It’s no secret that I have a mild obsession with trolling Kickstarter. Whenever I need some inspiration I click through the crowd-funding site, and usually I find myself nodding and exclaiming brilliance (there are some awesome ideas out there!).
Today though, I saw an idea that isn’t just a bad idea, but if you ask me, a dangerous one. Introducing The Bag Buddy, a set of hooks designed to wrap around your bike’s handlebars from which you can hang grocery bags weighing up to 30lbs.
The theory behind The Bag Buddy is that it makes hanging grocery bags from your handlebars safe; rather than swinging from side to side and into your front wheel, the bags (for the most part) swing back and forth, in parallel with your front wheel.
Sure, with the help of The Bag Buddy, those bags will mostly swing forward and back, reducing some of the dangers when riding with bags hanging from your handlebars. But hit one solid pot hole or set of streetcar tracks (my city is laced with both), or even just make a sharp turn, and those hooks won’t keep those bags from shifting around.
I’m not alone in my uptight ultra-safe critique. Lloyd Alter of Treehugger points out that Newton may have a different opinion of the bag buddy. “A 30 pound pendulum is going to keep going in the direction of travel while the wheel turns into it. It’s called momentum. You can’t ‘rotate the angle of bag swing’ in this universe.” Touché.
While most bloggers who wrote about The Bag Buddy seemed in favor of the hooks, praising them for making grocery getting easier, there were a few other voices out there critical of the device. Among those the solution to grocery shopping on your bike remains simple: stick with panniers.
Alter goes on to mention a cyclist who died in my hometown last winter after hitting a set of streetcar tracks and crashing. The cyclist was carrying grocery bags from his handlebars when it happened. Who knows whether without those bags, he would have been able to regain his balance, and avoid the crash. Regardless stories like that remind me that there are already enough hazards to avoid when I’m out biking, I really don’t need to add any to my bike.
Call me uptight, but kicking it old school with panniers is still the way to go.