Sunday, September 24, 2006

And another thing...

I meant to post this days ago, but since my mind is - shall we say - porous, I simply forgot.

In that Road1 class a few weeks ago, several students asked about carrying a laptop on a bicycle. Now, my experience with a laptop on a bike is fairly limited. I've carried my old Compaq and the vibration made various connectors go flakey. The Compaq has rubberized multi-conductor strips that make contact when they're compressed between two modules. Vibration makes them go intermittent. The solution is to disassemble the modules, clean the contact areas with isopropyl alcohol, and reassemble it.

But that's the only laptop I'm familiar with, so I'm asking if any of you have found a particular solution to carrying a laptop, whether it's a bag, or some other method of minimizing vibration.

7 Comments:

Blogger Doug Anderson said...

I've no luck at all carrying laptops on a commute. Worse than no luck. I've had big problems with three separate machines after commuting with them in a messenger bag. I don't carry them on the bike anymore. Not much of a solution, just hard earned advice!

2:16 PM  
Blogger steve said...

I regularly carry my laptop around with me on my bike. The trick is to get one with as few bits that come out (CD drive, battery, floppy drive, etc) as possible - every laptop but one I've had has eventually failed due to catches failing. The exception was a Toshiba that was an absolute piece of junk (I think it had 5 recalls in total for various bits that were known bad).

I put the laptop inside a plastic bag, then another, then another, and then wrap it in my clothes for the day. I then put it in my backpack and carry it around with me, and this seems to work fine - there's relatively little movement in a backpack in comparison to either messenger bags or panniers.

That said, I carried my laptop up to Truro and back (roughly a 200km ride) in a front pannier without a problem. Again, the laptop was well wrapped up in soft items. I guess bubble wrap or similar would be a good substitute.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

I've heard that Arkel makes a good pannier with a shock absorbsion system specifically for laptops.

8:12 PM  
Blogger paul said...

Crumpler make a laptop bag for cycling, like a small messenger bag with a sleeve built in, and extra-padding on the body side. I used mine daily for 18 months with no problem, including coming off the bike.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Ephany's World said...

I recently started a thread about this on my local bike community list (Shift).

There are some great suggestions for things I'd never heard of. The archives are accessible on the web: http://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/shift
and a search for "laptop backpack" will bring up the thread.

I've carried my laptops in padded Timbuk2 sleeves and then either in an Ortlieb pannier or a messenger bag and sometimes on a backpack. No problems, although my pc recently died a horrible death. Since it's never been seriously dropped, I doubt the catastrophic failure is due to bike travel. But I'll have to see when I hear back from the pc Dr. I'm looking forward to getting a Macbook though, with it's internal CD drive.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Warren T said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Warren T said...

I've been commuting with my laptop pretty much every day for 5 or 6 months. I started initially with one of my kid's old backpacks, wrapping the computer in my spare shirt, but now I've got a back pack with a sleeve for a laptop and haven't really even thought that there might be any issues carrying it back and forth. No problems at all.

6:00 PM  

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