I think Y started out great and had some interesting ideas at the beginning, but as it went on, it turned into kind of a standard adventure/road story and then the ending was pretty anticlimactic. I think if BKV had left more things unanswered at the end it would have been more satisfying to me personally. Then again, I really hate hand-wavey science so that could colour the way I feel about it.
Uh, to people in North America, all bicycles in the Netherlands look like soccer mom bikes :)
To the OP, I do most of my commuting on a hybrid with a rear rack and have two pannier bags. Never had an issue with them being stolen, but I always go straight home to unload and take the bags off after loading them up so they are never sitting around full of stuff.
I like having bags on the bike rather than on me because I don’t want to feel like my sweat is soaking into a bag.
I am thinking of getting front bags as well for some balance because if I load up on groceries the bike feels very rear weight biased and the handling gets weird. To that same end, I try to distribute weight evenly left-to-right. I don’t like the feeling of riding with bags weighted only on one side.