At Rothar, we believe that bikes should be practical above any other consideration. Yes, it may look better without any straps or bags on it, but reality is, you will have to carry your things. Since bikes are the most efficient way to transport things, there are a lot of options you can look, depending on what weight and volume you are carrying. Below we detail a few options.
Sometimes we just need our wallet, a couple of spare tubes and some tools, like on that Sunday morning ride. Or during the week, we may just need to carry some packable waterproof gear to make sure we don't arrive at work soaked. For this, and even a bit more, the options are almost endless.
Super practical and comes in all shapes and sizes. They’re also super-cheap, simple and easy transferable from one bike to another.
Pros: Cheap; huge range; easily transferable from bike to bike
Cons: Limited carrying capacity; easily steal-able
Handlebar / stem bags
Still not very popular in Ireland, handlebar bags are immensely practical as they enable you to have everything at hand: wallet, phone, waterproof gear, or a spare tube.
Pros: Quick to access contents; decent capacity; easy to take with you off the bike
Cons: Can affect handling; better quality might also require a clamping system
If you cycle to work, you may need to carry more stuff like lunch, a change of clothes, a laptop, or you may need to get food supplies on the way back home. Good news is that there are a lot of options for you there.
Tube bags and triangle bags
These take the the space in the triangle of your bike and can be very useful for flat enough items such as locks, lights, wallet or phone. They give you more space than the saddle bag and are not easily stealable. Main problem is that they don't fit stepthrough frames.
Pros: Simple solution for carrying a bit more
Cons: Don't fit stepthrough frames
When messenger bags are well built, they are indestructible and are very comfortable. They have a huge carrying capacity, perfect for laptops, are easily accessible and did we mention they looked cool? Rothar stocks the legendary Chrome brand, that we have been using for decades.
Pros: Huge carrying capacity; stylish
Cons: You can cary too much stuff and hurt your back
Baskets / front carriers
Front baskets and rear baskets are very practical items, can be detachable and look good. They may impede your steering quite a bit if you put too much stuff in them, but they are the indispensable accessory to a classic city bike.
Pros: Easy to chuck stuff in; big carrying capacity; classic aesthetics
Cons: You cannot put a lot of weight in them (except for the Basil Robin)
Heavy / voluminous stuff
Did we tell you bicycles are the most efficient way to transport humans? They are also the best to carry stuff, from the weekly big shop to small people or tools for your trade, and even the entire camping gear for your adventures.
Our favourite among all options because they are so simple to install and to use: you’ll be amazed what you can carry in those. at Rothar we do our weekly shop with them (the Vaude ones are our favourite), our swimming gear (that is including the wetsuit, towel, hot drink, swimsuit), we carry compost from the garden centre with them, they are just amazing. They can be of different capacities, a lot of them are waterproof, and you can use them as a tote bag or a backpack when off the bike.
Pros: Easy to organise load with separate bags; very good carrying potential; weight is spread around bike so doesn’t affect handling too much
Cons: The weight needs to be well distributed between panniers. Need a bit of experience.
Cargo bikes / e-cargo bikes
Really, we don't say this only because we are bicycle nerds, but also because we have talked to many of our customers who have replaced a car (generally a second car) with a cargo bike, and that we use one ourselves. They come in a lot of different shapes and forms now, and even for inner canal dwellers, a long tail cargo bike will fit in a regular size hallway. For people who prefer the box one, the new designs mean you can transport everything from pets to children, and never have to worry about petrol costs, insurance or getting stuck in traffic jams. Did we mention they are also a lot of fun?
Pros: Purpose designed for transporting heavy loads; fantastic capacity
Cons: Can be a high cost for a family, but recouped quickly.