Laptop and Kids Seat

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:11 am

I bit the bullet and got a new trekking bike for commuting.
Commuting involves taking one of the boys to the Kindergarten and in the best case would then go directly to the office. The challenge is transporting the laptop. In my ergonomic laptop backpack - it wont fit when the kids seat (behind) is occupied - there is no room.

First thought is a pannier - though I don't want to risk shaking the laptop up too much.
Other though is an an extra slim backpack - barely thicker than the laptop.

Any thoughts or recommendations?
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by BNA » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:22 am

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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby HaywarM » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:22 am

All 4 of my kids have preferred riding up front. It makes the bike easier to handle as well.

The recent effort in ivolved a bmx seat mounted on the toptube and a cut-off seat post bolted to the back of the fork crown as foot pegs.
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A possible problem maybe the school backpack between your son and you.

Outside the square - do you really need to take your laptop back and forth? Could you just take files on a thumb drive?
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby AUbicycles » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:28 am

The bike seat at the back is pretty solid and I can fasten in the feet and there is a (kind of) seat belt. I did consider the top tube option however think the seat is the better option.

Good question regarding the laptop - yes I need to take it - my work and private computer. You will see me often in the evenings on BNA!

--

I did a look for backpacks and there are options however the thinnest was still 13 centimetres.
Goto keep on looking.. or hand make an ultra-thin backpack myself.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby HaywarM » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:48 am

If the security on the seat is an issue (I have had my 2yo fall asleep on the pictured bike) then maybe a 'weeride' is an option:
http://www.weeride.com.au/
This is where I got the idea of putting them up front.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby mikesbytes » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:08 am

Unless you are 100% confident in the shock protection of your hard drive, I'd recommend carrying it on your back. You could put all your other stuff on the bike somewhere.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:56 am

One of my issue with top tube seats is bow legged riding. I am pretty happy with the seat for now - next step will be a toe bar when AuBicycles Junior is too big for the seat.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby Timmeh » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:28 pm

My laptap has survived quite a few trips in a pannier. I always put it inside the padded laptop bag first though, means it takes up all of one pannier but a small price to pay. For my first few trips I backed up my laptop files before riding but am complacent now. Just remember no gutter hopping and avoid speedbumps at high speed :)
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby Zynster » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:58 pm

I've been commuting for years with an Axio hard shell back pack for carrying my 17" Macbook Pro. It's very comfortable and tough. It has even survived a tumble with no damage to the laptop. I also carry my 4yo son on the back of my commuter while wearing the backpack with no problems.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby mikedufty » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:33 pm

wicker basket on the handlebars would do the job.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby Fred Nurk » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:20 pm

Its something I've often considered but never put into practise for a number of reasons, but what about transporting the laptop in a trailer? The other alternative is then a bike trailer for the kid, though again, significant weight penalties.

Granted, the extra payload would be somewhat substantial, but Ibex has a trailer with suspension that would do for the laptop.

I've actually had a couple of suspicions about carrying laptops in a backpack, I ended up with two motherboard replacements on mine after about 12 months of transport in a backpack. My theory (and its just that, a theory) is that the laptop was being flexed against my back, which wouldn't have been good for it. I can't, of course, comment on whether this happens for every backpack.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby trailgumby » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:12 pm

I've carried my laptop in a backpack, but it was just too hard on the lower back and I was rather uncomfortable that night and had difficulty sleeping. I have not risked a repeat since.

I now have Ortlieb roll-top waterproof panniers, wrap my work laptop in a Coles foam insulated shopping bag and place it on top of my smalls in the bag if I need to bike commute with it. It seems to do the trick. I prefer to leave the laptop at work as it is still a significant weight to be carrying through 500m+ of climbing on the way home.

having the centre of mass lower also makes bike handling safer, although you still need to minimise sudden movements as the loaded panniers seem to sway about if you don't. They're anchored properly (3 points) so I suspect its just the contents moving about inside :x .
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby AUbicycles » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:38 am

Hi currently have something like this... though think it will be too thick.

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The padding is very good and I have had it for years, ergonomically very good (walking). I have reservations taking it with me on the bike however the solution is more frequent back-up - just in case.

--

For a Pannier, I would be thinking of incorporating an independent suspension system - so that the laptop is suspended - eg with bungee chords and the road shock /vibrations don't reach the laptop.

Cheers
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby gavinr » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:15 pm

When I was in a similar position, I would wear the backpack during the cycle to daycare section, then strap the backpack into the child seat once my son had been dropped off and I was cycling to work on my own. That reduced the stress on my back a lot.

I'm surprised you can't fit a backpack on your back when the kiddie seat is occupied - this was never a problem for me.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:19 pm

My samsonite is about 20cm thick, and I tried it - the kids seat was also raised up a bit and it was fine - plus no complaints from behind. Will see how it goes .
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby boyracer » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:58 pm

my macbook fits in a v. slim STM padded bag w/ mouse, then jumbled in to a 'Dueter 12 ac lite' back pack w/ tube,mini pump, peanut butter tool, 1 w front light, gloves,gillet,arm warmers sunnies case,etc.......still can't be more than a few inches thick. even took a spill the other day. all good.

what about one of those sexy front rack jobbies...search randonnuer bag.

or...

mod a bag to mount behind kiddie seat. probably already handles like the hindenberg. can't make it much worse.
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:20 am

Behind the kids seat is reserved, kids backpack.

Does the Deuter have a nice pouch that fits the laptop or does it sit loose inside?
The randonnuer bag will be tough for me with V brakes and a bit of cable salad up front. I will take a look at the Deuter though - does it have side straps so that they can be pulled tight and is slimmer? Did yours come with a waterproof cover?


Cheers
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby boyracer » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:12 pm

AUbicycles wrote:Behind the kids seat is reserved, kids backpack.

Does the Deuter have a nice pouch that fits the laptop or does it sit loose inside?
The randonnuer bag will be tough for me with V brakes and a bit of cable salad up front. I will take a look at the Deuter though - does it have side straps so that they can be pulled tight and is slimmer? Did yours come with a waterproof cover?


Cheers
Christopher


you crazy shimano kids and your cables.... dueter has a pouch,prob' meant for a bladder, that fits my 'puter. rain cover stashed in bottom, mesh back for air circulation. no cinch straps but it is barely a 'fist' wide anyhow. Have ridden w/ a baby seat no problemo. had it for a while, but cost about 75 on the bay (from israel!) used to roll the 'crumpler' bag, but a nasty incident whilst motorpacing fixed at about 160 cadence made me get a backpack and i reckon this one is the best i've seen for day tripping.You would need a bigger one if you carry more than the above ( + pad/pen, triangular bandage/small first aid soft kit ) and a sandwich though!
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby journeychen » Wed May 19, 2010 12:22 pm

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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby AUbicycles » Sat May 22, 2010 7:30 am

Thanks journeychen, nice idea - though I have a 15" (screen) laptop and that suggestion suits up to 14.1".

Any idea who the manufacturer is?
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Re: Laptop and Kids Seat

Postby Rek » Sun May 23, 2010 8:20 pm

You could upgrade your laptop's HDD to an SSD - no moving parts, so no problem getting bounced around. It's a kind of pricey option though. I ride with my Thinkpad X301 in a pannier (inside a laptop backpack for convenience), I'm not at all worried about anything happening to it.
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