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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Niagara Region, ON
    Posts
    5

    Carrying a Laptop for Work

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    At the urging of a fellow cycling commuter, I'm looking at using panniers instead of my trusty (sweat-inducing) knapsack. My only issue is finding bags that will fit my laptop (13"x9.5"x1.5"), my clothes, and my lunch (no cafeteria at work).

    I've read many of the bag threads here but haven't heard any specific references to laptop computers. The lbs near me doesn't have a lot of options to try with the laptop. Anyone have any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
    Posts
    445
    This isn't a recommendation for a laptop bag but another alternative to carrying one. This obviously depends on your setup - if you already have a computer at home that has the same software as the one at work (or leave the laptop at work), etc etc and if you don't absolutely have to have the laptop with you the days you take your bike in.

    I have a workstation at home and at work. I work with large relational databases in the GB range. I have a wallet size Maxtor 80 GB hard drive (that cost less than a 4GB mem stick, for some reason). I copy huge directories off the server at work with the latest updates in about 2 minutes with the USB port at the end of the day. Bring the hard drive home and transfer those server directories to the computer at home and I can work. Actually, I got a free synchronization software off the web and I just sync the directories whether I am at home or work. It works out great, and I just slip the hard drive into my Trek Interchange pack on the bike and off I go.

    A guy at work who rides a motorcycle also does this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    Your friend is right- having the load on the bike is much less sweaty!

    That doesn't seem like a very big laptop to me, so you should be fine with most panniers. DH and I both use the Transit Pro panniers sold by Performance (http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=2312). They're nothing special, but the size and price were both right. If I were doing loaded touring, I'd want something better, and I wouldn't mind a easier-on/off retention system. But again, for 3-4 days a week of commuting, they're performing well. They easily hold shoes, clothing (packed in an Eagle Creek PackIt folder), lunch, and a small purse.

    I'd probably buy a laptop sleeve for a little added protection and use whatever panniers suit your needs.

    Have fun shopping!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    My iBook G4 (11 1/2 x 9 x 1 1/4) in its zippered neoprene case fits in my Ortleib Classic back roller pannier with room to spare.

    My son's MacBook also fits.

    There is room left over for a change of clothes, my repair kit, my lock, my lunch, and an extra bottle of water.

    With more room leftover in case I need to put my jacket in there, or pick up a couple things from the store.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 06-15-2008 at 01:51 PM. Reason: erroneous apostrophe
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    I find the Arkel Laptop Briefcase pannier to be very good.

    google Arkel. They are a Canadian company in Quebec, and all their stuff is made there in a small operation. Very high quality.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    26
    I'm not well versed in laptop panniers. If you are thinking of putting your laptop in a regular pannier, put it inside a padded sleeve or laptop case first! Then measure the case to figure out what size the pannier needs to be.

    I don't blame you at all for not wanting to lug a laptop around in a backpack every day. I did that in grad school, and it wasn't fun.

    Anastasia

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,559
    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    My iBook G4 (11 1/2 x 9 x 1 1/4) in its zippered neoprene case fits in my Ortleib Classic back roller pannier with room to spare.
    And my Ortlieb Classic Front Roller Pannier, without all the extra room. But then you can use the 2nd pannier for extra clothes and balance your load.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
    Posts
    514
    I'll second what Muckmaker said wy up above... I've had to recently replace a laptop when it started getting HD problems, apparently from being packed around in a briefcase style messenger bag, so what I now use is a set of thumb drives. The office computer, home computer, and my laptop are set up with the same software suites, so all I really have to pack back and forth are the files themselves on a thumb drive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    423
    I'm also a laptop carrier. I have to be, since I work for myself and have to transport my computer to client offices with me when I work onsite (which I'm doing more and more lately). I was admiring an Ortlieb Office Bag at a bike shop this afternoon. I almost bought it, then decided to make absolutely sure commuting on my "new" bike agrees with me before I drop the cash. (See, I really can be a practical shopper...sometimes.)

    But, I figure with that on one side and a (cheap) collapsible basket on the other, I can bike to the office in the morning, then stop to pick up dinner fixin's on the way home.

    Here's the bag I'm talking about:
    http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/...p?pid=36&cid=2

    And they also have it in a larger size:
    http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/...p?pid=79&cid=2

    I'll also note that they suggest putting the laptop in a sleeve before putting it in the bag for some extra protection.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    Oooh, Dex, that's a very professional looking pannier/bag! I like it!
    And waterproof, too. Very cool.

    (but i don't need to look professional at my job, so I have no excuse to get it)
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    VA / DC Metro Area
    Posts
    624
    I have ones very similar to these. They come as a pair. I just use a laptop sleeve and shove it in the bag along with my clothes, a towel, toiletries, and anything else I'll need at work. I think those should be able to work for you too just make sure you have a laptop sleeve for extra protection.
    Last edited by F8th637; 06-16-2008 at 11:41 AM.
    "She who succeeds in gaining the master of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life." -Frances E. Willard
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    S. Lake Tahoe CA and Marion Mass
    Posts
    359
    I have to drag my laptop around too because I work for myself. But I only go to one client. I wish I could pop the stuff on a stick but I can't.

    I was looking at panniers and then realized that I can just bungee my backpack to my rack on the back. I use three bungees and really strap it down. It doesn't shift at all and I can put everything in it. I'm thinking about getting one of those baskets for the back instead but for now it works. I didn't want to drop the cash if I didn't really commute like I wanted. You have to tuck or tie up the straps though or they will flop down and get caught up in your spokes.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    Quote Originally Posted by dex View Post
    I'm also a laptop carrier. I have to be, since I work for myself and have to transport my computer to client offices with me when I work onsite (which I'm doing more and more lately). I was admiring an Ortlieb Office Bag at a bike shop this afternoon. I almost bought it, then decided to make absolutely sure commuting on my "new" bike agrees with me before I drop the cash. (See, I really can be a practical shopper...sometimes.)

    But, I figure with that on one side and a (cheap) collapsible basket on the other, I can bike to the office in the morning, then stop to pick up dinner fixin's on the way home.

    Here's the bag I'm talking about:
    http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/...p?pid=36&cid=2

    And they also have it in a larger size:
    http://www.ortliebusa.com/cartgenie/...p?pid=79&cid=2

    I'll also note that they suggest putting the laptop in a sleeve before putting it in the bag for some extra protection.
    Ok, I carry my laptop in a backpack, but I've been wanting a basket for misc purchases (I loved having one on the front of my mixte but I can't put one on the front of my current commuter). I'm thinking that if I got the collapsible basket for the rear, I could just toss my whole backpack in it if it's too hot to wear one day?

    Dex - are the baskets big enough for that? I'm thinking the Wald one I saw locally might work...
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    423
    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    I'm thinking that if I got the collapsible basket for the rear, I could just toss my whole backpack in it if it's too hot to wear one day?

    Dex - are the baskets big enough for that? I'm thinking the Wald one I saw locally might work...
    I don't know yet. But I picked one up this evening, so I'll let you know after I put it on my bike. (Hopefully tonight...I just have to convince myself to get off of the sofa. Benadryl kicks my butt hard.)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    423
    Ok, so I did manage to climb off of the sofa and install that basket. (And a new stem and handlebars, though the bars haven't gotten wrapped yet.) I don't own a backpack, but I pulled my old teardrop pack out of the closet and stuffed a couple of towels in for bulk. And then I snapped a couple of pics to give you an idea of size.

    This is the Wald collapsible basket. The listed dimensions are 12.75"x7.25"x8.5" deep. It's pretty easy to install, with the only fiddly bit being getting the U-clamp fitted near the bottom of the basket to the leg of the rack--it's just a tight space to work in, not the fault of the basket hardware itself.

    Anyway, a couple of pics... (pay no attention to any background apartment mess that may appear in the frame)
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