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Situation

I don't own a bike: however due to a recent change of office location, I have worked out that I could cycle in half the time as driving through rush-hour traffic every day. I'm therefore interested in the idea of purchasing a bike

Issue

I carry a smart laptop-size briefcase to work, which is just fine while driving - however I need to figure out how I would take it on a bike, if I choose to buy one. The briefcase is approximately 45cm long, 30cm high and 12cm deep. It looks similar to this one: Soft briefcase

What I've thought of

I'm aware that luggage is normally taken on bikes by means of panniers. However it seems to me that directly attaching such a bag to a pannier rack by use of "spiders" (bungee cords) would be fairly unstable. The problem is that the pannier racks I have seen are usually pretty narrow (only just wider than the rear wheel); and therefore there isn't much of a stable "base" on which to place such a bag. The bag would have to lie flat - but also due to the limited length of a pannier rack, it wouldn't support the length of the bag - meaning that the bag would have to sit length-to-width. I.e the length of the bag would sit from left to right across the top of the rear wheel, only supported by a relatively narrow pannier rack in the middle. I can imagine that this would be fairly unstable.

From what I see, pannier racks are intended for especially-designed bags to be able to clip onto their sides - hanging down beside the wheel. However what does one do when one has an existing bag like the one above, which would not fit into one of those soft-sided pannier bags?

Does there exist some kind of pannier clip, or cage, which could attach to or contain my bag, to enable it to clip properly onto the side of a pannier rack?

Does any other solution exist which I have not considered?

It may be pertinent to note that my eye is on a folding bike - as I only have a small space in my shed, and nowhere to store a full-size, non-folding bike. Therefore any solution involving somehow mounting a cage within the frame under the crossbar would be impractical.

Any suggestions or advice appreciated

  • @Willeke - Thanks. I just searched, but unfortunately the results are more geared towards people wanting to carry laptops within pannier bags - as opposed to what I want, which is how to carry my existing bag securely. Moreover, I tried several of the links from the top questions (matching "laptop"), and many of them go to "404 page not found" errors. – Chris Melville May 27 '18 at 15:59
  • There are several 'saddle' bags which are used for Bromptoms among other brands, which are big enough to contain your bag and more. I have seen one that was made out of traditional canvas, but I can not find the post anymore. – Willeke May 27 '18 at 16:52
  • I've just been searching for such saddle bags. Unfortunately when you search for "saddle bag" and either "briefcase" or "laptop bag", the results are invariably briefcases or laptop bags themselves - as opposed to "container" mounts, which are large enough to carry a whole other bag inside. – Chris Melville May 27 '18 at 17:42
  • I just searched (google images) on -brompton seat bag- and got some promising results. – Willeke May 27 '18 at 17:59
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    Is there any reason you have to transport that particular bag? I keep a nice bag in my office, which I take to meetings (appears and such) and transport my laptop/papers in a laptop specific waterproof pannier. Putting a bag in a “carrier” bag, will add wear to your bag. – Rider_X May 28 '18 at 1:23
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Depending on the thickness of your briefcase it may be a solution to hang it under the frame in the main triangle (if it fits there) but since you are thinking about a folding bike it is not a solution.

I've seen something else couple of times - a special carrier for briefcases:
enter image description here enter image description here

I'm not sure how a folding bike would accommodate such a carrier as it attaches to the seat-stay and the back of the normal rear rack.


Another idea would be to put the front baggage rack and tie the bag there. Not only is this more stable (the bag is "in your hands") but you also have the bag (probably containing important documents) always in sight.

This is what I mean: enter image description here
But again - folding bike limits your possibilities.

  • The “carrier for briefcases” - what’s it called? All my searches (including image searches) for bike carriers/racks/panniers for briefcases didn’t show me anything like this; and browsing the bike accessories in online shops also showed nothing like this. – Chris Melville May 28 '18 at 8:48
  • @ChrisMelville - the one that attaches to the rear of the bicycle is "Steco Attaché Mee" model called "Attaché koffer drager" in Dutch. I haven't found it in English, unfortunately. What is your location? Perhaps I can help you? PM me then. – Mike May 28 '18 at 8:55
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    Wow, thanks. Yes, the "Stecco Attaché Mee" produces English results - and there's even a listing on Amazon at amazon.co.uk/Steco-Attache-Mee-Briefcase-Holder/dp/B004TQTSRM Thank you so much. That looks like exactly the kind of thing for the job. I should have known that you Dutch would have a solution, with your love of bikes :) – Chris Melville May 28 '18 at 13:54
  • I'm glad I could help. – Mike May 28 '18 at 14:13
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You want a way to carry your briefcase on your bicycle.

I do not think there is any way to attach your briefcase directly to a bike rack. And in my experience using bungee cords to strap a backpack to the top of a bike rack, the backpack kept on slipping loose. It was generally a pain in the butt.

However, Banjo Brothers make a folding grocery pannier which allows you to carry bags of groceries on your bike. This would probably be your best bet. Banjo Bros make very high quality gear, and this pannier can fold when you are not using it. It's also only $40 (relatively cheap as far as panniers go).

The only problem is that it is not long enough to fit your briefcase. But based on the dimensions (from their website) on the picture below, if you put your briefcase on its side, it should fit snugly, with only ~16cm sticking out the top. And because the pannier is intended to carry (heavy) bags of groceries, you don't have to worry about your briefcase sagging.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Thanks Sam. Interesting idea, to stick the case vertically and have it protruding out of the top - although it may wiggle around a bit. The question has already been answered with a made-for-briefcase holder, however this still may be useful for others looking for transportation solutions, so +1. – Chris Melville May 30 '18 at 16:44
  • Yup, it is certainly a question that I'm sure many people have. – Sam May 30 '18 at 17:42
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I do not write from experience, but I have seen pictures of a Danish rear rack with a hook for suspending a briefcase. Seems like it might work well for shortish distances, although I wonder how a large a bag can be used before striking it with the heel becomes a problem.

Here is an example commerically available:

https://velorbis.com/product/all-products/rear-carrier-for-classic-gents-bicycles/

Such a rack might not fit on a folding bike.

  • Thanks. This is useful, however not as secure as the "Attaché Mee" product in another answer. Still, +1 for the suggestion. – Chris Melville May 28 '18 at 13:56
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Rather than trying to balance the bag on top of a rear carrier, you'd want to attach it to the side. However, I'd recommend against this. You have a nice bag and it will get scuffed up from rubbing against the carrier and also will get dirty from general road muck being thrown at it, especially after rain.

Instead, I recommend leaving your nice bag in the office and using either standard panniers or a rucksack to take your stuff into work. Unless you put your bag inside some other bag, it will, frankly, be wrecked by cycling with it.

  • Does not answer the question. The question wasn’t “How do I take my stuff into the office’. It was about how to take the BAG on a bike. I don’t have a lockable facility in the office to store my bag. Besides, what’s the point of transferring stuff between bags? It’s a nice bag and I want to use it. Don’t you think that if I was satisfied not to transport the bag every day, I wouldn’t’ve bothered asking this question? The whole point of the question was how to take this bag on a bike. This has been answered well by Mike, with the “Attaché Mee”. – Chris Melville May 30 '18 at 23:28
  • @ChrisMelville Sorry, but I did answer your question, just not in the way you wanted to hear. I gave you two answers (attach it to the side of your carrier or put it in another bag) and a recommendation (don't do it, or you'll wreck your nice bag). Sometimes, "Don't do it" is the most appropriate answer and, if you're going to ask for advice on the internet, you'd better get used to the idea that people will have views differing from your own. – David Richerby May 31 '18 at 11:28
  • @ChrisMelville I am not sure that 'attaché mee' is the best option, even though the OP has accepted it. When he has seen it in real life and considered it for his folding bike, he might want to see answers which have real other options. – Willeke May 31 '18 at 17:14
  • @Willeke Chris is the OP. :-) – David Richerby May 31 '18 at 17:19
  • My point still stand. And the answers here are also for others to find and read. – Willeke May 31 '18 at 17:21
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Tie the carry handles of the laptop bag to the saddle rails (the small bars under the saddle by which it attaches to the seat post) with an old inner tube, bungee cord, carabiner etc. The bag itself rests on the rear rack.

This would still allow the handles to twist and the bag to move to hang beside the saddle.

One solution is to make small holes in the bottom corners of the laptop bag and tie the bottom corners to the sides of the rack further back than the resting place of the bag. These ties would have to be fairly non-stretchy. This would prevent too much side-to-side movement, keeping the bag on the rack.

Another solution is to use the shoulder strap or its attachment hooks to prevent side-to-side movement. In this case, when viewed from the rear, the left hook of the bag should be tied to the right side of the rack and vice versa (in an X shape). The left-top-to-right-bottom tie prevents the bag from moving left on the rack when viewed from the rear. Symmetrically for the right-top-to-left-bottom.

0

A bicycle trunk will probably fit your bag:

enter image description here

I have used one in combination with panniers:

enter image description here

It was rugged and stable enough to handle 15kg of luggage on mountain dirt roads with rocks, mud, sand and sharp turns.

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