We’ll admit it: One of the downsides to riding a bike everywhere means some purses just don’t work with a two wheel lifestyle. But because clutches and top-handle bags are pretty much a no-go (unless you’ve got a handy basket to stow it in) doesn’t mean your trusty biking bag has to be a utilitarian messenger tote that clashes unfortunately with your go-to leather boots. In fact, we’ve found five cute bags that will allow you to ride in style...without impacting your safety.
1. Crossbody Bags
You probably already have a trusty crossbody that you wear when running errands or when you’re traveling. But there’s one reason this classic bag shape is so good for bike life: It’s usually worn close to your body, which means you won’t have to constantly adjust it during your ride or worry about it slipping off.
Just be sure to choose a bag that hangs no lower than your hip, as the last thing you want to deal with is a purse that hits your thighs every time you pump those pedals. Remember, the shorter the strap, the easier it’ll be to manage with this type of purse. And we highly suggest choosing a bag with a zipper or a flap closure...because the easiest way to ruin a relaxing ride is to lose your wallet/keys/phone halfway through.
2. Belt Bags
Before you ask, yes belt bags are still cool. And we love that you can wear them in any way you’d like. Whether that means slung across your chest or strapped around your hips (or waist) is totally up to you. The fact that these bags tend to be worn close to the body means you won’t have to worry about them moving around too much, even as you bike down a winding lane or find yourself riding hills.
Trust us, whether you go with a sportier nylon fabric (like this affordable Everlane number) that won’t get ruined during the sweatiest of summer days or you choose a cute leather design that perfectly matches your Bluejay bike (we fully support a white leather bag on a white bag), you can’t go wrong with any belt bag.
Of course backpacks are a biker fave, as they leave you totally hands-free and there’s very little chance that your bag will shift while you ride. Just be sure the straps on your pack are fitted just right: Too loose and your backpack will slide around but too tight and you won’t be able to move your arms to signal a turn. Try a few different strap lengths before settling on your perfect one.
But don’t worry, we’re not trying to give you a flashback to middle school. There are so many different backpack styles you can find now—from designer mini bags to sleek silhouettes that hide a plethora of pockets—you don’t have to settle for a nylon sack that clashes with your look. Some designs we’re into lately include the Bee & Kin leather backpack that comes with a wireless charger in the front pocket and Away’s grown-up take on the knapsack, which is made from water-resistant nylon and has roomy compartments specifically designed to house a laptop or a change of clothes.
4. Messenger Bags
These carryalls work well if you need to tote around a laptop, an extra pair of shoes, your makeup bag and an extra sweater. And they can do that all without throwing off your balance or interfering with your pedaling and steering.
Our best tip for finding a messenger bag you’ll actually use? Look for one made from a lightweight fabric (like this one from Dagne Dover) that won’t add any extra heft to all the items you need to tote around. You’ll also want to find one with an adjustable strap, so you can wear it on your back while you pedal and then shift it to a crossbody once you hop off your bike.
5. On-Bike Bags
These are perhaps the safest hands free bike bag option because they’re actually designed to be affixed to your bike; some can be strapped to your handlebars while others fit under your seat and there are even some that sit smack dab in the middle of your bike’s frame. We’re partial to the woven rattan style of the Tuckernuck Pannier basket, which affixes to your rear rack by metal hooks but has a top handle, making it ideal for shopping trips to the farmers market or to hold an actual picnic for a day at the beach.
If you’d prefer a zippered style, you can certainly find that too. Like this adorable leather bag from Free People that can easily be buckled to your handlebars while you ride and then instantly becomes a crossbody when you’re ready to explore by foot. Or, you could go with a waterproof pack from Rapha that affixes to the rear of your bike and can hold quite a lot of the stuff you actually need. You know, like water, snacks, lunch and a change of shoes.