riding with a bag?

ok so i am just starting to learn to ride and was wondering if riding with a bag is hard. If it is should i practice with a bag or just learn to ride first? i did try and look this up and couldnt find anything but if i missed i am sorry.

Learn to ride first. It’s not hard once you can ride.

I was surprised how easy it was to ride with a backpack. I haven’t tried a loaded pack yet, but 10-15 pounds didn’t affect me at all. It’s harder to carry stuff in my hands. Kinda weirds me out.

A backpack is not something hard to carry, provided it is not huge. But carrying a gallon of ice tea in one hand and a grocery bag in the other is harder, I’ll tell you that! :slight_smile:

i go shopping on my uni all the time with a backpack and two shopping bags full. so much easier than trying to ride a bike with the bags hanging over both ends of the handlebars (which by the way can get quite messy, i know, ive tried and it wasnt pretty) the first time shopping on a uni was a bit weird but after that you just get used to it and it doesnt seem that hard at all

when i was a kid, i used to deliver newspapers on my uni, throw 25 papers in these sturdy canvas over-the-shoulder bags with the papers logo on it.

now i go grocery shopping and carry back gallons of milk, chickens (for my dog), juice, often 6 plastic bags, 3 in each hand.

I cannot free mount when loaded down, but the ride is fine.

i should get a back pack!

Or a saddleback.

Yup, I’m with BillyTheMountain, when I was 11 or 12 I would deliver newspapers from my unicycle with those big canvas bags over my shoulders. Steep hills on my newspaper route too. I remember in college riding to the laundromat with 3 or 4 loads of laundry stuffed into my back pack. Today I rarely carry more than 30 pounds in my pack when I’m riding around town. Not because I couldn’t, it’s just that I don’t need to. We’ve got a washing machine in the basement. Such convenience!
So yeah, learn to ride first. Then build on that skill by carrying packs, and bags and riding off curbs and dodging cars, walking your dog…


Wearing a jacket and a backpack, I’ve been able to maneuver my backpack, take my jacket off, and put my backpack back on while riding. After learning how to ride I would suggest trying to ride with your hands behind your back until you need to catch your balance. Practice that and you’ll be a cellphone-talking coffee-drinking unicycle-riding wanker in no time.


Riding with a pack is not hard but if you are carrying a large pack go nice and slow.

Believe me; high speed crashes with a large backpack are not fun.

Years ago (around 1982) I used to go busking which meant that I accumulated huge quantities of low value coins. I decided to bike into town to pay the coins into the bank, and I had the coins in plastic carrier bags, hanging from the ends of my handlebars.

As I was riding briskly across Trent Bridge (busy road, 3 lanes each way) one bag swang into the wheel, and the spokes ripped the bag. Then the coins came through and there was a delightful “plinkyplinkyplinky” sound as the spokes fired severl Pounds worth of the coins forwards in a bronze and silver arc, scattering them all over the road!

As for carrying a bag on a uni, the only guidance I would give is keep it symmetrical.

Most long distance and mui riders use a Camelbak which is a small rucksack containing a bladder full of water (1 kg per litre); tools, tyre pump, camera, tripod, GPS, map, compass, binoculars, phone, car keys, Soreen malt loaf, bananas (squished), first aid kit, copy of War and Peace (for reading in the hospital waiting area), Wet Wipes, condoms, portable barbecue, cuddly toy, picnic set, a conveyor belt and two sliding doors. And a copy of How to De-clutter Your Life.

Of course we are all different but when I started to ride I wouldn’t practice with anything on my back. As tholub says, ‘learn to ride first’.

I found that any undue weight or even just the feeling of something attached to my upper torso – like my head – (sorry, it just occurred to me) was distracting when learning. As I improved and progressed there came a point where I needed to carry stuff on longer distances. So I put things in a hiking bag – not designed for riding, comparatively heavy and the wrong shape. So to progress to road rides of more than 20 miles I bought a Camelbak that had some carrying capacity.

I still find the addition of any appreciative weight on my back kind of ‘restrictive’. It’s like being in touring mode – loaded up and cruising. Because for me its such a refreshing contrast, quite often I will ‘unload’ myself of the backpack after a long ride and go off for a short burst in ‘lightweight mode’ down a trail.


I practiced riding on a flat, boring street with my hands behind my back. That was way harder than I thought it would be. My shoulders were going nuts and I had to bring an arm out about every 4th or 5th revolution.

Try turning with your hands behind your back! Just don’t clamp your hands tightly… loosly so you can pull them out in a hurry. :smiley: