Josh King lives in Seattle, where he commutes by bike every day, rain or shine. He switched to full-time single speed commuting in 2010. You can read his thoughts on going gearless at www.singlespeedseattle.com
Not content with a boring black grocery-getting pannier, I’ve added the colorful Green Guru Dutchy Pannier. It’s made from recycled material, and yes, you’d be forgiven if you wondered whether it was recycled from a German raver’s pants. It’s a pretty wild collage of colors and patterns.
In actuality, it’s made from PETE material trimmings left over from other uses and re-purposed billboard vinyl — every bag is different, and there's no telling what color and pattern of bag you'll get.
Performance is good — really good.
I've been using grocery bag panniers for years, as they just seem like the easiest solution for running errands and (duh) going to the grocery store. You slip the two hooks over the top of rack, and then attach a small strap to the bottom of the rear rack mount via a small hook — this keeps the bag stable and prevents the bottom of the bag from flying up when you hit bumps. And away you go.
The Dutchy slips easily onto the rack, and the hooks up top are beefy enough to avoid the bending and stretching that my current pannier experiences when loaded (which is good, because at a retail price of $60, the Dutchy is about twice as expensive as most grocery bag pannier).
It also has two other nice upgrades: a cover, perfect for protecting that twelve-pack from a light rain, and a larger hook at the bottom mounting point. This may seem a small thing, but it’s a pet peeve of mine; my standard grocery bag pannier has a small hook that can’t quite latch onto the beefy racks I’ve got on my bikes, forcing me to hook onto fender mounts or dropout tension screws.
Besides taking the bag on multiple trips to my neighborhood grocery store, I also used it in this year's Seattle Cranksgiving ride. Stuffed with groceries from the ten stops that made up the ride, the bag performed with aplomb (and actually drew several admiring comments from other riders).
The Green Guru Dutchy is definitely worth a look if you’re shopping for an updated, rugged grocery bag pannier with green cred — and you can stand having the rear end of your bike look like a kaleidoscope.