As I've mentioned before, one of my goals in bike commuting is to do so in a way that allows one to do it without LOOKING like I do it. When I get to work, I'd like to be able to walk directly into work and sit down at my desk and not have to worry about changing clothes, etc. as much as is possible. And this is not to say that I'm trying to HIDE my bike commuting (as you might imagine, having a bike commuting blog is not the way to remain anonymous) but rather to be an example to others who have considered it but don't do it because of personal appearance or convenience issues. We all know people who think this way.
One thing that I'd like to be able to carry is a regular briefcase. Sure, my panniers work great at getting my stuff to and from work and around, but they don't exactly have the great look of a regular briefcase. Also, I'd like something that allows me to just pick it up and go on those days when, for whatever reason, I don't bike - I take the bus, have to actually drive, etc. I don't want to have to transfer a bunch of stuff from pannier to briefcase, and I'm not going to USE the pannier as my briefcase.
The idea of a briefcase pannier came into my head, as I've seen plenty of them advertised or displayed in places like Performance Bike. But I see two problems with these:
1. I'd like a hard-back briefcase. I personally don't care for the "modified duffle-bag" look of many of the modern briefcases and ALL of the briefcase panniers I could find. Call me a traditionalist.
2. I bike year-round. And, especially during the winter, my current panniers to get covered with salt, road grime, etc. I see no reason to suspect that a briefcase pannier wouldn't have this same problem. I don't want to be constantly cleaning off my briefcase every time I get to work all winter.
So here's my thought: a pannier that's just a bit bigger than my briefcase, and one that I could simply slip my briefcase into, close up, and be on my way. That way, I'd get to work and it would be ready to go, with all my daily stuff already in it, and clean and presentable. I could stash my grimy panniers under my desk and not have to worry about them.
Does anything like this already exist?
People, not speed.