Beautiful bike pannier bags. No really.

14 April 2014

I had a hilarious conversation by the bike racks at the farmers market this weekend. A woman and her family had just ridden up, and we started chatting about my Sahn helmet, the merits of no holes in your helmet (ventilation v style and not getting rained on). She noticed my Linus pannier bag and was amazed to see a such a nice-looking bag be a pannier, and not look like a WATERPROOF RACING CYCLIST kind of bag.

I admit I have spent maybe more hours than would be strictly healthy searching out bike gear that does not look like Bike Gear, if you know what I mean. In my moments sweating up a major hill, then walking up the rest of the hill, then stopping at the top texting my husband about how I think I might throw up or something, but trying to look nonchalantly busy with an important message from a cool person about some pop-up supper club, I am deeply embarrassed about my obsession with nice-looking gear.

But then I think – what, I can’t have anything nice until I can do the Tour de France? Forget that. If I’m going to suffer trying to get up these damn hills, I’m going to have a nice jacket/pannier bag/bike basket while I do it. *stamps foot*

So now that we’re all on the same page, let’s look at some pretty pictures of nice, functional panniers that don’t look like scuba gear.

linus the sac

The aforementioned Linus Sac [buy in Canada here]. I’ve been using this one for about a month and I really like it. Fits my 13” Macbook in a sleeve while still being able to close with the powerful magnets at the top. I’ve also fit a 1lb bag of kale, a bunch of radishes, a small bag of nugget potatoes, my wallet, my make-up bag, and a package of smoked salmon. So you know, it’s flexible. Small ring and padlock included should you want to secure it to your bike.

straw pannier

image courtesy Le Vélo

I’ve been lusting after the Bobbin Cycles Straw Pannier, and was very excited to learn Le Vélo carries them in Canada (Eleanor’s in the US will have them, should you be looking down south). Backordered until June, but I’ve heard such good things about this one.

Bike Belle leather satchel

image courtesy Bike Belle

This Bike Belle leather satchel W1 combines my love of classic satchels and a more practical way of attaching it (my dodgy bungee cording of my Cambridge Satchel wasn’t very effective). I wish there wasn’t that odd looking plastic label sleeve on the outside, and in some shots the colour doesn’t look great. The blue and white canvas version is nice too.

GiveLoveCycle Guilden small

GiveCycleLove has gone the bowling bag route with the Guilden. The large version has space for another pair of shoes in a bottom compartment, and the domed top half on both sizes fits your helmet. Very clever! Their bag charm is a bit over the top for me, but the bags themselves are quite cute. The small one fits into a bikeshare basket, which will, eventually, be useful in Vancouver. Otherwise, you can use the shoulder straps to attach to a back rack (instructions on their site).

Have you found a beautiful bike pannier? Please do share.


  1. Reply

    lisa c

    Have you ever seen Po Campo bags? They are slightly more sporty than the above ones, as they feature reflective strips, but they definitely aren’t WATERPROOF RACING CYCLIST bags. I like my Armitage satchel because it straps onto my bike or my stroller or I can carry a yoga mat or picnic blanket strapped to it.

  2. Reply


    I’m looking for an attractive commuter bag, and this was one of very few helpful posts online! Thank you!

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