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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 11-01-12, 06:33 AM   #1
tarwheel 
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Tried something new today - panniers

I like to mix it up commuting, trying different gear and bikes. I've got 4 different bikes that I use for commuting, a touring bike, two sport tourers and a classic Italian racing bike. Today I rode my touring bike to work with panniers for the first time. I generally use a large seatbag (Carradice) or racktop bag for commuting, but needed more space for gear today. I bought a birthday present for my wife yesterday that was too bulky and heavy to carry in my usual bags, so I rode my Bob Jackson touring bike today with the Ortlieb front panniers mounted on the rear rack (full-sized panniers were larger than I needed).

The verdict? I must admit that the panniers worked much better than I anticipated. Of course, it was very easy to carry all of my gear and I threw in some extra clothes just to fill up the panniers. What surprised me was that the panniers didn't appear to slow me down, despite a steady crosswind most of the way and the usual hills on my route. Another nice surprise was how easy it was to unload. I couldn't lock my bike to the rack at work with the panniers installed, but the Ortliebs are so easy to mount and remove that all I had to do was simply lift up the bags and carry my gear inside. I definitely plan to use the panniers more over the winter because I often have to carry more clothing and gear when it gets colder.

I've attached a couple of photos with the Bob Jackson fully loaded with front and rear panniers, as well as lightly loaded with the racktop bag I generally use when commuting on that bike.
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Old 11-01-12, 08:13 AM   #2
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I made the move to panniers after one season of commuting and never looked back. I do have to carry a laptop and dress professionally, so that is also a big tipping point.

I hardly notice a difference between my LHT and my 'cross bike, which has no rack (or fenders).
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Old 11-01-12, 08:36 AM   #3
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The only time I notice my panniers is when I take them to join a group ride after work. I call it "training" and figure the added drag at speed makes me stronger.
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Old 11-13-12, 05:44 PM   #4
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The only time I notice my panniers is when I take them to join a group ride after work. I call it "training" and figure the added drag at speed makes me stronger.
Must be some large panniers.
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Old 11-13-12, 07:36 PM   #5
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I've heard great things about panniers, but I haven't made the switch yet.
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Old 11-13-12, 09:31 PM   #6
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I don't even take my el-cheapo M-Wave double daytrippers off anymore. I notice them all right, whenever there's a crosswind! Ugh. As was said previously; "Training!" It just feels right to be able to end any trip by bringing home the bacon. And milk. And bread, and...
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Old 11-13-12, 11:03 PM   #7
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I love my Ortleib panniers! However, now that I take the train part of the way, I've reverted to a backpack. The panniers just take up too much room on the train for me to use 'em...
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Old 11-13-12, 11:15 PM   #8
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Use an old bike trunk on an ill-fitting rack on my CX commuter. Really looking forward to having the cash to get Ortlieb panniers and a good rack. I use a Banjo Bros backpack if I need real carrying capacity, but I really want the Ortlieb system.
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Old 11-14-12, 03:09 AM   #9
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You've crossed over.....You've become one of US!......... a bike-tripper......

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
I like to mix it up commuting, trying different gear and bikes. I've got 4 different bikes that I use for commuting, a touring bike, two sport tourers and a classic Italian racing bike. Today I rode my touring bike to work with panniers for the first time. I generally use a large seatbag (Carradice) or racktop bag for commuting, but needed more space for gear today. I bought a birthday present for my wife yesterday that was too bulky and heavy to carry in my usual bags, so I rode my Bob Jackson touring bike today with the Ortlieb front panniers mounted on the rear rack (full-sized panniers were larger than I needed).

The verdict? I must admit that the panniers worked much better than I anticipated. Of course, it was very easy to carry all of my gear and I threw in some extra clothes just to fill up the panniers. What surprised me was that the panniers didn't appear to slow me down, despite a steady crosswind most of the way and the usual hills on my route. Another nice surprise was how easy it was to unload. I couldn't lock my bike to the rack at work with the panniers installed, but the Ortliebs are so easy to mount and remove that all I had to do was simply lift up the bags and carry my gear inside. I definitely plan to use the panniers more over the winter because I often have to carry more clothing and gear when it gets colder.

I've attached a couple of photos with the Bob Jackson fully loaded with front and rear panniers, as well as lightly loaded with the racktop bag I generally use when commuting on that bike.
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Old 11-14-12, 04:10 AM   #10
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i literally see 100s of Ortliebs/day during the summer.

all of the German commuters can't be wrong.
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Old 11-14-12, 07:15 AM   #11
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BTW, REI has Ortlieb Classic Rollers on sale right (or going on sale within a few days). They are selling the Back Rollers for $125/pair, which is a great price and REI has fantastic return policies if you don't like them or ever have a problem.
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Old 11-14-12, 12:04 PM   #12
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I switched to my Topeak Exp (rack-top compartment and fold out panniers) about 2 months ago, and I ain't going back. On weekend rides I fold the panniers away, and use the main bag to carry food, or bring back donuts or similar for my family. Adds a lot of carrying capacity without an extra sweaty back.
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