[lug] Commuting by bike with a laptop

Chris Riddoch riddochc at gmail.com
Thu Jan 14 19:50:56 MST 2010

Okay, I need to chime in on this one...

On Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 9:13 AM, Rob Nagler <nagler at bivio.biz> wrote:
> According to sites I've seen, under 1K people are killed cycling every
> year in the US, and over 40K are killed driving in cars.

To make those numbers meaningful, they need to be put next to figures
of how many people commute by driving vs. cycling.  Then, we could
make a comparison of the relative risks.  If the total number of
bicycle commuters is less than 1/40 the total number of car commuters
(and I suspect it's well under that) those figures would indicate
cycling is *more* risky, not less.

The proper solution to this depends has two parts - getting people to
drive their cars less, and to bike more.  But it's a chicken-egg
problem: the risks of cycling won't decrease until fewer people are
driving, so it requires individuals taking an increase in their
personal risk to make this change.

I have to admit, I don't ride my bike as much in the winter.  I don't
trust car drivers' abilities to control their vehicles properly in
snow and ice, but the main reason is that I'm a bit of a wimp when it
comes to dealing with wind chill.

That said, my suggestion for lugging laptops on a bicycle is this:

>From personal experience, I can tell you that wearing a backpack with
any useful amount of equipment while bicycling has its downsides:
I've been in two accidents that would have been prevented had I not
been so easily unbalanced by the weight on my back.

This led me to get a decent rack and saddlebags for my bike.  It moves
the weight off my back, and makes the overall center of gravity lower,
which increases stability.  Much safer.  Others have commented that
your body reduces the shocks transmitted to the laptop, if it's in a
backpack or otherwise on yourself rather than your bike's frame.
Appropriate cushioning solves that problem, though it can be bulky.
The winners of egg-drop contests usually aren't the smallest
competitors by volume, after all.

Chris Riddoch

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