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Backpack for bicycling

lawyerdad

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So I'm trying to ride more -- not super distances or anything, mostly just around town. Trying to run errands on the weekends (although I do try to hit a variety of different locations so I at least log a few extra miles) on the bike, and my start riding to work at once a week or so. I'd like to find a decent backpack with good capacity (so I can ride to the market and pick up some groceries, etc.) but that sits well and is relatively non-constricting while I'm riding. I don't need a hydration system, and I don't need a bunch of "organizer" pockets for laptop, etc. -- I'd rather maximize storage space. Anybody have one they ride with and are happy with? Thanks
 

Mentos

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In the proud tradition of not answering the question asked: if you don't have a superstar road bike, you should think about putting on a rear rack and attaching a pannier. It will be far more comfortable, because the center of gravity will be lower, there will be no strain on your back, and you won't sweat as much. They're easy to install. A more convenient option is a rear rack with a wire basket that you can just toss your groceries, etc. into. Then there's no theft issue. But a wire basket isn't for everyone.
 

Doc4

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Originally Posted by Mentos
In the proud tradition of not answering the question asked: if you don't have a superstar road bike, you should think about putting on a rear rack and attaching a pannier. It will be far more comfortable, because the center of gravity will be lower, there will be no strain on your back, and you won't sweat as much. They're easy to install. A more convenient option is a rear rack with a wire basket that you can just toss your groceries, etc. into. Then there's no theft issue. But a wire basket isn't for everyone.

+1

I wore a backpack when riding for many years, and switching to a pannier was great. Not only the sweat-reduction issue (I think you sweat the same, it just evaporates easier) and freedom of movement not having anything on your back, but also if you wear a reflective or high-vis jacket/shirt, it's not obscured.
 

mikej77

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One more reason is pack items on the bike as opposed to your back is that if you ever had on a backpack and fell off your bike, you could do serious damage to your spine.
 

Mentos

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Oh, and if you ride around in your nice SF duds, you won't get them wrinkled by having something strapped across your back.
 

Merckx

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Good to hear you are trying to ride more LD, keep after it!
 

aragon765

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Originally Posted by Mentos
In the proud tradition of not answering the question asked: if you don't have a superstar road bike, you should think about putting on a rear rack and attaching a pannier. It will be far more comfortable, because the center of gravity will be lower, there will be no strain on your back, and you won't sweat as much. They're easy to install. A more convenient option is a rear rack with a wire basket that you can just toss your groceries, etc. into. Then there's no theft issue. But a wire basket isn't for everyone.

+1 on that, plus all the other reasons given. A townie bike should be equipped to carry the load, not your back. Cycling with weight on your back sucks, cycling with weight on your bike is much less painful.

Good work on cycling more. I never owned a car until I was 28 thanks to the joys of the bicycle (ok, it sucks in the rain, but it sure is less expensive!!)
 

Renault78law

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What kind of bike do you ride?
You guys are nuts, this is styleforum. Put panniers on your bike and you'll look like a granola crunching hippie. LD is a young guy and we live in LA. If you're riding any variation of a roadbike, get a messenger bag. I own this one: http://www.baileyworks.com/catalog/product.cfm?id=2 It's a dedicated messenger bag that professional messengers use. Storage can't be beat, it's expandable - you could fit a bankers' box inside this thing.

I'd admit though, a dedicated messenger bag is only comfortable on the bike, it's almost worthless for much else. If you want something more versatile, get this: http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...eries-backpack It will also appeal to your Bay Area roots.

If you do decide to get a backpack/messenger bag, don't forget to buy a high visibility color. I used to ride from the westside to downtown LA. Let me know if you have any more questions.
 

Merckx

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Originally Posted by Renault78law
LD is a young guy and we live in LA.

LD is a young guy??? Dude, I can remember him telling me about one day in the early 70's when he almost ran down Al Davis crossing the street, threw his vehicle in reverse, nearly clipped Mr. Furcoat to finish the job and then sped off.

Well...... I might have exaggerated a little in recalling the story.... just a little ....
 

Mentos

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Originally Posted by Renault78law
What kind of bike do you ride?
You guys are nuts, this is styleforum. Put panniers on your bike and you'll look like a granola crunching hippie. LD is a young guy and we live in LA. If you're riding any variation of a roadbike, get a messenger bag. I own this one: http://www.baileyworks.com/catalog/product.cfm?id=2 It's a dedicated messenger bag that professional messengers use. Storage can't be beat, it's expandable - you could fit a bankers' box inside this thing.

I'd admit though, a dedicated messenger bag is only comfortable on the bike, it's almost worthless for much else. If you want something more versatile, get this: http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/...eries-backpack It will also appeal to your Bay Area roots.

If you do decide to get a backpack/messenger bag, don't forget to buy a high visibility color. I used to ride from the westside to downtown LA. Let me know if you have any more questions.


If not wanting a banker's box on my back makes me a hippie, then a hippie I be!
 

DNW

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+1 on Timbuk2. They have a wide range of messenger bags available, there should be something that fits your needs. I've been hauling crap for the last 3 years through snow, rain, etc. in my Timbuk2 messenger bag and it still looks pretty good. These things are pretty indestructable.
 

lawyerdad

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Thanks, guys. Renault and I have met (we should do it again and catch up), so his calling me a "young guy" is simply graciousness. That said, I was a kid in the '70's (born in '68) and not driving yet -- it was only about 3-4 years ago that I almost ran down Al Davis in a crosswalk.

I'm going to look into the pannier option, which is a good suggestion. One of the things I do on the bike is a circuit of errands that includes hitting Trader Joe's, so a messenger bag doesn't really hold enough stuff (think a box of cereal, a couple of tubs of yogurt, a few frozen dinners, chips or cookies, and a bottle of booze). Plus, if I do start riding to work on occasion, I'll probably want to be able to carry a fresh shirt and a pair of dress shoes.

I ride an old Ironhorse something-or-other hybrid with street tires.
 

WishEllis

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I've been using an Ortlieb Velocity pack the last few months (20 mile commute in LA). It's light enough to not feel bulky when empty, simply designed - just a big waterproof roll top sack really!, elegant in its minimalism. Yet it can carry a twelvepack, Chicken Pot Pies galore and the odd orchid, especially with the top unrolled - and it still feels secure with the chest and waist strap. It would also double as a good haul pack for expeditions due to its design and waterproofness. Panniers are always a good option, though, if your bike has the appropriate brazeons (mine doesn't).
 

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