Bicycle Porfolio Carrier




About: I bike EVERYWHERE and like to make rather than buy when I can.

I've been wanting to take some drawing classes in downtown Portland, but I was restricted to using a small sketchpad that would fit in my backpack. Then it struck me that none of the art students could SAFELY carry their art portfolios via bicycle without discomfort.

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Step 1: Eyeball Everything

I've yet to see two carriers look the same from bike to bike. So, what works for mine, may not work for yours.

I picked up some aluminum from Home Depot for about $25, along with some metal screws and nuts, and some wire-hanger-thingies.

It's pretty simple in it's design, and I'm still trying to thing of ways to refine it to make it more sturdy, more versitile and (relatively) quick release.

Any and all comments would be appreciated.

Step 2: The Basic Frame

I first built a "square" using the largest of the L-Aluminum pieces on the bottom to be the holder.

Step 3: Middle Braces

I added a middle brace that was parallel to the carrier which added a great deal of stability but didn't do anything for the corners. I used zip-ties for now but will think of some more permanent solution eventually.

The diagonal piece really helps the rear corner stay stabilized.

Step 4: The Holder

I added a second lenth of L-Aluminum to make a sort of gutter that the portfolio can sit in. It's currently taped into place, which works OK for now, but I can see in the long run that this will either have to be glued or bolted into place.

Step 5: Finished and Strapping

It does shake a bit when the bike moves side to side, but overall it's strong and a bit flexible.

I rode it from Mt. Tabor to downtown Portland which is about 5 miles and it held up really well.

I currently use some length of bungie cord wrapped top-to-bottom, but it seems to slowly creep backwards from vibrations so I will get another bungie to hold it in place front-to-back.

Any suggestions?

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    10 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool! I always have to walk to class on days I have studio, and this is the perfect solution. Making the gutter from several smaller L shapes to save some material sounds great, as does putting L's at the front and back to stop it sliding around; on the other hand, that does make it purpose built to your portfolio rather than being able to carry any large, flat object. Maybe I'll stick to bungees. I think I'm gonna have to build one of these up, although hopefully with a more removable attachment than zipties—it looks pretty cumbersome if you aren't actually carrying your portfolio in it.


    13 years ago

    Nesagwa: do you mean horizontal? That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Anything larger than A3 would scratch cars, clip poles and pedestrians and would probably not last more than five minutes. A guy at my architecture school had found a surfboard mount for his bike, it looked like four massive prongs, two on either side of the back wheel, crossed like two big X's on a backward-tilted angle. His folio would sit between the two X's, held in place by ropes or cords. I like this design although I expect it could be refined to have fewer components. Having a stiff portfolio is going to help.

    1 reply

    Reply 13 years ago

    Yes horizontal. I did this for a good part of a year, its not a problem at all.


    13 years ago

    I had the same problem for a while. On my bike though I had one of those metal things where youd put like saddle bags and it has a spring loaded flap. So I would just open that all the way and wedge my portfolio sideways. It only worked if I had my drawing board inside of it as well since the spring loaded flap thing would catch it and hold the bag in place. Long story short, I suggest maybe building it laying flat on the back of the bike (like a truck bed) so it doesnt catch as much wind (and maybe integrate a bungie cord system to hold it in place.)


    13 years ago

    It looks like a nice start. Watch those sharp corners, though. :) (I once sketched up an idea for a collapsible bicycle trailer purpose-built for carrying a portfolio, but never had the gumption to actually built one.)


    13 years ago

    Re: Suggestions Instead of that full outer rail, it could be made from short sections of the angle oriented the same as it is now, bolted to the inner rail. Similar short sections could be attached, (rotated 90 degrees) on either end of the lower rail as stops to prevent the portfolio from sliding fore and aft.


    13 years ago

    what gpl said.


    13 years ago

    i would like to interject that a bungie cord across the front might help, a bit, some.


    13 years ago

    Careful on windy days!