Most days when traveling around town or commuting by bicycle, there are two items that I use to carry the things I need on a daily basis: a bag and (sometimes) a basket.
Stuff by Bicycle
A bag and a basket are usually all I use to carry the things I need each day.
Keep in mind that I stow a flat tire kit to fix punctures in a separate saddlebag that is always attached to my bicycle. See this video for what I carry in my flat tire kit.
1. Carry Your Things by Bag or Pannier
During the weekdays when I need to carry a laptop (and sometimes an external monitor) I carry those items and accessories in a pannier that hooks on to the rear rack of my bicycle--like the Bergen Pannier Bicycle Bag.
When I don't need my laptop, I carry my stuff in a bag like the Po Campo Bike Trunk Bag. It is roomy enough to carry an iPad, a paper planner (yes, I'm old fashioned), my clutch, sunglass case, folding bike lock, gloves, etc. yet it is small enough to carry as a purse when I get off the bike.
2. Carry Your Things by Basket
- A basket is so handy to throw things in like my lunch, jacket or cardigan, extra water bottles and stuff that does not fit nicely in a pannier like groceries, flowers, wine bottles, baguettes, eggs, etc. I prefer baskets that hang from the rear rack of my bicycle while others prefer baskets for the handlebar of the bike.
During the week, I don't do large grocery hauls because I like to stop at the market often to pick up fresh-picked produce. You'll be surprised at HOW MUCH you can carry on a bicycle with one or two baskets! Because of the amount of weight I tend to carry in my bike basket(s), I prefer the stability of carrying the load on the rear rack of my bike instead of on the handlebar where it could affect the ability to steer more easily.
- The advantage of a basket over a bag is that it is open and you can easily throw things in or take stuff out while you are riding (or at a stop) without needing to unzip your bike bag to put away or retrieve things. That said, I would keep anything valuable (wallet, keys, electronics) inside a more secure bag or pannier. I have never had anyone walk up to me while on my bicycle and take things out of my basket--not even the wine, flowers or bread but better to keep those items secure than have them slip through the basket without you knowing.
One more thing I might take if I anticipate carrying larger things that will not fit in a basket or bag is a bungee cord cargo net. Then I can carry extra atop the front or rear rack of my bicycle.
From day to day, a bag and basket are all I need to carry things on my bicycle. What do you like to use to carry your things?