Backpack or Pannier Bag

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by Biskit, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Biskit

    Biskit New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm considering cycling to work. I've done some "test" rides and it take on average 40 minutes each way. I work in an office and need to wear trousers & shirt. I also need to haul my 17" laptop around, plus power lead and notepad, etc.

    So my question is for those who do this already on a daily basis, am I best going for a backpack, or a rack and pannier bag?

    Backpacks - I'm thinking something like the Oakley Echo Charlie 2 -
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=80906.

    This sounds like it fits a 17" laptop, and probably my trousers/shirt to change in to when I get to work?

    Or if I went with a rack and pannier bag I was thinking of the Topeak MTX beam rack with the Topeak MTX Office Bag, which takes a 17" laptop but apparently very little else. There don't seem to be many pannier bags out there to fit in a 17" laptop plus room for clothes?

    Please share your thoughts / experiences / recommendations with me?

    Many thanks,
    Matt
     
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  2. curlymaple42

    curlymaple42 New Member

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    What about a Timbuk2 courier bag? I used to commute with one back in the 90's and they have upgraded them to hold lap tops now. Sent from my AT100 using Tapatalk 2
     
  3. sunawang

    sunawang New Member

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    Seems like you carry so many stuffs. In your case you it's better to choose a bike panniers. Consider the Topeak MTX QuickTrack system for tighter mounting
     
  4. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    I bought a pannier to use when I ride to my gym, because I have to bring so much gear/stuff/crap with me, and it has worked out well. But, I have to wear a pack, too, because I have so many essentials, like my iPad, lol.
     
  5. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    Hey, I have a question for the guys that commute - how do you clean up after a ride and before work? I think it would be fun to commute once in a while, I have about 15 miles each way, but I can't go into work like a sweaty pig, I have an office job and not a good idea. Just clean up the best you can in the men's room? Not have a problem if it's a short commute? A lot of deodorant? Change clothes in the men's room, too? There is a branch of my gym about 2 miles from where I work, I could shower there but would still have those 2 miles to get hot and sweaty again,, plus I can't see riding even 2 miles in a suit and tie, although I suppose it has been done.
     
  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    My work has indoor bike storage, locker rooms and shower facilities which makes commuting much less of a logistical challenge.

    We got these items because my workplace has a active cycling and sporting groups. Members approached the facilities management department requesting these amenities, our facilities group ran with the suggestions.

    Perhaps you can offer a suggestion to the right people in you workplace for modifications to make it more commuter friendly - I think there are monetary benefits to businesses that do so.

    I am not usually toting around a laptop, so I mostly ride with a backpack. My feet interfere with panniers and mounting things to the rack is too time consuming; I also dont like the feel of the bike when it gets top-heavy from having rack mounted weight.
     
  7. MotownBikeBoy

    MotownBikeBoy Active Member

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    Wow, sweet setup. Unfortunately, that wouldn't work here, very small law firm, I am the entire cycling/fitness group, and we are in a rented office suite in a large office tower, so I doubt building management would accommodate. Too bad I can't park an RV out in the lot and use that as home base. I still might be crazy enough to try it in the spring, one of those days in between hot and cold. I guess I could always walk the two mikes from the gym, or bum a ride that far from a co-worker.
     
  8. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    panniers, it all really depends on the climate and false flats or small climbs of course, from home to work i would go on a descending false flat and weather is not humid at all, so sweat was not a problem. In the way back i would be sweating but coming home, so it really didn't matter, just as a comment, i live between 2 cities nowadays and cloud computing + external hard drive make it unnecesary to carry a PC device while travelling from one city to the other one, i suppose you could do the same between home and the office, some people feel the cloud is not all that safe for sensible documents though...
     
  9. coneofsilence

    coneofsilence Member

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    I use two hand towels to give myself a quick clean before work. A quick rinse with one and dry with the other. I hang them out so they are dry to go in my bag to go home. Anti perspirant deodarant works fine for me.
    Cold water on the towel helps to bring body temp down in the summer too.
     
  10. Motobecane11

    Motobecane11 New Member

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    I have to suggest the Topeak Rack as opposed to the Beamrack. The Beam is going to give you a weight limit, and also to my knowledge doesn't have any pannier supports. I have the rack without pannier supports and I use the medium sized MTX bag. One convenience of a rack is that you have the vertical supports you can tie more stuff to. I've gone to work (13.5 ish miles) with my MTX crammed full, my lunchbox tied to one side of the rack, and a pair of boots tied on the other side. If panniers are an idea for you, go ahead and get the rack with the supports for them. I wish I had. (More places to bungee stuff on the sides!) :)
     
  11. Motobecane11

    Motobecane11 New Member

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    Oh, BTW, I did the backpack thing before I got the rack and bag. Riding with a backpack is a guaranteed way to sweat a lot.
     
  12. guidosan

    guidosan New Member

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    I've done the backpack for a brief period and didn't like it. Too hot and the weight on the back got to me after awhile. Then I got the Topeak Beam rack and used that for a few years of off and on commuting. But this rack is limited in what you can carry. With all that you need to haul, I would suggest getting a dedicated rack and panniers.
    I am now using a rack and pannier system and really like it. I would suggest getting a rack that has a dedicated second rail for hanging the pannier on. This way I can have a trunk bag on top of the rack and the second rails on the rack make it easier to add and removing the panniers. The rack I have is the RackTime ADDIt, and you can find it at lots of places like this: http://www.therandonneeshop.com/products/show/61-addit

    Whatever rack you get, make sure that it has side rails to keep the panniers from swinging into your back wheel.

    The rack and trunk bag works well as you can put your computer and clothes in the pannier and lunch and small stuff in a bag in your trunk bag. Then when you get to work, just remove the pannier from the bike and carry it like a brief case or messenger bag. Then grab the bag from the trunk and off you go.

    I used to have showers and lockers at work, so cleanup wasn't an issue. Just go laid off, so we will see what happens at my next job. But the more you can keep things at work like shoes, belts, ties whatever, the easier. You could do the baby wipe cleanup in the restroom. They make some that are larger (Like 8"x11") and do not have perfumes. I'll see if I can find a link for some of these, but a quick search should show up easily.

    Finally, the more you can reduce to haul around the better. Could us just use thumb drives and bring work home that way instead of the computer all the time? Also, you could drive in one day a week and bring a clean set week's worth of clothes and then take home the laundry too. Thus you don't have to haul clothes everyday.
     
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