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New bike owner here. I ride everyday in the city for errands and eating out as long as it doesn't rain (I don't like riding in rain). As winter is approaching, I'd like to find a bag of some sort that would pack the following as I stroll the streets, or linger in coffee shops, in between commutes:

  • Helmet (clip from outside?)
  • Wind/Winter jacket (if it gets hotter and less windy, I can put it in the bag and ride)
  • iPad
  • Keys, Wallet, misc items

I don't intend to carry anymore things. A backpack could work (provided it doesn't make me sweaty), but is there one where the helmet can be securely clipped on?

Essentially, I want a single bag to carry all essential accessories, so I can just put 'em all in, and carry it with me between the rides, while freeing the hands from carrying anything else.

What are my options?

Update: I live in Victoria, BC, Canada - nearly always above zero degrees. Lots of sunshine. Windy. I don't intend to ride in even mild rain.

Update 2: I carry an U-lock that is attached to the frame, and I just realized that I can lock the helmet to the lock (helmets are unlikely to be stolen I guess), so I don't need to carry the helmet with me. That increases my options.

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    Winter riding equipment depends a lot on location - what works for Helsinki is very different to what works in Atlanta. – Batman Sep 8 '14 at 3:12
  • @Batman - they have winter in Atlanta? – DVK Sep 8 '14 at 9:50
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    Well, they had a centimeter of snow last year and the whole city ground to a halt. – Batman Sep 8 '14 at 11:49
  • Try a climbing pack with crampon pocket for the helmet. – paparazzo Sep 8 '14 at 12:32
  • You also need some means of carrying a lock or 2 (search here for locking strategies if you're new). Personally I tend to lock the helmet to the bike with my cable lock (2nd lock). – Chris H Sep 8 '14 at 15:26
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For such light weight I suggest a handlebar bag:

Advantages:

  • They don't get dirty from spray from the wheels unlike panniers (which transfer dirt to your clothes)
  • Your phone is handy if you want to check e.g. a map (I mean stop but don't get off).
  • They've typically got a shoulder strap and quick release mounting so they're easy to take indoors.
  • They've got slightly more capacity than you say you need -- you'll soon use it.
  • Unlike a backpack they won't make you sweaty
  • You can always add a backpack for shopping

Disadvantages:

  • They're quite small
  • Cheaper ones soon start to let water in (true of any bag though)
  • (This is the big one for me) they get in the way of handlebar mounted lights. This may or may not be an issue for you, but don't ignore it.

Even a wedge bag would hold all your stuff except the helmet.

Whatever you go for either clip the helmet on the outside or get a mesh helmet bag - helmets can do with some fresh air and a bag that will hold a helmet is quite bulky.

I've got an Altura dryline -- not the cheapest option but it has a mapcase to go over the top and can keep a netbook and change of clothes dry. It would take a helmet for a small head, but not mine. I recently switched back to using it because of a baby seat.

There are much cheaper options (example) out there as well, and most come with a shoulder strap.

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  • Wouldn't a handlebar bag get in the way of handling the bike (e.g.: during the turns)? I don't plan on riding in rain. – Sridhar Ratnakumar Sep 9 '14 at 3:37
  • No it doesn't, because it's attached to the handlebars and turns with them. – arne Sep 9 '14 at 8:04
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Just get a small backpack and a drybag that fits inside it. Put clothes and electronics into the dry bag and put that into the backpack. As Batman says though, winter may need more than just the items you list. Here, I need a LOT more protection as it gets COLD.

As for keeping a helmet secure, there are loads with a mesh or similar on the outside that you can put your helmet into or clip onto (I tend to just clip it around a strap and let it dangle though). I'd suggest going to a bike shop and looking at their stock.

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There's only really a few options in terms of bags.

At the top level, you can have something that fits onto the bike (a pannier), or something that fits onto you.

For many people, panniers are a convenient solution and can clip/unclip from the bike in a few seconds. But you need a bike rack, and not all types of bike support this.

Looking at things that would fit onto you, I can think of three. First, as you say, there is the backpack. Personally, I don't like them because I don't like having things on my back when I'm cycling, but it's just a preference thing. The second option is some kind of courier bag, which would also go across your back. for example

enter image description here

For my money, that's just about the same as a backpack, but you might find you prefer one style over the other.

Third option is a bumbag, or waist bag. You're obviously restricting the amount of carry-space here, but depending on how bulky your jacket is, it might work. For example:

enter image description here

I ended up with one of these (style, not bag) and it is good, but I need to be very discerning about what I carry. You might find your iPad is a limiting factor here, although I managed to get a 7" tablet in mine. But this is something you'd need to check against the spec. Obviously when you think about a helmet, you'll looking at clipping it to the bag rather than putting it in the bag.

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