Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
I use a Crumpler Messenger bag. It's not practical for really big stuff, but for the lunch, a few pens and a towel, it's just fine. However, a big-hitting, rain-riding flatbar is coming sometime later this year, and it will be wearing panniers, for when it's time to haul four sets of shirts and pants to the depot.
Like I said it is only occasional and the files I refer to are lever arch files...no way I am putting then in a back pack!!
Truth is I don't own panniers, so it is the Bob or the Train and I'd rather ride if I can. Besides it causes a stir at work and that is always worth doing
I voted Backpack, however, I have a QR ToPeak rack fitted to both my cycles. Apart from (sometimes) carrying the pannier bag, the rack keeps some of the wet muck off me and also has a Red Flasher fitted. Generally when I only need to take my lunch and wallet, it's the backpack.
I have never used panniers, although my first bike did have a rack mounted on the back - great for extra school books.
Heavy stuff (eg work boots): taken to work in the car when required;
Lunch, clean clothes, etc in the pack each day.
It's been good the last few weeks of leave, riding around, carrying only water instead of all the extra kit.
I used to wear a brightly-coloured World Youth Day back pack, but I get sweaty beyond belief wearing it. I now use some inexpensive Tioga Panniers on the back, have a basic Tioga rack top bag on the front rack, and now I also have (from ALDI) a rear frame bag. It's enough to take my change of clothes, shower gear and all my books too and from TAFE.
I'm commuting on a well-worn tourer with front and rear racks, and I have some good waterproof Ortlieb panniers. So it's a no-brainer just to grab one of those (a rear one) and carry everything in that. I don't need to care about rain. It also doubles as a sealed workmate-friendly container for stinky cycling clothes if you have nowhere else to put them.
People tour with panniers and not backpacks because it's preferable to have the bike do all the carrying. That way you can just ride your bike. I realise this isn't practical on a bike you wouldn't want to add racks to - but if you can, you should.
Backpack for me, with tools, tube repair kit, spare tyre (x1) spare tube (x2), spare spokes (x2), spare bateries for the lights, clean undies , rain jacket and that is it, Since I am not commuting everyday I bring my clean uniforms on days my shifts are to early for commuting .
It is only a light backpack that I got some years ago from Kahtmandu, it is made of a reflective fabric that will appear silver in front of car lights. it can also take a 2 litre hydrapack but I prefer a bottle on the frame.
I am lucky enough to have lunch provided (I am a chef) and my employer supplies me wiyt as many clean towells as I need as well as a shower- and I can park my bike in my office
xavdav, do you often need to use your clean undies? Just curios. I wonder should I be carrying some?
I should have added that I wear a 1.5L hydration pack on my back whilst riding. It's a lovely little thing I got from Anaconda about a year ago - sits right between my shoulder blades and leaves my shoulders and lower back free to sweat and keep my body cool. I have attached a couple of $5 flashing red lights on the back from Dick Smith.
The panniers and rack-top bags are better, because the weight is down low and requires less energy to control.
I just do not wear undies with my lycra
Panniers are great. With an Ortleib waterproof pannier, you can ride through a downpour and your stuff is completely dry when you get there.
I use a pair of panniers at the start of the week for carrying in 5 shirts etc. Every other day a single pannier on the left does it for lunch and odds and ends.
I am looking to buy a pair of panniers. Have narrowed it down to Mainstream SL55's ($106) or Ortlieb ($155) - ProBikeKit - can't post links yet. Given that both are waterproof, have the same capacity etc - are the ortlieb's really worth the extra $50 - or will they be overkill for my general usage? I am now semi-retired so the extra time has allowed me to make the bike my preferred mode of transport for shopping etc.
1987 Colnago Master Piu | 1994 Trek OCLV Carbon | 2007 Giant Yukon | 2011 Trek 7.3 FX WSD
I don't know anything about the Mainstreams, but... the Ortliebs are fantastic. If I was buying panniers again I would get them.
I like the roll-top of the Ortliebs, it is amazingly waterproof. The mounting mechanism is also the best I have ever used.
Mainstream rear panniers
look very similar to my Ortlieb Bikepacker Classics
Oh, WOW!! They've changed the design of the Bikepacker Classic! Anyway on the older design the closing straps go right over the top and down the bottam to the lower rear stiffener. Maybe more secure to hold the gear?? And the Ortlieb top flap seems to give better coverage. Otherwise they are very similar.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
Backpack. I carry my laptop with me to and from work every day, and I don't like the idea of bouncing it around on my back wheel. At least on my back, my body acts as something of a shock absorber. Even if I do get extra sweaty.
I used to use a backpack when I was at school and found it very unpleasant, especially the sweat. Made myself a couple of sets of panniers with my mum's sewing machine and have been much happier. My second set I put together in 1987 and they are still going well (just replaced the back boards once , mountings twice and the fabric once). The last couple of bikes I've bought a main selection criteria is they should be easy to mount a rack on.
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