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October, 2008
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Joshua
Joshua October 20, 2008 11:14pm
friends on bikes: what are your opinions about panniers vs. milk crates? I'm eager to stop carrying my books on my back!
Comments: 5
Anthony - (October 21, 2008 8:21am)
rear panniers are great; one set per bike is all emma and i had for 5 weeks in spain. generally a reduced capacity from milk crates, but they stay on better and all offer at least some water protection. also easier to take off and carry around if needed (although i wish i could find one that converted into a decent shoulder/messenger bag; that doesn't seem like it should be so hard to do). also, they're not mutually exclusive, of course (although you might have to pick one at a time, depending on your bag+rack combo). you can get pretty larger panniers, too, so the milk crate's added capacity is more about single bulky items than overall capacity.
Anthony - (October 21, 2008 8:34am)
oh, and to clarify: i specify rear panniers not because i have anything particularly against front ones, but because i've never used them. i'm curious how extra weight on your fork affects steering, but have just never needed more capacity than my rear ones provide.
Cynthia - (October 21, 2008 12:27pm)
i have metal baskets on the back of my bike, which are great. they fold up, hold a lot. they do add a little weight but it's not terribly noticeable. the problem that could come up with the panniers - would you need to take them off your bike every time you parked it to avoid them getting stolen? that would be a pain in the ass, i think.
Anthony - (October 23, 2008 12:52pm)
i think that mostly depends on where you are and what kind of bags you have (which is mostly a question of how much you're willing to spend). you can get one of those quick-release bags, which i believe require a particular rack per manufacturer, if you're somewhere it's a concern. myself, i don't worry about someone stealing the bags any more than i do someone stealing the rack itself, or any other arbitrary part.
the contents, obviously, are another story. i have a pair of really tiny padlocks i use if i'm going to have more than groceries or a change of clothes in my bags. also, the bags (even the tedious, non-quick-release kind i have) are more easily removable than cyn's metal baskets (which are otherwise quite nice, fold-in affairs) and many milk crates, and i think they're more carryable than the milk crate.
Joshua - (October 23, 2008 10:22pm)
hmm... this is all food for thought. The milk crate, once applied, would stay on my bike. It would basically be used to hold my packpack, gym clothes, and groceries, when applicable. Panniers are certainly nicer, especially since they're waterproof and in theory more stable; but I don't want to have to take them in with me whenever I use them.

I also need to keep my bike from getting too wide as drivers in this city are crazy (I almost got hit by a UCSF bus this morning, right after almost being hit by an SUV that had just almost hit a pedestrian; my friend was biking behind me and saw my life flash before his eyes).