What say you oh good brains pumped with blood and oxygen each morning? My bike shop tells me I should chuck my plastic crate on the back of my bike and get a pannier. His main reason is that when I put my bag into it (it also has two heavy kryptonite type locks attached to the crate) I am putting considerable weight right above the back wheel, hence increasing my chances of a flat with every bounce of the bike. Now, it seems to me with my primitive knowledge of physics that if the same weight is distributed into two sides of a pannier, one on each side of the back wheel, then surely there exists exactly the same force at the point where the two panniers attach which is also right above the back wheel, in essence causing the same downward force upon the back wheel. Obviously, I have no argument with trying to pack as lightly as possible. So, do you think that my bike store is practicing pseudoscience and I am right, or am I stupid with my physics and I am wrong?
It makes no difference how you load your rear wheel - the load on the wheel is the same.
If you go with panniers think about a low rider rack on the front wheel to carry the panniers. Carrying the load low on the front doesn't affect the bikes handling as much as carrying the load on the rear wheel.
I think that's right, although I struggled more with a cross-wind with front panniers. But the milk crate with holes is so aero!