Luggage carrying options

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
brianleach
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Luggage carrying options

Postby brianleach » 10 Nov 2008, 8:07am

Leaving aside the option of a trailer which I am seriously considering for local shopping etc what is my best option for load carrying.

Last year I went to Brittany and used a handlebar bag and a rear rack with panniers. However the bags, tent etc on top of the rack made getting on and off the bike a bit of a problem as the load was about a foot higher than the saddle.

I was therefore thinking of fitting a front rack and thought somewhere I had seen a rack where a bag or a tent could rest on the top thereby reducing the height of the rear load but I can't seem to find them in the UK and having looked at various web pages I can't see anyone using this option except perhaps in the USA.

I could pack lighter I suppose but its really the bulky items that seem to cause the problem.

I would appreciate the views of experienced tourers please.

Thanks

Brian

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 10 Nov 2008, 8:29am

Don't leave aside the option of a trailer, as any dosh you spend out on racks and panniers could be spent on the trailer. You already plan on buying one.

Apart from my trailer, I tour with only a small seat pack.
Mick F. Cornwall

brianleach
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Postby brianleach » 10 Nov 2008, 8:44am

I take your point and am seriously considering this option but as I already have rear panniers and bags I thought I might try front panniers first.

I'm also just a bit concerned about the additional complication of travelling with a trailer for instance on ferries.

Brian

random37
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Postby random37 » 10 Nov 2008, 8:47am

I'm seriously thinking about a Cetma rack at the minute.
Look at the pictures, you can carry a lot of stuff in them, and the luggage doesn't get caught by things like lowriders do.
If you didn't want a trailer, they'd be a way to go. And if you buy one please let me know, because I'd be interested to find out what you think.
But Blackburn make a non-lowrider front rack if you want something a bit less bulky, and it's cheaper.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 10 Nov 2008, 8:59am

Hi Brian,
I take your point about complication. Quite valid.
I have only gone on a few CalMac ferries with mine, and had no problem whatsoever, but as for cross-channel or others, I dunno!

I do expect, however, that I shouldn't have much problem. Even trains don't seem too much hassle, as the wheels come off the CF trailer and the rest is just "luggage".

But it does concern me.

On the other tack, panniers and bags have to come off to stow your bike, so you could be encumbered with four or five bags not designed as hand-luggage. My suitcase (since died RIP) was fixed to the trailer bed and quite secure and neat. I now have a large aluminium box fixed on. - Yet to tour with it.
Mick F. Cornwall

brianleach
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Postby brianleach » 10 Nov 2008, 9:26am

The CETMA rack looks a bit over the top for me I'm afraid and might interfere with my handlebar bag by the looks of it. Have now found the Blackburn on the net thanks and may well go for it.

Others may know differently but I think the trailer might be a problem on Brittany Ferries if my past experience is anything to go by, the area for bikes is quite limited.

I take your point about the bags but I wasn't intending on taking any more stuff just trying to distribute it about the bike a bit better. I have to say I just leave the panniers on the bike on the ferry although I do take valuables with me. So far I have only toured from a fixed point so have taken the panniers to my tent on arrival. Next year I intend to do an end to end somewhere so will have to review this.

Brian

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essexman
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Re: Luggage carrying options

Postby essexman » 10 Nov 2008, 9:29am

brianleach wrote:
I could pack lighter I suppose but its really the bulky items that seem to cause the problem.



Brian, I tried front panniers once. They are fine for shopping, but a nightmare for transporting bikes on trains and ferries. Like Mick mentioned, when your transferring to someothing like a train, if you have two panniers with straps, you can have them on you back and get onto the train quite easily. Four bags makes it bloomin awkward.

I think your on the right track with a front loading rack for just the tent + 2 bags on the back.

i'm a trailer newbie. I find they really simplify packing and loading (just chuck it all in), but i find it a hassle once stopped and i have two large wheeled objects (yes they can be packed small, but the maneauvering is awkward). On a ferry probably not such a big deal.

SJScycles do a few front rack options. Also, look into baskets, the older top end baskets are often based on a nice front rack which the basket sits on.

The birdy has a lovely little front rack which is pefect for something light like a tent.
I hate snow.

brianleach
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Postby brianleach » 10 Nov 2008, 9:58am

Thanks for the response.

I had spotted the Blackburn MTN at sjs which seemed to be what I am after.

For me I don't think the additional front panniers would be an issue.

I use South West Trains to get to the ferry and generally am able to leave the bags on the bike as I hover around near them, it's only about 15 minutes. As you say if I had to remove all the bags it would be a bit of a nuisance.

I also leave them on the bike on the ferry which I suppose is a bit of a risk but the contents isn't really of value to anyone but me!!

Thanks for your views on the trailer.

I am still considering a purchase.

Brian

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epa611
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Postby epa611 » 10 Nov 2008, 10:50am

You mean a front rack like this

Admittedly expensive, but supposedly OMM racks are very god and durable.

brianleach
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Postby brianleach » 10 Nov 2008, 11:06am

Something similar, I thought this one

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/product-Blac ... -15294.htm[url]

It's probably heavier but it is cheaper.

Brian[/url]

Ron
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Postby Ron » 10 Nov 2008, 11:41am

Front panniers have the advantage of balancing the weight between front and rear, making the bicycle easier to handle both when pedalling and pushing it. I find I can carry both front panniers in one hand and rear panniers in the other, bed roll under one arm, front bar bag under the other, small ruck sack on my back and so carry all my luggage (for short distances!) on the occasions when it is necessary to separate bike and luggage. :)