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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Macbook Air in a Bicycle Bag?


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mdilthey

 
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I'm going on a bike tour and want to use my Macbook Air for work.

Can I get a good case (suggestions welcome) and keep it in my bike bag for 6-8 hours a day on all types of roads, or should I use a backpack to reduce vibration? I know that the Flash hard drive resists damage over time from movement better than a traditional hard drive, but what about the rest of the components? The fan?

I would rather use a bike bag and free up my back, but I will sacrifice comfort to bring the computer with me.

Thanks,
Max
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pigoo3

 
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Get a hard shell case.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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mdilthey

 
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Thanks, any info on how vibration or bouncing affects the computer? If needed, I can insulate it a bit from movement but there will always be some unless it's on my back.
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Mild bouncing and motion from bicycling shouldn't do any harm to the MBA. The solid state flash drive has no moving parts and the fan is free wheeling anyway when the machine is not turned on. Do as Nick advises and place it in a hard shell case and you should be OK. About the only danger is it falling out of your bike bag while you're on the road. Just make sure it doesn't fall out or get dropped.
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I'm thinking on your back would be best. Not sure (long term)...how all that vibration from a bike mounted bag would be with an Apple laptop (somethings gotta rattle loose). Especially on rough roads, pot holes, bumping into curbs, etc.

A "Toughbook" would be better for this. Apple doesn't make a "Toughbook".

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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mdilthey

 
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Here's my current plan:

This case: Amazon.com: Hard Candy Case for Apple MacBook Air 11-inch and Thin Ultrabooks Bubble Sleeve, Black: Computers & Accessories

Inside this bike bag: Amazon.com: Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Bag - Pair Black, One Size: Sports & Outdoors

Good enough?
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mdilthey

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
I'm thinking on your back would be best. Not sure (long term)...how all that vibration from a bike mounted bag would be with an Apple laptop. I'm guessing not very good.

A "Toughbook" would be better for this. Apple doesn't make a "Toughbook".

- Nick
Yeah, this is what I'm worried about. If it was a 5 mile work commute, I wouldn't be worried, but we're talking about potentially thousands of miles of constant road-bumps. Would love to hear the opinions of a few more.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Yeah, this is what I'm worried about. If it was a 5 mile work commute, I wouldn't be worried, but we're talking about potentially thousands of miles of constant road-bumps. Would love to hear the opinions of a few more.
I'm thinking the occasional occurance may not be bad...but a 2-way daily commute might be a real torture test. But I could be wrong. If you place it in a really well cushioned bag lined with a soft foam (might have to be homemade)...this may provide the necessary vibration protection.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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mdilthey

 
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My Ortliebs are not huge. And I need to carry enough stuff to camp for two months in temperatures potentially below freezing.

I have room for the Macbook Air and a foam sleeve like this one: Amazon.com: Hard Candy Case for Apple MacBook Air 11-inch and Thin Ultrabooks Bubble Sleeve, Black: Computers & Accessories

Anything more than that, and I have to carry it on my back, because I won't have enough room for my gear.

I think it's looking like a backpack deal.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
My Ortliebs are not huge. And I need to carry enough stuff to camp for two months in temperatures potentially below freezing.
You need to be careful when exposing a laptop computer to below freezing temps. Here are Apple's official storage/operating temps recommendations:

Operating temperature: 50 to 95 F (10 to 35 C)
Storage temperature: -13 to 113 F (-25 to 45 C)

Notice the gap between the lowest storage temp (-13F) and the lowest operating temp (50F). Basically what this is saying is...if the computer is exposed to temps below 50F for an extended period of time (long enough that the overall temp of the computer gets below 50F). Then you need to warm up the computer to at least 50F before turning it on.

In reality...you may not always need to do this. But this is what Apple recommends.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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mdilthey

 
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Thanks for that info! I will take that into account and warm up the computer against my body before powering on if it does get cold. I won't be out below -13. I am used to caring for my phone and camera in freezing temps, I will treat the computer the same way.
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Just wanted to be sure you knew.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Unless I'm missing something, I'm not seeing a problem here provided the OP turns OFF the computer before putting it in the bag (as opposed to just sleeping it). There's nothing that should move and the computer is off, a little padding to lessen the shock is about all I'd suggest.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Unless I'm missing something, I'm not seeing a problem here provided the OP turns OFF the computer before putting it in the bag (as opposed to just sleeping it). There's nothing that should move and the computer is off, a little padding to lessen the shock is about all I'd suggest.
I'm not trying to be a wise guy here...so please don't think of what I'm going to say in that way.

But when was the last time you rode a bicycle? I only ask this because I know that probably 95% of adults probably haven't ridden a bicycle in the last 5-10 years. And even if someone does ride a bicycle regularly...they may not be very familiar with how bumpy a ride it can be...especially when items are carried in a bicycle basket or bicycle bag (panniers).

Occasionally I'll ride my mountain bike to the grocery store. I have two types of carriers...the rigid metal cage type...and the soft-sided folding canvas type. If I'm using the rigid metal type...and I have a bunch of metal canned items inside the plastic grocery bag (in the metal bicyce basket)...you would not believe how much those metal cans get jumbled & jossled around. They are constantly banging, clanking, and vibrating up & own with every little small bump in the road surface. And if a larger bump is encoutered...BAMM...some of those canned items practically jump out of the basket. Same thing can happen with a 1 gallon jug of milk.

The road surfaces in my area range from super smooth...to mildly bumpy (semi-worn road surface)...to REAL bumpy (road needs to be resurfaced ASAP)! Folks really don't realize how bumpy road surfaces can be when they are riding in their automobiles...with fancy-cushy suspensions..and big air-filled tires. The bumpiness of roads can really be experienced when riding a bicycle...and much much more...when carrying items in a bicycle bag/basket.

Given this...I would certainly not want to expose an expensive laptop computer to the same vibrations mile after mile, day after day...on a daily commute without some serious padding & vibration/bump protection.

Yes...a MacBook Air does not have much in the way of moving parts that could be damaged by vibrations (initially). Where the damage occurs is...the constant bump bump bump bump bump vibrations the laptop experiences every second/ every minute/every mile on a bicycle. If this happens enough times (long term)...every joint, every mechanical connection, every surface that rubs against another surface will slowly but surely wear & loosen up (laptop display hinges for example).

Ever hear the difference between the sound that is made when a brand new automobile door is closed...and a 10-12 year-old automobile door is closed (creak creak...squeak squeak...clang clang...clunk clunk)? This is the same sort of thing that can potentially happen to a laptop exposed to too much/too many vibrations (without proper protection).

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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