I have a professional messenger bag (chrome mini metro messenger) I have been carrying for about 2 months. The bag weighs around 3 lbs and I generally carry about 4 lbs of stuff in it. Biketools, phone charger, gloves etc. Its less than 8 lbs and I still get shoulder pain.

I am 190lbs and 5'10

Am wondering if there is something I am doing wrong - I see a lot of messengers in the city with huge bags and always wonder if they have shoulder pain from carrying bags on one side for years.

Below the actual bag although i have it higher up without using the side strap.

enter image description here


Take a look at your riding position. When I was much younger (about 10-12 years ago) I used a messenger pack all the time while in an aggressive riding position (e.g., track bike / road bike) . In that position I found your lower back supports most the weight of the bag. In a more upright position it pulls on your shoulder more. As a test, try walking around for a while with one... it sucks.

If you prefer a more upright riding position (no judgement!) then a messenger bag may simply not be the right fit -- sorry pun intended, my bad.

  • 1
    Update: I used to have the same bag as the OP, except with the earlier version of the D-ring that would come undone. – Rider_X Apr 15 '16 at 19:26

You may want to use a cross strap if you have one (a strap that goes over the chest) to help stabilize the bag, and play with where the messenger bag sits. The width of the bag's strap also can have an effect, as well as the level of padding. I've also found that a loose bag, which can move around a lot, can cause pain while biking versus a bag that is held snug (but not too tightly) on long rides.

They aren't for everyone, and some people would be better served with a backpack.

For an actual messenger, a messenger bag makes sense, since they can quickly deliver their messages while hoping on and off the bike. If you're just going to work and only unpacking when you get there and when you go home, you don't have that advantage.

  • so how tight to my body i have the bag may make a difference?? – nolawi Apr 15 '16 at 17:30
  • @nolawipetros keep snugging it up until it makes a difference. As you say, some people can carry a heavy bag for years with no issue, others cannot. Batman made a suggestion, you need to fiddle with it until it works for you, or decide that it won't, then switch to a different (kind of) bag. – FreeMan Apr 15 '16 at 17:47

Is it one of those bags that go on only 1 shoulder?

I've delivered news papers in England for 6 years, our bags would be close to 10 pounds on a sunday.

I found that my shoulder hurt a lot after a while. I started swapping the shoulder I would wear the bag on. One day on the left, one day on the right. That seemed to work a bit better.

Alternatively you might want to try bags with belt straps around the stomach, but they might be tedious if you need access very often.

I used to wear one of these: (not me on the picture, but same bag):
enter image description here

I used it for about 1-2 hours daily for about 6 years. At the start of a round it was very heavy, getting lighter as I went along.

Looking at your bag, it might be that it can only be worn on one shoulder(?). You might either want to get a mirrored version of that bag or get one that works well for both shoulders.

For me, I found that the pain was also in part because one shoulder got really strong and bulky, while the other was relatively small. Balancing out helped somewhat. But also with time things get better as your body adapts to the load/stress.

Gud lucks.

  • added a photo of the bag – nolawi Apr 15 '16 at 18:47
  • I see. I added picture of my old news paper bag. – Leo Ufimtsev Apr 15 '16 at 18:54

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