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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bicycle Bag

Since September of last year,  I've been going out once a week to teach the fashion design club at Woodside Priory school. I take Bart to Caltrain, get off in Menlo Park and bike the rest of the way to the school, about 7 miles. When I first started I was just taking a backpack, but it was weighing me down and hurting my back,  so I had to figure out a better solution.  I already have a back rack attached to my bike so why not use it.

The first version I tried was just a tote bag that I strapped to the rack. I kept adding pieces to make it easier to attach, like velcro and buckles, it looked pretty funky but it did the job. I looked up some options on bags to buy, but they seemed more geared to hardcore bicyclists and tour cycling. I just wanted a bag that I could pop on and off my bike. I also didn't need two full saddle bags and I liked the feel of something that I could attach to the top of the rack.

Last week, the zipper broke on my funky bag, so it was time to tackle making a custom bag with my personal specifications.  The biggest factor was making it attach securely to the rack, while still being easy to remove. Every week I take a different amount of things with me, so I wanted a way to make it expandable to fit a variety of things.

I do have a fair amount of fabric in my stock so when I begin a new project I try to use some existing instead of buying all new materials. A friend's mom had given me this upholstery fabric a couple years ago for helping her get used to her sewing machine. It's feels like embossed vinyl with a fabric backing,  it probably has a real name that I don't know.

With the drawstring top it does expand a fair amount,  I haven't tested its limits yet. The interior is nylon, it's not waterproof but at least it's a little more water resistant than the cotton that makes up the outside.

There is a zipper pocket in the front for easy access to small items. There is a removable cardboard panel that slides into the bottom interior to give it some stability so it doesn't just flop over the rack.

The panels on the bottom wrap around the sides of the rack and snap to the back, it's actually really secure but still easy to get off again.

 The back has a reflective strip and a place to attach lights. The straps also have snaps on them so they're adjustable and they can be reconfigured in different ways to secure the bag.


  1. Good looking and functional. I love it. You should look into mass producing them.

  2. Agreed! I could see these all over the place in Portland. Well done. :)

  3. Love this! So very functional - especially with the expandable top! - and the fabric is so much more interesting than my black panniers.