For a long time now I’ve commuted with a pannier (office) bag and a bar bag. These have worked really well, especially on 18.5 miles commutes verses a rucksack on my back which put too much pressure on my body. The bar bag was a useful place to keep keys and valuables as well as my front light battery pack. I also didn’t like a sweaty-rucksack-back on hot days.
I see a lot of commuters with rucksacks and my bags are starting to show their age, so I decided to try a rucksack for a week before investing in new ones. My commute for some time has been a lot less than when I started with this setup, but I kept the same setup. Currently my commute is only 12.5 miles and the weather was hot, so it felt like a good time to try.
After a couple of weeks at 12.5 miles I can confirm:
- One bag is better than two; carrying two bags around is more hassle
- A rucksack is an easy bag to carry
- Clipping bags on and off wastes time
- A bar bag makes it difficult to fit a front light (or a second in my case), I have to have an accessory bar hanging the light below the bag
- Luggage on the bike does seem to weigh the rear end down
- On hot days you get a very sweaty back with or without a rucksack, so it doesn’t make much of a difference
- A rucksack is lighter, no rack is required either
- A rucksack is cheaper
- A rucksack doesn’t require fitting stuff to my bike or replacing it once it is worn out or breaks
The flip side is that for longer commutes I’d still probably want to mount the bag on the bike, but I think I’d try and wean myself off the bar bag. Besides, I’m not looking to commute any more than 12.5 miles 🙂
My chain was getting worn, so I cleaned up bluebell, removed the rack, bar bag mount and accessory bar and set her up:
She’s a little more lively but still heavy, the rucksack is working well and I can always put the rack back on, it’s only 4 hex socket cap bolts after all. (Yes, that is a ~960g rear tyre, well spotted – once worn out I will replace with something a little lighter)
One day I might even fit the drop bars that my first Thorn Raven came with, but there’s other maintenance I need to do on here at some point before then.