In addition to the lovely Gazelle I received from my friends, I also received two beautiful vintage “pleather” panniers. They are both quite substantial. One is taller and thinner, while the other is wider and shorter, but they are essentially the same: they each have a deep square main compartment, with a overhanging “flap” that buckles down on top. They both attach to the bike with hooks, and a small leather strap with a snap for extra security. Yellow reflective tape has been added to both the front and “rear” side of each pannier for visibility.
I used one of them to tote some things to and from the store the other day, and I see much utility in these babies. First off, the pannier looks fantastic on The Gazelle (but as a supermodel, The Gazelle looks fantastic in anything). I used the smaller of the two, but it was incredibly capacious, almost bottomless. I could definitely fit a laptop, or purse or whatever I wanted in here. The bag of cat food from the store was a bit too wide, but I think of these as more commuting bags than for hauling groceries (I used my basket for that).
I like that these bags are, while not water-proof, I’m sure, very well designed to keep the contents pretty dry. I often go out for rides on days when it might sprinkle, and one of these will easily keep my camera and other materials from assault by evil Seattle weather.
Unfortunately, neither bag works on The Raleigh’s Pletscher rack. This is mainly because the hooks are spaced fairly far apart, and to place them securely on the rack so that the rear one wasn’t hanging off in space, I’d have to loose The Raleigh’s little saddle bag. It overhangs the rack and takes up too much room: I wouldn’t be able to easily open the top of the pannier. This is no fault of the pannier, of course. In the photo above, you can see how much more room is required on the rack for the pannier to fit than for my Basil basket.
But they work perfectly on The Gazelle, which is what they were designed for. I’m just delighted with them!