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Gear Luggage

Basil’s Got a Brand-New Bag

When running errands, it’s great to have a large basket or a fairly substantial bit of luggage on Basil’s mounting block; hauling shopping home is correspondingly easy.  But for strictly recreational rides, I want to be able to carry camera, phone, snack, extra jacket, and not much else.  An Internet search turned up this bag:

It’s beautiful, and made, I’m sure, just as well as every other Carradice bag. I love the look, but I wanted at least one different feature, and I also wanted a bag in Basil’s colors (or some close approximation).  So I made my own.

Yeah, I know.  The Carridice is all class, and mine is, well, sportif.  Or, as we say in the USA, “silly”.

The feature I wanted was a magnetic close.  I find snaps difficult to maneuver on a round bag, and I wanted the flap on my bag to close itself — magnets in the flap and bag seek each other automatically, shutting the bag with no effort on my part.

The magnets on the flap are sewn into a small pocket between the two flap pieces (the stitching is the circle above); the magnets for the bag are sandwiched between a square piece of Cordura, which was then stitched all around, imprisoning the magnet. The flap just drops over the zipper, and falls into place by itself.

The zipper keeps everything secure:

My bag lacks the classic leather trim of the Carradice.  I used nylon webbing instead, and hook-and-loop strips for the seat post anchor.  They’re light, sturdy, and do the trick. My bag, like the Carradice, is supported by a dowel.  (I wanted to use a copper rod — attractive, yes? — but realized that I didn’t appreciate the weight as much as the beauty).

The buckles are “hook release accessory straps” I found at REI. They’ll let me remove the bag quickly, but don’t make the method of removal obvious..

I’d originally planned to make another black bag, but Mr. Diarist pointed out that I’d gone to all this trouble to make sure I had the colors I wanted for Basil, and should, therefore, exploit the theme, and customize the bag to match.  I’m glad I did.

My bag may be slightly smaller than the Carridice that inspired it; the size was based on the approximately six-inch saucer I traced to make the side panels.  Finished, mine is about 11 inches by 5.5 inches.  As you can see, the bag is no impediment to folding a Brompton, though it is an inch or so wider, on one side, than the folded bicycle.

The day after I finished making mine, I saw that My Orange Brompton had just acquired the Carridice bag, with which he seems most pleased.  Great (Brompton) minds apparently think alike!

8 replies on “Basil’s Got a Brand-New Bag”

Very nice! It looks great. A purpose made bag will always work best and give you and others great satisfaction.

For your Mk 2 version, I’d suggest that you make the flap overlap the bag at the front (of the bike) to avoid a seam where you now have the lug straps and where water can sit and soak in. The Caradice has the lug straps not directly in the seam, I think. They’ve done their prototyping :-)

Good suggestion, Ian — stitching the flap to the top of the bag, rather than in the seam, would make it more impervious to water. I admit, though, that this was a quick-and-dirty version. It was much faster to make with the flap in the seam, and that also worked well with my strap arrangement. (I wanted a quick removal option without having to use belt buckles.) The unlined Cordura I used isn’t truly waterproof, so I’ll rely on a strong, sealed plastic bag if I find myself in rain. True waterproofing is a whole other animal entirely!

As somebody who is most chuffed with himself when he manages to successfully sew a button on a pair of pants, I am very impressed with your recent creations (the bag and the cape). Love the magnets for the bag, and the little iguana patch is really cute!

The magnets workd really well; so much less fiddly than snaps. I wasn’t sure about the iguana at first (admittedly, it got chosen because it was the right colors), but it’s grown on me. Thanks for your kind words, Will B, about bag and cape. Watch out for those buttons — they can be a slippery slope! A button today . . . luggage tomorrow. It can happen!

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