What are saddlebags?

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Panniers are bags used by commuter cyclists to carry items to work. They are installed on a rack system that folds over the rear or front wheel of a bicycle to distribute weight and reduce strain on the rider’s back. Panniers can hold clothes, laptops, and food, and some are garment bags that prevent wrinkles. They are portable and customizable, and riders can use one, two, three, or four panniers depending on their needs.

Higher petrol prices drive people to pursue alternative forms of transportation. Many people walk, others go by bus or train, still others by bicycle. Many cyclist commuters use panniers.

Panniers are bags that can hold a change of clothes, a briefcase, a laptop, a packed lunch, or a handful of other things a commuter cyclist might want to take to work. Many cyclists eschew panniers in favor of backpacks, of course, but a backpack containing a laptop and some files and some food can get quite heavy, perhaps bulky. This is where suitcases come into play.

Panniers rest in specially made rack systems that fold over the rear wheel of a bicycle. The system has a rack on either side of the rear wheel and is held in place with screws or nuts and bolts. Cyclists use one or more suitcases to transport their goods.
The idea behind panniers is to carry cargo off the rider’s back, for more efficient riding and less back pain. The panniers are installed on the rear wheel so as not to put too much strain on the pedals. Also, when using both panniers, a rider can typically carry more than a backpack could fit.

Of course, a cyclist can also install a rack system that folds over the front wheel of the bicycle. In that scenario, a rider could use four panniers, two in front and two in back. The idea with a four-case system is the same as with a two-case system: distribute the weight across the entire bike.

Some saddlebags are actually garment bags, which fold up and keep your work clothes from wrinkling. This is an option that wouldn’t be possible with a backpack. This ability to keep clothes from wrinkling is appealing to cyclists who need to wear nice clothes to work.

Panniers are eminently portable and customizable, meaning they can be removed from the bike, along with the entire rack system, if the rider wants to shed the extra weight for the ride or just for fun. Also, some riders use just one or maybe just three panniers, if the amount of stuff they’re carrying doesn’t require a full set of two or four. The idea is still to distribute the weight, especially on the rider’s back.

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