Summer is approaching, which might mean you’re itching to commute great distances on your bike, perhaps ferrying many of your personal belongings to a beach, lake, or another distant, sun-dappled venue. Or maybe you just want to bike to the grocery store.
Whatever your plan, you’ll have to festoon your bike with some accessories to help you to carry things. Here’s how you can hitch more things for the ride so you can leave your car in the driveway more often.
Prepare for bulk
Your sleek road bike is going to look a little bloated, so don’t expect to look particular cool. Just know that what you lack in style, you’ll more than make up for in efficiency. First, get a basket to attach to your handlebars. The cool thing about baskets: You can put things in the basket that also carry other things, which no thrifty cyclist can refute.
Luckily, most baskets are very easy to install on your handlebars, using little latches that clip into place.
Get a cargo rack
Everyone loves a cargo rack, which are the less aesthetically pleasing cousin of baskets. They won’t make you broke either, as most cost between $35 and $50, but some crest upwards of $80 if you’re looking for something really sturdy.
Cargo racks are just platforms that you can use to carry things, but they’re not exactly like baskets, as you’ll need to tie your belongings down. There’s some light installation needed, but it’s nothing you probably haven’t done before if you’ve ever operated a screw driver. When it comes to putting things on top of your rack, you’ll more than likely need a taut kind of fastener, like a bungee cord or rope, to secure whatever it is you’re trying to pack on your bike, like your duffel bag.
Additional things that cyclists love
Since you’re always thinking about comfort when you ride, you’re probably in the market for a strap seat pack. This is a dainty little pouch that can carry odds and ends and not compromise your momentum. You can keep your keys in there, in addition to your wallet or phone if you opt for a bigger variety.
If you’re really hauling some major freight, Popular Science notes that it’s totally cool to hitch a trailer to the back of your bike, but this is obviously only necessary if you’re biking on a somewhat straightforward and forgiving path. It’s also an option if you have kids and want to use your trailer as a baby-wagon of sorts. It’s a harder process than adding a cargo rack, but it still shouldn’t be vexing to install a trailer, as they “usually attach to your seat post or the axle on your rear wheel,” the science magazine notes.
Pannier bags are typically pretty chunky, but there’s various sizes that can fit your needs. They’re often draped over your rear cargo rack, but they can clip to your seat, given their various shapes and sizes. Bicycling magazine describes the breadth of these bags best, writing in a post from 2016:
Panniers come in a dizzying variety, ranging from capacious, waterproof carry-alls like Ortliebs to chic handbags with rack clips that hide inside a zipper compartment, like Basels.
You yourself are also a cargo rack
It can’t be overstated just how essential you are in this whole process. While riding your bike with a mountain of cargo, you can still wear a big backpack stuffed to the brim with a variety of things. And when it comes to the unencumbered feeling of riding free against the wind, always trust in a fanny pack.