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Old 08-20-13, 04:27 PM   #1
aaronmcd
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Speed with backpack vs. no backpack?

Does anyone train on their commute with a backpack and have comparisons of similar training without the backpack?
I don't have much time so I train while commuting, but I am carrying shoes and some combination of clothes, lock, food etc in a backpack.

Just wondering what might be the non-backpack equivalent of a not-so hypothetical 26 mph for 6 minutes with a backpack.
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Old 08-20-13, 04:35 PM   #2
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backpack is a huge drag, literally.

on a day when you're not commuting, why don't you just go time yourself with and without a pack? it will be hard for us to say without knowing your position, power and wind.

you are losing a bunch of speed (or using quite a bit of extra power).
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Old 08-20-13, 04:43 PM   #3
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how long is rope?
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Old 08-20-13, 04:43 PM   #4
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backpack is a huge drag, literally.

on a day when you're not commuting, why don't you just go time yourself with and without a pack? it will be hard for us to say without knowing your position, power and wind.

you are losing a bunch of speed (or using quite a bit of extra power).
Yeah, the obvious solution is to go test it on a weekend. I recall googling this every once in a while and thinking it would be well documented but it isn't. Just wondering today cuz I smashed my PR for that Strava segment by 18 seconds - the leader's name says (aerobars) in parentheses like that and I wan't mine to say (backpack) haha.

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how long is rope?
What?
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Old 08-20-13, 04:51 PM   #5
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i thought parody threads were frowned upon
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Old 08-20-13, 04:53 PM   #6
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I do a lot of my training on the commute with a back pack. It's added weight and drag and has a noticeable effect but I've never tested exactly how much effect it has. I usually do wattage based intervals so I never pay any attention to speed.

It would make for an interesting experiment though.
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Old 08-20-13, 05:05 PM   #7
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i thought parody threads were frowned upon
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What?
What?

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I do a lot of my training on the commute with a back pack. It's added weight and drag and has a noticeable effect but I've never tested exactly how much effect it has. I usually do wattage based intervals so I never pay any attention to speed.

It would make for an interesting experiment though.
It would be more useful to me I guess because I don't have any way to measure power (I don't trust Strava power on the flats with a backpack haha)
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Old 08-20-13, 05:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
Does anyone train on their commute with a backpack and have comparisons of similar training without the backpack?
I don't have much time so I train while commuting, but I am carrying shoes and some combination of clothes, lock, food etc in a backpack.

Just wondering what might be the non-backpack equivalent of a not-so hypothetical 26 mph for 6 minutes with a backpack.
Riding with a backpack on sucks, what else is there to know?

Fwiw you should start keeping some shoes, maybe even clothes at work, and try to eliminate the need for it.
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Old 08-20-13, 05:40 PM   #9
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Riding with a backpack on sucks, what else is there to know?

Fwiw you should start keeping some shoes, maybe even clothes at work, and try to eliminate the need for it.
what?
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Old 08-20-13, 05:42 PM   #10
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I leave shoes and pants at work. I bring a shirt or two and use a 1lb backpack or musette bag.
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Old 08-20-13, 05:51 PM   #11
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Riding with a backpack on sucks, what else is there to know?

Fwiw you should start keeping some shoes, maybe even clothes at work, and try to eliminate the need for it.
Been considering it - carpool a whole load of clean laundry and groceries in every Tuesday or something.
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Old 08-20-13, 06:06 PM   #12
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At my former employer we had a shower room and lockers where I could keep a week's worth of clothes. I'd drive them in Sunday evening and take them home Friday afternoon. At my current employer we have showers but no place to keep clothes, so I just keep my shoes here and bring carefully folded shirts, pants, etc. in a small REI daypack. It's not ideal, but it works.

And obviously, the higher intensity interval, the more annoying the backpack. 2x20's? No problem. Tabatas? Ugh, problem.
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Old 08-20-13, 06:54 PM   #13
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Isn't this the same kind of argument as a heavy vs light bike? You simply go slower for the same output with a heavier bike or heavy pack. Speed in this case is irrelevant, it's the work that matters, so use an HR monitor or go by RPE.

And yeah, riding with a bag sucks. I always found a well-secured messenger bag more comfortable than a backpack, but I also have a place to keep shoes, pants and toiletries at work.
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Old 08-20-13, 07:17 PM   #14
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I like backpacks better than messenger bags.

Now we'll never know.

Also, 18mph. Or 5mph. ****. I dunno.
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Old 08-20-13, 07:19 PM   #15
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Isn't this the same kind of argument as a heavy vs light bike? You simply go slower for the same output with a heavier bike or heavy pack. Speed in this case is irrelevant, it's the work that matters, so use an HR monitor or go by RPE.

And yeah, riding with a bag sucks. I always found a well-secured messenger bag more comfortable than a backpack, but I also have a place to keep shoes, pants and toiletries at work.
It's a flat ride, so I was thinking more how the wind catches the big sail attached to my back. Yeah, it is the work that matters, which is why I don't mind all that much, but it's hard to know where I am at speed-wise for race applications.

Edit: I guess I should just get in the wind more in my 9 remaining practice races and I'll know then.

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Old 08-20-13, 07:54 PM   #16
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Isn't this the same kind of argument as a heavy vs light bike? You simply go slower for the same output with a heavier bike or heavy pack. Speed in this case is irrelevant, it's the work that matters, so use an HR monitor or go by RPE.

And yeah, riding with a bag sucks. I always found a well-secured messenger bag more comfortable than a backpack, but I also have a place to keep shoes, pants and toiletries at work.

Never understood why people think that's an effective way to train. I've had people ask if i'm riding gatorskins to make the ride harder. I ride them because i don't want to flat when i ride through broken beer bottles.
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Old 08-20-13, 08:24 PM   #17
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Never understood why people think that's an effective way to train. I've had people ask if i'm riding gatorskins to make the ride harder. I ride them because i don't want to flat when i ride through broken beer bottles.
Agreed, purposefully riding a heavy bike, etc as a way of "training" is like reverse motor pacing and makes no sense.
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Old 08-20-13, 09:43 PM   #18
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Paging @waterrockets
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Old 08-20-13, 11:17 PM   #19
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I leave shoes and pants at work. I bring a shirt or two and use a 1lb backpack or musette bag.
Likewise - I preload shirts in my office but still lug paperwork, and iPad and if I'm unlucky my brick of a laptop to and from the office. The extra weight makes any climbing out if the saddle a pain - the backpack jiggles around if I try to put out an effort. Still it's far superior to when I used a messenger bag. Those things have a habit of shifting around when you don't want them to.

I tend to use bike commutes as endurance rather than interval training.
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Old 08-21-13, 06:00 AM   #20
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Just wondering what might be the non-backpack equivalent of a not-so hypothetical 26 mph for 6 minutes with a backpack.
So many variables - you'll just have to measure it yourself on the weekend when you don't need the backpack. I'm expecting, over a significant number of rides, that the difference would be minimal.

Assuming for the sake of argument that I'm wrong ... maybe it's better to train carrying a bit more weight and air resistance - or would that be unwise for some reason?
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Old 08-21-13, 06:08 AM   #21
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My issue with backpacks, at least the ones I tried, was the top strap thingy would get caught in the back of my helmet. I like the weight lower on my back than I could get with a backpack while keeping it securely in place. My Timbuk2 bag, using the chest strap, would never move if I loaded it properly.

Of course, YMMV and all that, personal preference, etc.
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Old 08-21-13, 07:04 AM   #22
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Since Botto's not around.

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Old 08-21-13, 10:17 AM   #23
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I commute with a backpack - long commute (22mi each way), so aero efficiency matters. I used to use a Mountain Hardware Paladin which was nice inasmuch as it is waterproof and tough, but it had a big flat top that sticks high into headwinds, as well as a tall, narrow profile that catches crosswinds.... not to mention the obnoxious aluminum zipper pulls and grab handle.



Once I moved to a Koki Vespa, I noticed a huge increase in both riding comfort (it has a mesh stand-off style suspension) and also aero drag. Also, when the pack isn't fully loaded (just a laptop and some basic essentials) I use a little velcro loop to batten down the front pocket to the grab handle and improve that headwind profile a bit:


I do find that when i ride my other bike with a side pannier, it feels draggier in comparison, but it is the most comfortable, having nothing on my back at all. Still, for my long commute, I'd rather just go faster.

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Old 08-21-13, 10:19 AM   #24
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It appears our moderators race with backpacks. Or they've taken some sleeping pills.
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Old 08-21-13, 10:24 AM   #25
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Quote:
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Riding with a backpack on sucks, what else is there to know?

Fwiw you should start keeping some shoes, maybe even clothes at work, and try to eliminate the need for it.
I agree with this - I shower at work so no worries about sweat, etc... and every couple weeks I ride the bus and bring a duffel bag full of clean underwear, socks, a few undershirts, and a few sets of my primary outer clothes - my office is non-customer-facing so no need to worry about a fresh clean suit - I just wear the same pants and work shirt several days in a row. It's nice to have all that stuff at the office and not have to haul it daily on my ride. I do frequently haul my laptop though, since I may have to do something urgent from home, or maybe just opt to work from home many days.
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