This will come as a surprise to exactly no one who knows me well, but I have a bit of a bag problem. My long-suffering husband hears me out with grace when I come home sporting a new purse, extolling its many virtues and explaining how this is the bag for me, this is the only bag I’ll ever need ever again, isn’t it marvelous? It usually only takes a few weeks before I start nit-picking its perfection. The straps roll off my shoulders. The zipper catches. It doesn’t sit squarely on the floor when I put it down (the dreaded floppy bag effect!). So few bags have survived my brutal criticisms after such high expectations.
So you can imagine his eye roll when I gave up on my perfectly serviceable, but perfectly ugly, Bontrager grocery pannier for the Detour Ballard Market Pannier, pictured above. (A coworker pointed out that I probably fell in love with it because the model is sporting a scarf and carrying a baguette, which is pretty much my aesthetic ideal.) Long enough straps to throw over my shoulder! Extra pockets inside! Pretty, matchy colors! What could go wrong? I gleefully gave him the utilitarian Bontrager bag which, although very lightweight, drove me nuts because the straps don’t fit over my shoulders and the base is so wide that even with a few things inside, it feels monstrously large.
So far my delight with the Detour bag has been a little tempered by a few things. First, I have to mount it at the back portion of my rack because otherwise it slides forward and smacks me in the butt, and since it’s taller than the rack (whereas the Bontrager bag was only as tall as the rack), this gets pretty annoying, although I think I know how to fix that problem by putting a little stopper on the bar where I want the bag to stay. Second, there isn’t quite a mechanism to secure the long, useful straps other than shoving them into the bag itself. And because it’s so tall, it’s actually a little ungainly when it’s OFF the bike. And of course, it weighs more than the Bontrager bag and holds a little less. Oh, fashion!
The good news is, I’m willing to put up with a lot of quirks for a pretty face, and the Ballard has that in spades. I love the colors, and the side pockets for easy access to keys and iPhone. The straps convert into a backpack which is admittedly too Sporty Spice for my style, but you never know! It’s also just a really well-constructed bag, and it handled a grocery trip with grace this weekend, which is really what I want it to do!
Ultimately I might also want the deliciously compact and versatile Phinney, for shorter, non-errand rides where I just need someplace to drop a book and my sunglasses and keys (as you can see, the bag covetousness never ends). I’m also in the market for a bungee to strap my U-lock to the rear frame, and I love the one that Dottie from LGRAB featured this week.
*the title is a shout-out to my favorite movie of all time, Noises Off.