Backpack or Pannier?

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

How do you carry your gear?

Backpack
78
55%
Pannier
63
44%
I carry my suitcase in my hand while riding
2
1%
Basket on handlebars
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 143

Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby m@ » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:36 am

mikedufty wrote: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.

Sounds like grandad's old axe - had the same one for near on sixty years, it's just had a few new handles and heads ;)
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by BNA » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:32 am

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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby Doc63 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:32 am

I use a backpack. I use to carry everything in it each day, but it was getting too heavy & becoming a real chore. Now, I leave my trousers, shoes and shower stuff at work & just carry my gym gear, socks & undies and lunch in the backpack. It's much lighter now. I take a heap of shirts to work on the day I don't ride.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:37 am

For most of three and something decades I used a pair of panniers. Initally it made sense since as I was studying after work and often would carry in excess of 10kg and never a really light load. It also allowed me to carry comprehensive tools, etc.

In latter years, despite still carrying a little more than I need, I junked the backpack. Easier and quicker at each end of the trip among other things.

Any bike except the basic clanker from K-Mart has short chain stays. So I had to do various mods to mount it further back so they'd clear my heels which probably contributed to the too many times that a rear spoke broke.

Now of course I can't mount panniers anyway and the backpack is just fine, or occassionally a bum bag.

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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby folderman » Thu May 07, 2009 1:36 pm

backpacks are too sweaty for me - I use a Carradice bag that comes with a clip that fixes to your seat post - carries enough for a day trip, clips off in one movement, and you can buy extra 'clips' to fit to your other bikes so the bag can be moved around easily. There are two sizes and I would suggest that you select the size that takes an A4 paper size. Oh, and the bag position stops most of the rear wheel wet weather crud from spraying up your back
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby hartleymartin » Thu May 07, 2009 6:27 pm

I tried out a commute to a university I want to go to, and its so short, that I could make do with a back-pack to suit my laptop and books. After all, with winter coming along, a back pack helps keep you warm!
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby Fletcher » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:29 pm

I've only just started commuting on my new bike, and have tired of the backpack thing in under a week. Loaded it up this morning(monday) with shoes, work clothes, lunch, pump, tools, spare tube, kitchen sink etc, put it on my back, and immediately :shock: said "No Way". The bloody thing must have weighed 15kg, and I would have utterly hated the thing by the time i rode to work. Instead, I loaded up the backpack with clothes for the rest of the week, and drove the bloody thing in the car. I will resume my bike commute tomorrow with a more reasonable load.
I think my new Blade can take a rack, and I'm definitely going to investigate one later in the week when I'm able to blow my entire pay at the LBS again. BTW, ne of my siblings generously gave me a nice left side Tioga pannier bag last week. I was pretty chuffed, as they're $100 clams each. Then again, if my Blade won't take a rack then a Barney Rustle Blanket will be sought.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby wombatK » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:05 pm

Fletcher wrote:I think my new Blade can take a rack, and I'm definitely going to investigate one later in the week when I'm able to blow my entire pay at the LBS again. BTW, ne of my siblings generously gave me a nice left side Tioga pannier bag last week. I was pretty chuffed, as they're $100 clams each. Then again, if my Blade won't take a rack then a Barney Rustle Blanket will be sought.

I'm pretty sure your blade does not have mounting points for a rack - and few road bikes do.

I had to make up something with p-clips to do the job. Your LBS might be able to supply you with a rack + p-clips. Alternatively, Wiggle and PBK have something like this http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Tubus ... 360025909/ plus (if you've got big feet) http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Tubus ... 360032080/ or http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Tubus ... 5360025907 that might do the job.

Your sibling might have forgotten what he paid, or bought them at a pretty expensive shop.
If your Tioga bag is made of a nylon type fabric (red, blue or black), Anaconda flog them for about $99 a pair (or less on special occassionally). They now brand them as Fluid brand, but it's the same thing. A year or so ago, they had a somewhat heavier but waterproof Tioga rear pannier (vinyl type material, silver in color mainly) that was about $150 a pair - haven't seen a Fluid branded version of these.

I think you'll find panniers much easier to manage with a load of a few kg or more, so it's worth spending the money to have them in your kit.

Cheers

Cheers
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby Fletcher » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:23 pm

Cheers WombatK, I'll check it oot.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby elantra » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:25 pm

I have recently purchased one of these and i find it brilliant for commuting, will attach to prob. any flat-bar tourer/commuter
great for clothes, shoes, camera, other things not heavy
Much preferable to panniers for this sort of stuff and much easier to attach to modern bicycles
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The item i am describing is TOPEAK DynaPack series, available in 2 sizes, standard and DX.
suitable to carry up to approx 4 kg.
Requires sufficient length of seatpost to be exposed to attach its mount and not suitable for carbonfibre seatposts.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby Tale » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:45 pm

I've been commuting on my road bike for the last few weeks, using a Vaude cycling backpack with a curved frame and straps to keep it steady. My other bike, a tourer with racks, meant I always commuted with a pannier. I still prefer panniers, but I've grown used to the backpack. Doesn't really bother me now, and I get to zip around on my road bike on the way to work :)
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby Adapt » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:54 am

Great post!
Backpack or Pannier? - Have your cake and eat it.
I'm contemplating some of these: Wald 582 Folding Rear Bicycle Grocery Baskets. http://www.waldsports.com/index.cfm/wald582rearfoldingbasket.html

Idea being they are permanent fixtures and can take my backpack or groceries [I have a very bad back]. Baskets fold flat when not in use and are pretty unattractive to a thief. I'm concerned a little by the weight in the rear and would probably only use one basket as a result.

Would love some advice and if anyone knows a stockist in Sydney?

Thanks.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby Fletcher » Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:00 pm

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.


You ride with your laptop in your backpack every day? :shock: It's apparent you don't require hardening up.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby not4resale » Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:15 pm

Fletcher wrote:You ride with your laptop in your backpack every day? :shock: It's apparent you don't require hardening up.



I do the same, i find its the books/textbooks + the laptop + clothes/towel/amemnities etc. that add to the general heaviness of the bag.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby wombatK » Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:42 pm

Fletcher wrote:
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.


You ride with your laptop in your backpack every day? :shock: It's apparent you don't require hardening up.

Really needs to think about how expensive a back replacement is compared to a laptop replacement. Human spines aren't designed to be shock absorbers nor bearers of great weight. On top of that, a heavy weight swinging about on your back raises your centre of gravity and increases the muscular effort you need to keep yourself upright as well as stress on spine and joints. Hardening up won't stop the toll this will put on your back if you do it for any length of time.

If you want to protect your laptop in a pannier, wrap it in a layer or two of bubble-wrap - nice and light and does the job. Pannier carried luggage lowers your center of gravity, improves your stability and makes the ride easier.

Cheers
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby webman » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:02 pm

wombatK wrote:
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.

If you want to protect your laptop in a pannier, wrap it in a layer or two of bubble-wrap - nice and light and does the job. Pannier carried luggage lowers your center of gravity, improves your stability and makes the ride easier.


When I first started riding, I carried my laptop in the panniers (I got them straight away), my laptop is only very light (under 1kg) and uses and SSD drive. However, I forgot about the external portable HDD I had, which failed after a couple of weeks of this treatment.

Does a normal HDD inside a laptop have better protection than a portable HDD in a laptop bag?

Has anyone else had HDD failures caused by carrying on a bicycle?

PS, I did carry 2 x 1TB HDD once, though they were in foam packaging, and I was exceptionally careful to avoid bumps, potholes, etc... They have worked fine since.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby not4resale » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:53 pm

wombatK wrote:Human spines aren't designed to be shock absorbers nor bearers of great weight. On top of that, a heavy weight swinging about on your back raises your centre of gravity and increases the muscular effort you need to keep yourself upright as well as stress on spine and joints.


Of course the back doesn't like heavy loads but a good ergonomic pack goes a long way. My bag is a motorcycle specific pack and moulds to my back as well as having the kidney belt and chest strap. Plenty of support, I can honestly say that I barely feel the load when commuting to uni.

Of course this doesn't address the stability issue or the long term effects of a backpack despite it being quite ergonomic but as far as comfort and noticability goes, I really don't think i'm doing it that tough.... and I'm also a bit concerned that I'll look a bit silly with panniers on my road bike :oops:
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby gavinr » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:44 pm

not4resale wrote: I'm also a bit concerned that I'll look a bit silly with panniers on my road bike :oops:


Yes, but when you end up having months of treatment to your back because all your discs have given way you'll realise that 'looking silly' might be the lesser evil to 'truckloads of pain for the rest of my life'.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby wombatK » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:23 pm

gavinr wrote:
not4resale wrote: I'm also a bit concerned that I'll look a bit silly with panniers on my road bike :oops:


Yes, but when you end up having months of treatment to your back because all your discs have given way you'll realise that 'looking silly' might be the lesser evil to 'truckloads of pain for the rest of my life'.

+1. You can turn your looking silly into a positive. You look bigger, and cars give you a wider berth. Safer all of you, not just your back. :)

Cheers
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby not4resale » Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:18 am

I stand corrected.

I think i'll go pannier shopping soon then. :D
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby kiso » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:37 am

Definitely panniers - for all the reasons given by previous posts.

I originally made "bucket" panniers out of slimline kitchen tidy bins, but when I moved to rainy Brisbane last year I bought some "proper" waterproof ones.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby x8pg2qr » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:33 pm

wombatK wrote:Human spines aren't designed to be shock absorbers nor bearers of great weight.


Of course human spines weren’t designed.

But I use panniers.
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby not4resale » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:27 pm

x8pg2qr wrote:Of course human spines weren’t designed.


And how would you know that!?

Darn evolutionists and yerr "fake science".

Hehe, so ignorant. If you would just examine the evidence you would find that there are no transitional fossils. :D

lol
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby Baldy » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:28 pm

Ive allways used a backpack and have no experience with bike racks. Given we dont have the humidity as some of you up north I guess sweating might be slightly less of an issue[allthough we still sweat it up in summer]

I use a backpack for a couple of reasons, firstly its what im used to and after a while unless they are really loaded up you forget they are there. Much like a well fitting helmet IMO. Second is for protection for my spine[laminectomy] With the removal of the bones that normally protect the spinal cord I like having a pack on to stop a stray pedal or handlebar[or anything else] during a crash.

Just got a new one a couple of weeks ago, Deuter Trans Alpine 30AC. Obviously I cant say much about its anti-sweat abilities just yet[Tas winter!], I have noticed an improvment over my old one so I reckon the air comfort system does some of what it says. At any rate its a very comfy pack. http://www.deuterusa.com/products/productDetail.php?packID=transAlpine30AC&sub=hydration&tert=long [mines all silver/grey] http://www.deuterusa.com/img/systems/advancedAircomfort.gif

Having said all that I'd like to try some racks one day, the MTB has the mounting points so it would be handy for some short tours.

Cheers
Baldy

edit: cant get the links to work, im a numpty...
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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:10 am

Baldy wrote:edit: cant get the links to work, im a numpty...

Naaah, just a noob. You'll need a week and +10 posts :D

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Re: Backpack or Pannier?

Postby gregorian » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:09 am

I recently moved from a backpack to a pannier. Nicer on my creaky old backbone.
But now when I ride off I have that nagging feeling that I've forgotten something. That feeling you get when your wallet isn't in your pocket.
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