Traffic in Metro Manila is horrible. Let’s just get that out of the way. That’s one reason why I started bike commuting almost a year ago. A two-hour car ride can be accomplished in less than 45 minutes if I choose to take my bicycle instead.
One of the biggest challenges that I face in bike commuting is how to transport my Dell Precision mobile workstation.
I’ve talked to friends, business colleagues, acquaintances and other people about bike commuting. Some of them ask how can they bike commute since they need to bring a laptop for work. This has always been the deal breaker for them when it came to bike commuting.
I agree with their sentiment. There have been days that it’s either I brave the traffic with my car to be able to bring my Dell mobile workstation to work or I regret that I didn’t have it with me on a particular day because I rode my bike to work.
The logical solution would be to use a backpack to transport a laptop while bike commuting. I’ve scoured different shops and department stores in search of a backpack that would meet my needs and protect my Dell Precision mobile workstation from the elements while bike commuting.
The backpacks that I have seen were either too lightweight and lacked protective padding. Backpacks meant to house camera gear and a laptop proved to be heavy and cumbersome to transport while riding a bicycle. My search for a backpack hasn’t been a cursory search. My wife has been patient and putting with my tendency to check out bags each time we visit a department store or the mall.
My patience in searching for a backpack finally paid off and I got a Lowepro RidgeLine BP 300 AW backpack.
The Lowerpo Ridgeline BP 300 AW is a 25-liter backpack (slightly bigger in capacity than the 24-liter Lowepro Ridgeline BP 250 AW).
It’s weight of 1.31 kg isn’t a big deal for me when since I treat my daily ride as a bike commute and not as a bike race.
The Lowepro Ridgeline BP 300 AW has a total of three main compartments. Each compartment is secured with a sturdy YKK zipper.
The first dedicated compartment has two separate CradleFit™ sleeves that can be used to store a 15” laptop and a 10” tablet. The sleeve for the laptop is roomy enough to fit my 15.6” Dell mobile workstation. I’m currently using the sleeve for the 10” tablet for my notebook which contains most of my personal notes about work-related stuff.
The second and middle compartment has a zippered mesh pocket inside of it. I use the zippered mesh pocket to hold my Dell mobile workstation’s AC charger and a Logitech wireless mouse. The other things that I intend to put inside this compartment is a Wacom Intuos Pro, a Datacolor Spyder and Datacolor SpyderPrint (when the need arises).
The third compartment has its own zippered pocket and has a variety of smaller open packets and elastic bands. I use the zippered pocket to house my headphones. I’m using one of the open pockets to keep my business cards in place. The elastic bands are used to hold my pens and the charging cables for my mobile devices.
The front cover of the backpack has two separate zippered compartments on either side and a top compartment to house my eyeglasses. I would like to point out that this particular compartment protects my eyeglasses in two ways. The compartment is hardened with a form shell to protect my eyeglasses. But its inside is tricot-lined to prevent my eyeglasses from getting scratched.
There is an elastic mesh pocket on the size of the backpack that is meant to hold either a water bottle or a small folding umbrella.
I don’t mind riding my bike in the rain. My attitude about bike commuting is that if I drive my car in the rain then the same should hold true about riding my bike while it rains.
The sky and clouds were dark last Friday afternoon. The Lowepro RidgeLine BP300 AW has an All-Weather AW cover with heat-sealed seams stored in a zippered compartment underneath the backpack. I used it to cover my backpack before I biked home. The rain started to pour heavily in the middle of my ride home. I had to keep on reassuring myself that my backpack’s AW cover would do its job.
It was a long fifteen minutes before I got to my destination. I was drenched and so was my bike.
I hurriedly checked out my backpack. The rain had formed as water beads on the AW cover (which I took as a good sign). The backpack’s outer shell, inner compartments and its compartments were all dry.
There is one issue that I have regarding the Lowepro Ridgeline BP 300 AW. I do know that it wasn’t specifically designed for bike commuting. It has a grey-colored padded and air-mesh back panel that provides comfort while the backpack is being transported.
I would prefer that the back padding be in black instead of grey. Why? The amount of sweat that I generate while biking shows up as huge ugly wet blot on the grey-colored padding. Black-colored padding would do a better job of hiding my sweat.
The Lowepro RidgeLine BP 300 AW has an SRP of Php4,490.00 an is available in most stores which sell camera gear.