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  1. #1
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    Hi, first commute today

    I'm planning on doing frequent bike commutes later this summer once some daycare changes (double drop off makes it tough to do a bike commute). But Canada is having a "Commuter Challenge" this week that I wanted to be a part of. I work for a municipality in S. Ontario, and it's been great how they've promoted this Commuter Challenge. The municipality also has a great commuting program, with parking in a secure garage and access to showers and lockers, even a ride home if you get stranded. So obviously I want to take advantage of this.

    I've previously posted about how I'm getting a Specialized Cirrus in a couple weeks, but today's ride was on my old GT Tequesta. I had wanted to make it easy, leave the laptop at work, shoes at work, etc. But looking at the weather and my schedule, I made the ride today with a very heavy backpack.

    Ride is about 7 km, 25 mins, no problems at all really. There's this silly 40 km/hr (25 m/hr) zone party way through which usually has a speed trap, this morning no exception. I was gaining on the cars going 40 km/hr (it's a downhill), sorta hoping for a ticket, but not today, dammit.

    so, background, 6'2" clyde, 285 lbs + what felt like a 200 lb backpack today.

  2. #2
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Whoa, congrats! Don't worry, eventually that backpack will magically get lighter, to the point where you weigh the packs themselves to find the lightest one . Last year my pack + gear weighed in around 30 lbs (no kidding) as I was carrying clothes, food for the day, shoes, and a gigantic Dell laptop. This year, MAYBE 5 lbs as I have a nice lightweight North Face pack, and all I carry is my work clothes for the day.

    Keep it up, it's addictive! I've been commuting for a year now, and I don't ever plan to stop

  3. #3
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    wow, arms are sore this afternoon, probably from backpack.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    It only took me a week to dump the backpack in favor of a rack and trunk bag. Leave as much at work as possible and it can work.

  5. #5
    This Space For Rent Stujoe's Avatar
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    Congrats! I want to be able to start commuting again in 2 weeks when I go back to work. It is really addictive and I am in a better mood when I get home. Even the wife noticed that when I was commuting last year. lol I have used a backpack and a rack trunk and am lucky to be able to use the rack trunk 95% of the time as I usually drive once a week to replenish stuff at work. You will soon figure out a way to increase your efficiency on what you take.

  6. #6
    Member WilsonZone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando_T. View Post
    wow, arms are sore this afternoon, probably from backpack.
    First time I rode my bike for some distance I didn't have a backpack and my shoulders ached for some reason. It could have been the backpack though. I did the same thing you did, I rode my bike to work with my laptop, work clothes and other items in my backpack. Took me an hour to get to work and two hours to ride home. Not sure if it was the headwind or because my legs were too worn out from my morning ride. After I arrived home I weighed myself with and without my backpack to see how much it weighed. All that stuff weighed 16 pounds (7.25 Kg).

    I'm going to commute once a week until I can get used to it. This Friday my backpack will be lighter going to work, I'm leaving my laptop at work the day before and bringing it home that night.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
    It only took me a week to dump the backpack in favor of a rack and trunk bag. Leave as much at work as possible and it can work.
    Same here, and my trunk bag has gotten a lot lighter too over time. I first started out prepared for any and all emergencies, but now all I carry in it is a small multi-tool, one spare tube, some pre-glued patches, a couple of spare batteries for my headlight and taillight, a couple of plastic tire levers, small air pump, and a small forceps for pulling out things from my tires, for a grand total of about 10 lbs.

  8. #8
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    Hi, second commute today.

    much lighter backpack, no laptop, no shoes, no lunch. who needs lunch?

    also, on my NEW SPECIALIZED SIRRUS!

  9. #9
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Congrats on the new ride!! Post some pics of it?

  10. #10
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    Hi, third bike commute today.

    really, it's a basic Sirrus, not even one of the upscale models. I've added some carbon fiber barends (which might be carbon fiber, might not be, but look pretty), and spd/platform combo pedals.

    It's interesting seeing the difference the skinny 700c tires @ 120 psi make. I was sorta shocked when I stopped pedalling, and the bike kept going at what seemed like the same speed...

  11. #11
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    I came home from a week's vacation to find a package at my door.

    It was a rear pannier bag from twowheelgear.com - http://www.twowheelgear.com/images.php It's sort of a garment bag that folds over a rear rack, designed for commuters.

    A complete surprise present for me - I wasn't even shopping for panniers. In fact, I'm not even sure who bought and sent this to me - there was no "sold to" info on the box. I think it's my brother in Calgary, who had asked me how i'm getting clothes, shoes, etc to work.

    So, now i need to get a rear rack...how exciting...Apparently this bag needs a blackburn rack to work.

  12. #12
    Mr. Frowny Man Alathea's Avatar
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    Its possible that its branded for that, but if it has clips it would probably fit on any rack. My seatpost rack and Topeak are sort of made for each other, but the rack has a slide and the back snaps into it. The specks for yours say it should work for any standard bike rack (bolt on-seatpost probably wouldn't be strong enough)

    # Made of high durability polyurethane coated 700 denier water resistant nylon cordura.
    # 1 large main compartment quickly and easily stores your business suit, dress, or casual clothes dry and wrinkle free.
    # 5 additional compartments for shoes, toiletries, files, even a laptop computer.
    # Clamps securely to standard rear bike rack.
    # Day and night Scotchlight(TM) reflective tape for maximum visibility.
    # Extra clips for latching on extra items.
    # Shoulder strap and handles for easy carrying.
    # Total Volume = 1700 cu. in.
    # Easy to pack
    # Wrinkle free clothes
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    and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando_T. View Post
    I came home from a week's vacation to find a package at my door.

    It was a rear pannier bag from twowheelgear.com - http://www.twowheelgear.com/images.php It's sort of a garment bag that folds over a rear rack, designed for commuters.

    A complete surprise present for me - I wasn't even shopping for panniers. In fact, I'm not even sure who bought and sent this to me - there was no "sold to" info on the box. I think it's my brother in Calgary, who had asked me how i'm getting clothes, shoes, etc to work.

    So, now i need to get a rear rack...how exciting...Apparently this bag needs a blackburn rack to work.
    That's a very generous present and I'm quite jealous. Enjoy it!
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alathea View Post
    Its possible that its branded for that, but if it has clips it would probably fit on any rack. My seatpost rack and Topeak are sort of made for each other, but the rack has a slide and the back snaps into it. The specks for yours say it should work for any standard bike rack (bolt on-seatpost probably wouldn't be strong enough)

    # Made of high durability polyurethane coated 700 denier water resistant nylon cordura.
    # 1 large main compartment quickly and easily stores your business suit, dress, or casual clothes dry and wrinkle free.
    # 5 additional compartments for shoes, toiletries, files, even a laptop computer.
    # Clamps securely to standard rear bike rack.
    # Day and night Scotchlight(TM) reflective tape for maximum visibility.
    # Extra clips for latching on extra items.
    # Shoulder strap and handles for easy carrying.
    # Total Volume = 1700 cu. in.
    # Easy to pack
    # Wrinkle free clothes
    well, in the FAQ page it says
    What type of bike rack is compatible with your commuter pannier?
    Almost all standard bike racks like Blackburn will work fine. The only criteria is that the rack have a prong extending from the bottom for a "D" ring to hook over. Almost all bike racks have this feature.
    so I guess broadens the range a bit further...i went to the local bike shop and examined the various offerings, I saw a few with prongs at the bottom similar to a blackburn.

    a diagram of the mounting (which I had to research, as the package itself had no info)


  15. #15
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    Well, installed a rack yesteday, biked to work today with the new bag.

    I loaded it up with a full load - laptop (in a protective case), towel, pants, shirt, shoes, socks, underwear, and finally, a banana. Bag weighed a ton but took all that stuff with ease, bike w/ bag weighed a ton.

    but it performed well. First time ever riding with a pannier, it's so much nicer than a backpack, although the bike, with all the extra weight, take some time to spool up to speed, and hills are harder.

  16. #16
    Mr. Frowny Man Alathea's Avatar
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    Your center of gravity shifted too, that's accounting for some of it. I have a seatpost rack and Topeak snap in bag, and I wear a messenger bag-its not excessively uncomfortable, but the rack and messenger bag combo do make me a bit top heavy on turns.

    Im loathe to ditch the seat post rack though because it does work for what I use it for, and I did spend 50 bucks on it, so DW will probably question another rack purchase so soon.
    The Earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound.
    Children no longer mind their parents, every man wants to write a book,
    and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
    --Assyrian Stone Tablet, c.2800 BCE

  17. #17
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    I rode for the first time today. I've done the route before, just not too work.

    9.5 miles one way, about 33 minutes on my heart monitor, from the front door of my house, to my desk.

    I'll see what it's like on the way home, it'll probably be 100 degrees at that time, but the sun will be starting to set and be at my back.

    My pack wasn't too bad, and it was the first long ride on my new Felt Z80 that I picked up Friday.

    All in all, it was a great day!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alathea View Post
    Your center of gravity shifted too, that's accounting for some of it.
    speaking of center of gravity shift, I sprained my ankle badly on Friday morning's commute.

    I was waiting at a light, with one foot clipped in and heavy panniers on the back. suddenly I moved, or the bike moved, and went to topple over - I avoided a fall, but twisted my ankle really badly before I unclipped. It hurt enough that I thought I was going to puke.

    So here I am on Sunday, hobbling around. both sides of my right foot are bruised, just below the ball of the ankle, and this morning i've got bruising just where the toes meet the foot. it'll be a few days before I'm biking again.

  19. #19
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    thought i'd pop by for another follow up post.

    I'm still hobbling around and sorta in pain from that sprain at the end of August. No further bike commutes, although I did go for a very short ride this past monday.

    so it was serious damage i did to my ankle - but had it x-rayed, was only a sprain.

  20. #20
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    and the pathetic thing is that I haven't been going to the gym during this time either - either due to a sore ankle or some severe work demands. Not only am I finding myself out of breath going up stairs already, but the weight is starting to creep up....from 280 at the start of the summer to 295 now.

  21. #21
    No Pain, No Pizza Thigh Master's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando_T. View Post
    and the pathetic thing is that I haven't been going to the gym during this time either - either due to a sore ankle or some severe work demands. Not only am I finding myself out of breath going up stairs already, but the weight is starting to creep up....from 280 at the start of the summer to 295 now.
    Just keep getting back on the saddle!
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