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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 01-16-01, 02:57 AM   #1
claude
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what do you people use to carry your commute ???

I used to use a backpack - I used to get very sweaty in the back which was a bother when riding to work.

Then I switched to rack and paniers - but my ride has a lot of offroad bits, and they keep iether flying off or swinging and banging on to my seatstays - I broke 2 racks...
Also it is annoying having to remove them whenever I pop into the shops.

Since I don't carry much stuff I was considering a courier bag - can anybody tell me if they're comfy, and if they would be Ok on a reasonably rough ride - or will they keep sliding all over the place (like a normal sling bag would) and potentially cause accidents ??

cheers

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Old 01-16-01, 04:53 AM   #2
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check out timbuk2

My commute is mixed road & dirt road. I use what I guess you are calling a sling bag. It's like a fabric briefcase, with a shoulder strap so it's carried like a musette. And, yeah, I have to give it an elbow jab every so often to keep it back where it belongs.

I've read the timbuk2 messenger bags have a retention system that do a better job of keeping the bag in place. If you want to read more, their website is http://www.timbuk2.com/, and lots of bike shops carry their stuff.

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Old 01-16-01, 09:53 AM   #3
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pack

Stay with your day pack, inspite of its drawbacks it`s still the best way to go. I have tried rack trunks, panniers and other devices over the years and still prefer the day pack. If you will use some small utility straps through the loops on your panniers and around the rack this will stop your panniers flying off, its the only way you can tour off road, how do you think mt. bike tourers keep them on.!!?
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Old 01-16-01, 10:06 AM   #4
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you've got a point there about strapping down the packs to the bike, but then it would take ages to remove and put on on the way to the shops...also, I think offroading with a relatively heavy bike is more difficult than with a backpack secured to your back. I thought about courier, or messenger packs as, although I never tried one I guess you can move them around avaoiding sweat build up on your back. (N.B. I've tried all types of backpacks - cool mesh, netting back, normal back, cycling specific.... they all make your back sweat....)

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Old 01-16-01, 12:40 PM   #5
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I have a small day pack with the chest strap, keeps the bag thight, and dosent wiggle or bounce around when im really pushing it.

I have used a timbuk2 bag before, and it was nice, however i can fit alot more in my daypack, and imho, it looks better. However! not all daypacks are waterproof, and the timbuk2 bag i had, was waterproof, if i had to carry a laptop to work, i would have used the timbuk2.
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Old 01-16-01, 03:30 PM   #6
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I'm a backpacker... I have several of the things, I use them instead of briefcases. They travel well on airplanes, too. I prefer the packs with waist straps, but I've collected all kinds. Some are perfect for grocery runs, some are better suited to hauling lunch, a cell phone, a laptop, and other office paraphenalia.

I bike with a Performance backpack. They've since discontinued the thing, focusing instead on hydration packs. This one has the illumi-lite material, lots of pockets, and a zip out rain cover. When it gets really nasty, I fling it in the wash and hope for the best.

On rainy days, I use a rack trunk instead... it seems to keep my stuff dryer. I park my bike in the LAN/PBX room at my office, which stays locked... and I have a key... so I can leave the trunk on it during the workday.

I backpack whilst motorcycling as well. My favourite pack is a Shawn-the-Sheep daypack from the Wallace & Grommit cartoon. It's a kiddie item, but I HAD to have one. Picture this: middle aged me, suited up and tearing down the highway on my Yama-Rocket, big, cross-eyed, wooley sheep strapped to my back, its wobbly black legs flailing about. A cop pulled alongside me once, he was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes.
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Old 01-17-01, 12:38 AM   #7
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That Was Funny!

Man, Cambronne, that was LOL funny, "Shawn-the-Sheep" backpack! Do they have the "penguin" backpack, too? Ah well, that was a good story. :-)
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Old 01-17-01, 08:17 AM   #8
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Performance Panniers and Blackburn Rack

Just throwing in my $0.02.
I have a Blackburn Expedition ER-2 Rack. This is a new model so my bike shop had to order it. It has 4 vertical supports compared to the ER-1's 3. I can't imagine this thing breaking.
I just got a pair of Performance TransIt Epic Pannier. I had been wanting a pair of panniers. Until now I have been strapping my backpack in a big handlebar basket I had attached to my rack. Did the job, but the high center of gravity made the bike less stable. I also hope to do some light touring. These Performance panniers seem just right for my needs. Basic bags with few bells and whistles. 1000 denier Cordura, 2800+ cubic inches--each, not per pair, a couple of exterior pockets, a high visibility green coated nylon raincover in its own pocket, attached by a strap so it is hard to lose. Very sturdy and well made. No D rings to attach a shoulder strap, no backpack strap options. I really like these things. One holds more than I carry on a regular commute, and I can mount the second if I have extra stuff to carry. They should also be great for touring. The best part may be the price - on sale at performancebike.com for $80 per pair. Compare that to some of the other brands. Attachment is very secure, though I supplemented with strong bungee cords as extra insurance. The mounting straps form carry handles, and I am sure I can work out a way to attach a shoulder strap and maybe even backpack straps. The bottom hooks don't look as strong as I would like, but a couple of 25 cent S-hooks from the hardware store should fix that. I takes less than 30 seconds to remove one from the bike. That doesn't seem like too much of a time penalty.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 01-17-01, 09:18 AM   #9
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Technogirl...

Here is the URL for the Aardmarket, purveyors of all things Wallace & Grommit:

http://195.8.99.234/cgi-bin/aardmarket.storefront/

Here is the page specific to rucksacks, purses, watches, & accessories:

http://www.aardmarket.com/cgi-bin/aa...8/Catalog/1023

They're reliable web merchants, and shipping is quite speedy. And, yes, Penguin is well represented!
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Old 01-17-01, 10:03 AM   #10
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Addendum

Cambronne,
In my prior post I meant do ditto technogirl's comments and state that you are my hero.
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Old 01-17-01, 11:36 AM   #11
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Merci, merci beaucoup!

I appreciate your kind words.

Remember, one is never too old to be a lunatic!
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Old 01-20-01, 02:51 PM   #12
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carrying stuff

Messenger bags are great, I've had many, Timbuk2 best so far. I have panniers, front and back, and prefer not to use them. Occasionally I use my Burley trailer if needed.

I've even used my bag for overnight trips, often in conjunction with a hip pack, with stuff needed while riding.
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Old 01-20-01, 09:42 PM   #13
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Thanks for the Links

Thanks for the link to Aardmarket, Cambronne. I did notice that the Pink Shaun T-Shirt is on sale, if you're interested. ;-) Ah, not my favorite color, either, so I guess I'll pass on that one. I did notice that they had the Wallace and Gromit DVD that will be available soon. :-)


Hey, RainmanP, I'm glad you got the Blackburn rack, too. I've heard really good things about it from my friend. I'm still waiting for my rack to come in. My bike shop says it's on backorder at Blackburn. Hopefully, I'll have it by next week.


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Old 01-22-01, 02:20 AM   #14
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hi guys,

thanks for all the feedback on the subject! It seems that if one goes for a messenger bag, timbuk2 is the one to go for. Just one question though (please bear with me but on this side of the world nobody ever heard of these bags, let alone sell them - so i'll have to order it by mail) is the Timbuk2 deedog (seems to be the best-selling one they've got) large enough to carry a set of work clothes + shoes (no jacket), a couple of sandwiches and some odd and end gear like bike tools ect ?

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Old 01-22-01, 03:52 PM   #15
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Just to confuse things...

I use a Blackburn rack and Deuter panniers. I used to use a backpack, but in my climate (particularly in summer) I used to just get too warm and sweaty.

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Old 01-29-01, 06:44 AM   #16
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Milk Krate

Well... I know this sounds dorkie, but I bolted a big wire milk krate to my rear carrier. It is surprisingly light considering the size.

It is extra big - a real metal wire milk crate, not one of those plastic wanna-be's.

It 'aint real pretty, but it sure is convenient to be able to simply throw anything and all things into it and go. Heck, with bunjee cords, I could get a German Shepard into it.

At Christmas, I carried a whole crock-pot full of chili to work including the crock pot, heating unit, and all; along with gifts for my friends and workmates. I didn't even have to put the chili in a separate container and just kept it in the upright crock pot which fit nicely in the milk krate.

What pannier could do that?

It isn't really aerodynamic, but my body is wider that the milk krate and acts as the most imperfect wind-foil.
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Old 01-29-01, 08:19 AM   #17
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Not too dorkie

Hey, Mike, that doesn't sound too dorkie to me. Until I got panniers a couple of weeks ago, I had a large handlebar basket bolted to my rack as you describe. It was very convenient, but there are a couple of places on my commute where I have to lift my bike plus wrestle it up some steps to get through the front door of the building. Going up steps was no problem. Getting through a door is no problem. But there is no landing so I had to hold the bike with one hand as it wanted to go back down the steps, then reach up to get the door. A very clumsy situation. If I had any weight at all in the basket, the bike was very hard to handle in these situations. With the lower center of gravity, the panniers make the whole thing easier. I also had a folding rear basket on one side. That was handy, too. I took it off when I got my panniers, but I plan to rig up a pannier type suspension system for it so I can slap it on for errands.
Speaking of dorkie, I guess I have a different attitude. Those of us that use our bikes as tools to get us to work and back need stuff that purists would rather die than mount on their bikes. Headlights, blinkie taillights, horn/bell, fenders, etc. I even have a rear view mirror. I would not be without it. I do not rely on it for switching lanes or other moves, but it does allow me to keep an eye on people coming up behind me. If something makes my ride safer or more convenient I will use it without apology. Besides, my daughters think I am a dork anyway, so what's new? :-)
Regards,
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Old 01-29-01, 11:07 AM   #18
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Right on, Raymond!

Raymond, you are officially inducted to my "League of Bicycling Cool Cats".

You said it best that bicycles as a functional mode of transport are a first priority. When I see a guy on a ruddy old bike carrying two or even four giant garbage bags full of aluminum cans, he gets my admiration. Meanwhile, a single driver in an inefficient SUV hauling no load (except his own fat butt) looks at the bag-biker with distain.

Panniers make a lot of sense for correct loading and balance. However, when I need to haul a bunch of stuff or big stuff, "Hello milk krated Varsity".

Ride for fun, ride for transport, ride for life.

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Old 01-30-01, 01:26 AM   #19
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talking about just about what you can carry on your bike, my recent trip to the Netherlands was an eye opener - people there carry just about anything on their bikes - I've actually seen a bloke carrying a not-so-small coffee table strapped to his rack. It is also very customary (apparently) to have a passenger sitting on your rack 'old dame style', i.e. with both legs on one side of the bike. - but then cycling in the Netherlands is a class of its own....
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Old 01-30-01, 10:56 AM   #20
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How about carrying bicycles with bicycles?!

An old retired guy who lives in the neighborhood (and seems to make a living from yard sales) uses his bike every Tuesday to junk pick on trash collection day.

He is famous for picking up old bicycles WHOLE, throwing them onto his FRONT basket, and riding home.

He has picked up some nice machines including Raleigh three speeds, '70's vintage Motobecane, some rare '50's ballooners along with all kinds of other cool stuff; all transported around by a single bicycle and 67+ year old legs.
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Old 01-30-01, 11:54 AM   #21
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Right on!

That old guy gets inducted into two of my "halls of fame" - bicycling and, uh, "re-cycling"!
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Old 01-31-01, 06:46 PM   #22
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Bucket panniers!

The milk crate is cool, but there's a guy around here that has made a set of panniers out of 5 gallon buckets... a pair on the front and a pair on the rear.
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Old 02-01-01, 05:26 AM   #23
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Bucket Panniers!

Bucket Panniers?! That is over the top.

That guy would have a hard time finding dates in this town with five-gallon buckets tied to his bike.

I saw guys with even bigger buckets tied to their bikes in China. They were the guys that cleaned the public toilet "honey buckets". Talk about zero tolerance riding! Every bump in the road must have taken on a whole new level of stress for these guys.
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Old 04-16-04, 08:06 AM   #24
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I'm pretty small, 5' 1", and I've found that my sling bag by Dank (the kind that sits as a backpack) is great when I don't have anything in it. However, if I have any significant weight in it at all it slips around to my side the minute I lean forward over my bars as my back isn't wide enough to keep it in place. My solution was to buy a Chrome Metropolis courior bag. I is a sling style as well, but it has a strap that goes under my right arm (I wear the bag on my left) and a waist strap (which I don't even need because of the under arm stabliztion strap). It's awesome and worth every penny. They have four sizes - the metropolis in the second smallest, but you wouldn't believe how large the biggest one is. It doesn't hurt that they look unbelievably cool.
www.chromebags.com.
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Old 04-16-04, 09:36 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike
Well... I know this sounds dorkie, but I bolted a big wire milk krate to my rear carrier. It is surprisingly light considering the size.

It is extra big - a real metal wire milk crate, not one of those plastic wanna-be's.

It 'aint real pretty, but it sure is convenient to be able to simply throw anything and all things into it and go. Heck, with bunjee cords, I could get a German Shepard into it.

At Christmas, I carried a whole crock-pot full of chili to work including the crock pot, heating unit, and all; along with gifts for my friends and workmates. I didn't even have to put the chili in a separate container and just kept it in the upright crock pot which fit nicely in the milk krate.

What pannier could do that?

It isn't really aerodynamic, but my body is wider that the milk krate and acts as the most imperfect wind-foil.

Hey Mike! You just gotta post a pic of that bad boy!
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