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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 09-05-09, 07:38 PM   #1
Little-Acorn
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Backpack that can hang on the side of bike's back rack?

Well, I just got a little miffed, probably should have done more homework. Toured all the LBSs in my area, came home with a set of pannier bags. Big enough, between them, to hold all my 11yr son's schoolbooks, notebooks, school supplies, etc. Stuff that I used to leave in my school locker 40 years ago, but his school doesn't have lockers, don't ask me why.

Full backpack weighs maybe 30 pounds. Was tasked by family CEO to design or buy something that will allow him to put this weight on the bike (Trek 7200) instead of on his back. Brought home the set of pannier bags, looked to me like a good solution. Good weight distribution, strapped tightly enough to the back rack, and when he got to school he could undo two straps and lift the panniers off the bike and carry them around. And on the 3 days a week he has band, he can strap his trumpet on top of the rack as usual, since the panniers leave the top of the rack clear. Son took one look and said he didn't want to carry the panniers in school because everyone else has backpacks and these look weird.

CEO and I just finished going over possiblities. Most likely one seems to be a backpack that can also hook onto the side of the back rack, like a single pannier bag. Trumpet can still go on top, or on the other side somehow if balance is an issue. I can ride it unbalanced like that, but I'm considerably bigger than son.

I could modify his present backpack with hooks, and probably a board inside (like the pannier) so cloth wouldn't sag into the spokes. With a strap lower down of course, to fasten near the axle like the pannier does.

Before swinging the shop into action, it occurred to me that I'm probably not the first person to have this prroblem. Maybe there's a commercially-produced product, available in bike shops (though I didn't see one in today's LBS tour), which is a bag that can hang on the side of a back rack, and then be taken off an worn like a backpack? And big enough to hold all those book, stuff, kitchen sink etc.?

Does anyone know of such a backpack-that's-also-a-single-pannier?

A single side basket is also a possibility, that he can drop the filled backpack into.

Alternate responses, such as Tell the son he can use the panniers or walk to school with his books in a roller backpack, have already been considered and rejected, though some of the votes were close. I hope to explore this single-pannier-backpack idea now.

Last edited by Little-Acorn; 09-05-09 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 09-05-09, 07:56 PM   #2
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I know a girl that puts her whole backpack in the pannier at the end of the day and rides away.

is the pannier big enough for that?
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Old 09-05-09, 08:17 PM   #3
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http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/bac...asp?fl=1&site=
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Old 09-05-09, 08:43 PM   #4
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Or, at a more reasonable price, but more of a hiking rather than school backpack:

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...7_10000_201501

No idea how convenient it is to switch between pannier and backpack modes.
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Old 09-05-09, 09:03 PM   #5
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Or, at a more reasonable price, but more of a hiking rather than school backpack:

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...7_10000_201501

No idea how convenient it is to switch between pannier and backpack modes.
We bought this for my son to use last year, for exactly the need the OP is trying to meet. It failed on all accounts, so we sent it back.
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Old 09-05-09, 09:25 PM   #6
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prathmann, that's the kind of thing I'm looking or!

downtube42, what kind of problems did you have with it? Zippers stuck, size wrong, ....??

It occurs to me too, that perhaps all I need is a BIG pannier on the back, perhaps only on one side, that's big enough for my son to just drop his entire existing backpack into. Ride to school, lift the backpack out, problem solved. If the balance is handle-able with that much weight on one side.

And perhaps the trumpet can go in the other side....

I'm now looking at the Axiom Champlain. It seems big enough. Anyone know of any others around that size? My son's full backpack is 14" tall, 13" wide across his back, and 13" deep when all the stuff's in there.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:00 AM   #7
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Try explaining to the CEO that if he's wearing a 30lb backpack around school, that's going to hurt his back more than wearing it on a bike, where the weight is being transferred to the handlebars and seat. And if he's wearing some overpriced sort of pannier/backpack contraption in the hallways instead of a normal backpack, he'll get beat up every day, which may also be bad for his back. And assuming there's only one, there's also a 30lb weight balance issue, which may be dangerous for a kid on a bike...

Based on my commute experience: Put a basket on top of the rack, and he can bungee @20lbs of stuff in there, with the trumpet on top. The remaining @10lbs or so that doesn't fit will be fine in the backpack, for reasons stated above. When he gets to school, he can put the 20lbs of stuff in the backpack with the rest, and wear a normal backpack all day like the rest of the kids.

If you have a separate pannier, you can bet the little rascals will vandalize and/or steal it if he leaves it on the bike, unless he wants to carry it around all day.
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Old 09-06-09, 07:44 AM   #8
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Milkcrate on rear rack. Backpack drops in.
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Old 09-06-09, 09:24 AM   #9
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I am a college student in Boston. Timbuk2 and Chrome messenger bags are pretty popular here as they come in very larges sizes for carrying lots of stuff, but I hate carrying stuff on my back when biking. I ride my bike everywhere, use it to carry everything, and wear a backpack everywhere I walk around that I also carry with my bike. I also explored the single backpack/pannier idea at first, but couldn't find an acceptable product:as downtube said, the nashbar one is less than stellar, and detours had one but it was small and made of mesh for grocery getting. Ortlieb has a backpack adapter for their panniers, but I am too poor to afford even one ortlieb pannier. I ended up going the basket route using Wald Rear Folding Baskets, and would highly recommend it because they:

1. Are relatively inexpensive (~$35 for a set of 2)
2. let you insert/remove backpack very easily
3. offer a TON flexibility. You can carry anything in them
4. let weight sit lower than wearing a backpack/using a milkcrate (for a less wobbly bike).


I've used these baskets for touring (going from Boston to NY, I had two backpacks in my baskets):

and to carry all sorts of junk:



and to tow other bikes:


Although recently I've been using a pair of trashcan panniers I built and decorated(what fun!) which are bigger and let the weight of my backpack sit lower.





So far baskets/buckets have proved to be the best solution for me. I used to use a milkcrate but got really sick of riding around with a top-heavy and wobbly bike. I then moved to wald baskets, then built my trashcans. I'm all for creative innovation, so whatever you do, go nuts. In terms of building a frame to hang a backpack, bikeforums member n4zou built one to hang his backpack on his rack using PVC piping, which I did consider before realizing the benefits of just having big baskets. Here's the thread he posted on, and here's a photo of what that looks like:


Last edited by thehum; 09-06-09 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 09-06-09, 11:08 AM   #10
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Carradice makes a backpack/pannier: https://pcoms-server.com/carradicesh...k&cat=panniers
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Old 09-06-09, 02:49 PM   #11
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I've strapped my backpack on top of my rear rack using bungee cords (shoulder straps up). It was top heavy but manageable. The Folding Basket idea sounds nice. You can take books out and put them on each side to help balance the weight and keep them lower to the ground.

For panniers I have the Axiom Kootenay's. They are a little oversized for my needs but should be an adequate size for your son. Those Champlain's are huge. I think the average backpack is only 1800 to 2200 cubic inches.
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Old 09-06-09, 06:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
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prathmann, that's the kind of thing I'm looking or!

downtube42, what kind of problems did you have with it? Zippers stuck, size wrong, ....??

....
I recall the transformation between pannier and backpack was arduous - that was the primary problem. It was advertised as waterproof - which was executed with a large plastic bag you're evidently supposed to stuff you gear inside then shove the whole thing inside the bag. In fact the waterproof bag was larger than the pack.
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Old 09-06-09, 06:37 PM   #13
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I think this is magnificent.
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Old 09-07-09, 01:08 AM   #14
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A backpack pannier can get dirty and wet during wet weather. I wouldn't want to wear a backpack like that. So think about finding a pannier that you can stuff your backpack in quickly.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:52 AM   #15
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Would this Xootr Crossrack work? You could probably just put a standard backpack on the rack and ride away.

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Old 09-10-09, 04:12 PM   #16
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A backpack pannier can get dirty and wet during wet weather. I wouldn't want to wear a backpack like that. So think about finding a pannier that you can stuff your backpack in quickly.
I'm in San Diego.

What is "wet weather"?

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Old 09-10-09, 06:42 PM   #17
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Basil also makes nice baskets for the rack for reasonable prices. I got some from Niagara Cycle and they are well built, but not collapsible. They do have a finer mesh than the folding ones though and are pretty rigid. Haven't been able to test them out, cause the LBS still has my bike(three days now), so I had to take the cage to the store.

Ben
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Old 09-15-09, 03:38 AM   #18
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Would this Xootr Crossrack work? You could probably just put a standard backpack on the rack and ride away.


Cool idea. It looks like you might have too much swinging stress with a heavy backpack, but who knows? Has anybody had experience with one of these?
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Old 09-15-09, 04:56 AM   #19
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Cool idea. It looks like you might have too much swinging stress with a heavy backpack, but who knows? Has anybody had experience with one of these?
Unless you have tiny wheels like a folder does, there won't be any room vertically for your backpack.
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Old 09-15-09, 05:15 AM   #20
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I see Dutch kids riding around with their backpack straps slipped down their arms and the laden bag resting on the rear rack. This only works because of the Dutch bike geometry and vertical seated position of the rider.
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Old 09-15-09, 05:29 AM   #21
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Konnix do all manner of bags to fit to pannier racks - includeing rucksacks and cool-boxes!

http://www.konnix.com

http://www.konnix.com/Rack-Bag.html
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Old 09-15-09, 02:02 PM   #22
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yup, here's one:
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1253044892515

Allan
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Old 09-23-09, 12:58 PM   #23
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How about trying something like this?

http://www.rei.com/product/737836#

anyone have any experience with something like this? You could use this system to carry your bag around school and then just leave the harness at school and take the pannier home on your bike rack.
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Old 09-23-09, 01:11 PM   #24
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Folding wire basket panniers on bike. Toss preferred bookbag in, fold up when not in use. Won't get stolen like expensive bags. Alternatively, take a leaf out of my parents' book - tell him how it's going to be and to heck with what the other kids think . I had to put up with "ugly" or "weird" bags and clothing all through school. Builds character.
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Old 09-23-09, 01:41 PM   #25
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I have a simple LL Bean day pack that has a small strap on each side that just snaps onto the side of my rear rack. It's incredibly simple. I'll try to take a picture.
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