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Minimal method for bringing laptop on commute

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Minimal method for bringing laptop on commute

Old 03-01-21, 02:47 PM
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scottfsmith
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Minimal method for bringing laptop on commute

I am a long time bike commuter. First I had a dedicated commuter bike (Bridgestone XO-1) then I switched to a race bike for commuting (Lemond Zurich). On the Bridgestone I had a rear rack and I would just bungee my goodies on there. For the Lemond I used a backpack and then a messenger bag. I now have another race-type bike, a Specialized Roubaix, which I can also use the messenger bag on.

But, I'm not super thrilled with having something on my back, especially in hot weather. It was a whole lot more fun with the bag bungeed down in back, but I don't want to put a rear rack on my race bike. I was wondering if there was any super minimal kind of frame bag or any other idea. All I really have to bring is my laptop so I don't need much room at all.

I looked and there are some frame/carry bags like these:

https://gripunlimitedbags.com/shop/c...ter-case-grey/

but not sure how functional they would be. I might also look around for a smaller messenger type bag which would just barely fit a laptop.
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Old 03-01-21, 03:43 PM
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You made me remember the Tailfin rack. Last I checked in it was only a Kickstarter but it's grown up to be a legit product line now.
https://www.tailfin.cc/

How big a laptop? My work laptop weighs about 3kg and is fragile as an egg, my wife's is maybe a third of that with a plastic chassis and seems impervious.
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Old 03-01-21, 03:48 PM
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It's hard to get more portable than a thumb drive. Get a couple, one for backup.
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Old 03-01-21, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
You made me remember the Tailfin rack. Last I checked in it was only a Kickstarter but it's grown up to be a legit product line now.
https://www.tailfin.cc/
Wow, that is impressive! I don't have any rear mounting eyelets so assumed I could not mount a tail rack, but they have an axle mount system where you replace your tire axle with their special axle. You can pop it off and on with ease which is a big advantage for me. That is exactly the kind of idea I was looking for, thanks! The only downside I see is price.

How big a laptop? My work laptop weighs about 3kg and is fragile as an egg, my wife's is maybe a third of that with a plastic chassis and seems impervious.
Right now I have a MacBook 15", 2kg/4lbs. They are pretty durable but I would still pack it in bubblewrap to minimize shock.

One reason why I am chewing on this now even though I am WFH is my 15-er laptop is on the fritz and if I was to use an in-frame bag I would need a 13-er so I would downsize. With a rear rack I could keep my 15-er.
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Old 03-01-21, 06:38 PM
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really depends on how much protection you want , you could easily get a draw string bag and clip it across your chest with an old dog collar , its basically just a nylon bag with draw string of paracord straps , mostly for light gym clothes , i use this system when i bike in the night to carry by combat knife in a rapid deployment position on my back , in case any coyotes want to try to attack me , they been acting weird lately but its really easy to make one or find one and the clip keeps it nice and tight , it also depends on the size , i had run a amazon 10 dollar 10l bag and super glued the strap with some gorilla tape after it broke a few times and that carried 4l of water flat kits and snacks to many races , there are tons of cheap and easy military styled day bags on amazon , if you want the one strap or two strap , there are too many to even list , i just search military day bag or 10 liter bag , i have nice now it would fit a 13 inch maybe , my national guard style pack used to be the best until it ripped i could fit my laptop xbox and mini monitor to play games at the library when i didn't have internet , the amount of options available right now is crazy , you could even just go to walmart and buy a kids bag , im all about cheap and easy , they have some 8l bags for over 100 bucks , just gotta look around and find something you think will work
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Old 03-02-21, 08:46 AM
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.. I didn't see how I could improve on the Tailfins (other than the price) so I ordered them. I had ruled out a rear rack since I would have to be taking it on and off regularly, something truly painful with the standard rear rack. They say these will come on and off in 10 seconds; if they take a minute I will be happy. The side bags hold up to a 17" laptop so I will use one side bag for my commute. They say the top bag can fit a 13" laptop.

I am really looking forward to some unburdened commutes! The back bag always really bothered me, made worse by back problems.
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Old 03-02-21, 09:15 AM
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scottfsmith The best shock mount for a laptop is your body. I know you said you didn't like to ride with anything on your back, but on the days I commuted on my rack-less road bike I wore my backpack with the straps long so that the bag rested on the small of my back and away from my shoulders and mid-back. It was more secure that you would think. And when stopped at a light and scootched forward off the seat to stand, the bag would rest on the seat.

Even when I had my bike with the rear rack I'd put the laptop in a backpack and wear it.

My older MTB-based commuter has a rear rack and Wald folding baskets. When riding that bike I'd but the laptop in a padded pouch in the rear basket (and a bungee over the top).

If you were going to use a removable rack like the Tailfin, I'd use a pannier for the laptop so that the vertical shocks of the road are absorbed by the bag, rather than being transmitted to a laptop laying on top of the rack.

Regarding a thumb drive...there are ways to put Windows, Linux or Mac operating systems on a thumb drive or solid state external drive and boot off them. In essence your 'computer' with all your settings and programs can be 'hooked' up to a host computer, but in essence it's your computer. There are some limitations and speed penalties, though.

Also remote desktop operation is remarkably good these days. I did video editing on the office computer from home which was a little tough at first, but only got better over the years.

I know many companies have security concerns and policies that make OS on USB and remote desktop impossible, so that may not work for you.

One last thought... what about a carradice backpack rack?


https://www.perennialcycle.com/carra...oaAtTzEALw_wcB
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Old 03-02-21, 09:34 AM
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Thats true, I could boot off an external solid state disk. But then I have a disk hanging off my computer forever. I tried various synchronization options over the years and pretty much gave up. What I need is a laptop with an "internal disk eject" button :-)

I commuted for years as you mention, with the low hanging backpack. But before that I had it strapped to the rear rack and that felt much better. I never had any problems with my laptop in a padded bag.

These Tailfins I can use for a whole bunch of things beyond commuting, my wife can use them for grocery runs and they will be used on day bike trips. So I could choke down the price with all the things they can hopefully do for me.
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Old 03-02-21, 01:36 PM
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I hated carrying this in my backpack. I resisted racks for a long time but this really was the answer... clothes in the backpack, laptop in the pannier.
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Old 03-02-21, 09:35 PM
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Another option is a mini desktop, and keep a keyboard, mouse, and display at each location. I bought a couple Lenovo ThinkCentre PC's that are about the size of a large paperback and have no moving parts. Mac Mini is similar if you're of that persuasion. Fortunately nothing I do requires exceptional computing power.
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Old 03-03-21, 12:10 AM
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Lol, I think Tailfin owes me a beer
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Old 03-03-21, 09:26 AM
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Hey at their prices I think they can afford a 6-pack.

I did a weight calculation, it looks like the Tailfin commute setup will weigh 2lbs, laptop is 4lbs, so 6lbs of extra weight. That shouldn't slow me down too much.
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