That exciting time of year is back again- back to school- and there’s no better time to start gearing up so that you (or the student in your life) can make the most of your commuting time by spending it on a bike! The first in our three-part back to school series covers bike storage- the best ways to pack your bike with everything you need for a safe and happy ride.
After a long summer of recovery from strained backs and shoulders, it’s time once again to load up with books, musical instruments, and gym clothes. Heavy loads are often unavoidable for students, but this doesn’t preclude safe commuting!
Rules of thumb for carrying heavy or awkward cargo to school (or work).
1. Lower is better.
When transporting heavy loads, consider that a lower center of gravity will be easier to control. Instead of using a backpack, a pair of pannier bags, like Axiom’s Seymour Oceanweave 35+ will keep the extra weight from affecting balance or momentum on the bike.
2. Spread the weight out evenly.
Balance is key here. Especially when carrying large or awkward cargo, ensuring that the bike doesn’t get overloaded on one side will help the rider stay safe and in control. Axiom’s Monsoon Hydracore 45+ panniers are large enough to fit most musical instruments with room to spare, so that weight can be distributed evenly on both sides of the bike.
3. Keep the weight behind you.
While front panniers are a great way to carry additional items (and are favourites of long-distance touring riders, who need to carry as much cargo as possible), the additional weight on the front of the bike can affect handling. A set of large panniers behind the rider are the safest way to carry extra weight without it affecting the handling of the bike.
There are some students who are unable to fit standard pannier racks to their bikes, however. Whether riding a bike that isn’t pannier compatible, or needing their bike to be unencumbered for school activities like a bike club, storage solutions are needed that don’t require a pannier rack. Topeak’s Bikepacking series of bags is particularly helpful here. The BackLoader bag comes in a 10L carrying capacity, and features a pull-out waterproof inner back ideal for clothing, school lunches, and smaller books. With the liner removed, the bag can also carry musical instruments, or up to 17 pounds of additional cargo.
While carrying these bags is a simple process, installation on your bike should be conducted by your local LTP Sports dealer to ensure that the bike is as safe as possible. It’s also a great opportunity to get an end-of-summer tune-up! From all of us at LTP Sports, we wish you a safe and enjoyable school year.