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Carrying a laptop

Old 05-15-20, 10:39 AM
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Carrying a laptop

I've been commuting for years, but this is my first year with a laptop. I've been carrying my laptop in a swissgear backpack, and riding with it on my back. It's fine, actually surprisingly comfortable for a book bag. Most of my bikes have rear racks and pannier bags, which of course are not big enough to hold my backpack. I've thought about getting a protective sleeve for the laptop, to carry it in panniers.... but then I run into the issue where I am loading a backpack, or switching all my crap into my panniers. Anyone have a clever solution they are using??
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Old 05-15-20, 11:57 AM
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I commute with a back pack. I have a small sling pack that goes cross my back and I use that for most travel. On days when I have to move the laptop I use the back pack. I wrap it in a plastic grocery bag of it's raining. So far no issues. My ride is fairly short (20 min).

I have had panniers before but I'm not sure I would be comfortable riding with the laptop in the panniers due to the possibility of water being splashed up by passing cars. My paranoia; maybe not yours.
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Old 05-15-20, 12:11 PM
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I use two panniers. Right one, with bike stuff,
is locked to rack. All office items go in left pannier. I use a laptop sleeve and have power supply at home and office.

(Iím lucky; I can store work clothes at office and there is a shower.)

Last edited by flangehead; 05-15-20 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Fix sides
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Old 05-15-20, 06:52 PM
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I put my backpack in a wire basket, which is lashed to my rear rack.
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Old 05-15-20, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyah View Post
I put my backpack in a wire basket, which is lashed to my rear rack.
Ah! Nice! Didnít even think of that. Nice and simple.
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Old 05-15-20, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyah View Post
I put my backpack in a wire basket, which is lashed to my rear rack.
Works for me too. I use those stainless steel hose clamps to hold the basket on. Wald still makes wire baskets.
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Old 05-15-20, 10:04 PM
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I have commuted for last ~5 years using a TIMBUK2 commuter pack. The bag is advertised as "water resistant" and the bag has lived up to this. The bag will keep my stuff dry when pitted against my sweat or light rain or mist. But anything more than a drizzle and I have to take extra measures.

So I carry an extra plastic grocery bag folded up in one of the pockets. If rain is even remotely expected, I'll wrap my laptop in plastic bag and nestle between my clothes.

CJ
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Old 05-16-20, 08:40 AM
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In this photo I am carrying my backpack on the rack, a laptop in one basket and a small tape recorder in the other (archive project).

otherwise the baskets stay folded:

Last edited by BobbyG; 05-16-20 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 05-16-20, 10:55 AM
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Below is my leaving for work photo. The laptop is buried inside a backpack tossed onto the rear basket. In the case of a deep basket, you do not even to strap the pack.


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Old 05-17-20, 04:45 AM
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Laptop in a bubble mailer thing in the panniers, backpack for my clothes.


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Old 05-17-20, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Laptop in a bubble mailer thing
Bubble wrap is brilliant! I may try same!
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Old 05-18-20, 01:10 PM
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Here's how I did it. Unfortunately, I haven't used it much this year.
Laptop case Quick Release
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Old 05-18-20, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyah View Post
I put my backpack in a wire basket, which is lashed to my rear rack.
Most of the time, I do the same thing, but with a front basket. It made things so easy when I did not have to move stuff from one bag to another.

When I do use a pannier, I have a small bag that carries critical small stuff like keys, badge, phone, and wallet. Tools and spares go in a seat bag.


Last edited by noobinsf; 05-18-20 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 05-19-20, 05:44 AM
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I use a messenger bag from Timbuk2. Seems to work out great!
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Old 05-19-20, 01:05 PM
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I've tried all the above. I do tend to ride faster than average and didn't like futzing around with panniers - especially since I tend to ride home into a headwind every day in the spring and don't need a wind block.
Messanger bag (with cross strap) worked best for me. Gave me the flexibility of a backpack, without any of the sweat (and lower center of gravity). Timbuk2 has a variety of sizes.
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Old 05-19-20, 08:54 PM
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Ortleib Gravel Pack is great for me, super size, waterproof roll top, shoulder strap


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Old 05-20-20, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Laptop in a bubble mailer thing in the panniers, backpack for my clothes.


I used your method today. I only had foam, so the protection was probably minimal. Iím going to take a closer look at the other suggestions here too.

Thanks everyone for weighing in! Lots of clever solutions.
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Old 05-20-20, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Archwhorides View Post
Ortleib Gravel Pack is great for me, super size, waterproof roll top, shoulder strap


Wow, not your average commuter bike. That wheel is nearly kissing the seat tube! Iíve looked at Ortlieb panniers a lot in the past, always thought they were nice.
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Old 05-20-20, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
Most of the time, I do the same thing, but with a front basket. It made things so easy when I did not have to move stuff from one bag to another.

When I do use a pannier, I have a small bag that carries critical small stuff like keys, badge, phone, and wallet. Tools and spares go in a seat bag.

I think the basket and a backpack is probably where I am headed. I donít want to put one on all my bikes, so I have to see which one I ride more often. Iíve been rotating bikes too often at this point... but that is part of the fun for me.
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Old 05-20-20, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbRgLq2F3PA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDJycK4tykA
In this photo I am carrying my backpack on the rack, a laptop in one basket and a small tape recorder in the other (archive project).

otherwise the baskets stay folded:
Looks pretty secure. How easy is the cord to take on and off? Can it be moved to other bikes if you wanted?
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Old 05-20-20, 10:38 PM
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It's a couple of bungee cords strung through the seat frame and around the front of the seatpost, then secured to the rear of the rack.

I have one setup on my two bikes with a rack, So I don't move them from bike to bike. (I wear the backpack on the rackless 2-speed)

I started doing this about 20 years ago on the green bike and replaced the bungee after 10 years.

I put the orange cord on the black bike when I bought it in 2015 and replaced the cord after 3 years.

I bought a box of bungees at Harbor Freight 20 years ago, and I think I paid $12.

Before that I had fastened a milk crate to the back rack and put the back pack in the crate, like I saw other people do.

Then one day a picture of this way of doing it just popped in my head.

On the black bike (without baskets) when I have something to carry besides the back pack, I strap it to the rack and wear the backpack.

I know there are more elegant systems you can buy, but this has worked for me, especially since I like to wear the backpack out to the bike shed (and back to the house), and from the bathroom in the office where I change, to the warehouse where I park the bike. And I can wear the backpack when I run errands to the bank, store, etc. It has a pocket for my water bottle, and if I'm going to be long I clip my helmet to the pack, too.

If I went with a pannier it would have to be the kind you could wear as a backpack. If I needed two panniers, I guess I'd have to carry the other.
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Old 05-21-20, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
Wow, not your average commuter bike. That wheel is nearly kissing the seat tube! I’ve looked at Ortlieb panniers a lot in the past, always thought they were nice.
You are right, in an effort to shorten the "beltstay" dimension for agility on this cycle (AC01) , BMC pulled the wheel/fender right into the seatpost (as they do with their road-bikes).

This move has some downsides:
  1. Fewer tire options with the tight clearances. (those are 32mm slick tires in the photo)
  2. Fewer pannier setup possibilities due to heel-strike concerns. The Gravel Pack is one option that works well.
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Old 05-21-20, 01:25 PM
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If you already have a rear rack on each of your bicycles, you can move one basket around to any of them. The way I fasten the basket to the rack is to lash it down with velcro wrap-straps, available from Lowes and such. These hold very well but also allow re-configuration easily enough.

The green straps in this photo are the velcro.
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Old 05-24-20, 06:45 PM
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I use my Ortlieb Back Rollers and love them, but I've considered getting this, especially now I'm taking a laptop to and from work:

https://ortliebusa.com/product/office-bag-2/
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Old 06-06-20, 05:32 PM
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I have used a messenger bag and waterproof panniers. Day after day of carrying a heavy laptop in the messenger bag started to get to my back and shoulders. I prefer the panniers and have had no issue with water soaking through on rainy days. Though I'm careful to avoid puddles and I don't ride in driving rain.
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