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commuting packs(8 posts)

commuting packsspecialized_allez
Nov 9, 2001 9:16 AM
i've been looking at backpacks to commute with specifically the vaude siena. i remember someone here suggesting this bag and was wondering if the back of it is reflective. i was looking at it in the store and it looks like it would be but i can't find out from anyone (salesperson and website). also, anyone have other backpacks they would suggest.
re: commuting packsUncleMoe
Nov 9, 2001 9:42 AM
I don't know how far you commute or what you intend to carry, but a pannier pack or a rack pack is a better way to go, IMO, depending on the length of your ride.

I commute 20 miles each way, so it takes about 75 minutes to get to work. I started off with a pack pack for shower kit, towel, clothes. My backpack isn't that heavy, but having that on your back to and from work was just bugging me, almost to the point of not wanting to commute anymore.

So I got a rack, and a Schwinn pack with, if I recall right, 1500 cubic inches of space. Everything fits in just perfect.

The enjoyment of my ride improved 10 fold and now the commute feels like the freedom it should, vs. having a pack on your back for 2.5 hours each day.
I hate backpacksRich Clark
Nov 9, 2001 10:31 AM
I don't have a recommendation because after a week of trying it, I abandoned backpacks on bikes forever. They're hot, they're uncomfortable, they raise the center of gravity, they make my back hurt, and they take the fun out of the ride. I'm sure somebody will chime in with a description of the Perfect Cycling Backpack That Solves All Those Problems (tm), but I'm not interested.

Get a rack and panniers, or a rack and a rack trunk. There are plenty of panniers and trunks that are easily detachable from the bike and include straps to make them shoulderable.

Sorry this doesn't really answer your question.

RichC
not meET
Nov 9, 2001 10:49 AM
I think the key is what you're carrying. For my commute, it's mainly just my clothes without shoes (keep a spare pair at office) and maybe a little food and loose small items. Some of these newer backpacks (many from England) are built real nice too; unlike cheaper ones that shift their weight and possibly block your rear view as you ride, the newer ones are more stable, and narrower on top. Hydration-system-compatible too. If your load isn't too heavy, your commute not way too long, the back is where it belongs. It's great to just keep it on the whole time, even after dismounting the bike and going on your way. The panniers and the like have drawbacks too, e.g. center of gravity altered to one side, get in the way, etc.
try a CarradiceDjudd
Nov 9, 2001 12:31 PM
Carridice makes several very large but very useful bags that hook onto saddles. Checkout the Rivendell site or wallbike.com. Several posters here can attest to thier utility. The only problem is Carradice is a small English company and they have all the attendant stock problems that go with small outfits. However the wait (if necessary) is worth it. Commuting with a pack on your back IMO is tortuous. After switching to a rack and saddle bag my commute is not only more comfortable but somewhat faster.
One another point I try to keep my commute dynamic:changing bags and routes keeps things interesting.

Good Luck
I agree, packs on bike, not backfishwheel
Nov 9, 2001 10:51 AM
I started with the back pack approach, and hated it. I put a rack on my bike and just strapped my back pack to it. I also have a trunk pack now, which is great for my lunch and a few other things. When I have lots of stuff to carry I wear the back pack and usrt he trunk rack. But I hate wearingthe backpack so much that I always find a way to bring less work home with me (hard copies anyway) the digital thing makes it much easier to transfer work from home and back.
I plan to buy a set of panniers this year.
pack or rack?guido
Nov 9, 2001 1:01 PM
Backpacks are convenient for short jaunts, say 5 or 6 miles, 20-30 minutes. You can throw everything into the pack, sling it over your shoulder and go. LL Bean has a nice one dedicated to cycling. It'll hold a notebook, thermos, change of clothes, has two big compartments and small pouch on back. When heavily loaded, I adjust the straps so that it sits on top of my butt, which lowers the center of gravity noticeably and stabilizes the ride somewhat, but you can't be honking up hills out of the saddle. Backpacking doesn't require modifying the bike with a rack, possibly significant if you want to use the bike for other types of riding, when you might not want to be carrying the rack around.

No question that a rack over the rear wheel and panniers is the best way to travel loaded. You can move around on the bike freely, and heat can evaporate into the air off your back. A good stiff frame is considerably more stable weighted low to the ground. It won't be as skitterish over snow, sand, gravel. But the contents jiggle over bumps, and most trunk packs that sit atop the rear rack, or panniers that hang on the sides, can't hold as much as a big backpack. Fore-aft weight distribution is also screwed up when you load the rear wheel on a racing bike. The chainstays are too short, so alot of weight is behind the rear axle. Long chainstays are necessary in order to get the weight over, or ideally slightly in front of the rear axle.

So basically a racing bike will probably work best with a backpack. Panniers on a rear rack are better, but need a frame with long chainstays, like a mountain bike or touring bike.
i agree back packs suckclimbo
Nov 9, 2001 1:34 PM
get a messenger bag. Way more comfortable and easy on and off. You can carry a ton of gear without breaking your back and if you're like me and decide to switch "commute" bikes every now and then depending on if I am just commuting or actually training, I don't have to move my panniers from one bike to another. Just what I like, it may not suit you. I carry this every day and often train for 2 hours before or after work with it and it's no problem. Of course, my training buddy thinks I'm nits but it works for me.