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A n epiphany : please advise - regarding commuting(13 posts)

A n epiphany : please advise - regarding commutingDjudd
Sep 30, 2001 5:05 PM
I'm a longtime bicycle commuter with a recent epiphany. Until now I've carried my things (change of clothes etc.) in a courier shoulder bag. A holdover from my bike messenger days (indeed I thought this was the best/coolest way to commute). However, as I find my traveling load getting heavier my revelation has been: a trunk bag on a rear rack. Not an original thought but new for me. I ordered a trunk bag and a rack from Performance and will attach it to my commuter/fixie. My query is to all the bike commuters who know. Are these trunk bags efficient? do they effect bike handling? what bags do you use to commute with? most importantly- did I waste my money?

Thank you
re: A n epiphany : please advise - regarding commutingbadabill
Sep 30, 2001 5:46 PM
I use the same bag and rack on my Surly. Bolts on easy and works great. Used a backpack before and the rack and bag are much more comfortable for me. Have about 6 months and so far its holding up nicely. I think I handle a bike better with the weight on the rack rather than on my back, but that could be personal pref.
Extreme case as an example ...Humma Hah
Sep 30, 2001 6:39 PM
... I haven't used quite what you describe. I commute either with a backpack or a bum-bag. However, in the distant past, I grocery-shopped on a bike, and for that purpose had a huge pair of over-the-rear-wheel baskets, designed for newspaper delivery.

These things were massive, and when filled with groceries they were an incredible load. They did definitely affect handling -- I could feel the arse of the bike oscillate, and did not feel inclined to do any really sporty handling.

That said, the bike still rode well enough.

I rode a century yesterday. One of the riders was a RAAM rider, on a MTB for this event (I guess he needed a little more challenge, it being such a short ride). He had the most amazing bag on the back of his bike, something like a trunk, on a rack above the rear wheel. I hefted his bike, and suspect he had a couple of lead bricks in the thing. Because of the pack, his MTB weighed at least as much as my old steel cruiser, but not distributed as well. This didn't stop him from being one of the first bikes to complete the ride.

I'd say you can carry a light load such as you describe anywhere you like. You might feel a little change in handling, but nothing you can't get used to quickly.
Sep 30, 2001 6:56 PM
I see from the post below you rode the NSA-OCE. I got an e-mail about the same and was not able to ride. I am really interested to see how I would do on my fix for one hundred miles (though, I suspect, I would not be good company 75 miles into it) I am always amazed at the dedication and the fearlessness of members of the cycling brethren.

The fixies seemed to be out-riding the gearies ...Humma Hah
Sep 30, 2001 7:11 PM
I beat a bunch of the gearies into the lunch stop again (one had a flat, the others dallied too long at a country store). I couldn't catch any of the fixies (there were maybe half a dozen this time).

If you'd been feeling lousy at 75 miles, you would have had company. This is the first time I've ever wussed out on a century, and that's about where it hit me.

Centuries were popular long before derailleurs were invented. The were originally run fixed-gear on dirt roads. If you've been getting in reasonable training miles on a fixie, there's no reason to think that kind of ride won't go the distance.
A single speed revelation!look271
Oct 1, 2001 8:50 AM
Friday I commuted to on my recently renovated Schwinn cruiser that I set up with drop bars (I know; I'm perverse). It's not a fixie, it has a freewheel. What a load of fun! Steel frame; stiffer than I would have thought. Cut off time on my commute by maybe 2-3 minutes on a 6 mile commute. Helped my riding on my Look, too. I'll do it AT LEAST 1/week. Other days I use the mtb w/ slicks.
Could it have been a Carradice bag? Big & ugly?cory
Oct 1, 2001 11:42 AM
I agree about using a rack or bike-mounted bag rather than a backpack--way more comfortable.
If the RAAM rider's bag was a huge black ugly thing with white leather straps, it was probably a Carradice. I bought one from Rivendell a year or so ago, and I love it. They're waxed canvas, just about waterproof, and attach to the eyes on the back of the saddle or, if you don't have those, the little straps will buckle over the rails. Mine is the Lowsaddle Longflap, considered a smallish Carradice, and I can get all my work clothes (khakis and shirt, no suit) in it easily. Holds a Sunday paper and half a dozen bagels, rain gear, whatever. Plus the flap opens up (that's the Longflap part) to increase the capacity even more, and there are D-rings on it so you can tie stuff to the top if you can't get it inside. I think it's not quite as unobtrusive when you're riding as the same load on a rear rack, but you can take the bag off easily when you don't need it. I'm pretty sure Carradice has a website, or you can see 'em at
Rack trunks and panniersRich Clark
Sep 30, 2001 7:05 PM
Yes, I have Topeak rear racks on both bikes, and Topeak low=rider mounts on the front of my steel tourer. I use the Performance rack trunk (the expanding one) and switch it back and forth between bikes. I keep tools, phone, sunglasses, tire repair stuff... all the things I like to have with me on every ride... in it.

In the summer when I wear shorts and t-shirts at work I can also get a change of clothes rolled up into it.

I have a small pair of Arkel panniers. One pannier lives on the rain bike (that's the tourer, which also has fenders) and my rain gear is in there. The other pannier I swap back and forth in cool weather when I carry more and/or heavier clothes. Yes, that means I sometimes ride with one pannier on the non-drive side/rear of my good bike. Looks strange, doesn't seem to effect anything.

I really don't think you'll notice much impact on handling just from the rack and rack trunk. About as much difference as if you had that much weight on your back.

Make sure you use blue Loktite on the screws as you assemble the rack onto your bike!

weight is better on the bikedano
Sep 30, 2001 10:40 PM
I switched from a backpack to a rack trunk bag (Performance) for commuting about 5 years ago. I really prefer having the load weight on the bike and not on my back. Even light backpack loads were giving me sciatica problems in my lower back. I also sweat on my back a lot more under a backpack. I definitely prefer the rack trunk bag.

I don't notice any handling problems with the rack trunk bag. I did try rear panniers for a while and didn't like them. They seem generate a lot of wind drag, interfered with my feet (I have big feet), affected the steering, and bounced around a lot more than the rack trunk. I've since gone back to the rack trunk bag. I won't even consider using a backpack again.
re: Probably not.dzrider
Oct 1, 2001 4:17 AM
I commute a few days a week and carry stuff in one pannier on the right side. The handling does change, but after the first few starts, stops and corners becomes natural - much like adjusting to different bikes. I've not tried a trunk bag as it seemed cheaper and easier to use commuting stuff I already own. I have an ultralight bag that I sometimes strap on the handlebars of my good bike and any time I use it find it much less comfortable than panniers.
I use a trunk packfishwheel
Oct 1, 2001 8:15 AM
.. and it works real well. MIne has velcro attachments that hold surprisingly well. I like having the rackon my commuter, because you can strap just about anything to it when you need to. And I need to quite often.
re: A n epiphany : please advise - regarding commutingRay
Oct 1, 2001 9:39 AM
I commute on my touring bike, which always has a rear rack on it. I generally use a single "briefcase" pannier on the left side, which I easily pull off of the bike and take into work / meetings with me. If I have an unusually massive load (very rarely happens) I'll just stick a second pannier on the other side.

With the loooooong chainstays and caddilac ride of this bike, I don't really notice any change in the handling except I have to be a little "quieter" when I get out of the saddle. On racier bikes, I've preferred using a courrier bag because it affects the handling less, but I don't commute on those bikes very often. I didn't like the extra sweat from carrying a load on my back and I really like the convenience of the pannier / case.

Try thisCJ3
Oct 1, 2001 10:44 AM
I use a pack it case from eagle creek to store my shirt & pants. They arrive wrinkle free. Been using this for years, and it is very effective. Highly recommended.