How to haul a notebook?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Single Speed Junkie
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    How to haul a notebook?

    Well I have been commuting for a while now, but just got a notebook PC. Expectation is that I'll log on each evening so that means hauling it back and forth. Bike is only a SS with no eyelets for a rack and my commuting pack is a bit small for fitting a laptop. I checked out the seatpost racks at REI the other day and seems like that alone would drop the computer when I start sprinting.

    I'm sure that much more intelligent people here have tried this before and was curious towards your solution. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    You should really carry it in a backpack. The vibrations could break your hard drive, especially if you ever hit a large bump.
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  3. #3
    a lazy pedaler
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    I was going to suggest this:


    with one of this:


    but Dog seems to have a good point there...hopefully someone will talk about experiences using a similar combo...as a former seatpost rack user I can say they are not that stiff...but I never carried my laptop with it.

  4. #4
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    I carry my Dell E6400 in a backpack. It's actually a Verge branded notebook backpack, which I picked up at Circuit City as they were liquidating. I would look at REI as I know they have a bunch of packs specifically for carrying notebooks and might have just what you need.

    I wouldn't want to carry a laptop with spindle drives in a pannier for the reasons dobrain highlighted.
    :wq

  5. #5
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    No matter how you haul it, I would make the assumption that it will one day get dropped or take a hard hit. To take a drop and survive it will need to be in a hard case with a dense foam interior.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...t_Laptop_Hard.
    "What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."

  6. #6
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    I personally think a backpack ranks pretty high on the cost/benefit analysis. It's always a good idea to have important files backed up, but honestly I've only fallen one time while commuting in the last 4 years. I was going fast down a hill into a turn and hit some gravel. I probably wouldn't have been riding that way with a heavy backpack. Furthermore, you can simply raise your butt off the saddle if you need to hit a pot-hole, stick, curb, etc, all of which could bounce the head into the platter and ruin a hard disc drive instantly.

    Your other option is a solid state drive. This year several affordable SSD's came out with amazing performance.
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  7. #7
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    Anyone have max G-force fgures on laptop HD's? Height of fall, that sort of thing? The first desktop HD's were very susceptible and the heads had to be parked for transit anywhere, even desk to desk. A klutz hitting the corner of your desk could be disastrous.

    But laptops are subjected to more abuse. Backup at home and at work before leaving is a lot easier and cheaper than it once was. Accidents happen. I have a roller case with soft outside, hard liner and 2 layers of cocooning foam. I am overdue for a new laptop, so the SS hard drives and quasi-milspec ones might make sense.

  8. #8
    Single Speed Junkie
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    Good point for using a backpack.

    As our work place encourages alternative means of transportation I inquired about commuting with a laptop. The response was shocking as they informed me they really don't care if it fails for what ever reason as it is a lease. Nice attitude. Still I'd like to try doing the right think commuting safely.

  9. #9
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    I would really recommend panniers and a rack.

    Too much weight on your back is uncomfortable and quite sketchy in a crash. Eg the weight will through you around and make you more prone to injury. Also, the laptop is higher up so has higher to fall. A pannier with padding is better choice IMHO.

    Can mount a rack with clamps like
    http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Mercha...tegory_Code=MH

  10. #10
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    I carry mine in a pannier on a rear rack. I have seen racks that mount with an extended quick release on the bottom and other various clamping methods up top, don't think I would trust a rack that only mounts to the seat post either.

    You can help protect the laptop by wrapping it up in your change of clothes. So far I have about 1200 commuting miles since I started last summer and no problems yet.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by maelgwn
    I would really recommend panniers and a rack.

    Too much weight on your back is uncomfortable and quite sketchy in a crash. Eg the weight will through you around and make you more prone to injury. Also, the laptop is higher up so has higher to fall. A pannier with padding is better choice IMHO.
    I am in the exact opposite camp on this one. Maybe it is because I am accustomed to mountain biking w/ my camel pack loaded w/ tools, tubes, food, and 100 oz of water. I tried panniers for 6 months - and while I did appreciate the feeling of not having anything on my back - shifting the weight to my bike where I am not accustomed to it being really affected my ability to maneuver - and hopping curbs or other obstacles when the back of your bike is weighed down with the panniers is much more difficult. Basically I feel that I am much better positioned to avoid an accident while wearing a pack. I am also not sure I buy into the idea that the 10-15 pound pack strapped to my 230 pound body is going to throw me around and cause more injury - if anything I view it as extra padding.

    Having read many of the discussions regarding packs/panniers/messenger bags, I have come to the conclusion that the only right solution is the one that works for you. The concerns about shock for the hard drive would certainly keep me from mounting it directly to the frame but in panniers with a little padding I am skeptical that you would have any issues.

    Oh, and for what it is worth, when I do haul my laptop to/from work on bike it goes into my backpack.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    I am overdue for a new laptop.
    We have some Tablets (HP?) at work we can sign out...they are designed for fieldwork so they are tougher & more compact, I have fit one in my small Osprey camel-type pack.

    I also bought a Lenovo that had a fall-sensing feature that somehow protected the important parts in a fall. It was activated once (it tells you) and it was fine.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by crux
    Well I have been commuting for a while now, but just got a notebook PC. Expectation is that I'll log on each evening so that means hauling it back and forth. Bike is only a SS with no eyelets for a rack and my commuting pack is a bit small for fitting a laptop. I checked out the seatpost racks at REI the other day and seems like that alone would drop the computer when I start sprinting.

    I'm sure that much more intelligent people here have tried this before and was curious towards your solution. Thanks in advance.
    As a software developer, I have tried everything, but transporting a laptop is just a pain. I have quite transporting laptops, and I either transport files on a USB device, or I use Remote Desktop to access my work PC from home.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    As a software developer, I have tried everything, but transporting a laptop is just a pain. I have quite transporting laptops, and I either transport files on a USB device, or I use Remote Desktop to access my work PC from home.
    Now here's somebody who really makes sense!
    GIven the proliferation of USB storage devices and internet connections, this seems like the only way to go.

  15. #15
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    if you have too much stuff to carry in a backpack, i would recommend keeping the laptop in your backpack and carrying books/papers on a rack.. The vibrations from the bike could do a lot of harm to the hard drive as others have previously stated. If you keep the laptop in a backpack, your body will act as an additional shock absorber.

  16. #16
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    Laptop... here are the two things I do:

    1. Buy an SSD and ditch the mechanical hard drive.
    2. Backpack.

  17. #17
    jfk
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    just use panniers

    I guess I have the luxury of working for a company that has auto backups and will replace the laptop. That being said, my last laptop was transported by bike for two years, probably 1,500 miles in panniers and never had an issue.

    SSD would rock, if its an option.

    Most fall protection in laptops just stop the hard drive from spinning and lock the heads. Unless you are riding with the computer on then this isn't an issue. Honestly I would more worried about damage to the screen or housing then the hard drive. I used use a sleeve around it, but I don't even bother with that anymore.

    Having said all that and assuming you ride a mountain bike, don't hop off of curbs with the thing in there.

  18. #18
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    I've carried one in my backpack with a laptop sleeve thingy for some extra padding. I wouldn't even consider strapping it to the bike... I've had bumps in the road turn off my blinky light... waaaaaay more sealed from the vibrations in a pack. But I have also gone over the bars and landed on my helmet/shoulder/backpack on the way to work.... that would have killed a laptop...although the bike did a couple of cartwheels also, which would probably have ejected a laptop from a pannier. I'd take my chances with the backpack any day.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  19. #19
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    Another one for backpack. I use a messenger back with a laptop sleeve. Although here in AZ in the summer anything on your back is makes you wish for another way to get it off your back. At one point in time I was thinking of getting a pannier but after a spill I took due to a street cleaner leaving a glob of soap at my turn I went down hard but between my body and my change of cloths in my messenger bag the laptop was fine. After that I figured I was good with the way things are.

  20. #20
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    I carry my Macbook in a foam sleeve inside of a backpack. I back it up to two different locations with Crashplan (http://b2.crashplan.com/landing/index.html). If the hard drive dies, so be it. It's not a matter of whether or not your hard drive will fail. It's just a matter of when. Back it up properly and you'll have one fewer source of anxiety.

  21. #21
    One Colorful Rider
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    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4628356534/" title="Electra Townie Holiday 3i Apple Green by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4063/4628356534_c59ea384df_b.jpg" width="1024" height="881" alt="Electra Townie Holiday 3i Apple Green" /></a>

  22. #22
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    No HD damage with panniers in my experience

    I second the suggestions of Martinsillo and jfk above. I've been hauling my Dell almost daily for over 2 years, 10 miles each day, in panniers, and have never had a problem (hard drive or otherwise). No extra padding, and riding skinny tires at high pressure. I much prefer having the load off my back so i can stay cooler and move better. BTW, I use a seatpost rack as well. My dell is NOT light and the seatpost rack handles it (and my lunch, and change of clothes, and big a$$ biochemistry textbook, and ...) just fine. I think the days of dodgy laoptop hard drives may be well behind us, but I could just be lucky too...

  23. #23
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    Either use a solid-state drive or remote access. I am pretty certain I wasted my hard-drive running the laptop in panniers. Lost several months of files etc.. At least now at work everyone has their data automatically backed up.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Self Motivated
    Either use a solid-state drive or remote access. I am pretty certain I wasted my hard-drive running the laptop in panniers. Lost several months of files etc.. At least now at work everyone has their data automatically backed up.
    I don't think a solid state hd is necessary for peace of mind. If you use a service like Crashplan to back up your hard drive automatically, there's no reason to lose more than a few hours of data in a hd crash. Also, I've been commuting by bike with the same Macbook in the same backpack for the past 4 years. No HD failure. If my hd fails today, it will cost me less to replace the current hd than it would to install a new solid state drive.

  25. #25
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    If you need to travel with a case for your laptop, look at the pelican case product line, they have slim fits now, which are air and water tight, and plenty of foam to handle impacts in the event of a "OH ()&^$)* ".

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pegasusphm1
    If you need to travel with a case for your laptop, look at the pelican case product line, they have slim fits now, which are air and water tight, and plenty of foam to handle impacts in the event of a "OH ()&^$)* ".
    We use Pelican cases for all our field laptops at work. I could not imagine carrying one of those on a bike - it's like carrying a brick with a handle.

    I think 29Clyde makes a good point; some rather weight off their back others on. I could never use panniers and/or rack on my bike. Maybe that's the mtber in me also, I always rather weight on me and not on my bike. So opinions are going to vary in this thread depending on what most prefer. On that note, I would suggest some type of comfortable backpack that has adequate padding to protect a laptop.

    Some people don’t like messenger bags – I have used several different brands and have carried laptops in mine (some models are made specifically for this purpose) so this is the only type of storage bag I will carry. Not all messenger bags are created equally either; I say this because my laptop is a Vaio with a 17.3” screen and weighs over 8lbs.

  27. #27
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    I have all sorts of panniers, but carry my laptop in a foam sleeve inside a Chrome Mini-Metro messenger bag. Lots of rough pavement around here, so the extra cushioning is a bit better for the components than simply jouncing around with the bike frame.
    Ride a mountain bike... you will not regret it if you live.
    (with apologies to Mark Twain & The Taming of the Bicycle)

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by PscyclePath
    I have all sorts of panniers, but carry my laptop in a foam sleeve inside a Chrome Mini-Metro messenger bag. Lots of rough pavement around here, so the extra cushioning is a bit better for the components than simply jouncing around with the bike frame.
    +1 I use a foam zipper locking sleeve (forget the namebrand I got it at Bestbuy) inside my Chrome large Metropolis bag. When I first learned of Chrome I thought they were some trendy hipster company with overpriced bags. Over the style & look completely, the fit and comfort of these bags is high above any other previous bag I've had and used (Timbuk2 and no-name brands).

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