I stopped by my local market about 4 miles away and took the panniers off the bike using the shoulder strap to carry the bags inside the store with me (I never leave anything I want to keep on my bike if I have to leave it locked outside). A cool feature of the bags when being carried by the shoulder strap are the magnets at the bottom of the bags that pull each side together so there isn’t a gap when walking around with the bags. Purchased around 10 items at the market including vegetables, a tub of yogurt, and bread. Took the shoulder strap off and put the pannier back on the bike with all my goodies in the bags. The bag laid nicely and securing it was no problem even loaded with groceries. Then I pedaled the 4 miles home with no problems.
Now that I have used the bags a few times, I highly recommend them. They are well designed, easy to attach, extremely water-resistant, and can carry a lot of stuff without making your back sweat. I’ll never give up my back packs, but the panniers are a nice option to use during the summer months.