Commuting - Which bag'll slow me down the least?
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02-26-08, 01:14 PM
I ride 20miles round trip to work and 20 miles round trip to school 3-5 times a week. A picture of my bike is attached. Its a 1972 Gitane frame with mostly original parts except for new rims with a rear flip flop hub. (This picture is midway through stripping the paint. Now it's clear coated steel.) Tires are 28 conti contacts. Gearing is currently 52x17 for 82". Perhaps because I'm still young, or perhaps because of my desire for efficiency, I want to go fast on my commute. I dont have a bike computer but based on my commute times and google maps I'm averaging 20ish with relatively few stoplights.
Currently, I shove my stuff in my High Sierra school backpack. Normally I have school supplies, a change of clothes for work, maybe a pair of shoes or tupperware containers. I'm in New Orleans, so there are no hills but wind can be a serious issue. I've got a pretty aggressive position on the bike and when the backpack is full it seems to act like a parachute on my back. My question is: Is there another way for me to schlep my stuff around without having such a drag penalty?
The frame has no braze-ons for racks. In addition, I have to worry about bike theft quite a bit so I'm thinking any sort of stuff hanging off the bike, unless it goes with me when I dismount, is off limits. Most bags are rated based on comfort and carrying capacity but they aren't my primary concern. I'm looking for something thats more aero than my current bag. Any thoughts?
02-26-08, 01:20 PM
Seems to me like you could use a good sized messenger bag... as long as your school stuff isn't too heavy or bulky. Maybe the messenger bag will ride a little lower than your backpack. You can only get so aero and still carry stuff with you though.
Me... I carry lots of stuff with me on my commute. If I was going any slower I'd be moving backwards!
02-26-08, 01:26 PM
There are some backpacks that are designed with aerodynamics in mind, such as the the Ortlieb Flight. I have this bag, and it is thin enough that it doesn't get any wider than my waist as well as being shaped aerodynamically even if you are down in the drops. It may not be large enough for you though. If you are interested, I wrote a review on the forums a while ago. I agree that a tightly fitting messenger bag may work well too.
tad gear packs
can go from very small when unloaded to very large when loaded with groceries
http://www.tadgear.com/x-treme%20gear/packs%20main/t_a_d__gear_packs.htm[/URL">http://www.tadgear.com/x-treme%20gear/packs%20main/t_a_d__gear_packs.htm"]http://www.tadgear.com/x-treme%20gear/packs%20main/t_a_d__gear_packs.htm (<A href="http://www.tadgear.com/x-treme%20gear/packs%20main/t_a_d__gear_packs.htm)
I prefer back packs for an even load on my shoulders but if you're looking for a messenger bag then
pac designs ultimate oversize
massive load carrying capacity
the couriers' favorite
i'd go with a seat-mounted carradice bag, you can put a lot in those. here's the one i've got: http://www.carradice.co.uk/saddlebags/junior-saddlebag.shtml
they mount on the eyelets on a brooks saddle, but you can mount it on regular saddles too i think.
so if you had that you could use a smaller backpack, and since the saddlebag is behind you, it doesn't really add that much wind resistance.
02-26-08, 07:24 PM
The Ortlieb Flight looks promising. It would be better than my current backpack certainly. Markhr, the bags discussed in that thread focused on the conventional pros and cons. I'm currently primarily concerned with aerodynamics. Those saddlebags are interesting. A persons legs mess up the air pretty badly so that might be a good place to stick a bag, drag wise. I would have to remove it every time I get off the bike and it didn't seem like those were meant to be removed often.
I'm going to be sewing my own aero-bag soon and I wanted to see if there was already something out so I could save myself the effort. Not that I'm going into business, but how would you all feel about a backpack that actually improved your aerodynamics, allowing you to go faster than without?
02-26-08, 08:03 PM
Take a look at the Carradice seatbags, such as the Barley, Pendle or Nelson. Because the weight is centered, they doesn't affect handling. Also the bags don't have much aerodynamic drag because they sit behind you. Finally, you don't need any braze-ons or eyelets to attach to your bike, as with a rack. However, the Carradice bags work best with their Bagman racks that attach to the rails of your saddle.
02-27-08, 12:41 PM
An aero alternative to a seat bag is a seatpost mount rack and a rack trunk.
I don't ride in an aero position even in the drops on my commuter road bike, but I notice a difference in drag between using a rack truck versus a single pannier if there is much of any wind.
02-27-08, 12:50 PM
One of the larger importers of Carradice bags is based in New Orleans, so you could check out some bags in person before buying: http://www.wallbike.com/carradice/carradicesaddlebags.html
(I don't work there.)
02-27-08, 01:19 PM
To the OP.
Lots of bags out there--that weigh too much! Look for bags that weigh 1-2lbs. Your shoulders will appreciate it. Signs of a lighter weight bag include...less pockets, sleeves, snaps. I tend to settle for a larger "day pack" with one big cavity for jeans and a shirt etc. Side pockets for keys, and small stuff. A thin plastic folder keeps paperwork flat and weighs about 1/4 oz.
You may have to cut off extra stuff that you don't need like internal sleeves and straps. For straps, you can just melt the edge so that the remainig part won't fray. If you do this carefully, it'll look OK.
I think vrkelley is on the right track. I kept changing bags and eventually came back to the same old NorthFace daypack I've been using for years. It has one main cavity and one patch type pocket on the back. Unfortunately, I don't think they make this particular model anymore (I bought it at the NF outlet 10 years ago).
Here's a real minimalist pack (http://www.backcountry.com/store/BLD0877/Black-Diamond-Bbee-Backpack-732-cu-in.html). Maybe something like this?
02-27-08, 02:02 PM
The Deuter (http://deuterusa.com/) Race line of backpacks is fairly minimalist. I believe they are all designed for use with (or without) a hydration bladder too.
Here's a link to my Orltlieb Flight review (http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=299121&highlight=ortlieb+flight)
02-27-08, 02:14 PM
An aero alternative to a seat bag is a seatpost mount rack and a rack trunk.
+1 I've got 3 commuters all w/slightly different rigs, but there's a noticable difference in the drag or lack thereof w/t rack/trunkbag combo. I think a removable seat post could be locked up w/your bike, so you wouldn't have to carry it around w/you. Ortleib makes a 'hardcase' trunk that's very aero...a friend of mine has one...he loves it, but he's got very little to carry and it's not expandable. Sunlite makes a large capacity one for not alot of money. http://www.bikepartsusa.com carries them, along w/alot of others, Topeak, Jandd, etc.
02-27-08, 02:36 PM
20 miles round trip? OMG, do yourself a favor and get a rack pack or pannier of some sort.
02-27-08, 03:17 PM
I'm looking for something thats more aero than my current bag. Any thoughts? Get the load off your body and put it into a seat bag like the Carradice. It has less drag than a backpack and putting the weight on your bike frame rather than on your shoulders and hips means you can redirect the energy towards pedaling.
also, personally, I would prefer a large seat bag to the clamp-on rack + rack trunk combination as a rack + trunk has more drag in crosswinds.
fwiw, the most aero cargo configuration is to mount a bag on your handlebars, but it's going to make your bike twitchier since you don't have a lot of fork rake and can't mount a front rack.
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