Bike commuting is a great way to save money and stay fit, but one of the main problems with biking to work is that it can be hard to carry everything you need. If you don’t want to take up valuable pannier space with your lunch or laptop bag, consider using a backpack instead. Backpacks are lighter than panniers and leave both hands free for holding onto handlebars or navigating hills. But how do you know what type of backpack will work best for your commute? How do you pack smartly so that nothing falls off while riding? And how do you properly load it on your bike so as not to fall over while pedaling? In this post we’ll explore all these questions and more!
Figure out what you need to carry.
The first thing you need to do before hitting the trail with your backpack is figure out what you want to carry and how much weight you can handle. Most mountain bike packs weigh less than 15 pounds, but some go as high as 25 pounds or more. You’ll probably be able to pull off carrying a few pounds on your back if it’s not too hot outside (and if there aren’t any hills involved), but adding 10 extra pounds onto your body will make it much harder for you to enjoy the ride.
If possible, try putting on your pack before buying one so that it feels comfortable while walking around town or hiking at home first. If possible, also bring along an empty water bottle or two from home so that you can get an idea of how much weight is sitting directly on top of each shoulder blade. This will help when figuring out what kind of pack works best for both comfort and storage capacity needs (for example: do I really need another layer?)
Choose your backpack.
Choosing the right backpack is important for comfort, safety and avoiding back strain.
- Look for a bag with padded shoulder straps that can be adjusted to fit your body. Use the sternum strap to bring the shoulder straps together in front of you and distribute the load evenly across your chest.
- Choose a bag with a waist strap to help stabilize it on your body. This makes it easier to keep upright when you’re riding over rough terrain or down steep hills.
- Look for a bag with side pockets so you can store snacks, water bottles, gloves and other items within reach while cycling. The best place is near the top of one side pocket so they’re not crushed by leaning sideways against something else during transport (e.g., other items in storage) but still inside reach when needed during riding!
Load your backpack properly.
There are a few things you need to know about packing your backpack.
- First, don’t overdo it. You may think that you can just cram as much stuff into your pack as possible and still be able to ride comfortably, but this isn’t the case. If you overload your backpack with heavy items in the wrong places, it will throw off its balance and cause strain on your shoulders and back. Overloading can also lead to injury by making it more difficult for you to control where the bike goes while riding.
- Second, make sure that any hard or sharp objects are packed away safely so they won’t poke out of pockets when unpacking later on (or during transport). Avoid keeping anything breakable in an outside pocket either—if something falls out while moving around at speed, there’s a good chance that whatever falls out will get crushed underfoot before even hitting anything else nearby!
What you pack will depend on how long your trip is and what your priorities are. For instance, if you’re going on a short ride and don’t have much to carry, you might want to bring two water bottles instead of one. If you’re going on a longer ride and need more water, consider leaving behind the extra bottle and bringing only one bottle of water—you can fill it up at cafes along the way!
If anything breaks or malfunctions during your bike trip, it’s not fun to try fix something with your gloves on in freezing weather when it’s dark out. So make sure everything is packed securely enough so that nothing will fall out when riding (which can also cause wear and tear). If possible, pack heavy items toward the bottom of your bag so they won’t affect how balanced your bike feels while riding down hills; similarly, keep items that you don’t need access to often toward the top so they’re easier to reach if needed later on during your journey.
- While riding, you should always be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to look both ways before crossing the street, and check blind spots when changing lanes or merging into traffic.
- Check the condition of your bike prior to each ride. Make sure the tires are properly inflated, there aren’t any cracks in the frame or wheels, and all controls are functioning properly (including brakes). If you’re riding an unfamiliar bike, get familiar with its gear ratio before hitting the road by shifting around a bit at low speeds until everything feels comfortable.
- Pay attention to other cyclists on the road—and don’t ride too fast! If someone is coming up behind you quickly in heavy traffic conditions (or if there is another cyclist directly beside you), move over slightly so that they can pass without making contact with either of your bikes. Also remember: never pass another cyclist from behind unless it’s safe for everyone involved—especially pedestrians!
Using backpacks can be a good option for bike commuters who want to avoid the extra weight of panniers.
If you’re a biker who wants the convenience of easy access to your stuff without the extra weight of panniers, backpacks are a good option. Backpacks are typically lighter than panniers and easier to carry around when not in use. They can also be worn on either side of your body, making them more convenient for one-armed cyclists (or those who like their hands free!).
With a little bit of planning and some common sense, backpacks are a great option for bike commuters. They’re lightweight and easy to adjust, which means you can load your bag up with everything you need for a day out on the road. Plus, if you know how to pack smartly, it won’t take long before your backpack becomes an extension of yourself—almost like another limb!