The Excitable Scientist

Mostly cheerful, sometimes snarky commentary on life science research and its broader impacts

Heavy Load (for a Petite Girl) January 14, 2014

Filed under: biking,life outside the lab — excitablescientist @ 11:24 pm

I purchased a new set of panniers last spring, about twice the size of my previous ones, and my life changed for the better. This purchase, however, was preceded by a pretty strange interaction with one of the bike store sales staff, who mansplained to me that panniers don’t come in sizes greater than the ones I eventually bought because “BC is really hilly and we wouldn’t want a petite girl like [me] to overburden herself”.


I am pleased to report that this ‘petite’ (5’8 and 160lbs, lol) girl is managing just fine, even after figuring out that on dry days her pannier capacity expands to something closer to 60lbs (combined) if they are loosely held together by a clasp at the top instead of rolled down to the advertised 42L. Consequently, I have started carrying only one pannier to work most days, in a vain effort to cut down on steric hindrance (I always feel I need triple the space of a normal person when I’m carrying bike gear). This has added amusement to the somewhat mundane task of grocery shopping, as I am continually surprised by the amount of cargo that can fit into a single pannier. In today’s edition, we have:



Fig. 1. Representative image of pannier contents following a post-work grocery trip. Pannier pictured in top left.


– 1 laptop + charger
– 1 notepad
– 1 daily planner
– 1 set of tire levers
– 1 bike pump
– 1 spare inner tube
– 1 bottle of bike lube
– 1 multi-tool
– 1 loose allen key
– 2 screws of unclear origin
– 2 spare bike lights
– 4 bungee cords
– 1 corkscrew
– 1 package of ibuprofen
– 1 bag of tortilla chips
– 1 jar of pickles
– 2 cucumbers
– 1 kg grapes
– 250g cornmeal
– 1 loaf of bread
– 3 dips: guacamole, sundried tomato pesto, pineapple mango salsa
– 1 glass food container
– 1 block of cheese


All in all, a solid investment, I’d say, and one that will in all likelihood keep my balancing skills sharp for years to come.


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