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  1. #1
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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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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    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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    how long is rope?

  4. #4
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    how long is rope?
    What?

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    i thought parody threads were frowned upon

  6. #6
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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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.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  7. #7
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    i thought parody threads were frowned upon
    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
    What?
    What?

    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    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)

  8. #8
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote 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.
    cat 1.

    blog

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    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?

  10. #10
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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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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  11. #11
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    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.

  12. #12
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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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.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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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.

  14. #14
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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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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  15. #15
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    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.
    Last edited by aaronmcd; 08-20-13 at 07:22 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    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.
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  17. #17
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    it depends

  18. #18
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    Paging @waterrockets

  19. #19
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
    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?

  21. #21
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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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.

  22. #22
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Since Botto's not around.

    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  23. #23
    John Wayne Toilet Paper nhluhr's Avatar
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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.
    Last edited by nhluhr; 08-21-13 at 10:43 AM.

  24. #24
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    It appears our moderators race with backpacks. Or they've taken some sleeping pills.

  25. #25
    John Wayne Toilet Paper nhluhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    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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