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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 05-17-11, 07:59 PM   #1
Biker zack
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Bags

I recently got a job that is within biking distance, and when things fall into a routine, i will start to bike to work.

My question is, I am looking at giving a bag a shot, but not sure where to start. The bag will be mainly used for my change of clothes and items to clean myself with after the ride. I would also use it for running to stores. I thought about a rack and pannier "sp?" bag set, but i dont know how much use I would get out of it. Most of the places that I would like to go are within biking distance.

I am looking at a traditional backpack, messenger bag or a sling bag.

Any thoughts, or personal experiences?
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Old 05-17-11, 08:49 PM   #2
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It's going to boil down to your personal tastes and how much you are willing to invest.

I've got two backpacks, one mess bag, and a sling bag. I've also got a rack, two Nashbar Townies, a couple of milk crates (no longer interested in using) and a flat, plastic tray.

To tell you the truth, the best solution that works for me is the backpack- either worn or strapped to the rack.
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Old 05-17-11, 09:48 PM   #3
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A backpack or messenger bag are good if you don't overload them. Racks and panniers are good if you want to carry a lot of stuff or bulky stuff. I ride my bike to get groceries and it's nice to strap rolls of paper towels to the rack instead of trying to shove them in a backpack.
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Old 05-17-11, 10:21 PM   #4
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I like backpacks better then shoulder bags, take a look at the topo designs they have a small daypack and a large one, they look cool.
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Old 05-17-11, 11:47 PM   #5
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I prefer backpacks because they don't hurt my shoulders or swing around like messenger bags even with the stabilizer strap.
Now I want panniers.

Maybe your friends have the bag you want to buy, you could ask them if you could try it out.
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Old 05-18-11, 12:09 AM   #6
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Try backpacks 1st, if it you don't like riding with
it; you can always use it for other stuff. Carry on
luggage, strap on a rear rack, etc.
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Old 05-18-11, 03:34 AM   #7
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I use a backpack for short journeys and lighter loads and a single pannier for commuting loads over 3 miles. I use both panniers for heavy shopping trips.

My idea of a good pannier is large, single compartment with one external pocket. Tough material with good, light stiffening board on back and base, modern, locking, quick-release hooks, heel cutout profile rather than simple square cut.
The closure can be zipper, rolltop or flaptop. For commuting, a flaptop is best, they are easy to overload with bread or other big, lightweight items. You can stuff waterproofs into them very quickly.
Zippers almost always break and cant be overloaded. Rolltops are OK but hard to get into for a quick stop.
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Old 05-18-11, 05:36 AM   #8
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I prefer rack mounted panniers where the weight of my cargo in on the bike, not my bike. It doesn't matter if the load is a change of clothes or a load of groceries or beer. It goes in the panniers. The only time I use my messenger bag or backpack is when I'm doing the tourist thing and need a bag to stuff a jacket or lunch in.
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Old 05-18-11, 05:53 AM   #9
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Don't rule out large seatbags like the various Carradice models. They hold a lot of gear but don't require a rear rack and affect handling less than backpacks, panniers and racktop bags. They work best with the Carradice Bagman supports.
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Old 05-18-11, 05:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biker zack View Post
I thought about a rack and pannier "sp?" bag set, but i dont know how much use I would get out of it. Most of the places that I would like to go are within biking distance.
A rack doesn't hurt anything, and sure helps when you want to carry something bulky. Get one that's designed for panniers so you can move heavier objects lower down where they won't mess with your balance.

This is the one I have; it's light enough that I thought the box was empty when it showed up, but it's solid enough that I can pick up the back end of my Trek 7100 and shake it by the rack with no rattle or wobble.
http://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Full-Al...f=pd_sim_sg_26

I've rigged a couple of cheap backpacks to be easy-on/off panniers, but I usually use these and just put whatever I'm carrying in smaller bags inside so I can leave the panniers mounted.
http://www.amazon.com/M-Wave-Double-.../dp/B001NGD4UI
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Old 05-18-11, 06:35 AM   #11
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I use a small (20L) backpack, and even on my 22km one-way commute, it really doesn't bother me at all.
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Old 05-18-11, 06:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
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The bag will be mainly used for my change of clothes and items to clean myself with after the ride.
Keep your toiletries at work, no need to haul them everyday (pair of shoes and belt too, plus an entire extra change of clothing). Even a towel/wash cloth can be a weekly, rather than daily, thing.

I carry my clothes and lunch in a rack trunk. For groceries, add some collapsible grocery panniers or baskets.

When I use a backpack, I use the Banjo Bros. commuter pack.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
Don't rule out large seatbags like the various Carradice models. They hold a lot of gear but don't require a rear rack and affect handling less than backpacks, panniers and racktop bags. They work best with the Carradice Bagman supports.
This is working very well for me now, after years of using a rack and panniers. I hate back packs, but some people swear by them.

And as Chipcom suggested, keep everything at work that you can to minimize what you have to carry.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:46 AM   #14
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I dont like panniers so i use a chrome messenger bag. Its a good fit while ridding. Solid and high quality.
http://www.chromebagsstore.com/bags/...---medium.html
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Old 05-18-11, 09:18 AM   #15
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Thank you all for your quick and thorough replies. I like the idea of a rack and a book bag. I dont mind having a number of bags.
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Old 05-18-11, 10:07 AM   #16
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I think a combo solution is good for starters. Get a decent inexpensive rack. Add on a grocery pannier (a collapsible, usually open topped, fabric basket - see http://www.calhouncycle.com/productc...?idCategory=93 for a number of examples). You can throw the backpack into the basket while you ride and carry it with you after you lock the bike. You can also expand your carrying capacity by wearing the backpack and putting other items into the basket.
Whether you use this solution or just a backpack, it might be worth it to think about picking a backpack that is optimized for bike use -- e.g., http://www.banjobrothers.com/products/cycling-backpacks/
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Old 05-18-11, 10:39 AM   #17
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What is the difference between a biking bookbag and a standard bookbag that i can cinch the extra space down?
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Old 05-18-11, 10:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
A backpack or messenger bag are good if you don't overload them. Racks and panniers are good if you want to carry a lot of stuff or bulky stuff. I ride my bike to get groceries and it's nice to strap rolls of paper towels to the rack instead of trying to shove them in a backpack.
Exactly, and trying to shove a pack of toilette paper, any size, inside a messenger bag or backpack will take up all the space.

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Don't rule out large seatbags like the various Carradice models. They hold a lot of gear but don't require a rear rack and affect handling less than backpacks, panniers and racktop bags. They work best with the Carradice Bagman supports.
I really like those and think they are a great addition for someone who doesn't drive, or rarely drives, and has to go to the grocery a lot. I'm really liking those and the Akorn bags. These are on the list of "Things to buy in the near future", for sure.

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Keep your toiletries at work, no need to haul them everyday (pair of shoes and belt too, plus an entire extra change of clothing). Even a towel/wash cloth can be a weekly, rather than daily, thing.

I carry my clothes and lunch in a rack trunk. For groceries, add some collapsible grocery panniers or baskets.

When I use a backpack, I use the Banjo Bros. commuter pack.
+1. If you can leave you work clothes, a few days to a week if you can. If you can leave them at work... do it! This makes a lot of sense and I highly recommend doing this if you can.

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I dont like panniers so i use a chrome messenger bag. Its a good fit while ridding. Solid and high quality.
http://www.chromebagsstore.com/bags/...---medium.html
I'm not a big fan of panniers myself, but, I do see their purpose. I have a Timbuk2 2.0 Messenger bag that I am using but looking at getting a Chrome bag as well. I was looking around at bags one night on line and came across a bag I think was a Chrome messenger bag but had straps to go around your waist to keep the bag from moving around. I could be wrong about it being a Chrome, but if you happen to have a link to this bag, or similar, send me a link. That goes for anyone else reading this.

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Thank you all for your quick and thorough replies. I like the idea of a rack and a book bag. I dont mind having a number of bags.
I agree. Different bags and such for different situations. You will get settled in. Just takes time to figure out everything.
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Old 05-18-11, 03:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
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What is the difference between a biking bookbag and a standard bookbag that i can cinch the extra space down?
Price. Anything marketed as cycling specific has a premium to it- some products worth it, others not so much.
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Old 05-18-11, 08:28 PM   #20
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I like a backpack for commuting with a light to medium load. But this arrangement does force your to be thrifty with what you stuff in your pack. If the pack gets too heavy, it gets uncomfortable.

For grocery shopping, I like a rack and panniers.
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Old 05-18-11, 08:36 PM   #21
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While we are on the topic of bags, which is the lesser of the two evil panniers, Nashbar or Performance?
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Old 05-18-11, 08:43 PM   #22
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It's a wash- I believe they both are under the same corporate umbrella.
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Old 05-18-11, 09:21 PM   #23
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i have the topeak mtx trunk bag http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags/MTXTrunkBagEXP
Only need to carry a couple things, use it as a trunk. NEed to bring your lunch and a change of clothes? put your food in the trunk part and your clothes in one or both of the panniers. want to do a day tour or even a weekend tour, got you covered there. if you use it with the matching rack the bag simply slides right on and clicks into place, real easy to put on and off the bike when you get to where you are going.

I don't mind a back pack for short trips in cool weather but as soon as it starts getting hot, you sweat like crazy
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Old 05-19-11, 07:46 PM   #24
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Don't rule out large seatbags like the various Carradice models. They hold a lot of gear but don't require a rear rack and affect handling less than backpacks, panniers and racktop bags. They work best with the Carradice Bagman supports.
I am looking at these bags as I type.
Have you ever used it without the bag support?

I am actually looking at using it with a seatpost mounted fender that may be able to support it some but I am having my doubts.

Which model is the one on your pics?

Last edited by vwhammer; 05-19-11 at 07:47 PM. Reason: rewording
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