Sunday, April 1, 2012

Decisions: Frame Bag or Panniers?

Spring is definitely here.  I am settled into a routine and it is time to start working on a bike commuting plan.  I love to ride but it can be difficult to find time to ride.  Commuting is a great way to use time to ride.  Commuting however has a number of challenges and it is probably why more people do not ride to work.

Here are the problems I face:

1.  Time:  My work hours are dismal.  I have to be to work at very early times.  This means that to make my roughly 8 mile commute and be showered and clean I would have to allow about 1 1/2 hours time.  That translates to really early.  This just means I have to go to bed earlier and I can sit and stare at the wall before I leave in the morning.

2.  Stuff:  I have a very specific problem, I can't wear flip-flops at work and my boots are big and heavy.  This is probably my biggest challenge.  I would assume that this is the biggest challenge for every one and the main reason most don't bike commute.    Here are the options for this and some of the things I have tried:

  • Back--This is the old school Sherpa style.  Carrying all of this on my back is uncomfortable and gets heavy after a long day.  I have tried numerous bags and backpacks.  Backpacks tend to ride high and make it difficult to see over my shoulder.  I like my Timbuk2 but it fills up quick with boots, towel, uniform, lunch.......
  • Trailer--I bought and used a B.O.B. trailer.  It fits on any bike which makes it nice.  This is a great trailer when it is moving, I barely noticed it was there.  This is great for long days of touring.    Stationary, it is a pain.  A serious pain.  I believe it would be easier to park a Mack truck with trailer.  Getting it alongside a bike rack is not easy and since it only has one wheel it wants to shift the weight making it difficult to load.  Surly makes some but they are two wheel and bulky.  I have not interest in owning more trailers.
Right now I am trying to decide how to set up the Ogre, it has braze on capabilities for panniers and trailers.  I am also interested in going a little more stream lined with a frame bag like Porcelain Rocket, but again volume is an issue.  In the mean time, I will continue to carry the load on my back.

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