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Thread: Laptop - getting damaged in front basket?

  1. #1
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    Default Laptop - getting damaged in front basket?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here, so apologies if a question like this has already been answered (used the search, but didn't see much).

    I'm commuting with my laptop frequently. I keep it in my timbuk2 messenger bag's laptop pocket (padded), and I bungie the bag into my front basket. I thought this would be a good way to go without committing to a whole new setup of panniers/rear rack, but now I don't know.

    This week, my laptop has stopped charging its battery altogether. My charger is fine, my drivers are up-to-date, and after googling, it looks likely that some connection has broke on the battery charging circuit board in the laptop. (A known issue on Dell laptops)

    So - my questions are this:
    1. Do you think I did this on my bumpy commutes through DC streets?
    2. If so, is there a better way to carry my laptop around? I'll probably need to be changing up my setup a bit anyway for rainy days.
    3. Or, should I just switch to a more robust piece of tech? (Could work on setting up a cheaper tablet to get my work done, which might commute better, if be a bit more annoying to work from)

    Thanks!
    -SideshowAl

  2. #2
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    First thing I'd do at this point is open up the laptop chassis and see if it's not just a ribbon connector that's pulled out, either from the battery or from the screen. Happens to my wife's macbook air everything once in awhile. Fairly simple operation, just need a microscrewer driver set and a way to keep track of the 10,000 little screws.

    Moving towards a more robust piece of tech would be a good way to go, although I suspect rack and panniers would be cheaper. Regardless of where on the bike, it'll get jostled, but in the rear would bounce around less since that's where the majority of your body weight would be situated. Could also look at a backpack.

  3. #3
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    I carry the laptop in a Banjo Brothers waterproof backpack. Carefully situated there among all the clothes, it's cushioned enough unless I get run over.

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  5. #4
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    The old backpack/pannier war. I'm team backpack.

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    The old backpack/pannier war. I'm team backpack.
    I wouldn't call it a war. Just different ways of doing things, and if we talk about it long enough, being cyclists, there'll be a ... skirmish.

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  9. #6
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    Another vote for a backpack. On the rare occasion I need to bring my laptop to work, I use a messenger bag. I have found no better shock absorber than my body for electronics.

    If you really want to stick with the basket, you probably want to try a layer of thicker foam in your basket under the bag and/or around the laptop for added shock absorption. The sleeves in the bags are designed assuming that it is on your back so they are minimally padded. Also make sure that it is strapped securely as loose bungies will lead to more vibrations making it to the laptop and likely more severe impacts in the case of pothole strikes, etc.

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  11. #7
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    Yes for backpack. I carried my laptop every day for a decade in an Osprey backpack and never had a problem. Granted, it was a work laptop and I would have just been annoyed if a problem did occur.

    When it was raining a lot, I'd put the rain cover on the backpack and put the laptop in a trash bag. Never got wet.

  12. #8
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    lordofthemark is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    I am currently on team backpack - because I still haven't put a rack on the Giant Contend, and I haven't commuted with the Cannondale since the pandemic began (and I never used to carry my laptop home in that golden era) I find carrying it in my backpack kind of unpleasant, and want to try the pannier. OTOH I really think I need to either get a second govt laptop (agency says no, so far) or get back to connecting from my home computer (I need to recheck with IT I guess)

  13. #9
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    I bought panniers and was going to try them, but the rack is only on one bike, and I only use that bike when it snows. Can't (won't) put a rack and panniers on my road bike, which is what I normally commute with.

  14. #10
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    If the choice is between front basket and a pannier on the rear rack, and the object is to reduce vibration and peak shock, I would totally stay front basket.

    <- currently on team messenger bag because I hate the handling changes with panniers.

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