Thursday, December 16, 2010

Product Review: Basil MIRTE shopping pannier

Hi guys! How do you like this cold snap? And did you see the SNOW? YAY!

I managed to make it to and from my appointment Tuesday morning without freezing to death or blowing away. In fact it was quite pleasant. (And I spent 8 hours at work biking around in the freezing cold and loving it). I get to do it again tomorrow morning, but at least this time it should be slightly easier without the blustery wind. I'll post more about it after tomorrow (so I can get more pics in!).

Have you checked out the Capital Bikeshare and goDCgo Winter Weather Warrior contest? I've gone ahead and entered, but I'm not sure yet how I'm going to work out how I'm going to participate. I'll post more about that later too....

Speaking of being a Winter Weather Warrior, my boss issued a directive that there aren't supposed to be any people out on bikes or foot at work while the weather is below freezing. Something about not wanting to be liable for injury (slipping on ice) or illness (hypothermia), blah blah blah. YEAH RIGHT. I wait all year long to be able to bike in the cold! Thankfully, we're still given the choice (for now). It just can't be mandated that we be out on bike or on foot. I can understand the policy, but as long as the roads are clear of snow & ice, its really not more dangerous than being out when the temperature is 104 degrees. The trick is simply to ride safely and sanely.

On to some fun stuff!

*Note: No one has asked me to do this review, and I am not being compensated in anyway for this review. I just figured some people would like to know about this product.

The insane heat wave of last summer led me to my breaking point with messenger bags. I loved my messenger bag, but I was tired of having a sweaty back all the time, and a permanent red mark on my shoulder. Plus sometimes I needed to carry heavy, bulky things which made it very uncomfortable to carry.

I looked around for a stylish pannier-type bag that I wouldn't mind being seen with. I knew I didn't want boring black saddle-bags. I wanted something with a little flair. I saw a photo of an awesome bag on Ms. Bitch Cake's Hello Kitty cruiser bike, and I asked her where she got it. She led me to a great company called Basil. They are a Dutch company that makes all kinds of stylish bags, panniers, baskets & accessories (want fake grass for your bike? They got it.)

I checked Amazon, and they do sell Basil products. I knew I didn't want a full set of saddle-bags (YET), but rather something smaller that I could take on & off easily, and carry around with me.

Enter the Basil MIRTE:

This bag has everything I could ask for. First, it can carry a lot. Don't be fooled by its smallish size. You probably wouldn't be able to carry your weekly grocery shopping, but you could certainly pick up supplies at the grocery store for a hefty feast and still have room leftover for the wine.

Secondly, it's water-resistant. I do wish it was water-proof, but even so it does a really good job of keeping your stuff dry.  I've used it on rides in drizzles & rain, and the contents stayed quite dry. I haven't tried it in a downpour however. There are "tabs" near the top that could allow water in, but as long as you keep the tabs tucked in, its not really a problem.

can you see the "tab"? 
Third, it is super easy to take on & off the bike, and stays secure while its on your bike. The bag is attached by hooks that simply slide on & off your rear rack. It takes 3 seconds to put on or take off.  I ride with this bag nearly everyday, and I have yet to see it come loose. Plus, the hooks can be hidden by a zippered flap so they won't be seen while you carry the bag around.

Hooks that slide onto your rack.
It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Despite being out in the elements nearly everyday, the bag still looks almost brand-new. It hasn't gotten grungy & dirty at all, and cleans really well with a damp cloth. It's also stylish. This particular bag comes in a variety of colors. I can take this bag off the bike and carry it around like a handbag or big purse, and no one is the wiser. My favorite way to shop is by bike now. I simply lock up my bike, take the basket & bag off, and use them to shop. I use the basket as my "grocery basket", and the Basil bag as my resusable shopping bag. I don't have to worry about not having a basket available (HELLO HARRIS TEETER), or forgetting to bring my reusable bag to the store.

Here's a few more pictures:

Yes, that's my dirty floor.

There are reflective tape strips along the side for better visibility

Easy zipper closure.

On the bike.
View from the back.

I think I might go ahead and order a full set of saddle-bag panniers from Basil too. There are times when I need to carry bulky equipment to & from work, and they would be perfect! 

So there ya have it: I highly recommend this particular product.


  1. Cutest saddle bag ever. I have two saddle bags on my bike, but they are boring black. But I'm also too cheap/lazy to replace them.

  2. Your bike looks great. I looking for new bags for my bike . My bags are rubbish, they keep getting caught in the back wheel.

  3. Thanks! I was worried that if I over-loaded this bag it would lean into my spokes, but that hasn't happened yet.

  4. thats something l would do l over load my panniers now l need new ones my fault its cheap bags for you

  5. Just returned from Paris where I saw this very bag and here you already reviewed it!