Join Date: May 2017
Location: Westchester, NY
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Luggage conundrum for commuting
I'm trying to figure out the best way to solve my particular cargo and storage needs. It's a bit convoluted of a tale, so I apologize if I leave anything out or explain poorly. For reasons I won't bore you with (executive summary: cranky and controlling old WASPs who hate motorcycles), I have to park across the street and up the hill from the building I live in. Obviously, I have my bike under a cover. It's about a five minute walk each way and a huge hassle to walk the cover back to my place. So far, I've been coordinating with my wife to put the bike cover in our car before I commute or head out on the weekends. This has worked as a temporary solution, but there will soon come times this doesn't work, e.g. she goes shopping after work on a night when rain is expected and we have to decide whose night gets torpedoed.
Secondly, I like to carry stuff. My daily load so far has been my laptop, RAM mounts for phone and GoPro, 12V outlet and charging cables, alternative gloves, waterproof liner, spare earplugs, various keys, notebooks, pens, and various other odds and ends. Tonight on the way back, I picked up some of those cinnamon buns that come in a tube for my wife because they're delicious. I expect little trips like that to become more common. I also expect to put more emergency/roadside repair type stuff in as I learn more. I have a PackJack on the way for chain maintenance, for instance, and will probably start carrying chain lube for when I hit 400 mile multiples on the road.
So far, I've been carrying this stuff in a backpack, but it kind of sucks and makes you look like a doofus. I am looking for a replacement that will carry my laptop (12.59 x 8.64 inches) and not look like a potato sack (e.g. Kriega US20), and I think I've settled on the Nelson Rigg CL-1060ST as my first choice. I decided on a tail bag because panniers seem like overkill for a daily commute and would make moving through traffic miserable, top racks seem like they require a lot of money that I'm not ready to spend yet and usually look too dorky for the city, and I couldn't find a tank bag that seemed like it could accommodate my daily expected loads. The CL-1060ST has the right mix of accessibility, volume, and attractiveness for my needs.
My big issue, and what I wanted to ask about, is how to carry both the cover and my daily items. The laptop is the only absolute must. I can carry the RAM mounts, cables, and earplugs in my helmet and do without the other stuff on a daily basis if need be. I figure a cinch bag and a cargo net would let me carry the bike cover with me to work and either put it on the bike for maybe-rainy days or just carry it into my workplace. My concern is that it would be unstable and/or inelegant to have both a tail bag and a giant sack strapped onto the back of the bike.
During any kind of overnight trip, I wouldn't care about how any of this looks, but there should be some attractive way to deal with this on a day-to-day basis. So, in short, these are my concerns and goals:
1) Carry bike cover and laptop at a minimum, ideally having room for more stuff
2) Figure out a luggage solution that carries these items and is attractive, or at least minimally goofy, for daily commuting (weekend luggage can be goofy)
3) Minimize spend in the near term, with the understanding that I will eventually put on a top case and/or panniers for weekending
I'm not wedded to any solution at this point, I'm curious about how you guys would approach the situation given your riding experience, knowledge of what solutions are out there, and understanding of the particulars of my situation. Am I missing something simple? Am I thinking about something the wrong way? Are there other ways of doing something that could negate a problem or two here? and so on.
Thanks for your input!