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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 04-14-08, 11:30 AM   #1
jayne_cobb
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Laptops and commuting

I have started a new job recently and the idea of commuting is now realistic for me. Just curious if anyone communtes with a laptop? Perhaps what sort of bag they use to store their laptop. Really the idea is completely new to me, so any thoughts, good or bad on the subject would be appreciated!

Thanks
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Old 04-14-08, 11:37 AM   #2
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I don't regularly bring my laptop home except when I'm working over the weekend or will be traveling. But I have ridden home with it enough to know that if I had to commute with it regularly I'd use a rack and panniers. I love backpacks of all sorts and use them for my daily commute but I don't particularly like my laptop on my back for the whole ride home (25 miles). It's not bad in a backpack for my shorter rides in the morning though. I guess it depends on the length of your commute.
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Old 04-14-08, 11:44 AM   #3
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i just bring mine home on the weekends - I have a Targus: http://targus.com/us/product_details.asp?sku=TSB089US

nice because it has a rainfly with it - works great - I've actually used it in the rain and everything stayed dry.
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Old 04-14-08, 11:47 AM   #4
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I would recommend finding a good high quality sleeve for the laptop, then carry in the most comfortable backpack, sling, or other type of case for transport.
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Old 04-14-08, 11:50 AM   #5
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I bring mine home every day. I use a backpack http://www.rei.com/product/707995

It works great, is comfortable and pretty light weight. I have a very short commute currently so it's no big deal. Might be a bigger pain for a longer commute.
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Old 04-14-08, 11:56 AM   #6
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+1 on having a good sleeve. In addition, make sure that the laptop doesn't have design flaws that make it dicey to carry/bounce around. A series of Apple Powerbooks had exposed hinges that would break when squeezed (as apt to happen when hauling it with other materials).
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Old 04-14-08, 11:56 AM   #7
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I have commuted with laptops for a few years, but it's not an everyday thing... just as needed. First I did this with a messenger bag that had a laptop sleeve. There are many options in this category, but this can be a heavy and sweaty experience depending on the laptop's weight and your commute. I prefer panniers, and decided to buy a laptop pannier a couple of years ago. Carradice and Arkel both make panniers with laptop sleeves.

I would take a look at the following commuter pannier from Arkel... it looks really nice:
http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/com...asp?fl=1&site=

I have the Arkel Briefcase, which is a really nice bag...but is kind of heavy. It weighs over 4 pounds and I can't figure out where that weight is coming from. Arkel's other urban panniers, like the Commuter, weigh half as much and offer more capacity. I also have the Arkel Utility Bag... their stuff is expensive, but really excellent in terms of design and construction.

So carrying a laptop is no big deal... you just have to decide what type of bag you want. Messenger bags and backpacks both come in configurations for laptops. Then there are briefcase panniers and commuter panniers with laptop sleeves.

Another factor is the size/weight of your laptop. If you have a 17" laptop your options will be more limited. If your laptop is heavy, I'd definitely consider the pannier.

Sean
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Old 04-14-08, 12:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayne_cobb View Post
I have started a new job recently and the idea of commuting is now realistic for me. Just curious if anyone communtes with a laptop? Perhaps what sort of bag they use to store their laptop. Really the idea is completely new to me, so any thoughts, good or bad on the subject would be appreciated!

Thanks
I just carry a USB drive in my pannier instead of the whole laptop. Much lighter, and I don't have to worry about shock and vibration messing up the laptop.
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Old 04-14-08, 12:25 PM   #9
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I use one of these: Tom Bihn Brain Cell in a big messenger bag. Seems like great protection; I haven't crashed with my laptop yet, but I expect i would largely survive.
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Old 04-14-08, 12:28 PM   #10
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+1 on having a good sleeve. In addition, make sure that the laptop doesn't have design flaws that make it dicey to carry/bounce around. A series of Apple Powerbooks had exposed hinges that would break when squeezed (as apt to happen when hauling it with other materials).
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Old 04-14-08, 02:12 PM   #11
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I carry my laptop home without a sleeve in an LL Bean book bag. I take it home 75% of the time. When it rains I pop everything in a trashbag that then goes in the book bag. Very lo-tech. I only commute 17 miles round trip though. If it was longer I might work something else out.
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Old 04-14-08, 03:13 PM   #12
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i carry mine home 2-3 nights per week and just place it in my pannier unwrapped. if i wrecked it would probably get damaged but it belongs to my company and i'm slave to the thing. if it were my own i would probably put it in something like timbuk2's laptop sleeve and then put it in the pannier. the pannier is the dryline by altura (not sure they sell in the US) and is padded a bit but nothing serious. the pannier and rack thing is unbelievably easy and less of a hassle than a backpack. i forget it's there...
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Old 04-14-08, 04:25 PM   #13
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I carry mine home frequently. I agree with the recommendations about getting a good quality sleeve. I put the sleeve inside my pannier (meant for grocery bags) and add the cover if needed to keep out the rain.
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Old 04-14-08, 07:18 PM   #14
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I use a Timbuktu messenger bag for my laptop. I telework two days a week, so it rides with me home except on Friday afternoons and Monday mornings. I have the laptop in a nice padded sleeve inside and have not noticed any problems even in down-pouring rain. The timbuktu is nice and waterproof, with the sleeve as added protection.

Honestly, I'm not paranoid about it as it is a work laptop and not my own personal computer.

At first it was heavy, but the neck muscles have strengthened a bit and now I hardly notice it on my 20 mile round trip.
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Old 04-14-08, 08:07 PM   #15
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I throw mine in a backpack that has a laptop sleeve along with my change of clothes, coffee, etc. The backpack then is dropped into a grocery pannier. Simple, but very effective.
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Old 04-14-08, 08:07 PM   #16
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I haul mine to work and back daily. I leave it in suspend mode, or powered off, so the disk drive isn't spinning. I use a jandd sleeve the jandd commuter pannier. It's been fine for the past year.

I once left it running to find the wireless networks along the way. Survived just fine.
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Old 04-14-08, 08:25 PM   #17
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I'm hesitant to carry mine on the rack in case it gets jolted; I feel it is safer on my back. I only take it to work about once in two weeks, and the rest of the time I carry my stuff on the rack.
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Old 04-15-08, 01:15 AM   #18
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I also use a Timbuk2 messenger bag for my laptop. It rides with me every day and has not suffered any damage even after a couple spills. The bag has a pretty well paded sleeve, I also store hard stuff on the sides to protect it extra, like the power cord, and a glasses case. The bag also has lots of extra room for other things including the obligatory repair gear. I also always carry a stow-able jacket, and 1-2 books with me each day.
Its stayed bone dry inside even in the heaviest downpours (if only I could have fit myself inside the bag..)

Only down side, lots of Velcro. Velcro is annoying, and loud.
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Old 04-15-08, 05:07 AM   #19
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I'm a student and carry mine everyday. I put it in my backpack, and put the backpack in the milk crate on the back of the bike.... Works like a charm

Billy
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Old 04-15-08, 07:55 AM   #20
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I just carry a USB drive in my pannier instead of the whole laptop. Much lighter, and I don't have to worry about shock and vibration messing up the laptop.
+1
I loaded Ubuntu on a 4-gig USB stick so not only can I carry my stuff with me I can boot the computer I'll be using it on thus cloning my computer from home. Here is where you can get Ubuntu.
http://www.ubuntu.com/

It's also an upgrade from Windoze Vista.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:16 AM   #21
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I use one of these: Tom Bihn Brain Cell in a big messenger bag. Seems like great protection; I haven't crashed with my laptop yet, but I expect i would largely survive.
+1 on the Brain Cell, I have done assisted touring with the Brain Cell inside some luggage and the laptop was fine....very high quality products.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:10 AM   #22
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I usually just stuff mine in my backpack and go. No problems so far. However I would still recomend a good sleeve to put it in. I don't think there is really any need to buy any kind of special bag when I can make what I have work.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:11 AM   #23
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I need my computer at school every day. Last year, I carried it in my backpack, which was workable, but certainly not comfortable (~46 km round trip). This year, I switched to panniers...much, much better. My panniers are not fully waterproof, so if there's more than a light drizzle, I'll toss the computer in a plastic back first. I haven't had a problem with it getting bounced around, etc, but I also haven't crashed with it yet.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:31 AM   #24
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I got decent Trek panniers but they were a non-working PITA and I got to hate the sight of my laptop falling off the bike. Now I use a Swiss Gear laptop backpack, so the laptop doesn't fall off the bike unless I do.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:53 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by jungwiar View Post
I throw mine in a backpack that has a laptop sleeve along with my change of clothes, coffee, etc. The backpack then is dropped into a grocery pannier. Simple, but very effective.
+1

I place the 15.4 widescreen laptop in an Ortlieb laptop sleeve (http://www.rei.com/product/764005) that then slips into the laptop sleeve of an Ogio backpack. I added extra velcro straps to have the laptop stay firmly against the back. The backpack has a spare jacket, hand towel, and bike kit. Somedays, I wear the backpack and ride to work; other days, I drop the backpack into a Delta pannier. Occasionally, I place the laptop in a Targus laptop carry bag and place that into the Delta Pannier. So far, no issues. I always shut the laptop completely off. Which of the above has worked best for me? Wearing the backpack on my back. I get off the bike and take the backpack into work.
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