Old Backpack to Bicycle Frame Bag




I love cycling, but I am rubbish at motivating myself to train. My new technique is to visit friends on my bike, this however poses a problem; how do i bring stuff with me? I could get panniers, but on a road bike!??!! surely not!!! I could use a backpack, but cycling with a backpack for any distance is miserable!! So an easily removable frame-bag seemed like a good plan.

I figured for the average short visit (in summer), I could get by with: A toothbrush, shorts, boat shoes (or flipflops), a couple of t-shirts and boxers, and it is England, so a raincoat might be useful; the bag should accommodate all of this. After a quick dash about the house i found one of my sister's old backpacks, this would provide a tough, water-resistant base to work from. I then borrowed my Mum's sewing skills and within about an hour, had the final (essentially free!!!!!) product.

Obviously the exact design will vary depending on your starting materials, so i don't go into too much detail, but hopefully this will give a good idea of a tested method. Be sure to comment any thoughts and pictures of your own.

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Step 1: Dismantle the Backpack

To start with you'll need to take apart the backpack keeping as much material as possible. In the case of the bag I used, there were parts that were far too well sewn to bother, but for the most part, nail scissors and perseverance made it happen.

First remove the straps and extra pockets leaving the main bag. Next take off the bottom and back sections. The sides and front are connected by a well-sewn zip, this section should be kept intact for now.

Step 2: Shape the Bag

The front and sides of the original bag will form the new shape, and for simplicity, we don't mess with the existing zip. The first step of shaping the bag is to reduce the width of the side pieces as a narrower bag will reduce the interference when riding; i cut my side pieces to around 6cm (just wider than the top tube) and when full, the bag bulges to around 9cm. I then used my bike frame to establish how tall (long?) the bag could be (see picture). I tried to keep my lower bottle cage useable, but if one is enough for you, a longer bag could be made. With the length established, the top of the bag was sewn to the sides and the excess removed.

Step 3: Finish

Once you have your shape, cut the back piece of the original backpack to mirror it. Sew this to the new bag giving the finished compartment. I then cut down the backpack straps and sewed them on; these loop around the top tube supporting the bag. With only two attachments the bag swayed whilst cycling so I later added a velcro strap where the bag meets the downtube.

The finished item was great and (just) fit all the stuff I wanted to be able to, however, a word of caution, if like me you intent to use this for your travels, pack very very light, it is small!!

Thanks for reading :)

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Do you think it would work on a mountain bike? The seat bags are not an option for me.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Haha yeah, I like it. Faster than the average tourer :p