There are many ways to cart your gear around by bike. Personally I reckon you can’t beat bags of shopping dangling from the handlebars for a low tech, low cost solution. If that isn’t your thing, then here are some of the other ways I’ve tried.
A basket on the handlebars seemed like a good place to start. I got this wicker Basil basket which attaches to the bars with 2 hooks, so it can easily come off and on. I like being able to see my stuff while I ride, but I find the basket on the bars makes my balance and steering feel unsteady.
These Basil panniers just don’t quite do it for me, somehow. I find them a bit bulky and heavy and the attachments are a bit difficult. They do mean that my shopping is hidden away, though, and on bigger shopping sprees I sometimes leave my shopping on the bike while it’s chained up.
I also have these Orteleib panniers. These clip on and off easily and are said to be waterproof. I cycled to a BBQ with these panniers full of food and beer, and on a very steep uphill, the weight at the rear tipped me into an unplanned wheelie. Going home was easier after the food and beer weight was more evenly distributed in me and my other half’s bellies, with a much more sensible centre of gravity.
This little saddlebag is perfect for a round the bays pedal: just enough space for a wallet, phone, sunscreen, lock and toolset, and nicely stashed out of the way.
While I didn’t take well to the basket on my upright bike, I’ve found that my Brompton basket works nicely. It’s a bit weird to begin with because the basket is fixed to the main frame rather than the bars. This means that the basket doesn’t turn when you’re steering which can be unnerving, but once you get used to it, it’s incredibly stable, and carries a surprising amount of gear.
But my absolute favourite are these Wald baskets. I had to order them from the USA, but gee, are they worth it. The baskets fix to your rear carrier, and can be folded flat when not being used. I’ve had people say that they make my bike look like a shopping trolley, but that’s fine by me; it’s either that or the shopping bags dangling from the handlebars…..