Here in Nashville, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming. Still cold and wintry, but the snow is all gone, so I’ve been able to ride again. The Bat was even talked into posing for a few photos to show off her new accessories — which my brother brought back from Amsterdam as a Christmas present.

I’m still very jealous that he got to Amsterdam first, but these new “On the Road” panniers went a long way toward making me feel better about it. They can carry a lot and fit perfectly on the rack. Great for grocery shopping.

Only problem is, they have to be buckled on and off the rack, which takes time (especially with cold fingers) and I don’t like to leave them on overnight, so I haven’t used them as much as I’d like to. Anyone have ideas for securing them to the bike? I know the canvas could always be cut, but I thought a thin cable lock or chain might be a deterrent — the kind of secondary lock people put on saddles.

One of these is carrying a little more than the other!

My other gift was a “brrring” bicycle bell, which my camera utterly refuses to photograph. Which meant googling “fietsbellen” to find a photo of one just like it! After  going through 9 pages of results (those Dutch have a lot of different bicycle bells!) it finally turned up.

image courtesy of

Mine is minus the battle scars, but I love the Dutch crown emblem. It looks great on the Bat, and is a big improvement over the stock bell that came on the bike.

Have you added anything to your bike lately?

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23 thoughts on “Bat-cessories

  1. Cherilyn says:

    Oooh, Amsterdam! Someday! At least your brother was thoughtful enough to bring back some authentic accessories for you. Good luck with the pannier issue.

  2. dukiebiddle says:

    “Have you added anything to your bike lately?”

    Yeah, unfortunately. Snow tires. Guh. But I’ve managed to ride just about every day in the snowiest city in America.

  3. MarkA says:

    My flat is turning into a collection of accessories I never quite get round to fitting… dynohub lights, retro pump, a kickstand which I got but doesn’t fit.

    HOWEVER, I did pick up the BEST pannier bag recently – it’s cool ‘cos it looks like an ordinary bag, but has hidden clips in the back that lets you clip on / clip off really easily and, well, it’s transformed my cycling experience. I never want to have to carry a bag on my back whilst riding again :o)

    I love the Dutch ding dong bell you got – the Crown just makes it!

  4. E A says:

    I’ve been testing out some panniers lately and have similar issues with always taking them on/off and schlupping them around. Zip ties may be a deterrent from a grab n go thief…

    Happy winter riding.

  5. Amsterdamize says:

    Yeah, the difference is that the Dutch don’t take them off. Using them has great value, but they are very cheap items, so nobody sees the point in stealing them. Of course I understand that you’d feel less comfortable with that, so I’d use extra (heavy duty) tie-wraps.

  6. Dave says:

    I have some Basil panniers on my Electra Amsterdam that buckle on, and I’ve left it parked outside at the grocery store, shops, work, etc for a year or so and never had anyone try to steal them. I suppose if you have to park your bike outside overnight, it might be somewhat different.

    I would second Marc’s suggestion to maybe use some stainless steel zip-tie kind of things just to make it that much less convenient to get them off. We’ve done that with baskets and panniers on our bikes, and it seems to be enough (at least, they haven’t been nicked yet).

    As for things I’ve gotten for my bike recently, I’ve also recently gotten panniers, canvas ones from Linus, for my old Raleigh:

    Bertram Carries More Stuff

    (which are secured to the rear rack with stainless steel zip ties through the metal loops on the front and rear). It’s much much nicer when you don’t have to take them on and off the bike every time you use it.

    Happy grocery shopping!

  7. dukiebiddle says:

    I’d just use stainless steel zip ties or hose clamps if I wanted to keep them on predominantly. If I wanted to be able to remove them easily I’m sure something sufficient could be worked out using a Kryptonite saddle cable and any cheap combination or key lock.

  8. dukiebiddle says:


    Whoops. “predominantly” meant to be permanently. Stupid spellchecker.

  9. Trisha says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! @MarkA, hope you get those accessories sorted out soon. I have a Basil bag that clips on and you’re right, they are great. Just doesn’t hold as much as a full set.

    @Amsterdamize, I have the opposite situation here; no one uses panniers. However, maybe that also makes them less desirable and I should just quit worrying. :)

    @Dave, nice panniers on Linus! Such a cool bike.

  10. Dave says:

    Minor detail, but the bike isn’t named Linus, that’s the company that makes the panniers :) The bike is Bertram, he’s quite a gentleman, indeed :) And approaching the ripe old age of 60, nonetheless :)

    Tons of people use panniers here in Portland, but almost all of them are the synthetic Ortlieb type that just clip onto the rear rack, meant to be easily on-off. Don’t see many that stay on the bike all the time – you do see baskets and buckets left on bikes more often though :)

    The assumption I operate on here is that my bikes are neither light, nor fast, nor have expensive racing components, and therefore the desire to steal them is probably pretty low :) So far that line of reasoning has worked out (though of course I do lock my bike up and what not, I’m just not overly worried about it).

  11. Maggie says:

    Just leave them on the bike. I bought my panniers in Holland 25 years ago. They’ve seen a lot of Dutch and SoCal weather.

    Several years back all the buckles finally disintegrated. I ended up using plastic zip ties for securing to the rack (although I do like and might implement the hose clamp & lock idea suggested by dukiebiddle). I went to a shoe repair place to add plastic buckles, like you see on fanny packs, to close the flaps.

    May you have 25+ years of use from your panniers.

  12. 2whls3spds says:

    I use the huge Basil Karavan II panniers, they are pricey enough I would be upset if they disappeared off the bike while it was parked. I don’t leave my bike parked out of sight for very long or very often, usually only while grocery shopping, all other shopping is done at smaller stores where the bike is visible through the front window.

    I have considered running a small coated stainless steel cable through the loops, but I suspect that maybe more for peace of mind than anything else. Getting the buckles undone is not an easy task, it takes me a couple of minutes to pull mine off and I know what I am doing.

    As far as adding things to my bike…I put a new Cyo headlight and a nice LED tail light on my Raleigh Twenty.


  13. Doug says:

    Trisha, Really like the look of your new panniers.

    The only thing I’ve gotten for my bicycles this year so far is new brakes for my main winter commuter, my Surly Cross Check. It’s set up nicely for winter with studded Nokians, fenders, rear rack and panniers, lights. The weak point has always been the cheapo cantilever brakes. In all the salty, gritty water that gets sprayed on them day after day, they just don’t work very well. They often stop working, or one side will retract after braking and not the other. I got so fed up with this happening every winter that I broke down and bought new Paul Touring Canti’s. Not cheap, but have been worth every cent. Trouble free braking even in the nastiest winter sludge. I love ’em.

  14. Emma J says:

    Handsome looking panniers, Trisha.

    I’ve been wondering about getting wire baskets for either side of the back wheel rather than panniers for the Oma. Or a back box. Any suggestions about either?

    Like others in the Portland area I’ve been using Ortlieb clickon/clickoff for years. Nicely rainproof and roomy: they’re great for weekend trips when you’re likely going to get caught in the rain. But not so handy for grocery shopping and other around-town toting.

  15. Dave says:

    Emma: I think the main reason I would use panniers over baskets on the rear is what you just mentioned – rain-proof-ness. I’ve had a number of times carrying groceries home in the pouring rain when they would have been completely soaked if they were just sitting in open baskets. If you want some panniers that are more permanently affixed, check out the Basil Kavan II bags (or other Basil bags) at Clever Cycles, I have them on my Electra Amsterdam, and they’ve been awesome.

    A covered basket or box on the rear rack could be nice though, and since you have a step-thru frame, it wouldn’t hinder getting on and off the bike.

  16. The gray panniers go very nicely with the navy blue frame, and I love the bell! I haven’t gotten any new accessories for my bikes in a while – but I am building up a frame from scratch, which is fun.

  17. philippe says:

    On my Azor I use Clarjis panniers, ordered from their web site with an optional metal ring, that I use to attach a lock. They rule on a traditional looking dutch bike. And they never leave the rack. They’re pretty dirty anyway, and I wouldn’t want to carry them with me.

    My wife use a cheap version of basil kavan panniers (nor the fancy leathered stuff they sell in the US…), which are such a major PITA to fix and remove, with many tiny buckles, that one in his right mind would want to steal them.

  18. danqi says:

    Trisha, u must make a trip to Amsterdam! I was there last October and I went crazy just looking at bicycles and bicycle accessories. All the things I can’t get here (rare or very expensive) in my country, Singapore, are everywhere in Amsterdam. In fact, I got a similar panniers as the one your brother got for you and many more. Damn the luggage weight limit else I would have purchase the chain lock too.

  19. Gary Daniels says:

    I gave up my car in 1970 and exchanged it for a bike because of my concerns for the environment. Living in Colorado Springs I finally decided to give Nokian 296 studded snow tires from Finland a try.They have 296 studs and knobbies on each tire and are incredible. Now instead of trying to stay on the dry pavement I head for the ice and snow for a smoother and faster ride. This Spring after I take the snow tires off I plan to add fenders to my mountain bike for practicality plus having seen bikes from the Netherlands I think they look great!

  20. Peter says:

    You have good taste in bicycles – Batavus!

    (being Dutch, I’m of course entirely unbiased).

    Are you familiar with this commercial from Batavus bicycles? It was aired on Dutch TV a few years ago….

    Oh, btw, I never take off the panniers. As someone else remarked, it’s not worth stealing them. And if they do… will get another pair for 5E. However, your situation is likely different.


  21. Magnus says:

    I have the Basil panniers and it’s permanently secured with a bike chain (covered in rubber) through the bag loops. Initially I wasn’t sure about leaving the panniers attached but it’s been 7months I’ve had them and it’s held up to the rainy weather.

  22. I brought back similar panniers from Amsterdam for my wife to use because she carries a ton of stuff back and forth to school(she is a teacher). We came up with a simple quick fastener solution. We use a bungee cord. Simply go under the back of the rack where the light is mounted with the bungee so it is centered and perpendicular to the bike and rack, then pull the two ends up like shoelaces and stretch them forward over the top of the pannier and hook them to the rack right in front of the panniers. It is secure when riding and quick to remove so you can carry the panniers in after you stop.

    If you want to see photos, let me know.


  23. Charlie says:

    Lookin good

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