Item: Swift Industries “Short Stack Panniers”
Cost: $270 /pair
For the commuter who wants to go by bike, but has goods to take along, a set of bicycle bags (or panniers) is a great fit. Pannier designs can suit travel, errands, and commuting by bike, to name just a few uses. Swift Industries is a four-person Seattle company that specializes in bicycle panniers that are designed and handmade by the bike-loving staff.
Though they do stock some ready-made bags for quick shopping, Swift specializes in making bags to your customization from their 10 base models. Pick the color palette that suits your taste and the bag that suits your needs, and they’ll put it all together just for you. (Allow for up to 4 weeks for your bags to be made. If you can’t order them quite in time for gift-giving, I promise an “I.O.U. bike bags” note will be forgiven when they do arrive!)
Thinking about the things I take with me on my bike, I picked the Short Stack Panniers for their large capacity – 46 liters of space! For the work week, that’s plenty of room for extra clothes, shoes, lunch, and work materials. For the weekend, I know they will be useful for trips to the grocery store or farmer’s market, and for summer picnics or touring by bike, too. Like other Swift panniers, they have a simple hook and cord mounting system that secures easily to your rear bike rack and handles on top to take them with you.
The Short Stack Panniers are the largest and highest priced of Swift Industries’ line at $270 for the pair, and smaller and equally useful bags are available at lower price points. In any case, it’s a price I’m happy to pay for quality craftsmanship and local business.
Action shots show a pair of Short Stacks I borrowed; I ordered a purple and orange pair to brighten up my drab bike!