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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 02-09-06, 11:32 AM   #1
martian
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Back-pack advice

Hi All,

Im gonna start commuting, a 40mile ride, just wondered how to carry stuff to work. Ill be using my training ride, so I dont want to use a rack (road bike obviously), and was thinking about a back-pack.

Anyone know of any good ones that are comfortable and wont "ride up" my back and into the back of my head! esp as I have a good seat-to-bar drop.

thanks

Martian
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Old 02-09-06, 12:06 PM   #2
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I used a regular Eastpak school back pack for several years commuting. I don't think you need to get too fancy. I will tell you that now that I have a rack and trunk bag, I wish I had gotten rid of my backpack much sooner. It's nice to ride without the weight directly on your back.
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Old 02-09-06, 12:12 PM   #3
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My backpack

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Old 02-09-06, 01:55 PM   #4
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I have a 5 year old Lowe Alpine daypack. It's great because it's fully adjustable with waist and chest straps and I've never been in a situation where I couldn't find some way to fill it. Also it has a structure to it unlike most school backpacks and the ventilation system is nice. I ride a road bike and often have to pack in my work clothes and food for the day including jackets, tights, etc. and it never rides up or anything; essentially, I barely notice it's there. You could even step up a size or so to get some more room. You should be able to find these for <$100 nowadays. Look around.

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Old 02-09-06, 01:58 PM   #5
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The only thing I'd say is make sure it has a waste strap. When I've used an acutal back pack on a bike and not a messenger bag, I really used the waste strap to keep it from jumping all over the place.

FWIW I'm a huge fan of chrome bags, and I know they make a back pack too, I'd totally check it out. (http://www.chromebags.com/messengerpacks.html) I swear the people who design their bags may very well also ride bicycles... ! Go figure that.
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Old 02-09-06, 02:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkegirl
The only thing I'd say is make sure it has a waste strap. When I've used an acutal back pack on a bike and not a messenger bag, I really used the waste strap to keep it from jumping all over the place.

FWIW I'm a huge fan of chrome bags, and I know they make a back pack too, I'd totally check it out. (http://www.chromebags.com/messengerpacks.html) I swear the people who design their bags may very well also ride bicycles... ! Go figure that.
Chrome messenger bags are pretty alright.

Chrome's messenger backpacks are the least comfortable things I've worn in a very long time.
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Old 02-09-06, 03:23 PM   #7
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I can fit a change of clothes and emergency bike tools into my Mountainsmith lumbar pack (the largest one they make). That way I don't have the discomfort of a full size daypack on my back nor the handling compromises of loaded panniers.
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Old 02-09-06, 04:01 PM   #8
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I like a backpack with a flap on top. Needless to say they are unfashionable, and thus very hard to find. My day to day one was bought at Lowes, AWP brand. It's insulated as well, which has come in handy more than once. My other claims to be a GW Bass. It's very roomy. I've even used it to take my dog to the vet. I can't tell you where to get one. I bought it for $5 at a Puppetry festival.
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Old 02-09-06, 04:21 PM   #9
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What do you need to carry? What are you looking to spend?
I love my Chrome Metro for daily use. It is water proof, durable and usually comfortable. However if you are carrying alot of heavy and/or hard items it can get uncomfortable. Messenger bags are soft sided so an odd shaped object can poke you in the back. 20 miles twice daily is also a little longer than I'd want to carry something on my back regularly. Consider if somekind of saddlebag or rack may work better for you. I've never used them but Carradice saddlebags look like a nice lightweight way to carry a commute load on a bike without racks.
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Old 02-09-06, 04:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martian
Hi All,

Im gonna start commuting, a 40mile ride, just wondered how to carry stuff to work. Ill be using my training ride, so I dont want to use a rack (road bike obviously), and was thinking about a back-pack.

Anyone know of any good ones that are comfortable and wont "ride up" my back and into the back of my head! esp as I have a good seat-to-bar drop.

thanks

Martian

Not to derail the thread, but why not a rack ?
If the bike has eyelets you will be soooo much happier with the rack.
A good aluminum rack might be 6 or 8 oz's. Not even worth worrying about.
40 miles with tools, some clean cloths, lunch, etc all strapped to your back
will eventually become very unpleasant.
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Old 02-09-06, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=-
Not to derail the thread, but why not a rack ?
If the bike has eyelets you will be soooo much happier with the rack.
A good aluminum rack might be 6 or 8 oz's. Not even worth worrying about.
40 miles with tools, some clean cloths, lunch, etc all strapped to your back
will eventually become very unpleasant.
Nonsense. I rode an entire century with the awesome backpack I linked above stuffed with food, tools and extra clothes (for me and the wife, for possible weather variations). 115 miles, no problems. Backpack haters, I wonder if you've ever had a really good backpack specifically designed for bike riding?
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Old 02-09-06, 07:01 PM   #12
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Oboeguy.

That pack looks awesome. It reminds me of a pack I almost bought back in college. Cannot remember the name (14 years ago) but it had this, at the time, revolutionary harness system that was supposed to leave you able to move all around with ease. I think it was geared towards rock climbers.

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Old 02-09-06, 07:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
Nonsense. I rode an entire century with the awesome backpack I linked above stuffed with food, tools and extra clothes (for me and the wife, for possible weather variations). 115 miles, no problems. Backpack haters, I wonder if you've ever had a really good backpack specifically designed for bike riding?

Ive ridden many miles with a backpack too....anybody can do it, does that make it
more comfortable, and better for your back than a rack ? OF course not.
Vanity or the always overrated weight concern is the only reason 99% of people dont
want racks. Why would someone make a choice to ride in 98 degree heat with a 10lb bag
on thier back ? I ride only 16miles RT on my commute on my wnter beater and Ive had enuff !
I respectfully submit that you are in the minority on this issue.
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Old 02-09-06, 10:21 PM   #14
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I recommend this one I just got from Nashbar. It is a backpack/pannier combo. In case you change your mind and don't like backpacks, you don't then have to go buy a pannier.
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Old 02-09-06, 10:39 PM   #15
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I agree with mudslinger. I ditched my backpack a long time ago. It tends to stiffen the upper body, and cause back-aches. I play tennis, and need loose shoulders. There are a lot of nice packs to mount on the back of the bike. I use Jansport, but I wll probably buy one of newer saddle varieties next time.
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Old 02-09-06, 11:01 PM   #16
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I've read all the posts and have not seen two more options. One would be a big handlebar bag with a quick release attachment. The other would be a bag attached to the seat post. I use a rack and panniers as I often have to carry home two or 3 layers that I rode to work in (frost in the AM 74 degrees in the PM). A waterbag on my back might be tolerable, a duffle bag, Not. Some 600K Randonneurs used knap-sacks but all of the P-B-P (1200K) pictures I have seen show racks.
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Old 02-10-06, 03:27 AM   #17
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Vaude makes cycling specific packs. I have one, its comfortable, has stowaway yellow rain cover, & scotchbrite parts. Best of all, the thing is suspended above your back a bit -the part against your back is a breathable mesh. Its not big - so that might be an issue (maybe they have a bigger one).
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Old 02-10-06, 07:38 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
Nonsense. I rode an entire century with the awesome backpack I linked above stuffed with food, tools and extra clothes (for me and the wife, for possible weather variations). 115 miles, no problems. Backpack haters, I wonder if you've ever had a really good backpack specifically designed for bike riding?

I'm sure backpacks that are cycling specific are comfortable.... but, for the price... a rack and some panniers were the way to go for me. I tried riding my commute last semester with a backpack full of accounting books... just wasn't good compared to the rack and panniers I put on my commuter. nothing on the back is alot better than anything on the back. IMO of course.

EDIT: i'm not a backpack hater... I'm just an advocate of racks and panniers.
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Old 02-10-06, 08:52 AM   #19
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Heh, I'm not sure I'd like to ride with my pack full of accounting books... I have managed to put all sorts of stuff in there, though, including a floor pump one time when I had it delivered to work and had to bring it home.
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Old 02-10-06, 10:13 AM   #20
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