If you're planning a cross-country bike trek, you'll likely want to consider panniers for your bike. A supported ride is great, with a gear truck, SAG wagon, and the other logistical support for your ride. Often times, though, you may have planned a solo or small group bicycle tour that is self-supported, in which case bike panniers are a key piece of equipment to outfit your bike. There are panniers for the front of your bike, that attach to fork via gussets, and that won't greatly influence or affect your bike's steering. Well, they will - but you'll practice riding with loaded panniers up front in that case! There are also bicycle panniers specificially built for the back of your bike, attaching either at gussets or by using straps. Some panniers will include the required hardware you'd use to attach the panniers to your bike frame tubes. Besides bike tours, there are some great everyday uses for panniers. You can outfit your around-town bike with panniers for grocery shopping, for instance. Students and work commuters use panniers for hauling books and other work gear as well as even laptop computers in panniers. There are, in fact, special panniers designed to safely transport laptop or notebook computers as well as other sensitive electronic gear. These are highly versatile carriers for your bike, no matter what type of bike you ride, and panniers are constructed with all sorts of materials. Most common is rip-stop nylon, which not only holds up great to bad weather, but is also highly waterproof and will hold up in case of snags or abrasions through frequent use. Some of the popular names in pannier design are Jandd and Arkel - and even Timbuk2 is getting in the panniers game. Some pannier makers will use canvas, which is a traditional material for bikers. If you want to ride in style, there are leather panniers as well. You'll find pannier bags for just about any practical biking use you have in mind, from going to work to riding cross country. Touring remains one of the more common target activities for bike pannier buying, where getting the right size and having a waterproof build are important factors.