Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bags for Your Bike Commute

Put some SPRING in your commute with these Freemonster Flap Poppy Panniers from Detours
How about shaking off some of that "blah" from winter? Living in the New York City-Metro area means enduring pretty dismal winters and cold temperatures.  If you've had to shelve your bicycle due to inclement weather, how about greeting spring with a celebration?

A set of new bicycle panniers can lift your spirits and do wonders for your bicycle ride or commute. Along with picking out some fresh transitional pieces as shown in the Fashions for Bicycling & Walking Video, your bicycle can also make a statement. Not only that, bright high viz colors are a good idea for those of us who routinely ride in traffic. Be stylish but be seen!  Here are a few bright ideas you might want to try on your bicycle this spring.

Detours Freemonster Flap Panniers
They will definitely see you coming with these day-glow orange panniers (with artist poppies no less), but the details will reveal this bag was designed by someone who actually bike-commutes.
The Freemonster Flap Panniers have a soft construction with a magnetic clasp.  I especially like the roominess of these. The interior has a mesh pouch and a protective pocket for your iPad. What I really like is how the built in rain covers magically appear out of a bottom zippered compartment.  Genius!  These easily clip off your rack and transform into a serious shopping/tote bag, replete with carry strap. They are somewhat tapered at the bottom so I haven't had a problem with kicking during my ride. I think the best part is the smiles people give you when you're riding around town with these.

Add the shoulder strap and your tote is ready.

Basil Elements Fashion Shoulder Bag 
Basil's Elements Fashion Shoulder Bag's hidden rack clips.
The Netherlands is perhaps the best testing ground you're going to find for bicycle commuter products. They take their rides seriously and the equipment is very sturdy for daily use.  I like the idea of hanging clasps that while secure, allow me to easily lift the pannier off to take into the store or office.

Hanging Clips
This sort of clip on the rack and ride situation is fantastic for bicycle commuters who wish to remain incognito about their transportation choices.

The Elements Fashion Shoulder Bag IS a completely appointed handbag. Yet it's rack riding capacity's secret is safe with you thanks to a zippered compartment that hides the hardware. The hanging feature of both the Detours and Basil Bags makes them my top choices for bicycle commutes in suburban and especially urban areas.

Basil NL Elements Fashion Shoulder Bag with hanging rack clips!
Front Bags  
Some of us like to carry our things up front in a basket or bag.  In New York City, I often see other women with their handbag in a huge front wire basket.  I can't help but think, "Man that's a LOT of weight up front!"  With so much pressure over your front wheel, steering can get a bit squirrely.  You can have your cake and eat it too with these new front bags that double as shoulder bags.

Basil Forrest Front Bag
I like this bag because it is so well made and easy to detach thanks to Basil's revolutionary clasp system. It is actually built like a vinyl covered basket, (you can see the frame inside) but is lighter than most standard wire baskets.

However, unlike a metal basket, you don't have to worry about this one rusting out or exposing your cargo to the elements. The Forrest Front Bag is completely water-proof with a removable clear shield on top for your route map. The top secures with two snaps and there is a little zippered pouch inside to separate your keys, money and cell. It comes with a strap the clips on quickly.  Max weight for this front bag is 5 kgs or about 11 lbs.

Detours Sodo Front Bag

The Sodo Front Bag is very well constructed and you have to love the distinguished herring bone pattern. This bag has a secure iPhone / iPod cover which can also be used to hold maps.  It has a quick release plaque up front and a carry strap to take it with you off the bicycle.

The fabric and styling on this front bag makes it look more like a shoulder bag off the bicycle. In fact I think it would be perfect for students traveling to high school or commuting on a college campus.  Lots of room, well appointed and easy to snap on and off the bicycle. This is really what you want! Nothing is worse than standing there struggling with your panniers or front bag when you need to be somewhere...quick.  I've ridden with these all of these bags and found them to be tight, secure and simple to remove.  Any one of them will be a welcome addition to your next bicycle commute or ride.

Detour's Sodo Front Bag doubling as a shoulder bag.


  1. These are great suggestions. I commute by bike everyday and I never know which is the best way to carry my food for lunch. Now I have some options!

  2. Hi Brad,

    Thanks! I don't commute by bicycle everyday but I do use it for most of my local errands. Like today I did about 5 miles which is still what most Americans do by car.

    Here is another link on Bike Commuting and new food containers that keep your food hot or cold as you wish:

    Don't be shy. Feel free to step up and send us a Montague Folding Bike to test and review. We have not featured a full-sized folding bike, only the Green Zone Folding Bicycle with 20 inch wheels.


    Dr. M

  3. Wow, these shoulder bags are really charming and beautiful. I love all these very much. Although I have collected TS Louis Vuitton monogram panda Torota shoulder bag at PIJ, but I also wanna to get these bags too. Its really gorgeous.

    1. Hi Kashfiya,

      Thanks! These bags are a better investment in my opinion because they can go with you on AND off your bicycle.

      Another label your should check out are the new designers from Give Love Cycle (GLC) whose bags strap on to your front or rear racks. Stop back and you will see our reviews here.


      Dr. M