Rucksack or pannier bag

As you will see in my post on my commuting setup, I am a pannier bag man.

I often see commuters with rucksacks and I wonder why.

As I see it, here are the pros to a rucksack:

no rack required, so road bikers tend to use them as their silly bikes don’t have racks
no expensive pannier bag required; any old rucksack will do
total kit weight is lighter
no wobble weight on the bike; the bike is kept light
easier to carry than 99% of pannier bags


wobble is on my back
back gets even more sweaty, this is the overriding factor that sways it for me
more weight on my arms and bum
shoulder / back ache

Those who know my commuting setup will know that weight is less of a concern for me, I rather focus on carrying everything I could possibly need and being as comfortable as possible. The rucksack is, to summarise, uncomfortable for me, but I’d love to know your thoughts too.


4 responses to “Rucksack or pannier bag

  1. The old cycling wisdom says “If you own a donkey why carry the bags yourself” doesn’t work so well when you try and take a loaded donkey on a train.
    p.s. whats with the “silly (road) bike” comment, all bikes are good?

    • Hello, nice to see you are reading my ramblings 🙂

      They don’t allow donkies (or full sized bikes) on trains.
      My office pannier bag does have a shoulder strap and unclipping from the rack takes but a second or two, so I don’t think that is a reason for choosing a rucksack.

      Yes all bikes are good, road bikes are good in nice weather, but my bike is good in all weathers. By silly I actually meant uncomfortable bikes that can’t carry anything more than a puncture repair kit, which you will often need (that is, if you are still riding it in this autumn weather).

  2. They don’t allow Tandems, tricycles and bicycle trailers but you can take full size bikes on trains (subject to restrictions at busy times)

    It’s surprising what you can achieve on a road bike

    Edit by Tim: fixed the link

    • I’ve only ever wanted to use the train at busy times and having asked at the station the answer is no. I nearly considered buying a folding bike once, but my trips into london are rare and I’d like to keep it that way.

      Maybe he was lucky, maybe I was unlucky, but my experiences were poor reliability and discomfort. Granted a top of the range road bike might have been different, but I doubt it, a highly tuned performance machine is not going to take the beating I give my Raven Tour and they are built for performance not comfort. Plus most do not have the fittings for racks or clearance for mudguards.

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