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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 06-28-12, 08:17 AM   #1
mvallejo
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Messenger bags for commuting?

Does anybody use Timbuk2 bags for commuting? Right now I use an old backpack so I was thinking about upgrading to one of these. I carry a laptop, tools and sometimes a change of clothes to work. Was thinking of getting one of these: http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...ondage/2114749

It looks like it would do the trick, but seems like it may be uncomfortable with a laptop against your back for 9 miles, being as the laptop doesn't conform to the side of your back like it does to the top, if I were to use a backpack.

Anybody used these or have any feedback?

Thanks.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:22 AM   #2
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I use this:
http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/classic-messenger

I usually carry a 15" Macbook and one or two college text books. On hot days it sucks having that weight strapped to your back. I haven't really had any problems though. I carry it high to make sure I have clearance for my seat when stopped at lights/intersections.

Oh, and my commute to school is 13.4 miles one way.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:37 AM   #3
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I really need to start paying attention to the OP in the index. I thought I was opening this other thread when I clicked on the link for this one. But my advice in that one works for this one as well .
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Old 06-28-12, 08:42 AM   #4
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I'm just curious if it's worth puttin around $100 for one. My backpack currently does the trick, but I could use a little extra room and some things on it are falling apart. Actually trying to decide between the Timbuk2 laptop messenger back and a northface laptop backpack around same price.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by the_**** View Post
I use this:
http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/classic-messenger

I usually carry a 15" Macbook and one or two college text books. On hot days it sucks having that weight strapped to your back. I haven't really had any problems though. I carry it high to make sure I have clearance for my seat when stopped at lights/intersections.

Oh, and my commute to school is 13.4 miles one way.
At that distance, a messenger bag is flat-out terrible. Get a rack and panniers.

I have a 14.5 mile commute, and I was easily 5-10 minutes faster carrying everything in panniers. Carrying a bag only works for short distances.

This pannier looks good.
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Old 06-28-12, 09:03 AM   #6
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At that distance, a messenger bag is flat-out terrible. Get a rack and panniers.

I have a 14.5 mile commute, and I was easily 5-10 minutes faster carrying everything in panniers. Carrying a bag only works for short distances.

This pannier looks good.
I didn't say it was the best method of hauling. I said it works. I have an advantage in that I live in a reasonably flat area. My commute has a 200ft elevation change over the course of 13 miles (and it's "downhill" going to work/school). I'll stick with the messenger.
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Old 06-28-12, 09:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvallejo View Post
I'm just curious if it's worth puttin around $100 for one. My backpack currently does the trick, but I could use a little extra room and some things on it are falling apart. Actually trying to decide between the Timbuk2 laptop messenger back and a northface laptop backpack around same price.
Do you know anyone who has a mess bag that you could use on a trial basis? If you were in the Tulsa area, I'd loan you my Banjo Brothers mess bag. If you had an REI close, you could always get the TB2 mess and exchange it for a backpack if the mess bag didn't work out.

For $100 budget, I'd check out what Jandd and Banjo Brothers has. I think the Seagull Black Bag is around that price point as well. But a backpack won't flop around in class and zippers tend to make less noise than the velcro patches used to secure mess bag flaps.
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Old 06-28-12, 09:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
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I didn't say it was the best method of hauling. I said it works. I have an advantage in that I live in a reasonably flat area. My commute has a 200ft elevation change over the course of 13 miles (and it's "downhill" going to work/school). I'll stick with the messenger.
Good answer. Rack and panniers aren't the solution all of the time. Besides, lugging around a cheap pannier around campus while off the bike sucks, generally a single pannier won't hold as much as a backpack or mess bag, and the quality panniers that might have the volume and have the better mounting and off bike carrying options tend to be too $pendy for a college student.
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Old 06-28-12, 09:24 AM   #9
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no1mad, that and I don't trust leaving anything on my bike at my campus. Hell, someone stole the mount for my underseat bag.
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Old 06-28-12, 11:32 AM   #10
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Advantage to a messenger bag is you can get into it,
without taking it off.

just need to swing it around in front of you.
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Old 06-28-12, 12:44 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies all. My bike already has a rear rack on it, but I never use it.

A buddy of mine has these Timbuk2 panniers and swears by them.... http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/tandem-bike-pannier

Maybe I'll try them out and see how I like them.
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Old 06-28-12, 12:56 PM   #12
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Two strap backpacks distribute the load more evenly. The messenger bag only works if you are wearing skinny jeans, a mini fedora and riding a SS (pseudo fixie). They are very fashionable lately, but symmetrical backpacks are better functionally for the long haul.

{there, I've said it in yet another thread. Flame away**
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Old 06-28-12, 04:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvallejo View Post
Does anybody use Timbuk2 bags for commuting? Right now I use an old backpack so I was thinking about upgrading to one of these. I carry a laptop, tools and sometimes a change of clothes to work. Was thinking of getting one of these: http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...ondage/2114749

It looks like it would do the trick, but seems like it may be uncomfortable with a laptop against your back for 9 miles, being as the laptop doesn't conform to the side of your back like it does to the top, if I were to use a backpack.

Anybody used these or have any feedback?

Thanks.
I have one of the Timbuk2 Deluxe Messenger Bags that I picked up at a clearance sale at REI a few years back. The bag is virtually indestructable, and the customer service at Timbuk2 couldn't be better. My puppy chewed up a couple of the buckles on my messenger bag - I called them up and had two replacement buckles for the ones he destroyed, within 2 days. That being said, the downside to the bag is that it is awfully heavy. I have carried a rather large laptop in mine in the padded sleeve compartment, and it isnt that comfortable. Even packing a lunch, change of clothes, and bike gear in the bag makes it pretty heavy and bulky. There are some interesting looking backpacks out there, but for my money, nothing beats a rack and panniers.

I would check out the Timbuk2 pannier set that one of the other post's mentioned. The handle on the top looked like a pretty nice setup, but I don't know how much you would actually be able to store in them.
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Old 06-28-12, 04:16 PM   #14
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I wish I had gotten a pannier much sooner. I used a timbuk2 for 5-8 years. I had the large one and I used every inch many days. I bought mine for $25 on ebay.

What I liked about my bag:
1) I could access it while biking. Sounds small but you actually end up doing it a lot.
2) The material was waterproof
3) It was large
4) They are handsome bags.

What I didn't like is that it was hot on my back (this would go for any backpack). I wish I had gotten a pannier years earlier. I use the ortlieb classic. I can put my computer bag in it with clothes, food, anything. The best part is that my back and neck don't wear-out and I stay much cooler in warm weather.

If you have a rack, I'd go ahead and find a pannier that you can quickly detach from your bike. The one I use allows you to detach and re-attach simply by lifting the handle. It's really slick. The only problem is that there isn't any easy/comfortable way to carry it long distances on foot.
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Old 06-28-12, 04:49 PM   #15
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I have a set of Ortlieb Roll close bags, each has a shoulder strap.

so If only 1 its an easy sling.. [all4 its a bit cumbersome.]
if a long hike there is a padded back piece
with shoulder straps, the bag clips onto it.
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Old 06-28-12, 04:50 PM   #16
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I don't have one but I'm thinking about getting theShift Pannier Messenger: http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...senger/1734694

It gives you a little of both worlds. On a short trip or around campus it can be used as a messenger and on longer trips it can be a pannier. That said, I haven't used it so I can't speak to how well it works for either usage but the video makes it look nice.
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Old 06-30-12, 12:32 AM   #17
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I have a Chrome Citizen messenger bag. Very happy with it for what it is. Not uncomfortable. But while fine without my laptop and power supply in it i dont like to use it with that stuff in it. Like others, i find messenger bag best if under 6-8 pounds total weight. Reason i dont have, dont use a pannier yet is (1) cost of a good rack and pannier (dont want cheap ones); (2) i like to ride differnet bikes in my stable. It will be costly to put a good rack on each bike. I plan to get a Tubus rack and then use Ortlieb QL3 pannier products just havent gotten it yet. Meanwhile I use the messenger bag but avoid carrying around my laptop due to weight.
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Old 06-30-12, 09:04 PM   #18
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I have a tumbuk2 classic messenger that I used to use when I worked bike delivery. Its a really well built bag and I like the quick release strap a lot but I only use it now if I'm carrying lightweight loads. I find that using a messenger bag every day to carry heavier things (books, beer, etc) is hard on my back. I also have an osprey metron backpack. It's more expensive, but osprey has a really good repair policy.
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