An area where fat stubbornly deposits itself; usually on the female body. Close to the hips, but lower. An extension of the butt, kind of: a butt wraparound. Annoyingly difficult to reduce with exercise or diet. For those who are unlucky enough to have saddlebags, it can make buying pants a pain in the rear; the waist may fit fine, but the top of the pantleg will be tight.

         /  ___  \
         ) /   \ (
        ( ( a a ) )
         ) \ _ / (
        (___) (___)
        / ||   || \   _
       / //\   /\\ \ ( )
      / /(__)=(__)\ \//
     ( /  (     )  \// 
      \\  (  .  )
       (_/  \ /  \
        (    V    ) <------------ SADDLEBAGS
         \   |   / 
          \  |  /
          (_ | _)
           | | |
           | | |
           / | \
Saddlebags are also made for bicycles. They vary in size, though almost all are relatively small, especially when compared to the potential capacity of a basket attached to a rack on the bike. These durable, wedge-shaped bags are attached to the seatpost and seat (or "saddle") of the bicycle by means of buckles or velcro strips.

A saddlebag is quite useful for the beginning cyclist (like me). It provides storage for essential items like a wallet, a set of keys, or maybe a folded map or a small snack. It's also a handy place to store things that should always be kept with your bike, like a patch kit for punctured tires or a small first aid kit. These items could also be stored in a pocket or a belt pack ("fanny pack"), but generally a saddlebag is a better bet. By using a saddlebag instead of pockets to carry small essentials, the cyclist is free to wear the more form-fitting and generally pocketless bicycle shorts and other cycling gear that make for a more pleasant biking experience. Also, I've found that fanny packs can become uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time, especially in the somewhat bent posture of cycling.

In addition, the location under the seat is one of the most protected spots on the bike. It is unlikely that any fragile items (such as a cell phone, or maybe a GPS if you're attaching the bag to a $4000 road bike) housed in a saddlebag will break if you should happen to wipe out on a sharp turn or suffer some other misfortune.

Features to look for in a saddlebag:
  • Size: The most obvious. While all saddlebags are pretty small, there is a certain degree of size variability. What are you going to carry with you? Also, how much extra weight do you want to add to your bike? If you buy a big bag, you're going to fill it with a bunch of crap that you will then have to carry around with you. Add that to the weight of your bicycle, plus a water bottle or two and assorted other accessories, and toting your bike up and down several flights of stairs is going to quickly start to suck.
  • Material: I've seen saddlebags that are lined with hard plastic to keep their shape or offer extra protection to articles inside. Some of the larger ones are even thermally insulated to keep food items cold. At the very least you want something that will resist rain, road dust, and tearing. Also it's nice if you can find a color that matches your bike, because that's what accessorizing is all about, after all.
  • Bonus Features: Okay, it's a tiny wedge-shaped bag, it doesn't have many other features. A few you should take note of involve your rear reflector. The saddlebag generally sits in the way of your reflector, and may lead you to remove the thing entirely. To compensate for this, some saddlebags have a reflective stripe or logo on the back. Others have a little strip of fabric where you can attach a clip-on reflector (or LED, for nighttime rides). These are a good idea.
People who need to carry more than the capacity of a saddlebag or fanny pack might look into attaching a rack and a basket to the back of their bikes. This setup doesn't really compromise the stability of the bike as much as a basket on the front, and is easy to do. (I've seen many people use cheap plastic milk crates as bicycle baskets.) Another option is to wear a backpack. If so, I recommend one that has a waist belt as well as shoulder straps -- keep the weight low on your body to keep your center of gravity low, for balance.

Saddlebags are available at bike shops and larger sporting goods stores.

Sad"dle*bags (?), n. pl.

Bags, usually of leather, united by straps or a band, formerly much used by horseback riders to carry small articles, one bag hanging on each side.


© Webster 1913.

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