Miles Porter, head of activities with BSpoke Tours and Cycling For Softies, has some packing tips for commuting and touring.
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1. Commute in style
If you’re committed to commuting, but want to bring a change of clothes, laptop and lunch, then panniers can maximise carrying capacity without ruining your ride or sapping your energy the way a backpack can.
“For a more appealing look, Brooks panniers are not only the most famous bike bags, they are classics in terms of style and usability,” says Porter.
2. Secure the store
On a regular commute, through water and road salt soaked streets, look for tough, waterproof but lightweight fabric panniers with a secure fastening mechanism, roll-top or flap-down cover and a zip or draw-string inside to keep valuables safe.
“It’s also crucial to ensure that your bike is well balanced with the weight evenly distributed from side to side,” says Porter.
3. Pack to protect
When you’re packing laptops, tablets or MP3 players use padded cases or bubble wrap to stop them moving around.
“If time is a factor, also ensure that you put the most important things you may need in a hurry at the top of your bag — like a waterproof jacket or cape and puncture repair kit so they’re easily accessible.”
4. Take a tour bag
“For cycle touring, an Ortleib bag is one of the most popular brands: easy to fit, waterproof and tear resistant with plenty of space. The Ortleib Backroller Classic is one of the best.
“Also Arkel makes some of the most upmarket panniers and some of the lightest, like the Dry-Lite, which is waterproof and makes hill climbs a breeze.”
5. Make life easy
On longer hauls, categorise your packing — especially if you’re using four panniers — allocating food and cooking gear in one bag and bike tools and spares in another. Split clothes and sleeping bag into another and label them all.
“Make sure you leave some space for any possible purchases you may like to make on your trip too.”