If I wanted to haul around a lot of stuff I’d get a car or better still I’d use my van, the trusty Bipper! My bike, the ZZR1400 is a powerful, crazy machine designed to glide with ease along Britain’s (and any other country’s) roads with me on board with a smile glued to my face. It is not intended to resemble a caravan.

If I do feel the need to transport anything I can usually be seen with my rucksack. If even more stuff is needed then out come the tea towels and the throw-overs go on – a man of style I am not! Fortunately I am able to ignore the pained looks of my colleague mates when I roll up at White Dalton HQ alongside their shiny clean bikes and colour matched panniers, with my 12 year old soft luggage, masking tape and some mismatched old tea towels flapping in the breeze to protect my paintwork.

With regards to the throw-overs pannier, I’ve had the same set since I was 19 years old. They were cheap, waterproof (if I used a bin liner inside) and didn’t hang down on the exhaust of the 600 Bandit I rode 10,000 mile around Europe for 3 months. I saw no reason to update them… until I found myself giving more than one or two glances at Andrew Dalton’s top box into which he so casually tossed helmets, gloves, paperwork, clothing and general stuff instead of walking about with it.

Now I’ve never been one to hanker after shiny new things – but even I could see the benefits of a locked, secure, waterproof container that I didn’t need to haul around with me when nipping off the bike at the services for instance. On the downside I wasn’t convinced I wanted to interrupt the good looks of myself or the bike with permanent luggage.

Against my better judgement I gave in and forked out for a 52litre Givi top box, plate and rack. Then spent the better part of 40 mins gritting my teeth messing about with screws/panels/bolts etc. as I got the rack into place. To be fair, it was late at night and I was doing it by torchlight so I can’t really blame Givi for the quality of their instructions.

I wouldn’t say it was life changing but once I’d got over the panic of worrying I was overloading it, it’s proved to be an eye-opener and I’ve definitely picked up some bad habits. I find myself putting stuff in – just because I can! Spare gloves, a fleece, pipe, slippers…

On the plus side it made my recent trip to Oxford County Court a breeze. Carrying files when I see clients no longer gives me backache and long days out are easy to plan knowing I’ve got somewhere secure to leave stuff.

I’m happy to report the rack and its plate are discreet enough when left on the bike so occasionally I remember what it’s like to have a cool ride and can leave the box at home!

Andrew Prendergast aka Chef


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