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A commuting first

Old 01-31-11, 10:34 PM
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A commuting first

I usually leave my laptop at work, and up until now, having to carry a computer (last day before or first day back after a business trip, for instance) meant I would automatically drive. For some reason, I just didn't want to carry the computer on the bike.

The weather forecast for tomorrow went from bad to worse during the day, and I might end up working from home tomorrow rather than risk icy roads. That meant the laptop had to come home with me. The computer bag is too large to fit into my panniers (and they were kind of full anyway), so I just strapped it across the rack with bungee cords. The computer seems no worse for wear, so I guess there was no reason avoiding carrying the computer on the bicycle.

The bike handled a little differently with the extra weight on the back, but it just meant I had to pay a bit more attention to my balance.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 01-31-11, 10:39 PM
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I'm so used to having quite a few extra pounds from a cheap rack and panniers that I'm afraid of riding without them to realize how different it is
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Old 01-31-11, 10:50 PM
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Fort worth in the House!
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Old 02-01-11, 06:42 AM
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Fort Worth, represent. Not going anywhere on the bike today. Snow is one thing, but ice is a different story.
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Old 02-01-11, 07:25 AM
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When I first started commuting. I had a bunch of excuses to reason why I could not ride in. It's too dark, wet, cold, certain work functions, etc. Since I have learned that they are all excuses, now I just ride everyday. Good Job!
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Old 02-01-11, 07:56 AM
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Currently snowed in here at Blizzardville (bike is in the shop), but have a question for future reference. How'd you manage to strap that bag down to the top while using panniers? I've got to either strap to the top or hang from the sides, but not both at once .
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Old 02-01-11, 09:22 AM
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I have carried work laptops on my bike for the last 8 yrs or so. They have almost always been in a pannier though which I think helps absorb shocks better than if strapped directly to the rack. Regardless, I have never had a laptop malfunction that could be attributed to being carried on the bike. The laptop goes into a neoprene style sleeve, and it if is looking like heavy rain, I wrap that inside a small trash bag. My Arkel Bugs are pretty water resistant (I don't use the rain covers), but stuff inside can and does get wet in deluges so I use the trash bag just in case.
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Old 02-01-11, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Currently snowed in here at Blizzardville (bike is in the shop), but have a question for future reference. How'd you manage to strap that bag down to the top while using panniers? I've got to either strap to the top or hang from the sides, but not both at once .
That probably depends on the rack and/or pannier(s) you have. Some racks have a second set of side rails to hang panniers that are lower than the top rails. Also, some panniers do not stick up above the rack, so you could rig a way to secure something large and flat on the top above the panniers.
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Old 02-01-11, 09:34 AM
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If you just strap it on the top of the rack, it'll get top heavy and yeah, handle weird. If it's low, in a pannier it'll feel better. I had a similar experience with a 14" laptop as well as after strapping a crate to my rear rack so I can do more grocery shopping by bike. With the crate loaded the bike is much harder to control, even if I put the heaviest items in the panniers.

Although, most panniers will fit 12" laptop at most.
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Old 02-01-11, 10:05 AM
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I carry my laptop in a briefcase-style laptop bag. It is pretty well padded, but it's too big to fit into my pannier. My panniers, however, don't stick up above the rack much, so I just laid the laptop back across the rack and both panniers and used two bungee cords to strap it to the rack. The panniers actually help stabilize the laptop bag.
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Old 02-01-11, 10:06 AM
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Oh, and yeah, I'm working from home today. Too much ice!
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 02-01-11, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by panic66 View Post
Fort worth in the House!
Originally Posted by crdean1 View Post
Fort Worth, represent. Not going anywhere on the bike today. Snow is one thing, but ice is a different story.
Do you know about the ice bike race at Trinity Bicycles today?
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Old 02-01-11, 10:34 AM
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I've been carrying my laptop 5 days a week for a bit over a year now, so my advise is don't do it every day unless you want to buy a puter every year, i tried several different bags settled on a sleeve inside a padded semi rigid bag I pannierized and i dont think laptops were meant for that kind of abuse. Also a big no no DO NOT leave your computer in sleep mode while transporting on your bike, that is unless you want to buy a new hard drive
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Old 02-01-11, 11:36 AM
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I've been carrying a laptop on my bike off and on for a decade and pretty much every day for the last 4 years but I use backpacks or messenger bags. I used to carry a pretty big one but now favor a 13" for obvious reasons. I have a 2nd monitor I connect it to at work.

I rarely turn mine off. My last two laptops have had SSD drives in them, but I didn't have a problem with mechanical drives either. The heads are parked when the machines are sleeping.

I put it in a padded sleeve that has minimal storage and a removable shoulder strap. I also carried it in a pannier for a few months last summer. It was a snug fit with the sleave but worked.

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Old 02-01-11, 11:52 AM
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I ride with a trunk bag, but my laptop won't fit in it, so I keep a spare backpack in my desk at work. On days that I need to bring the laptop home, I just put it in my backpack and carry everything else in the trunk bag. Keeps the backpack light, and keeps the computer well protected.
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Old 02-01-11, 12:14 PM
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My laptop bag is a BBP bum bag...so when I want to take my laptop home I just strap it on and go.
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Old 02-01-11, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
My laptop bag is a BBP bum bag...so when I want to take my laptop home I just strap it on and go.
We got a deal on a couple of those at work through some promotion. People like them. I used one briefly. If it were more waterproof and a bit roomier I'd would have been really happy with it.
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Old 02-01-11, 12:37 PM
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Ok, now time to brag about my mac.

Seriously, though. I carry it on the bike pretty regularly in sleep mode and there hasn't been any sign of damage to the computer. In fact, I think yesterday's ride home was the first time I'd carried it turned off in forever. I'm not sure what Fizally means about destroying hard drives. How many have you killed this way and could it be directly attributed to carrying it on the bike?

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Old 02-01-11, 12:45 PM
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I've seen some laptops, including Macs, spontaneously spin up their hard drives while in sleep mode. No idea why. Maybe that happened to Fizally, although that's something you would not expect. I always recommend that people shut down their laptops for transportation anyway. Or... SSD is the answer
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Old 02-01-11, 12:48 PM
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I've carried a Dell and a couple of Macbooks (pro and air). No hard drive issues with any of them, but the power button and the indicator lights on the Dell eventually got flakey. I don't think it had anything to do with commuting.

The Macbooks handle sleeping much better... or should I say handle waking up much better.

I can't recall either a modern Dell or the Macbooks ever spinning up a drive while sleeping, - unless they weren't really sleeping. I've seen it happen in older laptops.

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