A Bag for Commuting

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Re: pannier newby here...laptop question

Postby Max » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:44 am

TheShadow wrote:Thanks. That's exactly what I was wanting to do - still use my backpack to carry everything around off the bike, and keep it all together in one place.

I have just been looking at the Ortlieb Back Rollers...and the cheaper Tioga verions of same size. Not too comfortable spending over about $150-200 right now. Still very nervous about putting the laptop in a pannier, but keen to try getting the bag right off my back. I had toyed with carrying just the laptop on my back with the rest of the stuff in a pannier, but I'm coming around to the idea the pannier won't destroy it.

Heel strike issue had ocurred to me. Size 45/11 cycling shoe >> is it a question of buying a rack that goes far enough back? I assume Ortlieb have thought of this.


My personal experience is that your laptop will be OK inside the backpack inside the pannier (it's kind of like those little Russian dolls, isn't it??). Only you can decide if the $$$ are worth it. I'll encourage you all I can, but in the end, your wallet needs to be happy with your decision too. :)

RE heel strike; this is a combination of a number of factors including the rack, the way the rack is mounted, the bike and the pannier. I would strongly encourage you to take your bike to the LBS and ask them for help finding the right combination of rack and pannier. My LBS plonked my bike onto a trainer, then installed the rack and pannier. I got on and pedalled and ensured all was good.

The Ortliebs are quite adjustable, but it's best not to assume that this particular pannier will fit on that particular rack mounted onto that particular bike. Different panniers have different mounting schemes. If your LBS wants to make the sale, they'll help you out with this. :)

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by BNA » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:41 am

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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby CommuRider » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:41 am

TheShadow wrote:Yes, I think that may be no exageration. With 10kg, It's only barely doable over very short distance...and being careful at that. Forget getting down on the drops in the big chainring with that weight....or do and see what happens!


Hi there, +1 to Max's advice and wrap the laptop within another casing. Officeworks does offer some protective casing. The other low-cost solution is to bubblewrap the laptop around 5x or so to cushion it. I currently use Brooks Brick Lane

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and I can easily fit 2 A4 ring binder folders in one bag.
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Review: Selle Monte Grappa Borsa Cruiser Panniers

Postby CommuRider » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:48 pm

This finally arrived today: Selle Monte Grappa from Northern Italy

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GBP42.54 x 2, postage was GBP25; Total: GBP110.08

The order was botched up even though I emailed Planet X Bikes that I wanted two in different colours. They gave me 2 of the same. Oh well. The other will be the spare then.

http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/BAS ... bags--pair

First impressions: single sitching, not double. The website amended later after they posted my order that it was "leatherette" ie faux leather and not real leather.

The handle strap is a bit flismy - flimsier than the leather Brooks - so I don't know how long that will last but it looks good, it feels good and so far so good. It is is soft. I think it will be my "dress bag" - occasions when I don't need to carry too much stuff to work. The Brooks will be the workhorse bag where I can carry as much stuff as I want.

For latching onto the rear rack, there's a single loop strap half way down the back of the panniers. Basically, one piece of material strap that you loop around a fixture on the rack. I think it will suffice in terms of having it stay onto the panniers and the good bit it is I can take it off quicker than I can with the Brooks.

It is solid so there's a hard back and as you can see, there are two buckle straps at the front. Too bad the order took so long to arrive as I'd have loved to have test-drive it during my work commute. It does look good and definitely lighter than the RMW saddlebags I was looking at.

I now have a stylish pannier bag to add to my collection, Italian artisanship etc etc I know I can carry this pannier around the workplace and not feel too self-conscious about it. It blends in with other work bags and I probably don't need to have the bike with me all the time to carry the bag either ;-)

The bags also came filled with a bunched up newspaper - La Gazetta dello Sport, 15 July edition with Schleck and Contador featured. LOL. So Planet X Bikes is just their distributor in the UK as the bags were still in their plastic bags. I'd have loved to have ordered from Selle Monte Grappa directly but the internet isn't as widespread in Italy as in other places and I suspect these small family businesses are quite selective in their distribution channels.

Anyway for the price, I really can't complain. Go AUD! :-)

EDIT: PS I emailed Planet X bikes about the "screw up" and he kindly apologised about it and cc'ed his staff members down the chain. Oh well.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby TheShadow » Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:34 am

Santa left me an IOU for these...says he'll return them 'after work' tonight. :?

http://www.carradice.co.uk/index.php?pa ... duct_id=47

I never would have thought I'd buy or use something like this. I'm almost in shock right now. :shock: Am I officially old? Will I grow a beard now? :(

I'm looking at it as an investment in my spine. And a realistically practical means to carry some gear ...which the backpack really never was, and I say that as someone who HAS done this planned longer commute before, extensively, with a less heavy bagpack. Even my bum is complaining about the current extra 10kg of pressure from the backpack on the seat.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby Max » Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:19 pm

TheShadow, that's a really nice pannier. If I hadn't gone the Ortliebs, this might very well have been next on the list. You'll have to let us know your opinion of them after you've had an opportunity to spend a few months using them.

:)

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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby pompom1 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:28 pm

Just thought I would add to this thread as Santa brought me a bag for commuting. He brought me the papermunky from Brisbane outdoor gear, there is a review of it on the main page of this forum at the moment.

It seems to be a perfect size for my clothes and shows for work and my books and spare shirt for uni. I decided I needed one as the backpack was giving me sweaty armpits.

Overall the new bag seems to be great and I cant wait for my first commute with it.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby clarinetcola » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:16 pm

I use axiom's grocery pannier, just a large space for anything. Large enough for my double clarinet case or my backpack for clothes, laptop and lunch. That means I don't have to carry my pannier around, instead I just have a normal backpack. I lock the pannier up through its handle with my bike.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby drubie » Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:21 am

Image

That's the el-cheapo "M-Wave" pannier / bag set that Cell were selling before christmas for $40. The bag sits on top, held by some fairly flimsy clips but at least you can take it inside with your lunch / clothes in it. Cell don't have them any more, I think they were some kind of factory second as the bag stiffereners for the top bag didn't fit and had to be trimmed.

The good:
Massive carrying capacity - two big bags either side, plenty of little zip pockets, very handy to have the bag on top. For a while I was railroaded into playing hockey after work, so I had two changes of clothes, two sets of shoes, hockey pads, lunch etc. with no problems (rode to work, rode to hockey, rode home). Makes your bike into a car.

The bad: Not waterproof - you *need* the optional rain cover (can get it from Amazon or ebay), adds about $20 inc postage to the cost.
Cheap zippers.
Cheap single stitching and loose threads.
Clips are crap (one already broken).
Hard to get the panniers to sit permanently - the straps that hold them to the rack won't tighten hard enough on my rack.
If you are lazy, you will ride everywhere with the pockets full of unnecessary junk.
They catch the wind like crazy.
The trailing edge of the right side bag occasionally drags on the spokes when I am parking the bike somewhere and have snagged it.

Overall...5 out of 10 but really I'd give 'em a 7 as they were so cheap. As it happens, my sister has donated a full set of Ortliebs from her tourer so I might have to retire these once I get the top bag off her. Part of the problem I have is that the rack that came with the bike is a bit rubbish for panniers, if you are going to do it, get one that works with your bags.

I still do a couple of days with a (light) backpack when I don't have to carry so much stuff - the panniers are superior in every way except on a windy day when I prefer the back pack.
edit:
still available from Amazon, just not quite as cheap:
http://www.amazon.com/M-Wave-122310-3-Piece-Traveller-Pannier/dp/B003BJ9Q9I
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby TheShadow » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:39 pm

TheShadow wrote:Santa left me an IOU for these...says he'll return them 'after work' tonight. :?
http://www.carradice.co.uk/index.php?pa ... duct_id=47


Delivered 2 days ago. Installed top-peak tourist rack last night. All allen-headed bolts provided as necessary. Fitment to dropout lugs easy, albeit a little compression necessary to squeeze the rack stays in to fit narrow road-racer dropouts. Fore-Aft bracing was a conundrum - mono-seat-stay >> old alloy road Trek frame. Used an old seat post clamp for a light around the mono-stay (with rubber sleeve) and bolted 1* brace from the rack onto the light mount position of the clamp. Solid as a rock. 8)

Then I installed the bags. Good hook mechanism on 2 upper hooks means they *cannot* come off the rack, no matter the jolt - the mechanism completely encircles the rack bar. Then I lifted the rear of the bike up by the rear of the seat, and, WHOA, you notice the weight even empty. :| Combined would be about 2.5kg? Instantly dispelled all thoughts of bigger, heavier tyres. :roll: :lol: But combined they would hold 58L, which is more than my backpack holds.

They're aren't quite what you'd call military spec, but seem very well made and rugged given their design parameters and the fact I'm already whining about the weight of them. :roll: Put 'em quite a ways back to prevent heel strike - it's a road bike afterall. Rear of these large bags still ends some 15cm short of rear of wheel; bottom of bag level with axle and 98% protected by large plastic backing in this region. Top of bag maybe level with top tube? Central mass of bags is more rear of axle than I planned, but it feels okay. Seems maybe 8-10cm wider than my legs when packed,.so crazy traffic filtering is not really on, and on bikeway I was conscious that I liked having just the right pannier and being 'slimmer' on the left side, but they don't cramp your style too much otherwise.

Anyway, took them out onto the Coronation Drive Proving Grounds today - aka BikeWay - where the Australian Army famously tests all it's vehicles prior to deployment. :wink: It was high tide + Wivenhoe Dam release :arrow: 2-6 inches of briney water OVER the bikeway in parts. Muddy detours, large pieces of floodborn debris. Low-range was required several times. There were actual waves breaking on the tarmac. :x :roll: AND bits of timber and garbage in the waves. I was forced to get off at one point and push it through a narrow gap between the embankment and seat (to avoid water) - the right bag (only trialling the right one at present) was easy enough to still wheel the bike around easily on the back wheel, and it didn't fall off while doing this, which was good.

I got a little too clever at the next water crossing and attempted to time riding slowly through with the gaps in the waves, which was working brilliantly, until a large branch washed in front of my rear tyre when I wasn't watching and....I fell over... on the right side, with the bag, in 6 inches of water. :evil: Thoroughly wet arse. :x But the contents of the bag remained dry. :) Backpack actually got 30% wet. :roll: They actually have a big shower proof top that you pull tight with a draw-string BEFORE you then flip the top lid over and buckle it down. :arrow: I hereby certify them fit for amphibious landings and use on all unsealed roads. :!: :wink: I am somewhat miffed at the fall which would not have happened without a load, but which probably would only have been worse with everythign loaded in the backpack.

Yes, I am actually still using the backpack atm for laptop, and use at end of ride. Can't quite put the laptop in the bag yet...still worried about those few really big hits the frame takes from the road every ride. And I don't think I can fit the empty pack in either pannier - it's almost as big as the two of them together. And the bags are not convenient to use off the bike, tbh, compared to my pack. I could if I had to. But may simply stick with 50/50 spit in pack/pannier for a while.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby CommuRider » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:47 pm

TheShadow wrote:I got a little too clever at the next water crossing and attempted to time riding slowly through with the gaps in the waves, which was working brilliantly, until a large branch washed in front of my rear tyre when I wasn't watching and....I fell over... on the right side, with the bag, in 6 inches of water. :evil: Thoroughly wet arse. :x But the contents of the bag remained dry. :) Backpack actually got 30% wet. :roll: They actually have a big shower proof top that you pull tight with a draw-string BEFORE you then flip the top lid over and buckle it down. :arrow: I hereby certify them fit for amphibious landings and use on all unsealed roads. :!: :wink: I am somewhat miffed at the fall which would not have happened without a load, but which probably would only have been worse with everythign loaded in the backpack.


That was a good test. It's always a relief that the bag would survive the elements.

I used this previously, a Velomann tri-pack

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Two rear panniers with a detachable backpack (as you can see).
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby TheShadow » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:07 am

CommuRider, I was looking at that pic and wondering if I could maybe strap my pack on top when it occurred to me I might simply leave it U-Locked in the bike racks under the building. I'd just dump the contents from one to the other. I'll think about it. I also have yet to make a serious attempt to cram the backpack into a pannier, but the backpack alone must weigh at least 1kg or so.

Used just the right one again today and began to notice the 6kg imbalance on that one side - it's easily doable, but definately not conducive to sharp handling. And it does make you more prone to tip-over on that one side than you first realise. I now think this is largely what made me fall yesterday. Not so much looking forward to that extra width of using both...had to detour on the footpath today due to workmen on the bikeway and two panniers would have been a big problem there, but that is ridiculously narrow barelyl adequate for two pedestrians to pass. :roll: Nothing for it, gonna have to lose 5kg of body fat, get fit, and take to the road again, panniers and all. :twisted:
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby CommuRider » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:15 am

TheShadow wrote:Used just the right one again today and began to notice the 6kg imbalance on that one side - it's easily doable, but definately not conducive to sharp handling. And it does make you more prone to tip-over on that one side than you first realise.


Same here. I'd prefer to use both than leave one empty even if it's less than 5kgs. I find I can handle fine with having the right empty with stuff on the left side, but I'm not as confident with the left empty and stuff on the right side and if do cycle with the latter combo I do tend to be more conscious and go slower.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby il padrone » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:39 pm

Strange?? I frequently go on day tours and shopping runs with just one pannier and have no concerns. Even with fairly hefty loads (~10kg) it is a very small fraction of your total weight and should not destabilise you. The body is marvellous at just varying the ride angle to compensate for the weight.

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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby CommuRider » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:42 pm

Thanks for the fridge photo again @ilpadrone :-P But I have tried it and I still feel a bit off-balance with just one rear pannier.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby il padrone » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:46 pm

TheShadow wrote: Can't quite put the laptop in the bag yet...still worried about those few really big hits the frame takes from the road every ride. And I don't think I can fit the empty pack in either pannier - it's almost as big as the two of them together.

Ortlieb Notebook Sleeve, available in several sizes for extra padding.

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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby TheShadow » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:26 am

Thanks for the link, IlPadrone. I was thinking about that very thing this morning. Then I was running late, and it was raining....and in somewhat of a rush and a little impatiently I went downstairs and simply stuffed the backpack (with laptop) into the left pannier. It fits afterall! :lol: I'm not straining the pannier, the backpack simply folded up more than I thought it would.

I agree with you on the single pannier. In fact, I think my issue is at very low speeds when you might go to put a foot down, expecting the bike to be near weightless and balanced, only to find it requires a lot more care and effort than you expect to balance it. That is how I fell 2 days ago, while doing a semi-trackstand then went to take off with a big branch blocking the rear wheel.

With both panniers today and no backpack, tbh, I did not like the feel of it much at speed. :| Felt better with just the single pannier at speed. It did not help that it was raining, and I was concerned not so much about the weight on the rear, as the apparent lack of weight now on the front and what that was going to do for cornering traction. At least one corner I lean right forward and low for and with everything on my back, that gets a lot of weight forward. That 11kg is gone from forward of the rear axle now - to 12-13kg behind the rear axle. Quite a difference really...it's counterlevering my remaining body weight forward of the Rr axle. Maybe I'll get used to it. I'll also try both panniers with 5kg and a light backpack next.
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A Bag for Commuting

Postby Comedian » Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:10 am

@theshaddow... Never mind the bags..did the bike survive? Salt water is can cause all sorts of issues with running gear. :(
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby TheShadow » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:37 pm

Comedian wrote:@theshaddow... Never mind the bags..did the bike survive? Salt water is can cause all sorts of issues with running gear. :(


Fortunately it's been pelting down rain on at least several short rides since then. And this morning, I found a tap to assist in pouring about 15 bottles of water over my legs, the frame, chain and deraileurs - mainly to try and get the road grit off, but any salt should be gone now. With a half full pannier on the right to hold it up, I don't know how much of a dunking the drive system got - not much I think. The salt water was on my mind as I was riding through the shallower stuff though.
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A Bag for Commuting

Postby Comedian » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:49 pm

TheShadow wrote:
Comedian wrote:@theshaddow... Never mind the bags..did the bike survive? Salt water is can cause all sorts of issues with running gear. :(


Fortunately it's been pelting down rain on at least several short rides since then. And this morning, I found a tap to assist in pouring about 15 bottles of water over my legs, the frame, chain and deraileurs - mainly to try and get the road grit off, but any salt should be gone now. With a half full pannier on the right to hold it up, I don't know how much of a dunking the drive system got - not much I think. The salt water was on my mind as I was riding through the shallower stuff though.

The waves are lapping over the riverside bikepath outside my window now!
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby TheShadow » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:41 pm

Thanks. I'll give it at least several hours to subside and several more for the cleanup crews to do their thing before thinking of heading home. I will give BCC this much, they've been onto the cleanup every high tide with the maintenance crews. It's still been frustrating. I've only ever seen it over the bikeway at the dip after the ferry terminals, some 14 or so years ago, although it's always been very close to coming over at high tide on the main stretch there.
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A Bag for Commuting

Postby Comedian » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:50 pm

TheShadow wrote:Thanks. I'll give it at least several hours to subside and several more for the cleanup crews to do their thing before thinking of heading home. I will give BCC this much, they've been onto the cleanup every high tide with the maintenance crews. It's still been frustrating. I've only ever seen it over the bikeway at the dip after the ferry terminals, some 14 or so years ago, although it's always been very close to coming over at high tide on the main stretch there.

The cleanup truck has already started so it should be fine for peak hour. :).

There must be some bcc pollies that use it!
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby TheShadow » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:02 am

Testing of Carradice panniers continues on the newly darkened Coro Dve bikeway with several potholes added...one of which I sailed straight through several nights ago. I heard something plastic go bouncing on the ground but saw nothing missing in the semi-dark. Morning revealed it was the small plastic hook that mounts to the bottom of the bag and hooks it against the rack. Not completely vital, but I thought I should investigate replacing it.

Emailed Carradice directly and asked about spares >> Margaret of Carradice kindly offered to mail me one - free of charge - and recommending I screw it on tighter this time as that is probably what the problem was rather than any weakness of the bags. I think she is right. So there you go....buying stuff indirectly online can still offer great support from manufacturers.

So far these bags are proving very rugged. It is liberating to get the weight off the back. I am actually thinking about a longer commute.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby Max » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:57 pm

That's great post-sale support from Carradice :D

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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby Scott2Work » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:55 pm

Hi just thought I might put in my two cents worth.
Spent a fair amount of time looking at options. Not keen on the backpack option for all the reasons expressed earlier. Not keen on panniers because of the wind resistance. So ended up going with a Topeak MTX trunk bag. Easy on easy off, the bag simply slides on to the matching rack and clicks into place. I can carry it around by the built in handle on the top or attach the detachable strap to leave both hands free. I have been using it for just over a year now and have no real complaints, only than it is a little heavy. I live in Melbourne's West so no hills means weight is not my problem, just avoiding wind resistance as much as possible. This is done because it is large enough that I can get all that I need to carry in the top section alone about 80% of the time. For another 19% of the time I just undo a zip or two and pannier(s) drop down on either side or both. For the remaining time I needed the old back pack as well, but then I was restocking the cupboard at work so had three or four sets of clothes four large towels, a long extension cord a cordless drill kit and a box of bits. Now days I often make a run in the car on the weekend to stock up the cupboard with clothes and to carry any heavy or really bulky items that I need to transport, and I wear steel cap boots at work so I simply bought a spare pair and leave them under the desk.
Not claimed to be waterproof but have only had very small amounts of dampness getting into the top compartment once or twice, which wasn't a problem as I had been expecting rain so had wrapped everything that needed it in plastic bags.
It has reflective stripes on the sides and somewhere to mount another rear light for safety.
In summer I also use a hydration pack which can take small amounts of overflow allowing me to use just the top section a little more often.
I commute 15Km to work and usually take the scenic route home which is 30Km. When it rains I have easy access to the rain jacket that lives in the bag, when it is hot I only have the small hydration pack on my back which allows plenty of air circulation.
In short this is not what I would call sexy or pretty, but it is versatile and functional. It carries what I need safely and efficiently, without placing everything on my back and without creating any undue wind drag.
Hope this helps.
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Re: A Bag for Commuting

Postby TheShadow » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:21 pm

The Trunk bag is certainly slimmer and if 22L is mostly all you need, that's great. I certainly see many commuters carry less than that in backpacks. Being slimmer would also be slightly useful in builtup areas when squeezing between people, cars, and bollards, although in truth panniers stick out little further than your legs anyway.

However, I tend to carry a lot of baggage. Like you, I was also very worried about the wind resistance of panniers, but I must say, so far I have not been bothered by any kind of sensation like I'm dragging a parachute along behind me. I think perhaps the extra wind drag might not kick in until speeds that a commuter is rarely going to achieve - 35-40 km/hr? Obviously if you ride in severe headwinds then that is a different issue. When I find myself thinking about wind resistance I think of that quote by Greg Lemond re his aero bars that won him his first Tour de France by seconds >> he said aero bars become significant "once you can hold 48km/hr". The panniers have more drag, I know, but I'm ecstatic with my commuting speed if I can do even 40km/hr, and I don't think it's the bags holding me back.

The loss of cat-like agility that comes from attaching the weight equivalent of another bike to the rear of the frame is the only thing that has reallyl bugged me, but I'm almost over it - it's not a degree of loss that is difficult to adapt to.

I actually recommend going big now, particularly if you only have ~15km or so to go. CarraDry's are 58L. You only need to put one on if you are going light that day. I'm using about 2/3 to 3-4 capacity of both them mostly. >>> Instead of carrying an inadequate fleece vest for off the bike, I can now fit a proper (bulky but lightweight) fleece jacket. I can pretty much carry whatever I want without having to make special trips with a car.

Last night I had to get over to a friends place around peak-hour in the evening'. I had one pannier with three 1.25L bottles of drinks, a change of clothes, a large sunglass case, wallet, phone, spare tube/levers/CO2 cartridges (leave them in that pannier permanently), a light jacket, two small lights...and that one pannier wasn't even close to full. (I could have put way more alcohol in there)
TheShadow
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:45 pm
Location: Brisbane

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