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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 02-15-05, 01:01 PM   #1
mstueve
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Backpack Suggestions?

Hi all,
I'm looking for any suggestions you might have for a good commuting backpack. My ride to work is only about 2 1/2 miles each way, but I prefer to ride in my cycling clothing rather than my work duds. I also carry a laptop, external hard drive, power cords for each, and a mouse. I also work out over lunch so I have my running clothes, running shoes, and iPod. Plus my cell phone, wallet, and keys. So basically, I need a bag that's big enough to carry 2 pairs of shoes, work clothes, running clothes, the computer equipment listed above, and my lunch. Comfortably, if possible. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
matt
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Old 02-15-05, 01:06 PM   #2
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Have you considered panniers on a rear rack? I've found the backpack to be most restrictive, and to make you sweat from the back a lot.
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Old 02-15-05, 01:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstueve
So basically, I need a bag that's big enough to carry 2 pairs of shoes, work clothes, running clothes, the computer equipment listed above, and my lunch. Comfortably, if possible.

WOW!

I second the pannier suggestion. That is a lot of gear. I might also suggest that you leave a pair (or two) of shoes at work so that you can eliminate some bulk that you'd otherwise have to haul back and forth each day.
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Old 02-15-05, 01:31 PM   #4
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Or even leave as much as you can at work. I keep black and brown shoes (plus polish) at work, plus dress pants and shirts which I have dry-cleaned near the office, or I wash them at home and drive into work one day a week. Also possibly rent a full-time locker where you work out.

What I do carry on the commute goes in a bike messenger bag (mine's a timbuk2), a much better design than a backpack for cycling. You can get pretty big ones. www.timbuk2.com
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Old 02-15-05, 01:58 PM   #5
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Along the lines of theopowers, another option is to drive in once a week with a load of work clothes, groceries, and whatever. And leave a second set of shoes and such at work. I also just work out in my Mt Bike shoes as the cleat is recessed enough to not cause any trouble.

I think the pannier option is overkill for such a short commute. For the cost of a good rack and panniers you can just buy a set of work shoes and running shoes. Then your left with lunch and a rolled up set of work clothes. Which fits best in a messenger bag, though I reccomend the Bailey Bag, http://www.baileyworks.com/ If your changing clothes anyways it doesn't matter how sweaty you get under the bag.
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Old 02-15-05, 02:27 PM   #6
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If you ever drive to work, I suggest keeping several sets of clothes and shoes at work. That you transport/refresh on the days that you drive. Then you only have to take your lunch with you on your bike.
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Old 02-15-05, 02:36 PM   #7
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if you have some money to spend (100-200) you can get a nice "day pack" or even an "overnight pack" from you local outdoor store. Such brands like The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Mountain Smith, Geogrey, ect. You might like one with or without and interal rack, but a good pack will be adjustable and will be plenty big (1200-2100 cu inches) My suggestion is to go and try them out in the store and go from there.
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Old 02-15-05, 03:02 PM   #8
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I keep slacks, shoes and U-lock at work. I dont take my laptop to and from work unless I drive - they call them portables but I dont think that is true, unless you have a pack mule or a strong wife. If you have to take your computer get yourself a second set mouse and power cables, and use SD cards instead of removable drive.

I prefer panniers, but my son has a nice backpack with a frame that holds it a couple of inches off his back.
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Old 02-15-05, 03:14 PM   #9
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on my non-bike days, I bring in frozen dinners and fruit to keep in the refrigerator at work

I cut the laptop down to a PDA and a USB drive. Laptop stays in the office.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Serge *******
If you ever drive to work, I suggest keeping several sets of clothes and shoes at work. That you transport/refresh on the days that you drive. Then you only have to take your lunch with you on your bike.
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Old 02-15-05, 03:35 PM   #10
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http://www.obusforme.com/css8points.htm

Not expensive. Mines holding up well.
I carry laptops, gear. The tension strapping works well, the chest strap is flexy.

I got mine for under $50. Survived a year so far.

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Old 02-15-05, 03:44 PM   #11
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I've been really happy with my Vaude pack. I forget the model but it is roomy and lots of pockets, main compartment divider for wet clothes, lots of loops and tie-ons for lights, etc. Rain cover. The best thing is the venting, about 2 inches for the back.
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Old 02-15-05, 05:12 PM   #12
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I have a similar situation, but I don't have to carry my laptop ALL the time. When I have to carry the laptop or other heavy stuff I throw it in a panier.

But when I'm just carrying clothes and the usual day-to-day stuff I use this most excellent backpack:

Commuter Backpack

It is truly excellent for commuting on a bike. I used paniers exclusively for years, but I MUCH prefer this backpack. It may be a coincidence, but I have way less broken spokes using a backpack.
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Old 02-15-05, 06:16 PM   #13
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You can get the Arkel Bug, Backpack/pannier. Everyone seems to say its great. I am going to pick one up myself in a few weeks.
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Old 02-15-05, 08:00 PM   #14
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well, 2 pars of shoes, two pairs of clothes(one that can be easily wrinkled), computer stuff and food...

What if you ride to work in your workout clothes? 2.5 miles isn't enough to really get them sweaty and nasty or to use cycling clothes for anything but show. Bring them again for when you workout and then take your pick which pair to ride home?

3 pairs of clothing is a little excessive.

Especially if you also want to carry computer stuff and food.

2 pairs, one that is on you, is fairly easy to work with.

For backpacks, I reccommend the Camel back day packs. They have 2 models around 2000cbi, both have the potential to carry 3 liters of water if you wish, one of them has a raincover, and both of them have about the best wicking, suspension, and compression system you are likly to find on a daypack- including name brands such as North Face et al.


Past that, they make backpacks that go bigger, but I doubt you will want to ride with one. Anything over 2000cbi and you're asking for trouble.
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Old 02-15-05, 08:49 PM   #15
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I use a regular Eastpack. Just got the one with the most pockets. However, that's alot of stuff you plan on carrying. I would seriously consider a trunk rack at the least to take some load off your back.
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Old 02-15-05, 09:41 PM   #16
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I have carried what you are discussing and then some...North Face Recon..extremely comfy and can be had for under 60 bucks on ebay....I <3 mine and carry a 8lb lappy, power brick, maxtor HD, jacket, 2 pairs of gloves, air/patch kit, multi tool, knife, flashlight, lighter, cologne, deodorant, glasses, sunglasses, and whaever else I might want....mine holds a ton and has straps to tighten it down if you don't have alot of stuff.
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Old 02-16-05, 06:55 AM   #17
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The pannier suggestions will hold the stuff you described dude, but that MEC "commuter backpack" certainly wont. A messenger bag will hold it all, either the large size Baileys, or the Heavy Gear from Under the WEather or a PAC O/S. But you asked for a double strap bag.
Reload has a backpack that is made for wearing while riding and easily holds all that stuff you describe.


Fact is if you want a good bag to last you need to lay down the $$ for a pro bagmaker like the people above instead of settling for mass produced crap from overseas. It may be cheaper in the short term, but when you get on your bike 5 or 6 years from now and realize that you've been using the same bag and it still works...thats $$ in the bank.
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Old 02-16-05, 02:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowingrod

I have bag similar to this to carry a notebook computer. How do you prevent the CD-ROM drive from clicking open while under way? I'm afraid it might click open and then somehow get broken. As mentioned on another thread, I cracked an LED by strapping the bag to a rack...So it's backpack only. Still I"m worried about breakage.
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Old 02-16-05, 04:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
where do you buy those vaude bags? the Kuriertasche looks neat
I got mine at a LBS in St Louis. They had only three in stock and said they were having trouble with the local distributor. I remember having trouble locating a source on the internet even. Seems too bad since it is such a good product.
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Old 02-16-05, 05:04 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the suggestions. To answer some of your questions:

- I don't want to add a rack to my bike because I also use it for training and racing (triathlon). Until I'm rich enough to have a separate commuter bike this one needs to stay my training bike first and foremost, so I'd prefer to not add any hardware.

- I don't want to ride to work in my workout clothes. I run over lunch, usually 7-9 miles, which gets the clothes pretty sweaty and nasty. I'd hate to have to put them back on to ride home.

- I've been keeping my running shoes at work during the week which is ok, but on Mondays and Fridays I still have the 2 pairs of shoes issue.

- I need to bring my laptop back and forth every day because I'm a computer guy and I do freelance work on the machine in the evenings.

- My external HDD can't be replaced with SD cards because I'm talking about 200 GB worth of data that I "need" available at a moment's notice.

I actually have been using a Targus laptop backpack with ok results. It has a bungee strap on the outside which is how I attach my shoes. That frees up the pockets for the rest of my crap. As for laying down the cash for a decent pack, I'm fine with that. I just didn't know if anyone had any specific model recommendations. I'm in Colorado, and do a ton of hiking in the summer as well, so this pack could well be used for other excursions when I'm not commuting. I'm mostly just trying to find that one elusive specific model of pack that will allow me to strap on two pairs of shoes via bungee or something, plus give me more room on the inside than I currently have.

Thanks again,
Matt
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Old 02-16-05, 05:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vrkelley
I have bag similar to this to carry a notebook computer. How do you prevent the CD-ROM drive from clicking open while under way? I'm afraid it might click open and then somehow get broken. As mentioned on another thread, I cracked an LED by strapping the bag to a rack...So it's backpack only. Still I"m worried about breakage.
there is a notebook sleeve available, and they'll even integrate it if you ask. the picture doesn't have anything for size reference, that thing would hold many notebooks computers so you should definately use a sleeve with it, like I mentioned it could hols all the stuff the threadstarter mentioned.
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Old 02-16-05, 05:17 PM   #22
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Dress shoes it is easier to strap on with the bungee system, but running shoes it seems common to have little tabs on the back of the shoes. How about running a carabeaner through those then just hooking it to a loop on your backpack?
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