Like most guys, I think anyway, I like bags. I have lots of them. I buy bags to put my bags in.
For my bike I have panniers and trunk bags. I mostly use the panniers in the winter to haul all the extra clothes and in the summer I use a trunk bag that has small fold out panniers which I mostly use when stopping by the cat store or human store. I like cats too. I have two of them and since they let me sleep in their bed I usually treat them pretty darn good.
I've noticed a recent trend in some bike shops - the fashion bike bag. This got me to lookin around on the web where I found all kinds of bags. There's bags for cruiser bikes, there's designer bags, bags that "go from bike to body", do it yourself bags, bags just for women, all kinds of colorful bags, purse bags, messenger bags, retro bags, eco friendly bags, hand made bags and custom made bags and design your own bags, solar bags, shopping bags, briefcase bags, yoga bags, there's even an umbrella that can be converted to a shopping bag or a seat cover for a bicycle.
Which is all fine and often dandy. If someone wants to cruise around with some of these things hanging off the side of their bike then that's fine with me.
The only thing I concern myself with is carrying bags that can carry what I need it to carry. The key is to not pick up more stuff than you can stuff in.
Few years back there was a cold spell where the snow we had would thaw during the day and freeze at night. Even though I'm a hearty soul I tend to stay away from ice, especially since I leave in the wee hours of the morning and can't see the stuff. So I had taken the dreaded car for 4 to 5 weeks when we had an above freezing night. Naturally I took the bike into work.
It was great of course. And as the daytime temp's climbed into the low 40's I was looking forward to the ride home. I figured since it was so nice out I'd stop by the store and load up on some groceries as well.
We've all heard that one should never go shopping when hungry and this is generally good advice. But I was hungry and strolling around the store and before long I had managed to pick up a couple of this and a few of that. As I was wheeling my cart out of the store I paused because I couldn't remember where I had parked the dreaded car. For some reason the helmet that was strapped to my wilderness pouch didn't register and I stood there all confused. Standing and being all confused is something one becomes familiar with as the years pass. You can see us in the parks and on the sidewalks of your neighborhood. Do not panic. We're usually just trying to put 2 and 2 together. Give us a few minutes and soon we'll be moving along.
This was a case of not having the right bags. Actually it was a case of not having the right number of bags as I had left that morning with only one pannier, since it was going to be a balmy day.
I ended up riding the 4 miles home with an amazing amount of food stuffed into one pannier and my jacket bulging out like Kirstie Alley post Jenny Craig. For some strange reason I had loaded up the frozen food items in my jacket and not the pannier and they began to thaw, being next to my body heat, which resulted in me having really really cold things pressing against my body and the overloaded pannier was very intent on taking us into the traffic and every time I would take a hand off the handlebars and try to adjust the really really cold things away from my body the overloaded pannier would try to regain control of the whole contraption and take us back into traffic.
Needless to say I did arrive home in one piece. The lesson here is obvious - buy any darn bag you want, even if it does make you look like a tool, just make sure it's big enough to haul what you need haulin.