Why Do Bikers Wear Messenger Bags? (5 Reasons) + More

Nothing beats the rush of biking around town with the wind in your hair, EXCEPT the heavy traffic – or when you have a lot to carry.

The convenience of a well-crafted messenger bag can save the day and your ride. A top-notch messenger bag designed to hold, organize, and carry daily essentials can improve your biking experience.

While it looks like a regular sling bag, a bike messenger bag has some bonus options tailored for cyclists. But why a messenger bag and not a backpack or a pannier?

Why Do Bikers Wear Messenger Bags

Why Do Bikers Wear Messenger Bags? (5 Reasons)

Accessibility and functionality are the reasons why messenger bags are the preferred choice of bike commuters. Some bikers wear messenger bags as a fashion statement.

Bikers prefer them for convenience and quickness in accessing the content therein. After all, speed is everything for bikers.

Here are 5 reasons why bikers wear messenger bags…….

1- Speedy Access

The key reason why messenger bags are essential to bikers is that they never have to take them off to pack or unpack. If your routine involves picking and dropping off stuff, faffing about taking a bag on and off all the time is the last thing you want to do.

Messenger bags can be worn at the front, back, or at the waist back making them easy to access. The bags are also lightweight and thus no extra effort is required to load and offload them. Being lightweight means the bags can be easily maneuvered.

The shoulder straps allow the rider to quickly move the bag from the back to the front side. This makes the messenger bags the most convenient bags for bikers as it only has to be draped over the shoulder or torso.

2- Style

Messenger bags gives the rider a sense of fashion with an array of designs and styles to suit every rider. Their versatility is the reason why they are still trendy among riders.

Messenger bags can be tailored to suit a biker’s preferences. You can give it a casual or a professional feel.

Messenger bags are undoubtedly more professional-looking than backpacks for both male and female riders. Cyclists dressed in business-casual attire are more likely to choose a messenger bag which, unlike a backpack, does not wrinkle your clothing, and are less sweaty.

3- Storage Capacity

Unlike traditional backpacks, messenger bags for bikers offer significantly more storage space. A biker’s messenger bag can be big enough to carry books, documents, and other small accessories that require small to medium storage space.

Although the storage capacity might is less than the normal-sized backpacks but for lighter stuff messenger bags get the job done.

4- Comfort

Avid bike commuters will confirm that backpacks are not ergonomic for cycling. Although comfortable, if the backpack does not hug the body as firmly or as aerodynamically as it should, it compromises the riding experience.

Regardless of your cycling speed, you are going to sweat. A messenger bag leaves enough room for ventilation on your body and you, therefore, never end up in a sweaty mess on your back.

5- Lightweight Design

Although top-notch messenger bags for bikers display excellent craftsmanship, they tend to be relatively lightweight.

Equipped with thoughtful features specially tailored for bikers, the bags are still light enough to carry around with ease. This is unlike the backpack which tends to be cumbersome and bulky in design.

Are messenger Bags Better for Biking Than Backpacks? (Comparison)

Both bags are designed and refined for unique uses. The hipster fashion aside, some riders find messenger bags uncomfortable on the bike. On the other hand, backpacks also are known to wobble while cycling.

It is safe to say that the choice between a messenger bag and a backpack comes down to personal experiences and preferences. Seasoned bikers have experimented with various cargo-carrying techniques and settled with the options that work for their physique and commute.

Messenger BagsBackpacks
There is no denying the convenience and style of riding with a messenger bag. However, messenger bags are impractical on long distances.It is not uncommon to see people wearing backpacks on treks and vacations.
The ease of access aside, any significant weight in the bag will hurt your back and shoulder due to the uneven weight distribution. High-end messenger bags have straps designed to somewhat mitigate this concern.Backpacks do not pose this problem. Rather they have padded straps and back support. Backpacks are ideal for carrying bulk and heavy luggage such as books and supplies as they allow for better weight distribution across the body. A backpack is supported by the back and abdominal muscles, which are the strongest in the human body.
Messenger bags can fall off the shoulder while riding, sliding along your side causing you to lose balance.A backpack is more ergonomic, but so is a basket on a bike.
The beauty of the messenger bags is the seamless transition from on and off the bike – from a transport bag to a briefcase.You don’t want to walk into a meeting or a presentation carrying a backpack. There is something high-schoolish about backpacks.
A messenger bag can graciously hold legal-size documents while complementing your business attire. Fitting in more stuff (such as clothes) would generally be a problem.A backpack can not only hold your documents but other things such as laptops, chargers, water bottles, personal belongings, and much more. Fitting in a pair of trousers or track pants would also not be a problem.

Why Some Bikers Don’t Like Messenger Bags?

Messenger bags are designed to go over either of the shoulders while the chest strap sits you the chest. This is in itself a design flaw, especially when the bag is used to carry a heavy load over a long period.

The design of a messenger bag makes scaling up challenging.

A stabilizer strap can be added to a messenger but this turns it into a backpack. The straps make it impossible to hurriedly get the bag off.

Is It Bad to Ride a Bike with a Backpack?

Riding with a backpack is not a bad idea, unless in hot humid weather. Fortunately, the discomfort of it being hot and sweaty is outweighed by the convenience.

Here’s why a Backpack would not be suitable sometimes…..

1- There’s a likelihood of the bag interfering with your helmet depending on its design, your posture, and the bike’s geometry.

2- Backpacks are best suited for short commutes if you have a heavy load. It is better to deal with short distances than the extra weight added to your hands by the backpack.

On longer rides, the extra weight can lead to backaches, ruining the joy of the ride.
The more the weight in the bag, the more the tiredness in your arms, back, shoulders, and waist, especially on a bumpy or hilly road.

A backpack raises your center of gravity compromising your stability.

How Do You Attach a Messenger Bag to a Bike Rack?

You can attach a messenger bag to the back rack and ride with a pannier like a bag, but still be able to take it with you off the bike.

But why is attaching a messenger bag to the racks challenging?

Messenger bags are designed to hang on your shoulders and not on the racks. However, with the right tools and some ingenuity, you can attach your messenger bag to the racks.

3 Ways to Attach

1- Unless you are unlucky, most racks come with a spring clip to hold down light stuff such as a messenger bag on the rack.

2- You can of course use bungees or straps to tie it to the racks.

3- You can attach hooks to the bag to hold it on the racks. You don’t want to simply attach hooks to the bag’s fabric as this will eventually get punched holes. This can be avoided by adding a firm backing on which you will anchor the hooks.

How Do You Carry a Water Bottle on a Bike?

Carrying a water bottle on a bike is easy. Using the cage on the downtube is perhaps the most common technique more so because most bikes come equipped with a bottle cage on the downtube. The bottle cage is designed to carry a single standard sports water bottle.

A hip pack is another way to carry a water bottle on a bike. The pack allows the rider to cycle comfortably without any obstruction. Unlike the bottle cage, hip packs can hold two standard-size water bottles.

Final Thoughts!

The overall reason why bikers wear messenger bags is their style and their ease of use. However, when it comes to practicality and capacity, backpacks are the most ideal. If your luggage includes books, a laptop, and other heavy objects (such as clothes), you should consider a backpack.

With both bags, moderation is key. Riding with an overstuffed bag will drain the fun out of the ride.
A messenger bag is a fashion accessory that can be used to carry small luggage, such as files and books.

Some days a messenger bag will be the best option, while other days a backpack with be the most ideal. Regardless of your choice, you must ensure that your biking experience is comfortable.


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