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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 02-29-08, 08:50 PM   #1
macteacher
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Anybody commute with a 17" MacBookPro? If so, please explain.

I commutte with a 17" MBP. Currently I have to ways..either on my back with a pack, or i fit the pack in a rear basket and strap it down.

Now that I have a proper rear rack, i'd like to get a pannier that can securely hold it.

Either a pannier with a large enough space for it

or a pannier that contains some sort of compression straps (inside of it) where the mac can be stored (within a sleeve of course).

I did find an Arkel bag...but it's one sided....i'd like to find a double pannier...one on each side (i know, im being somewhat picky)

** edit **
The Toronto Bike Show will be on next week I believe. Would I be likely to find a pannier that fits my needs there?
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Old 02-29-08, 11:13 PM   #2
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i ride with a 13" macbook. i only put it in my backpack or laptop bag and carry it on my body. it's too fragile to strap to the bike...all the bumps would most likely damage/loosen something, don't ya think?
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Old 02-29-08, 11:57 PM   #3
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i think if the laptop is secured properly, it'll be okay. Their built pretty solid. In retrospect i would have gotten a 15"MBP.... its nearly impossible trying to find a pannier for this thing.... oh well...i got a goo deal on my 17...i got it for the price of the 15, so I couldn't turn that down.
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Old 03-01-08, 12:17 AM   #4
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No I use a Trek
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Old 03-01-08, 01:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
I did find an Arkel bag...but it's one sided....i'd like to find a double pannier...one on each side (i know, im being somewhat picky)

** edit **
The Toronto Bike Show will be on next week I believe. Would I be likely to find a pannier that fits my needs there?
Why do you want a double pannier? I usually carry only one pannier bag. I'll carry two when I need to haul more stuff, but why carry another bag if you don't need to?

I have the Arkel briefcase by the way, as well as their Utility Bag (which I use for groceries and all kinds of other things). I don't know if the briefcase will hold a 17" MB, but I think the Commuter bag's laptop sleeve is larger. Arkel bags are well designed and durable. I've carried my laptop in the Arkel Briefcase many times.

Sean
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Old 03-01-08, 01:11 AM   #6
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i think if the laptop is secured properly, it'll be okay. Their built pretty solid. In retrospect i would have gotten a 15"MBP.... its nearly impossible trying to find a pannier for this thing.... oh well...i got a goo deal on my 17...i got it for the price of the 15, so I couldn't turn that down.
Check the specs on the Arkel Commuter pannier. I think it will fit. If not, they say you can request a custom sleeve.

It's important to note that both Arkel laptop bags allow you to attach the sleeve so the laptop is suspended from the top. It doesn't rest on the bottom of the bag. This keeps the laptop safe if you drop the bag, but it also helps dampen vibration and bumps transmitted from the road to the pannier.
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Old 03-01-08, 06:46 AM   #7
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Quick question regarding the arkel. The bottom little hook that attaches to the rack. Does that have any give? So over bumps how do stop the bag from hitting the frame of the rack? The top is secure and does not have any side to side swinging motion, but how do you prevent the bottom from doing so? It seems that it has about an inch of movement. Anybody notice any issues with that?

I wanted two bags as sometimes I carry a few things, so I wanted a uniform look. Besides, its balanced a bit more.
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Old 03-01-08, 10:20 AM   #8
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Quick question regarding the arkel. The bottom little hook that attaches to the rack. Does that have any give? So over bumps how do stop the bag from hitting the frame of the rack? The top is secure and does not have any side to side swinging motion, but how do you prevent the bottom from doing so? It seems that it has about an inch of movement. Anybody notice any issues with that?

I wanted two bags as sometimes I carry a few things, so I wanted a uniform look. Besides, its balanced a bit more.
There really isn't any give once the bag is attached. The bottom hook is attached by a bungee cord so that you can lift the bag off the top of the rack and then unhook it from the bottom. What keeps the bag from swinging out away from the bike? The hook passes under a simple strap of fabric that holds it down against the bag. It's a very easy and quick mounting/dismounting system. It works better than the mounting system on my Ortlieb panniers. I like the Arkel mounting system much more. It's also easy to adjust how far back the bag sits. When the bag is mounted it does not move. It hugs the rack securely. At least my Nitto rack. If a rack doesn't have anything for the hook to connect with then there will be a problem... but most racks are designed with this type of mount in mind.

As far as dual bags go, you could get two commuters and take the laptop sleeve out of one. Or you could mix two different bags and get a commuter on one side and a utility bag on the other. That's what I do: I use the Arkel Utility bag for groceries, extra clothes, etc; and the Briefcase on the other side. I usually don't carry my laptop though, so most of the time I just have the Utility bag attached. Even when it is the only bag and it is full of groceries that include heavy items like a gallon of milk, I have never had a load balancing problem.

If you will be carrying these bags off the bike a lot, consider the Arkel Bug for one side since it converts to a backpack. Also look at Ortlieb and Carradice. I know they both make laptop panniers. I'm sure there are a few others as well.

Sean
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Old 03-01-08, 10:21 AM   #9
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i ride with a 13" macbook. i only put it in my backpack or laptop bag and carry it on my body. it's too fragile to strap to the bike...all the bumps would most likely damage/loosen something, don't ya think?
No. When your laptop is running the hard disk is prone to damage from vibrations and movement, but it'd _probably_ be fine on your bike (modern hard drives spin very fast, even the 5400's, and it takes quite a bit of force to cause a head crash).
When your laptop isn't running the head is parked. Everything else is screwed in tight because it has to be. The vibrations should be no more damaging to it than they are to your bike.

And a proper carrying case will absorb many vibrations anyway.


However. If you crash the laptop in your backpack will see much greater forces than in your panniers. Because it's being thrown from higher up attached to a heavier object which will act to protect itself (that object being your body).
I'd probably still ride with it in a backpack though. But that's why I'm with you and bought the $1500 macbook instead of the $2500 macbook pro.
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Old 03-01-08, 12:43 PM   #10
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As far as dual bags go, you could get two commuters and take the laptop sleeve out of one. Or you could mix two different bags and get a commuter on one side and a utility bag on the other. That's what I do: I use the Arkel Utility bag for groceries, extra clothes, etc; and the Briefcase on the other side. I usually don't carry my laptop though, so most of the time I just have the Utility bag attached. Even when it is the only bag and it is full of groceries that include heavy items like a gallon of milk, I have never had a load balancing problem.
Sean
These bags aren't cheap...to have multiple versions....lol.

What about at the bike show...will they probably have cheaper bags available?
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Old 03-01-08, 12:50 PM   #11
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Okay...it's done. I'm off to buy the Arkel commuter bag. I'm tired of searching...it drives a man crazy. Anyhow, the cost savings in gas alone will pay for the bag 10 times over.
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Old 03-01-08, 03:44 PM   #12
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Okay...it's done. I'm off to buy the Arkel commuter bag. I'm tired of searching...it drives a man crazy. Anyhow, the cost savings in gas alone will pay for the bag 10 times over.
Those are my thoughts as well. I celebrated getting rid of my car many years ago by buying a really nice bicycle...which paid for itself quickly. Now we have a car again <sigh>. Even though it sees light use, it still costs you money just sitting there in the garage.
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Old 03-01-08, 04:46 PM   #13
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Those are my thoughts as well. I celebrated getting rid of my car many years ago by buying a really nice bicycle...which paid for itself quickly. Now we have a car again <sigh>. Even though it sees light use, it still costs you money just sitting there in the garage.
Well, i just got back home with the Arkel bag. Its really nice although they did not have the rain cover in stock. I'll just use a garbage bag in the meantime. Anyhow, I hear ya loud and clear regarding the car. Now that the weather is slowly improving and temps going up, my car will be getting less and less use, but my insurance for it still needs to be paid.
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Old 03-01-08, 07:06 PM   #14
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My LL BEan backpack holds my 17-incher and it doesn't look like a computer pack, either. I also have a Timbuktu backpack built for a laptop. It rides nicely on the side of my Xtracycle or on my back.
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Old 03-02-08, 01:58 AM   #15
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I use the Arkel Commuter bag with my 17" MacBook Pro (and my 17" PowerBook before that) with no issues. It fits great!
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