Author Topic: Carrying "stuff" biking to work  (Read 8158 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« on: July 31, 2014, 09:15:53 AM »
Mr. FP has been trying for the first time this week to bike to his new job and he's running into issues. He likes to carry a large backpack with books and often a laptop (he's a teacher), but it's too heavy to bike with. He tried strapping it into our child bike seat, but apparently the bag is too big.

Mustachian solutions? How do people get their stuff to work conveniently? Taking the whole trailer seems like overkill (plus I usually need it at home.)

AllChoptUp

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 09:27:13 AM »
This is only mustachian if you get rid of a car.  We use this to take kiddo to daycare and haul all kids of stuff.  400 lb cargo bucket, built in kid seats and seatbelts too.  It's awesome.

http://www.madsencycles.com/

Got it on sale for a few hundred off.

winstonsmith

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 09:31:39 AM »
Mr. FP has been trying for the first time this week to bike to his new job and he's running into issues. He likes to carry a large backpack with books and often a laptop (he's a teacher), but it's too heavy to bike with. He tried strapping it into our child bike seat, but apparently the bag is too big.

Mustachian solutions? How do people get their stuff to work conveniently? Taking the whole trailer seems like overkill (plus I usually need it at home.)

Hi FP,

I have been using some pretty sweet folding baskets (Wald 582) on my rear rack.  If he is carrying too much gear for one or two baskets, maybe consider adding a pannier or basket on the front.

At least that would get some weight off of his back.

-winston

Angie55

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 09:31:55 AM »
I have Wald folding baskets on my bike to carry groceries and my crap. You can add a lot of weight to them and they are fine. I have taken my laptop home a few times with no issue. The case stuck out a little so I just made sure it was bungee corded down. It makes the bike a little wobbly at start but this can be alleviated by balancing both sides. Alternatively there are lots of pannier bags that are meant for laptops. They can be pricey so look on craigslist first.

I think putting stuff in the child seat created too high a center of gravity making it more difficult to balance the bike.

cwide

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2014, 09:33:19 AM »
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_169919_-1___204799

I don't know if this is how everyone here does it, but this is how most of the touring world does it. Get a rack and some panniers.

If you can't attach the bags to the rack somehow then you might look into some panniers.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_563342_-1___204669

boognish

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 09:33:39 AM »
Can you grab an extra copy of each book your using either from the school or find it for cheap used? I assume being a teacher you use the same books year after year, could be worth having a copy at home and at school.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2014, 09:42:43 AM »
I've biked with some pretty damn heavy backpacks. Hell, one time I had a good 40 lb pack (basically as many books as could possibly fit in my backpack) AND I was hauling all 3 kids in the trailer.

I'm not Mr Muscle Dude by any stretch of the imagination, either.

But I realize most people will simply dismiss this as an option.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2014, 09:47:36 AM »

J Boogie

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2014, 09:59:22 AM »
Panniers give you better stability and more payload, but I currently enjoy the styling and convenience of this beautiful innovation:

http://www.amazon.com/Ibera-PakRak-Bicycle-Quick-Release-Commuter/dp/B002T5MZ70/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406822288&sr=8-1&keywords=pakrak


shelivesthedream

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2014, 10:01:55 AM »
I've got a wire basket mounted on the back that I used at university. I can easily fit my normal bag, a laptop bag AND another bag of books in it. If it's that full, I just tie a bit of elastic across the top or put my bike chain around it all.

EricL

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2014, 10:27:10 AM »
Has your husband tried reducing the amount of junk to carry?  Unless he's rocking a government laptop he should be able to put a lot of work on a thumb drive and put on his home computer.  And even most government laptops will allow CD and email transfers though some regulations might limit them.  He might consider an iPad or kindle for his books (with a good protective case).  If that seems extravagant the same book reading programs can be used in a computer.  They're set up so if you share use on two devices connencted to the Internet they track where you are in a book so reading stopped on page 200 at work can resume at page 200 at home.  If he only needs to read a couple pages of a 300 lb tome he could take a scan or photocopy of them and just take the pages.

I've had to carry tons of junk to work and the big problem was the bike wasn't sturdy enough for it.  It's a big deal when you've already dumped money on a bike - maybe even your dream bike - and it just can't carry the loads.  Some that can don't have places to mount baskets.  Carrying a laptop is an accident waiting to happen.


La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2014, 10:49:26 AM »
Wow, thanks for all the tips! He did actually try biking with the bag and is not usually a complainypants about that kind of thing, but he didn't like it.

I should have clarified in my original post that we do not want to remove the rack for the child seat. Looks like the Wald baskets can attach right to that but most other options appear to require their own special racks. Am I missing any other non-special-rack options? I'll talk to him about revising his giant-bag expectations and maybe getting the baskets--I think he would really like them for small-load grocery shopping, too.

Beric01

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2014, 11:12:50 AM »
I would get some panniers and/or a trailer.

Carrying a huge load on your back in a backpack can actually damage your back over time, particularly if the bag isn't ergonomic. I'd be careful.

I bike to work with my laptop (has an SSD so vibration is fine), work clothes, towel, water bottle, bike lock (U lock + cable) bag lunch, etc. I keep my shoes at work. Panniers can fit a lot!

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2014, 11:13:08 AM »
They make racks and panniers that go on the front of the bike.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2014, 11:25:05 AM »
They make racks and panniers that go on the front of the bike.

Yes, and this is a better way to distribute load. The Axiom Journey DLX is a front pannier rack that's been recommended to me by others here. I plan to get it with my birthday $ next week, plus some panniers.

ThermionicScott

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2014, 02:21:09 PM »
Has your husband tried reducing the amount of junk to carry?  Unless he's rocking a government laptop he should be able to put a lot of work on a thumb drive and put on his home computer.

This!  So many bike-commuters are focused on commuting harder, not smarter.  ;^)

If your workplace allows it (like mine) you can carry a week's worth of clothes in one batch and store them at work.  Then you're free from carrying them the other four days.  (If you're not gung-ho about bike-commuting, you can drive one day a week and use your car to schlep all this stuff back and forth.)

hybrid

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2014, 02:50:37 PM »
Mr. FP has been trying for the first time this week to bike to his new job and he's running into issues. He likes to carry a large backpack with books and often a laptop (he's a teacher), but it's too heavy to bike with. He tried strapping it into our child bike seat, but apparently the bag is too big.

Mustachian solutions? How do people get their stuff to work conveniently? Taking the whole trailer seems like overkill (plus I usually need it at home.)

Hi FP,

I have been using some pretty sweet folding baskets (Wald 582) on my rear rack.  If he is carrying too much gear for one or two baskets, maybe consider adding a pannier or basket on the front.

At least that would get some weight off of his back.

-winston

+1. I love my Wald 582 racks. I have one on either side of the rear rack and they carry quite a bit of stuff. Question - I would like to carry my iPad to work on this but my ride is kind of bumpy (especially over one set of train tracks) and I'm worried about it being jarred too much over time. Legitimate concern, or should it be fine if properly insulated?

PindyStache

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2014, 04:39:33 PM »
I recommend bungee cords. Mostly it's just fun to say.

ajk

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2014, 04:47:53 PM »
I have a rear rack and Jandd Grocery Bag Panniers. In my city, workshops are available for converting kitty litter buckets into panniers. That would be more Mustachian, not to mention waterproof!

DarinC

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2014, 08:12:34 PM »
Front/rear racks with milk crates and an military rucksack on your back. There isn't much you can't carry with that setup unless you just need a bike trailer.

GuitarStv

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2014, 06:16:02 AM »
I've tried all the basic methods of hauling stuff on a bike.  They all have pluses and minuses:

Biking with a heavy backpack sucks because it puts extra weight on your wrists.  If you're going any kind of distance this will cause pain.

Wald baskets are great, and I used some for years with no problem.  They're a bit heavy though, and you have that weight on the bike even when not carrying stuff.

Front high rack / basket works fine, but usually there's not a lot of cargo room with this option.  It makes the bike handle a little differently too.  Front lowrider rack and panniers are great, they seem to catch way less wind than other options, but they also make the bike handle differently.  It's often harder to find front racks that are compatible with your bike than rear racks as fewer people use them.

Rear racks and panniers are a solid option.  They can accommodate bigger bags than front racks, and don't effect handling as much.  They do make the rear of the bike a bit heavier, so you might find the front wheels likes to rise up a bit if you accelerate quickly or if you're climbing a steep hill without leaning forward enough to compensate.

Rear rack and milk crate is a good cheap option.  It raises the centre of balance of the bike though, and will make you feel much less stable at slow speeds when carrying heavy stuff.  The weight distribution is otherwise similar to rear rack and panniers.

Trailers are great for carrying huge amounts of stuff, but are heavy and bulky.  They also add rolling resistance.  They're overkill for basic commuting needs.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 06:18:45 AM by GuitarStv »

hybrid

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2014, 08:15:43 AM »
Rear rack and milk crate is a good cheap option.  It raises the centre of balance of the bike though, and will make you feel much less stable at slow speeds when carrying heavy stuff.  The weight distribution is otherwise similar to rear rack and panniers.

This is an excellent point. When hauling groceries home with a pair of Walds and thirty pounds or so of groceries on the back it's really surprising how much less stable I feel with that weight on the back. No problems yet, but I definitely slow down as a result.

Blany

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2014, 10:59:35 PM »
I love and get great compliments on my milk creat which rests on my back rack, strapped in with bungies

CanuckExpat

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Re: Carrying "stuff" biking to work
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2014, 01:55:13 AM »
Wow, thanks for all the tips! He did actually try biking with the bag and is not usually a complainypants about that kind of thing, but he didn't like it.

I should have clarified in my original post that we do not want to remove the rack for the child seat. Looks like the Wald baskets can attach right to that but most other options appear to require their own special racks. Am I missing any other non-special-rack options? I'll talk to him about revising his giant-bag expectations and maybe getting the baskets--I think he would really like them for small-load grocery shopping, too.

Is the rack for the child seat a "standard" rear bike rack? Most panniers should attach directly to that.
As far as large, relatively inexpensive (and waterproof pannier), I have a pair from Seattle Sports that I believe I bought $50/pair when they were on a closeout sale on the REI outlet combined with an REI members coupon. (I only needed one pannier, so I ended up selling the second one on Craigslist). They also make a smaller waterproof rack-top duffel that was less than $25, also on close-out and combined with an REI coupon.

Here are the links  from REI and Amazon if you are interested in seeing more details and reviews:
http://www.rei.com/product/800388/seattle-sports-titan-panniers-pair-special-buy
http://www.rei.com/product/800389/seattle-sports-xud-waterproof-rackbag-duffel-special-buy
http://amzn.to/OiYEej
http://amzn.to/Tb0nR0

Note, I think Amazon sells a single pannier for the price they listed, whereas REI sold them as a pair.
The nice thing about the panniers as opposed to baskets is that you can remove them when you aren't using them. Conversely, the nice thing about the baskets is they are always there, and not at home if you forgot to attach them on that trip :)