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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

Almost every product and service we rely on today is manufactured with or transported by some amount of fossil fuels. Of course, the most important thing we can do to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is to use less. However, when you do make a purchase, we encourage you to shop for energy-smart products that use less energy.

Here at CEC, we’re all about energy-smart products that help us move towards a fossil-free lifestyle and a fossil-free future for Santa Barbara.

Last time, you heard about Christa’s favorite gardening book and today, we’re hearing from Megan Birney, CEC’s Renewable Energy Specialist.

Favorite eco-product: Detours Toocan Utility Pannier
Price: $57.00
Owned it for: 2 years

When I switched from gas power to pedal power over 3 years ago I began a love affair with my bike.  It gets me where I need to go without much effort, saves a ton of money, actually slices my commute time to work (park and walk vs. pedal to the front door), and is a heck of a lot of fun.

But like every relationship there are ups and downs.  My issue was transporting life’s necessities: groceries, work computer, beach volleyball, and more.  The little basket on the front just wasn’t cutting it.  I found myself hauling a backpack and fearing the basket was going to break while speeding downhill on De La Vina from Trader Joes.

That is when I decided to convert my beach cruiser into a commuter bike.  The secret ingredients?  A rear bike rack and panniers.  As it turns out, it is much easier to pull cargo than to push it!  Not only did this upgrade double my cargo area, it also made it easier to tote my load from anywhere in town.

The rear rack provides a great base, but any old pannier just wouldn’t cut it for my needs.  I needed flexibility and longevity – and it needed to look good.  A survey of local bike shops lead me to the Detours Toocan Utility Pannier.

I love the storage capacity of the pannier, but importantly the design made it practical for almost anything.  With a hard, rubber bottom and an adjustable/removable shoulder strap, the bag stands on its own but is easy to carry. The design works great for the farmers market; it is sturdy enough to protect peaches and avocados and easy to clean. It also comes with a rain cover for those days when you forget to read the weather report and get caught in a downpour. I also love that it comes in a lot of different colors.  I got mine in mint green to match my bike – the “mint julep.”

I’ve had the pannier for about two years now and it still looks almost new. I am amazed at the quality – I stuff it full every day and go to the beach, gym, work and yet there are no rips, tears, unraveling…nothing.  Definitely one of the best purchases I’ve made.

You can get a pannier for your bike at CEC’s Amazon Store in the Bike Communting section. If you find something you like, a percentage of your purchase comes back to CEC. We hope you’ll find an idea to inspire you.


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