Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Charlie Brown Gets a Bag

It has been bitterly cold here the last week or so which means Charlie Brown has been looking out the window wistfully while leaning against the wall.  We did manage to get out and do 2 hours of hiking over the weekend even though the temperatures were in the low 20s or lower with wind chill.  My cycling focus has shifted to indoor projects for the time being though.  I have been trying to slowly acquire some basic accessories for commuting to work.

Now I'm not what you would call a high maintenance girl who needs to carry half of my possessions around with me.  When I go to work I take my iPod, my wallet, a small pack of tissues, my current book, my gallon of water, and my lunch which sometimes is pretty heavy.  Well thanks to Globe outfitting Charlie with a rear rack I know that my lunch will have to ride on top of that.  To get the rest of that stuff I didn't figure to need a whole lot of room, but there was no way that my gallon of water would fit into a messenger bag and I didn't want to try to put all of it into a backpack.

Being "budget-minded" (aka a massive cheapskate), price was high at the top of my criteria for a workable commuting pannier.  That of course ruled out anything cool, pretty, and top of the line--but who am I kidding?  I don't go for stuff like that much anyway.  Although I can say at some point I would like my panniers to complement Charlie Brown's beautiful hues.  There's time for that later.  For now I needed something that could haul an 8 pound gallon of water to work with me and still have room for the other few things I carry.

I browsed around the "internets" dreaming and drooling and generally putting off getting something functional because I was lusting after all the higher end panniers.  Finally I snapped out of it and pulled up Amazon and looked for something on the lower end of the price scale.  I read through review after review (unlike with books or music, the reviews for products like this seem actually helpful to me!) and settled on this set.  Many reviews mentioned being able to carry milk gallons and that the panniers seem sturdy.  Since my commute is pretty short and I'm not trusting my panniers to lug about a laptop or anything really precious, I figured to just take the plunge and see what I get.  I mean, honestly, like I'm gonna know the difference between these and $200 panniers!  Oh and bonus, that set was on sale for $16 when I bought them.  Plus I got free shipping.  For that price, it's certainly worth testing them out.

I popped them onto Charlie Brown today.  It was so easy it took all of 3 minutes.  2 front straps, 2 back straps and a strap on each side.  My rack is a little shorter than the length of the body of the panniers, so it is a tiny bit scrunched, but I'll give them a good test run and we'll see how they run, er, ride.




I like that they have a good bit of reflection on both the sides and the back.  Added visibility is always welcome.  I also plunked my water jug in just to see if it would fit and it does indeed.  Now, I'll just need to get used to riding with an uneven load on the back.  I'm looking forward to getting out this weekend and seeing how it feels to ride with these on the back.
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Levi said...

I have the exact same bags that I use on a daily basis (my commute is only about 20 miles roundtrip). I love them! My only gripe is that they're not waterproof in any way, shape, or form, so you'll want to Scotchgard ASAP

Brenda said...

Levi, thanks for that tip! I am not planning on riding during winter rains, but I will probably waterproof them anyway for those unexpected surprise storms that are sure to happen! And I'm glad to hear from someone who has had a great experience with them already.