When I first started trialing ways to transport goods on my bike, there were some obvious solutions: paniers, baskets, an extra cycle… But as usual, cost, self installation, and low maintenance were of the utmost importance. For these reasons the finalists became saddle bags or a shopping basket. The following is a review of the pros and cons of each.
Saddle Bags are great form many uses. Transporting goods to and from work, certainly if you are locking up your ride in a bike room, bringing goods to a friends house, etc. Additionally, in terms of physics, bikes distribute weight best (i.e. you don’t have to work as hard peddling) when it is low, paniers fulfill this requirement. For my lifestyle, I didn’t like that bags I could afford weren’t quick release. I can’t always park in a bike room and I would like to remove the devices quickly and easily if I need to. Also, the bags are super awkward to carry once you do remove them. It would be possible to come with a locking mechanism and I have continued to consider this.
Perhaps the most attractive trate of the shopping basket is that it makes a statement: I am poor, please don’t steel from me. Living as simply as possible creates alignment with people around you, unfair distribution of wealth drives theft (i.e. rightfully or wrongfully, having nice things encourages steeling). This is a principle I have used often when traveling, it isn’t 100%, but I have had success following it so far. Also, a backpack can be put into the basket which, once arrived at your destination, can be carried on ones back. Although, during the ride, in the basket, weight isn’t carried low, depending on how much weight, the rider doesn’t really know the difference for the convenience of having a backpack.
In summation, if there was an inexpensive easy to remove backpack which was also a saddle bag, or a locking saddle bag devise than I would reconsider, however, so far, for the convenience, the basket aids the rider in avoiding all kinds of hassle.
Pointer: Securing the basket long ways with a short bungie wrapped through the seat helps for stabilization.