You simply cannot depose your laptop in your backpack without proper protection or precaution. Laptops are expensive devices, and if you consider carrying one on a bike, it can be frail as well.
On bumpy roads, and with so many shock vibrations to absorb, laptops are prone to permanent damage when carried recklessly on a bike. That’s precisely why it is so important to know the right ways of how to carry a laptop on a bike.
Some bikers pedal their way to work and need to carry laptops every day, even if it’s for short distances. Some cyclists like to carry their laptops with them when they are off for a long bike touring journey. Some even backpack their laptop with the rest of the clothes and gear.
No matter what kind of laptop you have or what bike riding you are in for, you may want to keep a few factors in mind before being able to safely ride your bike with a laptop.
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- Factors to Consider before Carrying a Laptop on a Bike
- How to Carry Your Laptop on a Bike
- Carrying the Laptop on a Backpack
- Final Thoughts
Factors to Consider before Carrying a Laptop on a Bike
When you are aware of the dangers and circumstances involved in riding your bike with a laptop on it, you would be able to ensure the safety of your laptop much better.
Here are a few factors to consider before you head out with your priced and valued gadget:
Where Do You Prefer to Carry It?
You have two options when it comes to carrying your laptop while you are riding your bike. You can either carry it on your bike or you. This would depend on your comfort.
Sometimes, it is easier to not have anything on your and keep your laptop and everything else on the bike. However, your body can take a lot more shock and vibrations, saving your laptop all the shock absorption it would have subjected to otherwise.
Moisture is Your Laptop’s Enemy
Humidity, moisture, rain, or snow. You would want to keep your laptop or any other electronic device miles away from any kind of liquid. Even humidity can ruin your laptop and damage it permanently.
For that, you may want to keep your laptop inside a waterproof, padded, and laptop specialized cover to begin with. Checking on the weather before heading out, even if you are using a well-padded shell, the climate must be mostly dry when you are out.
Vibrations Can Damage Your Laptop
Other than moisture, jerks, vibrations, and too much shock absorption by the laptop body can damage the internal parts of your device.
SSD, HDD, batter, screws and bolts, all run the risk of becoming loose if you are on a bumpy road. If you are traveling far with your laptop on gravel roads, you would need to make sure anything other than your laptop absorbs the shock, even if it’s your own body.
It is worth noting that SSD or solid-state drive in a laptop is much more stable than HDD or hard disk drive. HDDs are more prone to violent vibrations and can also be more easily damaged.
What Type Riding are You Up for?
How you could carry your caption while you are out on your bike and what carrier you would use would largely depend on what kind of riding you usually are involved in.
More so, that also determines the type of bike you use and what kind of road you take. Your laptop would require more padding, as well as suspension if you take longer, rougher roads.
If you are planning to take your bike on the roads, it’s best to use bikes with suspension and more stability as well.
The Size of Your Laptop Matters
Certainly, bigger laptops are bulkier and more difficult to carry than smaller laptops. For laptops that are more than 15 inches, you would want to make sure you use the right laptop sleeve pad, covers, and bags to begin with.
You may also want to keep in mind that a laptop has chargers, sometimes sockets and other add ons that you’d need to carry as well.
How to Carry Your Laptop on a Bike
The following steps elaborate on how you can safely carry your laptop on the bike, despite all the bumps and vibrations.
Before you get started, be sure to turn off your laptop. It is vital that a laptop having HDD plates is not spinning in any way. Spinning plates on the hard drive of your laptop could be damaged if it is on during vibrating travels. You might even turn your laptop to notice that data and files are missing.
We also advise that you shut down your working laptop for a considerable time before packing it. Since laptops can heat up, you would not want to put a heated laptop into a cover or bag in any way.
As the first layer of the guard for your laptop, it is best to go for a padded laptop sleeve as a covering. When shopping for one, you may want to consider the multi-layer laptop sleeves, that have both anti slip, water resistant, and portable properties.
Since this is the first covering it should be lightweight as well. There are several laptop sleeves on the market to choose from but we have found a favorite in Arvok’s laptop sleeve. Not only does this sleeve qualify for all that we have mentioned, but you can also find the size that is best suited to your laptop.
Next, it’s time to accommodate all the accessories that come with the laptop. Hardshell laptop sleeves work just fine as well, with added protection from impact and external pressure.
Covers such as this are equipped with additional compartments so that you can pack your earphones, mouse, external keyboard, or chargers to carry.
Although this won’t be necessary for ones who think the first layer of laptop sleeve cover is enough, we recommend you add another second layer of protection for guaranteed protection against the weather and dust outside. For this, all you have to do is slide the sleeve cover with the laptop into a bag of your choice.
You can choose a dry bag, small backpack, or something as simple as a plastic zippered bag for this. However, we encourage you to get a bag like this, having sections and compartments for other accessories as well.
The size of the bag pack matters as much as the water-resistant cover of the backpack does. A smaller size is easier to carry and also adds less weight to your bike.
Inside the bag, you can add some sort of extra padding in the form of clothes, sweaters, or jackets if the backpack you are using is too large and leaves room around the laptop inside the bag.
With the first 2 or 3 layers of protection already added to your laptop, you now have to slide and pack your laptop into the final carrier before mounting it on the rear rack of your bike.
Panniers come in different styles, some convertible, few specially designed to carry laptops, tabloids, files, and folders.
Multifunctional or convertible panniers have been favorites for bikers who need to carry their laptops and other accessories, thanks to the versatility of these bags. The main feature to look for in panniers to carry a laptop is whether it is fully weather resistant.
An expert tip from commuters who regularly bag their laptops to carry them on their panniers is to take the laptop on the right side of a two-sided pannier. This is because whenever bikers park, or as their bikes fall, the left side of the bike usually takes the hit or impact.
That way you keep your multi padded laptop away from a direct hit and possible serious damages. When you lean your bike on the right side, your laptop is also less likely to be stolen as well. For that, we also prefer a convertible pannier that you can take off without trouble, and use as a backpack.
Once you have placed your laptop on one side of the pannier, most naturally the left or other side would need to be filled with something, just so that the laptop, being a heavy device does not weigh down the bike on one side.
For that, you can either fill up the other side with clothes and jackets, or other gears that you might need to carry. It is also wise if you fill-up the empty spaces inside the pannier with soft clothes just so there is the least movement when you are on the road.
What you should not pack into the same pannier as your laptop would be anything that could spill or make a mess. This includes food items, no matter how packed they are, liquid drinks, or other viscous items.
Before starting to pedal, you have to secure the pannier onto the rack carefully.
Make sure to check the pannier by testing out a short ride to see if the pannier carrying the laptop jiggles when you ride the bike. If it does, you may want to mount the pannier on the rack, place it correctly and then secure it again.
If you are on smooth terrains, you do not have to look out for bumps as much. However, when carrying an electronic device such as a laptop with you, you might want to avoid roads with rougher surfaces. Slow down and keep an eye out for bumps and you can safely carry your laptop on your bike.
Carrying the Laptop on a Backpack
Panniers are not the only option when it comes to carrying your laptop on a bike. Rest assured, if you do not add enough protective layers, bubble wraps, and multiple bags on your laptop when you haul it on the pannier, it would surely have to endure vibrations and shocks.
If you are not sure about enough layering and protection or are uptight about possible laptop theft on your stops, you may simply opt for a bag pack on your shoulders. You would still follow most of the steps we mentioned above in carrying your laptop on the pannier.
The layers of protection would still be necessary when you are taking the laptop on your back. Lightweight packable backpacks are a wonderful option when it comes to carrying laptop computers, although you can also choose to slide in your laptop in one of these.
The biggest advantage of using a backpack on your shoulders over using panniers is how your own body acts as a shock absorber. Even if there are wobbles, bumps, and vibrations, you are the one to absorb them, keeping your laptop completely safe.
You can also use a combination of pannier and backpack. In that case, use a lightweight, foldable backpack that can fit inside your pannier. This method is especially useful when you are traveling longer roads, where you might have both paved and unpaved paths on the way.
We suggest back packs with a waist strap that you can secure around your midriff. This makes sure there is no bouncing of the backpack. Moreover, we never recommend using messenger bags to carry the laptop on your bike.
How to carry a laptop on a bike is an essential and discussed topic for years. With cycling to work becoming the new commute for many, more and more people want to know of ways that would take their laptops to their destinations in one piece.
Although a lot of people do not prefer something as heavy as a laptop on their backpacks when they set out to ride a bike, taking your laptop on a backpack is a much safer method. Panniers are subjected to wobbles and bounces, but that can be solved with the right packing.
You may only use a pannier if you are sure to add enough layers of soft protection over your laptop covers. Ether you use a backpack or pannier, always remember that using water resistance, moisture stopping covers is a must.