Cycling bags come in various types and can be fitted to different parts of your bike...
The best cycling bag for you depends on what you want to carry
and how far you need to carry it...
A rucksack is great for a short commute or mountain biking but can be sweaty and uncomfortable after a while.
For heavy loads or longer rides, get a cycling bag that attaches to your bike. Let the bike carry the weight!
The most common type of cycling bag is a saddle bag fitted to the saddle rails and seatpost.
You can't stuff much more than your phone, some tools and an energy bar into the smallest ones. Larger saddlebags can fit in enough kit for a weekend away if you pack carefully.
A waterproof zip on your saddlebag is a good idea if you don't use mudguards.
Check out Saddlebag Prices
A Cycling Backpack is the most convenient way of carrying stuff on short journeys - riding to the gym or commuting.
A cycling-specific backpack should ideally have waist and chest straps, a ventilated back and a compression system to stop stuff rattling around while cycling.
Some cycling backpacks have a drinks bladder and tube fitted so you can drink on the move. Other optional extras include helmet holders and integral rain covers.
For cross country mountain biking a cycling-backpack is the ideal way to carry your bits and pieces. And a drinking tube is so much easier to use off-road than a bottle.
Check out Backpack Prices
at ChainReaction UK
Carrying Bags on Your Bike...
If you need to carry more, such as on a cycling holiday, you will need a rack fitted to your bike.
A rack allows you to fit larger bags and therefore carry more kit. Buy the best rack that you can afford.
Cheaper racks will 'sway' when heavy loads are carried and your steering can be affected.
A rack will either bolt to the bike frame or to your seat-post
For a rear rack, there are two main types of cycling bag...
Check out Rackpack
A Rack Pack sits on top of the rack, usually attached by straps and velcro.
A rackpack is conveniently out of the way. There is usually a main zipped compartment and pockets for bits and pieces. A small strap on the back of the rackpack will allow you to fit your bike light to the bag.
With a rackpack you can pack enough for a weekend if you pack carefully.
The type of cycling bag that attaches to the side of a rack is called a pannier. It is more common to have a pair of panniers as having weight distributed evenly is better for the handling of the bike.
Bike pannier size is usually measured by capacity (in Litres). Depending on what size you choose, you can pack enough kit for weeks or months of cycling.
Most manufacturers now produce their panniers with 'locking' fasteners to keep them attached to the bicycle over bumps or rough ground.
Altura produce a range of bicycle panniers called 'Urban Briefcase'. These include an internal padded laptop bag and are ideal for city bike-commuters.
The Ortlieb range of bike panniers and other cycling-bags are made from heavy-duty plastic and are completely waterproof - in fact, you can use them as buckets when camping! Not cheap but probably the best cycling bags on the planet. They are the panniers of choice for 'round the world' record attempts!
Panniers and a saddlebag or rack pack are a very commonly used combination by many cyclists.
For a long bike tour or expedition, you will have to carry quite a bit of stuff.
A special type of pannier rack, commonly called a 'lowrider', is available for the front of the bike.
A combination of front and rear panniers will allow you to carry more luggage. It is also has less effect on bike handling than just using a jumbo sized pair of rear panniers.
Read more about Front Panniers
Check out Pannier
Prices at ChainReaction
Check out Handlebar Bag Prices at Wiggle
A handlebar bag is quite a handy place to carry stuff while cycling. Things are easy to get to - great for cycling photographers!
Many handlebar bags incorporate a see-through map holder on the top of the bag, so no stopping to check where you are every five minutes!
When fitting a handlebar bag, make sure it does not foul your brake or gear cables!
A Messenger Bag or Courier Bag is great for carrying stuff around town and still looking cool when off the bike.
One strap goes over your shoulder and there is usually another to go round your waist to stabilise the bag while cycling.
Space for a laptop and extra pockets for your mobile phone and other nick nacks make organising your life easier - reflective material helps to keep you safe from blind drivers at night. If you ride long distances or carry heavy stuff then a messenger bag is not the bag of choice but they are great for commuting and town-hopping!
Check out Messenger Bag
Prices at Wiggle
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