Advice on commuting bag

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Advice on commuting bag

Postby Yonas » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:45 am

Hi,
I'd like to try commuting to and from work.
For starter I'm going to ride home.
I can alternate between car and bike so bringing extra shirts are not a problem.

Thinking getting a bag either cycling backpack or pannier. Never had a pannier before.
My usual stuffs inside the bag when I go to work are lunch box, mobile phone, keys,access card, panadol, and a few other small things.

My plan with getting the bag is also to put my shirt and water bottles inside.

I've looked at Deuter backpack and Osprey, but I thought I might want to get some advice from people who have been doing it.

Thanks for the help!
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by BNA » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:25 am

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Red Rider » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:25 am

I haven't tried panniers as I need to squeeze my bike through a tight carport, but the people I know that have them find them very handy. I know there are plenty of others on here with panniers that can give much better insights into the benefits of panniers.

I just have an average rucksack. I wish I had a Deuter Race EXP Air Rucksack, the bag sits away from your back so it doesn't get bathed in sweat. I know a few people with them and they love them and the quality looks very good.

Water bottles are best kept in easy reach while riding, like on the frame of the bike!
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby wombatK » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:50 am

Water bottles on frame gets weight lower and improves stability. Panniers do same, makes ride more comfortable.Also make you bigger to traffic, improves visibility and safety.

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby skull » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:36 am

Henry wingman.

Google search and you'll find the website.

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby wombatK » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:10 am

skull wrote:Henry wingman.

Tip: turn off auto correct, then google Henty Wingman :)

It's a pack that's slung diagonally across your back - not so wonderful for
weight distribution or sweaty back in summer.

Waterproof only by adding a cover - that has the hassle
of drying before packing once wet, otherwise mould etc.,. destroy them.

At $179, it's not cheap and you can get a pair of quite decent
waterproof panniers for less than that. Packing a suit in a pannier might not work as
well, but you haven't suggested you need to do that.

Cheers
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Philipthelam » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:38 am

If you do go the backpack route make sure you buy something of good quality that's designed well. I find that wearing an ordinary backpack makes my back really sweaty even.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby brentono » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:40 am

Woven Native Sling Bag Backpack Dayak.
Lightweight, comfortable, strong, waterproof and not hot on your back.
Natural, Enviromental. Fashionable. Artistic and extremely useful.
PM me, if you want. "Think outside the box" :mrgreen:
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby skull » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:41 pm

wombatK wrote:It's a pack that's slung diagonally across your back - not so wonderful for
weight distribution or sweaty back in summer.

Waterproof only by adding a cover - that has the hassle
of drying before packing once wet, otherwise mould etc.,. destroy them.

At $179, it's not cheap and you can get a pair of quite decent
waterproof panniers for less than that. Packing a suit in a pannier might not work as
well, but you haven't suggested you need to do that.

Cheers


I find the weight distribution not bad. Have completed a couple of bunch rides with it, one was a hour of power ride so we were really moving. Longest distance using it is 70km.

Sweaty back, yeah no different to a backpack.

Good thing about the wingman is it can double as a good suit bag, travel bag etc. when off the bike. Also no need to mess up bike with pannier racks if you don't want to do that.

Price wise that or panniers (including racks) would be similar. A discount code helps in lowering the price 8)
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby wombatK » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:38 pm

skull wrote:Sweaty back, yeah no different to a backpack.

There are backpacks that have a frame that provides an air gap between your back and the pack.

I've got a cheap Fluid Hyrdation backpack from Anaconda a few years ago that ticks this box - no sweaty
back even on 38 deg days.

But a number of the upper-end Camelbak backpacks have something similar, as does this
Deuter Day Pack
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Yonas » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:58 pm

Thanks a lot for the many suggestions everyone.

To add more information, I'd eventually ride 22 km each way and I get sweaty very easily, which is why I'm considering pannier or I'll search that backpack with gap between the back.
I rarely see people use pannier on their bike though, makes me wonder why. Is it because it doesn't look as cool as wearing a backpack?

Two panniers I've had a look at are the Arkel Bug ( http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categories/laptop-bicycle-pannier/bug-cummuting-bag-1.html) and Ortlieb brand. I like the Arkel Bug because I can also use it as a backpack. That Wingman looks like what I need, and thanks for showing me that artistic sling bag.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby skull » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:44 pm

wombatK wrote:
But a number of the upper-end Camelbak backpacks have something similar, as does this
Deuter Day Pack


I have a dueter back pack with the mesh and gap between it. Sweat comparison between that and the wingman is negligible
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby wombatK » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:09 pm

Yonas wrote:I rarely see people use pannier on their bike though, makes me wonder why. Is it because it doesn't look as cool as wearing a backpack?

If you were to stand on Sydney's Pyrmont Bridge or Kent St Cycleways during peak hours, you'd see a lot of panniers in use.
A more interesting exercise would be to think about how many self-supported cycling tourists you see who aren't using panniers - there's got to be a good reason to explain that.

Panniers are literally much cooler than wearing a backpack. As for "cool" meaning approval from the cycling cognoscenti,
a quick perusal of The Rules of Cool shows there is no prohibition against panniers.

However, many racing bike frames do not have suitable mounting points. There are some other options for such
cases, but finding local stockists for them can be hard. In any case, racing bike frames might not be the best
option for commuting in city traffic.

For a short commute, say 5 to 10 km, you might not find any trouble with a back-pack, wingman or other
ruck-sack. If you only look at short-distance commuters, you might not get the answer you need.

Your 22km commute is not a short one, and getting a few kgs off your back and onto the bike will make the ride
much more pleasant on hot summer days. The Henty Wingman is 1.8 kg without anything in it, and Deuter day
pack linked above is 1.5 kg. The Waterproof Tioga panniers are $80 a pair from T7,
weigh 1.13 kg each, plus maybe 0.5 kg for a rack - less weight and it's not on your back.

If you want to pick some groceries on your commute home, the pannier will be up to taking a bit more load and a pair
of them would do even better, as touring cyclists can attest.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Red Rider » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:57 pm

Some great info wombatk.

The Deuter Race EXP Air rucksac is different to the day pack, it is under a kg and the straps are mesh also. Deuter Race EXP Air rucksac

However, for a ride like 20km+ it is probably more comfortable to have a pannier setup and forego the convenience of having the bag on your person.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Sparx » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:36 am

I use an Osprey Talon. They are great packs, very durable and comfortable.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby MattyK » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:12 pm

I have a Topeak MTX DXP bag that usually is just run in trunk bag mode (enough room for keys phone shirt slacks and lunchbox) but when the need arises I can flip out one or both panniers (eg weekly towel run or laptop).

Not perfectly waterproof but water resistant enough and it is partly sheltered by your body anyway

Unhooks from the rack very easily, would recommend

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Yonas » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:24 am

Thanks for the insight Wombat.
Matt, that Topeak does look neat.

Wondering if henty wingman can fit in a pannier, the wingman has good features for my needs.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Sydguy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:57 am

I mostly use a musette bag, just a cotton one I picked up for free from City of Sydney Council at a ride to work day.

Generally I bring in socks, undies, loaf of bread, jars of jam and maybe some running shoes from time to time. It can take a serious load, where I had to bring home a lot of gear and a few beers!

I like it because I can fold it up into a jersey pocket if it is not required, with a back pack or courier style bag you have to carry it home empty in case you need to bring something to work the next day. So I can ride bag free and still have the bag on me.

Generally it does not swing around when riding, especially when loaded properly. If it just has a few light weight items in it then it can suck.

Panniers are the pitts and I found that it increased the load on my rear wheel and therefore I was getting flats. These days I gets me no flats. Sweaty back is also not so great, even with a pack that has the air flowing between bag/back it gets hot and uncomfy!

The added bonus is you can look Euro Cool with a feedbag - and that is what cycling is all about IMO.

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:44 pm

Carradice seat bag with Carradice Bagman 2 Sport Support Bag Mount Quick Release.
Beats having sweaty back syndrome and the bag is behind your legs so less drag than what a pannier brings and is waterproof
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Yonas » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:09 am

Is putting extra weight on rear wheel the down side using a pannier or there are other elements?

Baalzamon, I had a look at that saddle bag, it's a good idea. What I'm concerned with the big saddle bag is it puts pressure on the saddle tube especially for carbon one, am I correct? Or that's not how the mount rack works for the Carradice bike mount?
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:21 am

MattyK wrote:I have a Topeak MTX DXP bag that usually is just run in trunk bag mode (enough room for keys phone shirt slacks and lunchbox) but when the need arises I can flip out one or both panniers (eg weekly towel run or laptop).

Not perfectly waterproof but water resistant enough and it is partly sheltered by your body anyway

Unhooks from the rack very easily, would recommend

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Must admit to a fair level of interest in this, I'm getting bored with a sweaty back. Coupla questions for you if I may...

I carry a laptop on occasion, does it bounce or swing around much in the side bag? While it's a company issue, I had to work hard to get something decent after using a clunky second hand Dell with 15minute battery endurance (still company issue) for years. Will it attach comfortably to any rack or must I use the Topeak approved unit?

Thanks
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby MattyK » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:39 am

Mulger bill wrote:I carry a laptop on occasion, does it bounce or swing around much in the side bag? While it's a company issue, I had to work hard to get something decent after using a clunky second hand Dell with 15minute battery endurance (still company issue) for years.

There is an elastic loop on the pannier that can be used to hook around one of the lower tangs on the rack. The loop helps minimise the pannier from swinging. 99% of the time I don't bother though, and only occasionally do I notice the swinging (but mostly it's just a towel in there which is pretty light). It would I suppose stop a laptop from clanking, I try to remember to attach the loops when I carry it. But then I always forget to unhook them and spend 30 seconds trying to figure out why I can't slide the bag off the rack... :roll:

If I have one I usually try to thow something soft in the bottom of the pannier to pad the laptop, because the fabric isn't too thick. But my work-issue Dell lasted nearly 5 years before upgrade. The occasional commute (once a month?) was the least of its abuse...

Will it attach comfortably to any rack or must I use the Topeak approved unit?

I suspect it will only attach to a Topeak MTX rack. The only mounting device is the MTX rail/clip. I have a Super Tourist rack which is their biggest, ugliest one, but it does the job.

I'll post some more pics and thoughts in a second...
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby gretaboy » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:48 am

I also have a bit of interest in this. I have tried the following

1. Backpack
2. Wire basket
3. "Pannier bags"

I carry a laptop most days and do find that my lower back does get affected riding my distance when using the backpack and it does make me sweat a lot on the warmer days, but I always seem to keep coming back to it for one reason or another at present. However, in winter the backpack does keep my back warm on those cold mornings so I see this as an upside.

I found with the wire basket on a rack it really changed the dynamics of the bike and how it felt when riding. I got the basket from Anaconda and if it was too far back it made the bike feel as if "the tail was wagging the dog" so to speak. As such when jammed up under the seat this issue was overcome. Problem I had with this was when I had an accident I suffered a tear of some sort in my left butt cheek which I believe came from the basket jamming into it...am still trying to get over this even now, it happened at the end of Sept 2012. I wondered how my butt cheek got hurt and only realised how when I next got on the bike and used the wire basket, immediately I felt the pain in the cheek from the basket when pedalling.

I was also given an Aldi pannier bag set and initially found it great, however due to quality and design and the roads I ride, it lasted all of 150 kilometres (two and bit rides) before the zips failed.

The biggest difference I have found between the backpack and using a rear rack format, was the change of weight to the rear tyre...which is obvious I guess in hindsight. When using the basket or panniers I found I had more resistance through the rear wheel which in turn made the bike not feel as responsive compared to when using a backpack. I guess you would eventually get used to this but it is noticeable. I also wonder with more weight over the rear wheel, will this increase the possibility of getting flats.

Even though there seems to be more resistance through the rear wheel, I think I am going to eventually get a good set of pannier bags and go with this method.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby MattyK » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:04 pm

My bag, with some random junk. It has done about 4 years of daily commutes.

1.0 litre lunch box for reference. There is velcro on the internal side walls and the bag comes with a vertical divider that can span between them but I don't use it any more. The pannier comfortably fits a 15" laptop
Note: the vertical silver stripe on the pannier is NOT reflective... (edit: however their video suggests it is; there may have been some minor spec changes since I got mine; the rear bottle strapping is different too)
Image

I usually put my glasses and keys in the pocket under the lid. It is very thin material and has a few holes from the keys.
Image

Underside showing the MTX rail, you can also see the elastic loop of the pannier (it is tucked away when the sides are closed up).
Note: the horizontal stripes on the OUTSIDE of the side pockets (and the one on the rear bottle holder) ARE retroreflective. But of course the side ones aren't visible when the panniers are in use...
Image

One of the side panniers has a small split seam, from laptop carrying (a 15" Dell). Hence the padding I prefer to use, eg my rain jacket. Speaking of rain jacket, there is enough room in the side pockets to cram it even when the sides are folded up.
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One of the moulded-on zip tabs fell apart after about 1 year. The other one has held up fine though.
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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:56 pm

Thanks for the follow up Matty, it's starting to look very interesting. Methinks a store search is in order for an IRL look...

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Re: Advice on commuting bag

Postby panurge » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:29 pm

MattyK wrote:
Unhooks from the rack very easily, would recommend



Another vote for the Topeak MTX bag from me, I've been commuting with one for 18 months and it's great. Mine has gone slightly purple as a result of sun bleaching but other than that it's like new.
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