Anyone who bike commutes knows that it can be a challenge to deal with the clothing issue. The Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier offers a stylish and convenient way to meet this challenge. And it’s perfect for cycle touring too!
Usually, cycling gear is not appropriate for the office, and vice versa. Some people drive in once a week to bring in a week’s supply of office wear. Others stuff their office clothes into panniers, but this can result in creased and crumpled clothes. Most panniers are essentially bucket-like containers – and jackets and dress clothes don’t do well in buckets! Especially if you toss a bike lock, some tools and a lunch box on top of them.
Maggie (Mrs. Average Joe Cyclist) has written all about the challenges of being a cycle commuter, and her battle to look corporate after sweating up a storm – see her Tips for Women Bike Commuters. Oh, and here’s her review of this Two Wheel Gear Classic Garment Pannier from the perspective of a woman bike commuter.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, many people need to look smartly-dressed for the office, even after cycling to get there. The Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is expressly designed for this purpose. The philosophy of Reid Hemsing, Two Wheel Gear’s passionate leader, is that you can ride like an athlete to the office, and then look like a boss after you get there. Here’s a video of someone doing exactly that: Philip Coldrey Lo on an epic Vancouver commute from the tranquility of the North Shore to the busy streets of downtown Vancouver. Watch the pannier go from bedroom to boardroom – I really like this video!
This functionality is achieved by the most ambitious bike pannier system I have ever seen. The Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is designed with multiple compartments to transport business suits, dresses, shirts, towel, toiletries, lunch, tools, laptop (up to 15”) and accessories.
The Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is Waterproof
Readers always ask me if panniers are waterproof. The Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is made from polyester with a waterproof backing and UV coating. On its own, this is water-resistant, but not waterproof. However, there is a high-visibility, nylon waterproof cover handily placed within one of the outer pockets, so you can whip it out if caught in the rain.
The pannier is double-sided and is placed over any regular bike rack – with a lot of adjustability built in, and a lock to secure the panniers. I especially like this, because I have been having a lot of problems with panniers falling off lately, thanks to my heavily pot-holed route. Maggie actually lost one of her Arkel panniers (reviewed here) after it fell off on a busy industrial street.
The panniers have multiple pockets, and come with suggestions about what to put where. In practice, I found that I have figured out my own system that works for me. I have to be consistent with it, because otherwise I would waste time searching for things. However, the great thing about these panniers is that there are so many possibilities, you are sure to be able to figure out a system that works for your own specific needs.
One of my favorite features is the zip-up pocket right on the top. In there I keep, for easy access, my keys, my wallet, and the very nice, padded shoulder strap that comes with the panniers. Once I take the panniers off the bike, I can just pull the shoulder strap out and carry the pannier easily using that.
This video features the pannier’s inventor showing off all of its features:
The Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is Reflective
As it’s intended to be used on bikes, the Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier has reflective materials on all sides. This is a must-have for me, but I like that it is very tastefully done, so that the panniers look like a very classy piece of luggage or briefcase – rather than screaming, “I am a bicycle pannier.”
The Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier Doubles as Travel Luggage
The Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier has been especially designed to meet standard airline carry-on requirements. Maggie used it for a recent trip and it worked perfectly for her. A neat feature is that it can be hung vertically in a closet, keeping it out of the way until you are ready to pack up and come home again.
Of course, the chief advantage of this is that these would be the perfect panniers for a trip that included air travel and then bike touring. Such as the trip to the Netherlands that I would plan to take one day. Now I have the perfect panniers, all I need is the air ticket (and the money and the time). But seriously, if you are planning on bike touring, you could hardly do better than these panniers.
The Story of Two Wheel Gear
These panniers have a very interesting back story. They started with Craig Coulombe in Calgary, Alberta. Craig needed to look sharp for his job as a geophysicist, but often ended up in creased and crumpled dress clothes thanks to his bike commuting. There were no good options to transport his clothes, so he made his own, using his mother-in-law’s sewing machine. Out of this came the first Classic Bike Suit Bag, the first pannier that kept clothes pressed on their hangers.
For years, these panniers were the best kept bike commuting secret. They developed a cult following with a small group of cyclist commuters, but perhaps the time was not yet right for them to become mainstream. That, of course, has changed now. After all, bikes now make up 24 per cent of all rush-hour traffic in central London.
Enter Reid Hemsing, who started by managing Two Wheel Gear and then was so inspired by the products that he bought the company, quit his job, and moved to Vancouver to build the business. He collected all the customer input he could, and developed Mark 2 – the Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier. He’s teamed up with MEC to take the panniers all over Canada, and is also working on bringing these panniers to the world stage. As he says:
“We can now say we make the best business commuter bag on the international market.”
The company makes other products as well:
“We span multiple product categories (carry, travel, pannier) but our focus is straightforward and simple. We make it easy to ride bikes and look like a boss when you get there.”
Bottom Line on the Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier
These are the ideal bike panniers for cycle commuters who want to look good at the office without having to constantly plan and strategize. You can just grab your chosen dress clothes for the day, pack them neatly into this pannier, and they will still be crisp and wrinkle free when you put them on an hour later at the office.
And they are perfect for bike touring, especially if your itinerary includes a plane trip. No more wondering what you are going to do with your suitcase while you are bike touring – your travel luggage doubles as your pannier. I love this kind of flexibility – it really does make life easier for cyclists. Leaving us free to concentrate on the ride! As they say on their website:
“Enjoy your ride – we’ll take care of your gear!”
All in all, this great product easily rates an Average Joe Cyclist Gold Bike Star!
Technical Specs of the Two Wheel Gear Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier
Dimensions: Bag hanging – H 38.5″ W 19″ D 3″
Bag folded / being carried – H 18″ W 19″ D 6″
Weight: 3.9 lbs (1.77 kg)
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