Frustrated by the absence of bags that would fit on the top of my stylish, new Luna rack, I had to consider the alternatives.
Which waterproof bag would be lightweight enough, mostly for use on multi-day tours such as Cycle Oregon, but could also be used for errands, as well as longer club rides and centuries?
I was not looking for a traditional set of panniers or would have selected a more heavy-duty rack to hold them.
I was more concerned that riding with one pannier would somehow throw me off-balance, or worse, “look stupid” (this, according to my sixteen year-old son who is also a cyclist).
Avenir’s medium-sized Rain City bags with a storage capacity of 910 cubic inches per bag are terrific. The combined weight of two empty bags plus the rack is still considerably less than other “systems,” which combine a bag and rack that attaches to the seat post.
The Rain City bags are so roomy, I only needed one for my southern Oregon and northern California adventure.
They are slick-looking, silver bags made of nylon with a waterproof coating. They attach easily to my rack and feature a roll- top closure and buckle, and come with foam inserts to maintain the shape of the bag and provide shock absorption for its contents.
Removing these inserts further reduced my carrying weight for Cycle Oregon, but will definitely be returned if I’m carrying a computer, a camera or a dozen eggs.
I’m pleased to report that I never lost my balance with one bag. I’d like to think I didn’t look stupid either.
The bag was so lightweight, it seemed ridiculous not to keep it on my bike at all times even though gear drops were provided at nearly every rest stop. The roll top design allows for easy access and makes expanding the size of the bag simple, while keeping its contents dry.
On day four of our trip, in the middle of one particularly hot and steep climb, I stopped to help a fellow rider who looked particularly beat. “Are you drinking enough water?” I asked noticing both of her water bottles were full.
“Yes.” She insisted.
“Do you need something to eat?” I asked her.
“Yes! You have food?”
“I’ve got a Blueberry Crisp Cliff Bar, a can of Kern Mango drink, a golden delicious apple and some Lorna Doone cookies.”
“You’re a Deli!” she said and took the Cliff bar.
I took off and headed up the hill.
Later, I saw this same friend and she told me I’d helped her finish her ride.
Me, and the Rain City Deli, that is.
Now that I’m home, I can’t wait to start riding my bike to the supermarket. My plan is to wheel my bike, (along with my Rain City Bags) through the store instead of using a shopping cart. I won’t even have to break my loaf of French bread in half, just to get it home.