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Urban Cycling 101 with Ecology Action - Webinar Follow-up

Thank you for joining REI and Ecology Action for our Urban Cycling webinar!

Let's continue the conversation here. Ask any questions that we weren't able to cover during the event and we will do our best to answer you! This thread is meant for conversation, so it is not limited to Q&A; feel free to share your personal urban cycling experience, or tell us what you are planning for your next cycling adventure!



At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
2 Replies

Any advice for side satchels or bags for my bike? I have a Masi (metal frame) but it's going to have to carry a change of clothes, laptop, lunch and materials for my second graders. It's gonna have to hold up pretty well!


My first set of panniers were actually an old REI pair from the 90's. They worked great, though a little floppy and would sometimes get "sucked" into the spokes. Since, I've pretty exclusively used Ortliebs.

Orliebs are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to carrying capacity, ruggedness, and being waterproof. Nina and Matt and I were just talking about this, and Matt mentioned that classic roll-top Orliebs are not always ideal for carrying a laptop as the main pocket where you would put it is not padded and is up against the rigid plastic on the inner surface of the pannier. I've found that having a laptop sleeve seems to help, and Ortlieb makes an insert for this purpose:

Other things I love about Orliebs: 

- you can overfill them (the roll top snaps allow you to secure your load even if it is near the maximal top of the bag - that's a lot of stuff, or even a grocery run after work). Pictures below, gnome mug for scale 😉

- the straps and snaps are thoughtfully designed, so that with two panniers, I've been able to secure other loads to my rear rack - a smallish box to drop at the post office, a 12 pack of TP, etc.

- they also have a few different backpack conversion options, which are pretty cool.

- Once you get them dialed to your rear rack, the mounting is a breeze, and quite secure.

Things that sometimes annoy me: 

- They have the one pocket to the back, and a smaller mesh pocket with a zipper. Because there are no external pockets, I've literally spent 10 minutes digging through the bottom of may panniers looking for my keys. That's probably my bad for having too much random stuff in them 😄