Thursday, August 20, 2009

Breaking down: pannier saga continues…

So, a few posts ago I revealed my cheapness and creativity in one swoop with the purchase of a Sunlite rear rack for the Red Shark (aka: 2003 Kona Hahanna) and two strap gizmos for a total price of $30 bucks (and using my tricked out Timbuk2 messenger bag). Like all great ideas, this one ended up sucking a little more than usual.

First there was the constant frigg’n around with the straps trying to tie the bag to the rack. Then there was the wobbly bag itself; rolling this way and that way while riding. The final straw, however, was that it looked like a home made camper- in other words, pretty low budget.

So, based on my vanity and on this experience I decided to break down and buy real bike bags. Still being the low budget money grub that I am, I shopped around and came up with the Avenir Metro Pannier for $39 dollars (I still think I paid too much)

But, dang, these bags are awesome! I rode them this morning for the first time and I must say the Avenir Metro Pannier is just the right size. Not too big, not too small. However, they make the Red Shark feel like a lumbering C141 with full load and filled tanks; which is very heavy. You’re not going to put one gallon milk jugs in there (maybe if you buy two half gallon milk jugs and stand them side by side in one of the larger compartments, and on the other side three large boxes of Fruitloops. The little side, side bags are big enough for snacks, my trusty mini-hand pump, and tools. Look, you’re not going to fit a 15 inch laptop in there, so don’t try (and if you do you’ll probably be buying a new one from all the banging around and stuff when you ride to home/work … there goes that new bike you’ve been eyeing all summer long).

I can’t quiet explain the way a bike handles with panniers. You’re not leaning into curves, you’re taking your time, and you feel the added weight when pedaling. In comparison to music listening, you’re jamming to Barry Manilow instead of AC/DC. And you get the distinct feeling that people are pointing at your bags and making fun. Children are saying, “Look mommy, that man’s bicycle is going to have little baby bikes soon.”

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