Author Topic: Commuting luggage options  (Read 906 times)

Commuting luggage options
« on: March 25, 2020, 08:14:18 am »
Returning to cycle commuting due to finally getting the new office up and running (hurrah!), I need to look at luggage. Basically I need to be able to carry a laptop (no bigger than 15"), lunch, some clothes, and a bit of room for tools and general junk.

For many years I used a Carradice Bike Bureau, but gave that to my youngest as a commuting bag for uni and he loves it so much there's no way I'm getting it back  :thumbsup: My intention at that point was just to buy another if and when I needed it. Now I'm wondering if there are any other options I should be considering or just to do that as I know it worked.

Any ideas for other things I should be considering? The Audax MK3 has a rack and SQR block (the rack is one of the really narrow top ones that's just suitable for hanging panniers on), the Roubaix just has an SQR block, but if I'm using that I'll probably not carry a laptop so be OK with the couple of bags I have for that. I've also got a Bagman QR, but MrsH says I'm not allowed the leather satchel Carradice sell now.

Any wizzy new options before I just buy another Bike Bureau?

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2020, 08:20:06 am »
Over the years I've used many different bags, the Bike Bureau - as long as you don't mind it's bulkiness and weight - is the best, especially long term. Just do it, you know you want to.

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2020, 08:28:30 am »
I moved to panniers and used a generic neoprene wallet thing from eBay to protect the laptop[1], just found it more flexible and panniers with a good shoulder strap were easier to carry at each end (100m walk from where I lock my bike up at each end) and I often had 56L of panniers filled with football stuff, work clothes, towel, laptop, lunch(es), etc.

Unrelated but the most useful change was getting an extra power brick so I could have one at home and work meaning I didn't need to transport that each time. On a older W-series Thinkpad this was important as the power brick was enormous, current T-series Thinkpad less so.

1. The laptop belonged to work so I was never fussed if it got bounced around too much, nothing ever happened to it in 3 years of 3 days/week back/forth.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2020, 09:00:49 am »
I just use an Altura version of Bike Bureau.  I've used it for about 20 years and it has never damaged a laptop and never leaked - and it looks presentable enough to take to meetings. 

I expect newer versions should be as good.  I'm sure that other solutions would also work, but if a BB has always worked for you, I'd get another one of the same. 

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2020, 09:47:27 am »
The laptop is company issue so I'm not too concerned about that (although at the moment we are very, very short of laptops due to issuing them to people to work from home, so if I break it it'll take a while to get sorted). I've got a couple of padded sleeves, I'll have a look at standard panniers - though I liked the way it suspended the laptop above the bottom so if the big did fill with water (never happened) it wouldn't be sat in a puddle.

On my old bag I did put a really nice shoulder strap onto it as I also used as my travel bag, with everything for a week away in it. The Swedish office had buildings about a mile apart with meetings in any of them, so I'd spend my working day cycling between offices (which was a really nice destress method) and lugging all my kit in it.


Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2020, 10:13:43 am »
I bought an ortleib and a laptop sleeve.
The commute is muddy, crap gets through over the panniers. Not much point having a lovely brief-case-like pannier if it is covered in mud. So the Carradice wouldn't really work.

The ortleib has some internal pockets, wallet, phone, keys get dropped into those. Laptop sleeve protects laptop.
A different pannier holds bike chain, tools etc
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2020, 10:14:37 am »
I used a combination of the Altura laptop pannier and a caradice saddle bag. The pannier was the briefcase while the saddle bag was the tools, lunch and change of clothes once I got to the office.

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2020, 10:58:24 am »
Heading off down the rabbit hole now  :)

The current commute will be a simple 15 mile-ish thing, parking the bike up in a rack almost immediately outside our area or even bringing it inside. Secure site, no worries about leaving stuff with the bike, and I don't have to look particularly presentable on arrival. I can leave stuff in the office, and there are showers etc.

A pair of Super Cs would give more flexibility than the BB, but not quite as focussed and potentially have a build up of archeological layers of detritus in the bottom.

The Ortlieb commuter insert is tempting, allowing use of the panniers for bulk carrying or organised commuting and laptop storage.  I've been a bit down on Ortlieb since I bought a hard box pannier many years ago that failed quite quickly. The replacement similarly failed and I abandoned it and haven't returned to the brand. I'm sure their normal range are much better.

I did used to use the BB for shopping, with the laptop insert removed if I was carrying a lot, so it wasn't just a commuting bag. The extending lid was useful when I bought more than I thought.

Choices, choices.

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2020, 03:29:31 pm »
Decathlon do a good commuting bag

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/500-bike-messenger-bag-1x15l-id_8504448.html

I have last years model.

the black one costs bit more though
:)

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2020, 07:38:24 pm »
Decathlon stuff normally good but I don't like panniers that need a separate waterproof cover!  Extra faff when I least want it, might lose it, etc.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
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Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2020, 12:14:04 pm »
I've got an Ortlieb equivalent, looks a bit bigger than the Carradice one
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Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2020, 07:54:35 pm »
I used a Bike Bureau and a Nelson Longflap for several years, and really liked it. My current commuting situation makes a messenger bag a slightly more practical option, but your post has me wondering if I should go back to the Bike Bureau after this lockdown nonsense ends (assuming, of course, that I've got a job to go back to when this lockdown nonsense is over).

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2020, 03:59:36 pm »
I used to use an identical set of luggage - the Nelson Longflap is still my favourite bit of kit.

I just realised that my current company laptop will fit into my SQR Tour inside a neoprene sleeve I have, so can use that to get started whilst I dither and then wait for delivery. I dropped off clothes, towel etc. at work on Friday so I have minimal stuff to carry - just tools, laptop and lunch. That will also go on any of my bikes, whereas currently only the Audax bike has a rack for a pannier. I think the Bike Bureau may still be on the cards though.

Despite the lockdown this is still and issue; I'm a key worker on stuff where only some can be done from home, so I still have to be in the office regularly. Luckily our new facility is on a site that looks like the zombiepocalypse has happened, so I don't tend to see anyone at all apart from the guys on the gate and my co-workers, and there are now only two of us likely to be going in to our bit (we have to go in in pairs to avoid lone working risks, or at least speak to each other every hour or so as a H&S thing).

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2020, 07:10:28 am »
I bought an ortleib and a laptop sleeve.
The commute is muddy, crap gets through over the panniers. Not much point having a lovely brief-case-like pannier if it is covered in mud. So the Carradice wouldn't really work.

The ortleib has some internal pockets, wallet, phone, keys get dropped into those. Laptop sleeve protects laptop.
A different pannier holds bike chain, tools etc
After advice from this group previously I bought the Ortlieb system and Ortlieb brief we pannier. I have a separate inner neoprene shock sleeve for the laptop.

I really like it.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2020, 08:44:32 am »
I just realised that my current company laptop will fit into my SQR Tour inside a neoprene sleeve

I used to prefer putting my laptop in a sleeve in a Super C.  I am guessing it would have to be diagonal in a SQR Tour?
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2020, 10:39:53 am »
It's only a 15 inch laptop with a small form factor (minimal bezel, no number pad, no speakers next to the keyboard), it fits fine horizonally in the middle of the SQR Tour (where there is a bit of flex) so lunch and tools below it, extra layers above, or it'll go in slightly diagonally if the bag is otherwise empty.

I'll still want to sort out a pannier bag for it, but it means I've a little breathing space to decide what. SJS and Spa are still open for mail order, but I'm a bit torn between supporting a small business in difficult times and putting load on the post office for something that isn't actually essential.

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2020, 04:49:12 pm »
I commuted for years with a Carradice Bike Bureau (which held my laptop) on one side, and an Altura Clothing Carrier on the other. My first of the former wore out, but it was so good that I bought another. The latter is sadly no longer made, but is basically a suit carrier with pannier hooks on the back.

Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2020, 05:01:04 pm »
Decathlon stuff normally good but I don't like panniers that need a separate waterproof cover!  Extra faff when I least want it, might lose it, etc.

I can see your point
The pannier is rain proof, the extra cover helps keep the road grime off.
I like the way I can cover the hooks too and it has lots of padding.

any way I don't like spending £s on work related things for the bike

bureau looks nice
:)


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Commuting luggage options
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2020, 11:34:17 pm »
The problem with waterproof covers, apart from being a faff multiplier, is that they only work if it's raining when you first get on the bike.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...