New panniers for family days out on the bike

I prefer to let the bike take the load
Sometimes we like to get out for the day on our bikes, stopping off somewhere for a picnic.

Although a picnic could easily be thrown into a backpack and taken, I prefer to let the bike take the load and use some panniers, especially as when you are taking your family, you end up carrying a lot of stuff.

With the weight on the bike, your back and shoulder’s don’t get as tired, and you don’t get as sweaty either!

Trying the Basil Sports Panniers

Wheelies asked us to see what they think of their panniers. They do a lot of great panniers and bags for bikes, but I really liked the double Basil Sports Panniers. They aren’t very expensive, have a good capacity, and lots of pockets. Ideal for those family excursions on two wheels.

The unopened panniers

The Basil Sports Double Bag Panniers

Wheelies decided to send us some to try out 🙂

The Panniers

First look at the new panniers

Fitting (the right) Pannier Rack

it didn’t fit
I recently, after many years, bought a new bike (yay!).

My old bike had a lightweight pannier rack. So the first task was to take this off my old bike and put it on my new one.

….and it didn’t fit.

The old pannier rack doesn't fit

Uh Oh! Time for a new pannier rack

lightweight pannier rack designed for bikes with disc breaks
The new bike has disk brakes, and so it is wider.

After a quick pedal down to the shops, I got a new lightweight pannier rack designed for bikes with disc breaks. This wasn’t that expensive and was soon fitted to the bike.

The new pannier rack

The new pannier rack designed for disc brakes

I also picked up a new insulated water bottle for a nice cold drink while on the bike.

New water bottle

A new bottle too – with thermal insulation

Attaching the Panniers

The Basil Sports Panniers attach themselves to the rack through some loops that can be adjusted.

fitting the panniers

Attaching to the pannier rack

I did find the straps quite fiddly to tighten to the rack, but once secured they held the panniers in place.

At the bottom of the panniers are velcro straps to secure them to the rack frame and stop the bags flapping around.

A closer look at the Basil Sports Panniers

Both the left and right panniers are identical and have a large pocket with a drawstring flap to avoid contents spilling out on bumpy ground.

Loading the panniers

We found plenty of storage for a day out on the bikes

There are also pockets at the front, back, side, and top. The top pockets being particularly easy to access while on the bike.

built-in rain covers
Another great feature I like about these panniers are the built-in rain covers.  You can find these zipped into the bottom of each, so very quick to fit if you are in a sudden downpour.

Rain cover fitted

I really like the fact that they have a built-in rain cover.

Fitting the Bags – Correctly!

It wasn’t long before we had the panniers packed and we set off.

in my haste, I hadn’t adjusted the bags correctly
Unfortunately, in my haste, I hadn’t adjusted the bags correctly, and each foot hit the bags as I peddled.

Time to stop and re-adjust the fittings.

That secure loop system meant that I spent more time fiddling, but eventually moved the bags back on the rack. I also adjusted the velcro on the side of each back, which you can secure in one of three positions.

Time to hit the trail

Our route started on cycle tracks in the town, then along some country lanes, and eventually off road.

The panniers stayed secure all the way, and it was great to enjoy a picnic in the spring sunshine.

Picnic time

Enjoying a picnic on top of a hill in the spring sunshine

The route back we (I) decided to take quite a technical mountain biking route. Time for me to play a bit with my new bike, and also see how the panniers would fair under more extreme conditions.

Roots, rocks, and several small drop-offs
Roots, rocks, and several small drop-offs, and the panniers stayed firmly attached to the bike. I was even impressed that the velcro still held them to the rack, even though the bags were carrying some weight and putting up with a lot of punishment.

Testing the bags off road

A tricky descent put the bags to the test

the panniers started to take quite a beating
Brambles were also starting to grow (or still there from last year), and the path was a little narrow for a bike with full panniers. This meant that the panniers started to take quite a beating. Fortunately, they held up really well without any snags or scratches.

They even stayed attached when I took a spill
They even stayed attached when I took a spill 😉

Back home

Bags still fitted, not ripped, and only slightly muddy after that spill


We give the Basil Sports Panniers the thumbs up. They were able to take a lot of gear on the bike for a family day out, took punishment well, and stayed secure to the bike over some not-so-gentle terrain.

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Basil Sports Double Bag Details

Here are the details from the Wheelies website.

Basil Sports Double Rear Water-Repellent Bag stylish, versatile, lightweight and water repellent polyester double rear bike bag comprised of several spacious pockets and handles along with a rain cover contained inside the bottom zipper pocket and double reflective stripes on both sides of the bag for extra peace of mind while riding on the road.
Key Features:
– 38 Litre double rear bag
– Lightweight, water repellent polyester
– Several pockets; handles
– Each bag contains a rain cover in bottom zipper
– Double reflection on all sides
– Raincover in zipper pockets

Read More

Which do you prefer? Reply below

Which do you prefer? Using panniers or a backpack?

Leave your answer in the chat below.

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Gav Grayston
Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.
Gav Grayston


Family adventures, activities, camping, holidays, OS #GetOutSide champions 2017 & 2018 #DofE brand ambassador @Craghoppers Partnership @campandcarvan @_elddis_
@_LittleMy21 @OneDifference @OneDifference should be able to help us here? - 10 mins ago
Gav Grayston
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  1. That’s a good idea, I use them most days as I have a bike seat for my youngest and can’t use rear panniers because his seat gets in the way. You will need to condiser your front forks as some carbon ones aren’t designed to take the extra weight as long if you have front suspension.

    12:29 pm on April 12, 2017
  2. I haven’t ventured into the world of panniers as yet, however as munchkin is getting older I will probably get a set for the front of the bike, as I have a bike towbar on the back, so they cannot fit on there.

    8:50 am on April 10, 2017

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