A Handy Cargo Trick

Reader Tom Hewitt sent in the following handy tip that we’d like to share with you:

basketball net

“Some of us bike commuters prefer backpacks to panniers for a variety of reasons (multiple shopping stops require leaving your bike outside, bike handling is adversely affected by heavy weight in the panniers, etc.). But sometimes a backpack just won’t haul everything you’ve purchased. My solution to this problem is a cheap basketball goal net, about $2 at a discount store, with a carabiner on each end to close it up. While there are many ways this can be attached to the bike or rack, I prefer to fasten it to the backpack itself. It is particularly handy for carrying light bulky things (paper towels) or fragile items that might be damaged by being crammed in the pack (potato chips, tomatoes). Most modern packs have many spots where the carabiners can be attached so it’s no problem fastening the load. And the net is easily carried in a pocket of the pack so it’s available whenever needed.”

Here’s a picture of the net in action:

net in action

Great trick — thanks for sending it in, Tom!

Does anyone else have a handy, unorthodox bicycle commuting tip or trick they’d like to share? If so, let us know about ’em!


  1. Hyper7

    I commute with a backpack on a MTB (Lots of singletrack on my route(s) and that is a great idea! Thanks!

  2. Marrock

    Also a great way to keep your helmet with you when you’re not on the bike without taking up room in your pack.

    All I need is the net, I keep finding those mini-biners on the side of the road.

  3. Quinn


    the last 26er I had, commuted on I broke 2 25 lb payload racks. So I came up with what I call my Pannier Pod- an Axiom Odyssee (55 lb) rack, C’dale panniers (sim. to Jandd Mini Mtn), which is connected to its own post and saddle.
    when I need to carry cargo, I pull the seat & post out usually my XXIX) and slide my pannier pod in place.

    I’ll send pix this afternoon

  4. wannaCmore

    I’ve been researching backpack panniers because I don’t want anything on my bike while riding, yet feel uncomfortable about leaving my stuff on the bike if I have to leave it somewhere. Then I came across this thread on about just using grocery panniers and throwing the pack in one while riding. On really short trips I could just wear the backpack if need be.

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