Confession: I used to carry grocery bags on my handlebars.
Now when I see anyone doing this practice, I regard it with the same disdain as other reproachable behaviors such as public nose picking, talking in theaters, or having the same ringtone as I do.
But for every unsanctioned behavior, there is a right and a wrong way to do it — rather, a wrong and wronger way to do it.
On the Web, there are pages telling you how to give yourself a tattoo, how to act as your own attorney, how to drive home drunk, how to smoke in your room and not get caught, how to become good at knife fighting, how to play the lottery, and other not-in-your-self-interest guides — like Dummies books for actual dumb behavior.
This very site has a popular page on how to ride on the sidewalk. And it begins with the standard, “Don’t. But if you do…” mixed message common to all how-to guides of this nature.
So with mixed feelings, I present to you: Bag Buddy:
I accept that there are urban hipsters in the world who would sooner listen to Gordon Lightfoot unironically than be seen on a bike with a rear rack and grocery panniers.
And for them, there are better options than hanging bags off their handlebars. There are huge messenger backpacks, such as the Chrome Warsaw Pro, with a capacity of 5400 cubic inches — or just over 23 gallons of milk.
And let’s not forget the BackTpack, which provides panniers that hang from your shoulders — no rack required.
But here’s another confession: I wouldn’t mind having a pair of Bag Buddies to keep in my panniers for peace of mind.
When I go grocery shopping, I begin to push a limit. I look in my grocery cart and I start to wonder if I will be able to fit it all in my panniers, my rack-top bag, on my porteur rack, in my Ridekick trailer, and my backpack (if I happen have that with me too).
I imagine the scenario where I have to slink back into the grocery store and return that 16-pack of toilet paper (but certainly not the 12-pack of beer). Or worse: the scenario where I call my wife and admit she must come with the car to carry the excess load. Both of these would be more humiliating than clipping on a couple of Bag Buddies and enduring the minor shame of carrying a couple bags on my handlebars.