Monday, December 12, 2011
There are all sorts of ways to carry stuff on a bike. For fully loaded touring the front or rear rack is the obvious choice. Trailers have certainly gained in popularity over the years as well. If you are carrying a load, whether across the country, or from the grocery store, those are two great options.
For day to day commute riding I prefer a good backpack for its balance and stability. I've had multiple messenger style bags, the only one of which that I felt was super well-made and had the aforementioned balance and stability, is the pacdesign bags. Pricey but worth every penny.
One of the reasons that I prefer carrying stuff on my back is purely an aesthetic one. To my eye bicycles look best when the "accessories" are pared down. I mostly find that racks and fenders clutter up the natural austerity and elegance of the bicycle unless they are actively being used. I realize this flies in the face of the current utilitarian bike chic and the randonneuring craze a la Bicycle Quarterly. I appreciate that style and the workmanship in bicycles but unless you are almost always carrying a big load and riding through poor weather conditions I find it to be overkill. Granted in Reno I have the luxury of not needing fenders for 96% of the year.
I was thinking about this when answering a question on the boblist about recommendations for bicycling specific backpacks. It occurred to me that perhaps the gear I use everyday and take most for granted is my Vaude backpack.