Commuting with gear- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Commuting with gear

    Hi, I would like to start commuting to work on a unpaved rail trail. It is 50 miles round trip and I have to carry about 40 lbs of gear for my job. The questions I have are: Should I use panniers, backpack, bob trailer? I have a kid trailer. Could I use that? Are the panniers easy to put on and remove? I will still be using the same bike for singletrack a few times a week so I don't want to spend a lot of time on bike set up. Maybe I need another bike? I just bought another bike 3 months ago so I don't know that my wife would like that plan.

  2. #2
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    For that distance having that much weight in a backpack would be quite unpleasant. A bolt on rack and panniers would probably work the best for the hauling and maintaining the bike handling. Getting the right set of panniers will allow you to remove it. A trailer will give you the best ability to disconnect without inhibiting your mountain biking.

  3. #3
    PM Me for Wood Fenders
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    Figure out first what you can leave at work.

    Then I'd opt for the panniers.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  4. #4
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    You sound like the ideal candidate for an Xtracycle Freeradical. It makes the bike a little... ummm... different on singletrack, but it can be done. The better solution is to get a nice rigid hybrid - probably 500 or 600 bucks - and add the freeradical to that and use it for commuting. If you comute by bike faithfully it will pay itself off in a year or so in savings on gas. (~1000 bucks = ~ 20 tankfulls where I live and that is about 40 weeks of driving to and from work).

    A simpler alternative is a good frame mounted rack and large panniers. Consider some smaller front panniers, if possible, to spread the load out a bit.

    Sounds like a pretty cool commute! Good luck!
    "Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy" - Josh Billings

  5. #5
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    In your case I would use a trailer. I have a 42 mile round trip commute and carry about 20# of gear in panniers on a rack, that makes a noticeable difference in bike stability and handling. I would think double that weight would be too much. Plus you mention wanting to use the bike on single track MTB rides, with a trailer it's just unhitch and you are good to go. It would put less strain on your bike as well. I had to have a custom rear wheel laced up to handle the loads I was putting on my bike. But.. do you have room to store a trailer when not in use?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the help. I'm leaning towards purchasing a BoB trailer and a couple of Dinotte lights. Not quite sure though, a lot of $. Please keep the advice coming.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekJeff
    Figure out first what you can leave at work.

    Then I'd opt for the panniers.

    Thanks for the advice Jeff. I would love to leave my gear at work but I failed to mention that I work at a number of different locations.

  8. #8
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    If you`re going to use the same bike for wekend ST, trailer by all means. You might want to try your kid hauler before shelling out for a BOB. I`ve never used one, but I`ve seen people loading them up with groceries in the supermarket parkinglot. Just guessing, I would think they probably do fine if you have little wind to contend with and drag you all over the place on a windy day.

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=TobyNobody]You sound like the ideal candidate for an Xtracycle Freeradical. It makes the bike a little... ummm... different on singletrack, but it can be done. The better solution is to get a nice rigid hybrid - probably 500 or 600 bucks - and add the freeradical to that and use it for commuting. If you comute by bike faithfully it will pay itself off in a year or so in savings on gas. (~1000 bucks = ~ 20 tankfulls where I live and that is about 40 weeks of driving to and from work).

    A simpler alternative is a good frame mounted rack and large panniers. Consider some smaller front panniers, if possible, to spread the load out a bit.

    Sounds like a pretty cool commute! Good luck![




    Love the Xtracycle but don't have the cash at the moment. On a side note check out the Riding the Spine Blog. 3 kids riding Xtracycles from Alaska to Patagonia. http://www.ridingthespine.com/Journey/2006/09/

  10. #10
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    FH, you can also then split your weight with the front/rear panniers if that's the case. It took me a bit of adjusting once I had everything mounted, but once it's adjusted right, you'll be riding second nature. If you do opt for the front rack, it sometimes takes some adjusting. I had a vibration and it took some shimming/rubber washers to smooth out the ride. Good luck and welcome to the world of commuting via human power.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  11. #11
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    You say 40lbs, but what is this gear? That's a lot of weight for most cube-dwellers.

    Panniers on a solid rack is probably the best bet.

    Trailers are nice, but expensive. And will you have someplace to park bike+trailer? Might be overkill.

  12. #12
    Double-metric mtb man
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    Actually CM, 40 lbs isn't that far fetched.

    I'm a professional (with real walls, though) and by the time I get all my office stuff together (full change of clothes, jacket, shoes), my normal riding stuff (trailside repair kit, small first aid kit) and what I need "just in case" (rain gear, lights for riding after dark) it doesn't take long to get close to 40lbs together.

    During the winter, I backpack it as I use my FS mtb to commute. In the summer, I have a SS with paniers and a rack bag (and the considerably less stuffed backpack if needed).

    If you've got the room and cash, a trailer is nice (I built my own for other things, but it is too bulky for commuting). Otherwise, I'd recommend panniers and/or a backpack.

    Just remember to weight the pack right if you go that way...heavy stuff low and close to your back, lighter stuff on top and further out.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  13. #13
    Which way? Uphill.
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    I would go for the trailer. Nashbar makes a trailer that is on sale for $150 right now, and a 10% off coupon (WLC923) should make it even better.

    I've got no experience with it compared to the BOB trailer though, I've got no trailer experience at all actually. At least it's considerably cheaper than a BOB trailer.

    Nashbar also has a free shipping coupon going on right now, but I doubt that they would do free shipping for this.
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  14. #14
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crack Monkey
    You say 40lbs, but what is this gear? That's a lot of weight for most cube-dwellers.

    Panniers on a solid rack is probably the best bet.

    Trailers are nice, but expensive. And will you have someplace to park bike+trailer? Might be overkill.

    oh, but we're not all cube dwellers...

    i'm a laborer. 16.5 hilly miles each way. i have a locker though, so i only have to carry lunch.

    fat & hairy, if you go the rack/pannier route, make sure you get front and rear. 40lbs is alot ot have on one wheel. if you can afford the trailer, it definitely sounds like a good way to go.

  15. #15
    No Justice = No Peace
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    Used BOB trailer is the way

    I got my BOB trailer used for super cheap, andf I see em on Craigslist all the time. Yupies buy them for a summer trip and never use them, then sell em off when the third child is born.

    You can ride with up to 70 pounds on a BOB. I use mine for shopping and such, and I'm planning to take some trips with it. You can drop it on and off easily, so you don't need to mess with your bike when you want to ride it without the trailer, but it really doens't suck to ride with the trailer either. even on Singletrack, it's fine except for whatever weight penalty you have on it. Your bike still handles fine.

    I have the BOB axle permanently on my turner, and I'm in the process of building up a Karate Monkey specifically for pulling the BOB. I plan on riding all summer and using the car as little as possible.

    PS, I'm a carpenter, so I DO move a lot of stuff around.
    "Welcome to my underground lair...."

  16. #16
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    I also would go for the trailer. Not that I have one but I do panniers during the summer and backback during the winter and for that amount of weight I'd be able to justify a trailer. ( my wife wouldn't agree but there ya go).

    By trailer I mean BOB by the way.....
    Cheers, Dave

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