Handlebar Bag a la Frite

I’ve seen Rickshaw Bagworks’s sweet little Pipsqueak handlebar bag at bike expos, and on their website, but features that others love weren’t going to work for me (or for Basil, my Brompton bicycle).

rsps3The Pipsqueak is infinitely variable, colorwise, if one emails the company and requests other hues, and it has other great features, too.  Unfortunately, the straps aren’t optimized for a Brompton bicycle* (shocking, I know); the bag’s too small for my humongous phone or its even more humongous case; I wanted buckles instead of snaps on the straps; and I wanted a buckle closure instead of hook-and-loop.


So I made my own version.  (This is the curse of getting used to making things oneself:  Really, it’s easier to order online!)


It’s the “frite” bag, because it bears a strong resemblance to the paper carton French fries are often served in.

I hand-drew the pattern to the dimensions I needed, and then cut the bag out of black Cordura, and a lining of yellow ripstop nylon. (My Frite bag is taller than the Pipsqueak, and quite a bit thinner, front to back.)  Then I added a Cordura pocket on the inside for Basil’s cards.

fb-pkHere it is, partially assembled.  That’s the card pocket on the inside; you can see the buckle closure at the right.  The edges are bound in polyester twill tape.

The Pipsqueak can be worn as a belt bag, using the handlebar straps.  I almost never wear belts but I did need a loop to grab when the bag isn’t on Basil, so I added one to the top, incorporating it into the straps.

fb-st In theory, my bag could be worn on a belt, too, but those buckles wouldn’t be nearly as comfortable as Rickshaw’s snap loops.

Here’s another view of the bag, with the handlebar straps, grab loop, an embroidered patch, and the front buckle attached.


I made several mistakes:  I wish the patch were about a quarter inch lower, and I probably should have made sure that the buckles opened the opposite way.  Then there’s this:  I haven’t road-tested it yet, so that list may grow.  But, all in all, not bad for a couple hours of evening amusement.


For those with better things to do, the Pipsqueak looks like a great value, and involves much less fussing.

*Due to the cabling on Basil’s M (Brompton) handlebars, one attachment strap on this bag is longer than the other; using the buckles made it adjustable.  Snap closures would be trickier in this instance.  Cables are, of course, a very different matter on a folding bicycle like a Brompton than they are on other two-wheeled creatures.


Basil’s Events Bag

When I made Basil’s “M” bag, I made the flap removable so that Basil could wear whatever sort of ornamentation struck his fancy.; naturally, he was going to need an Events Bag to mark his formal cycling adventures.  He’s been sporting this new bit of luggage for a few rides now, and it’s worked out very well.


For this iteration of the M bag, I made a new flap, and added a few modifications to the original bag, based on how I’ve used it.

eb-fpThese front flaps are basically shaped like chubby letters “U”.  The tabs at the top have soft hook-and-loop closures on the reverse side, which connect with the bristly hook-and-loop sections sewn to the back of the bag.

ev-vcWhen assembled, the front flap wraps around the Brompton frame, and the flap sides are secured around the frame’s handle.  (The frame is a cut-down Brompton S frame.)

eb-frHere’s how the new flap looks attached to the bag.  (Those two “ears” on each side are open pockets, just large enough for snacks, dog repellent, and the like.)


The original M bag flap was  asymmetrical with a buckle underneath; the inner bag was completely open.  The new one attaches around the handle with the same hook-and-loop fasteners , but there’s no buckle in the front.


Magnets are now sewn to the underside of both flaps to hold them in place when Basil flies down the road.  This particular bag is designed to collapse at the top when it’s not full, so I modified the bag body with two rows of magnets on the front of the bag, corresponding to the larger and smaller positions.

The bottom row of magnets is visible when the bag is fully open, but that’s not a concern:  Function before form!


I’ve been using the M bag in its original configuration with no problems, but decided that I’d like to have some way to close it completely under the flap, to make sure that small goods didn’t go flying, and to allow over-loading it when I might be tempted to do so.

This go-round, then, I added a nylon ripstop cuff, with a drawstring,  When it’s not needed, this extension tucks into the bag around the inside edges, leaving the opening quite accessible.


All in all, this version is a lot more functional than the earlier iteration.  I’ve become a big fan of magnets as closures — they connect automatically and stay put, whereas the chunky buckle I had used previously was sometimes a pain to close, and always a bit of a bother, due to being hidden under the flap.

About Those Patches

Finding embroidered patches isn’t always as easy as you’d think — the 5 Boro doesn’t sell them, for example, so I had to get creative to snag these.

At the 2013 5 Boro Tour I spied an embroidered luggage tag, and snapped it up.  In 2014, I bought a baseball cap (!) (at a clearance price, go figure) from which I cut that lovely embroidered shield.

MG supplies great patches for her Coffeeneuring and Erranddonnee events; those were much more easily acquired.

I somehow always get patches slightly lopsided when I sew them on, but have decided it’s a feature, not a bug.  It’s the human touch!  Patches always seem kind of rambunctious anyway, don’t you think?


That Victory patch?  Oops. I’d sewn it on before I remembered that we’ve failed to make Victory’s PASA event every year so far.  (It usually occurs when I’m out of town.)  I bought the patch reflexively when we saw them in the Victory store.

I don’t actually drink beer, so I’m declaring that the “event” for this badge is the run Basil and I make to pick up Victory Brewing Company’s Hopped Up Devil ice cream.

Trust me, there is no better ice cream (cayenne! coffee beans! chocolate!); acquiring and consuming it is an event-worthy experience, and a much more worthwhile activity than wrestling with removing a bunch of tiny stitches that hold an admittedly slightly illegitimate patch on Basil’s new flap.

In fact, I think I’ll just find my way to the freezer right now; Basil and I can pick up more on our next  trip nearby.  It’ll be an event!

Gear Luggage

Luggage Release Loop on a Brompton

The luggage block on a Brompton, like so much on the bicycle, is sheer genius.  It places the weight of front luggage on the frame, which means that there’s no destabilization when turning, even when carrying substantial weight.


But it can be a little inconvenient to reach under a bag to pull the release lever.  Fortunately, the lever has a channel running through it — it’s that little circle on the lever, below the block, modelled above by Argyll.


I added a cord loop to the release on Basil’s luggage block.  It loops around his stem, stays completely out of the way, and makes it much easier for me to release a bag.


The cord is run through from opposite sides, and knotted on each side.  In a belt-and-suspenders move, I also stitched the loose ends to the loop.

Viola!  Pull the loop and release the bag; no fumbling under the luggage required.  This might not be a big deal for many people, but my runty little arms really appreciate the more convenient reach.  It’s speedier, too.


I saw this nifty fix when I followed a link from a discussion of Brompton luggage.  Poster trrubicon06 made a far more elegant one (using actual hardware; his Brompton may be an older one without the channel in the release lever).  Check it out here:  trrubicon06’s Brompton luggage release.

Gear Luggage

Vincita Sightseer Transport Bag

There’s a never-ending and vigorous debate amongst Brompton owners about the best way to travel with our bicycles when packing them is essential.  No one method suits all, with minimalists going for slipping their Bs into IKEA’s Dimpa shopping bag or the equivalent, and maximalists going tor super-pricey hard cases — with many methods in-between.


Until my most recent trip, I have always travelled with Basil un-shrouded, but I knew the day would come when I wanted either more protection for him or stealth packaging, so that it wasn’t obvious that I was travelling with a Brompton.  I was quite interested, then, when the Vincita company contacted me and offered to send their new made-for-Brompton Sightseer Transport Bag to me for review.


I found the Sightseer very easy to use.  To place a Brompton in the Sightseer bag, you undo the zipper all the way, and fold the padded sides down, around the exterior.  It was tricky dropping Basil in at first, but the second time was easier, and the third time quite easy.  It’s helpful to grasp the folds at the top edge, and give a gentle shake as you settle the Brompton into the bottom of the bag.

A firm base supports the bottom of the bag, and extends up the narrower sides — something I particularly appreciated, as Basil’s rear rack benefits from the additional security the hard base provides.  Hook-and-loop straps (that’s the X you see above) make it possible to secure the bike so that it won’t shift within the bag.


Basil’s bigger than a lot of Bromptons:  I frequently take long rides with him, so I don’t remove his somewhat extensive collection of gear when we travel.  My handlebars are customized so that they lean in toward me when I ride, which means that Basil is wider than usual when folded.  He has a rear rack with Eazy Wheels, a saddle bag that I don’t remove, Ergons, Zefal toe cages, and a squishy water bottle holder that also adds a little bulk.



I wondered if my encumbered Brompton would fit into the Brompton-specific Sightseer; he did, perfectly.  His handlebars do cause a slight bulge, though, which can be seen to the right, below.  That wouldn’t be an issue for most Bromptons, and wasn’t a problem for the Sightseer, either.


The Sightseer isn’t just one bag, actually, but two: an outer case, and an inner sleeve that drapes over the folded Brompton.  That’s the inner sleeve, below.  There are three pockets:  one on each side, and one across the top.  When packed, the sides provide some protection for the bike.  The sleeve drops down to about axle level on a Brompton, and I found that I was able to pack all my biking-specific clothing in the three pockets.  The shoulder strap allows the sleeve to be carried like a garment bag, worn cross-body, or hung up in a closet.


I was not only able to wrap the packed sleeve over Basil, but also managed to tuck my biking shoes and a week’s worth of clothing — I’m a smallish person, your mileage may vary — in and around Basil’s lower bits, beneath the sleeve.  (Featherweight packing cubes are perfect for this job.) Those stuff-able spaces meant that the Sightseer was the only bag I needed for my Brompton and all of my clothing.  The packing cubes also provided more padding for Basil, though if I were gate-checking him on a plane, I’d do something more formal about protecting projecting parts.


The Sightseer rolls on large wheels, which are partially recessed.  I found that it moves easily and well, but people my height (5’2″/157.5 cm) and/or with shorter arms like mine may find it inconvenient to roll the bag far, particularly if it is packed heavily, since the angle might not be maximally efficient for easy pulling.  This would not be an issue for most people, though.


The pull handle is adjustable, and Dr. Diarist, with long arms and greater height, found it easier to roll than I did, as he was able to pull the bag at a more acute angle.  Supporting struts along the bottom of the bag ensure that it doesn’t sag; they support the fully-packed bag and Brompton quite effectively.


Optionally, the bag can be worn on a shoulder; straps are provided, and tuck away into zippered pockets on each side of the Sightseer, so they are out of the way when not needed.


For maximum convenience, Vincita has added a buckle onto the shoulder pad, so that the two straps can be clipped together, preventing them from slipping apart when worn.  Clever!


I’m quite impressed with the construction of both the bag and the sleeve. The zippers move easily and appear strong sturdy; stitching, and the stitched exterior straps which strengthen the bag are well-placed and neatly done.

There are thoughtful touches everywhere like tabs at the ends of the zipper, so that there’s something to grab onto when closing the bag.


The padded pull handle has a buckle, allowing it to separate so that the bag’s zipper can be more easily accessed.


The sleeve has protective corners, which help keep its shape, and should ensure long wear.


A selling point is that the Sightseer and packed sleeve can be ported on the back of a Brompton, held in place with bungee cords.  There’s a loop on the back to hold the bungees in place.


That might be practical under certain circumstances, in a world where, for instance, security requirements might allow someone to ride right up to an airport.  (That can be done in the USA, but it’s not common, and probably not possible at all airports.)  It’s not a feature I’d ever use, but may be one that others would be pleased to exercise.


Here’s Basil with the Sightseer (and hidden sleeve) attached to his rear rack.  The bag widens his profile a bit, but not hugely beyond his M handlebars; it would be important to remember that extra width when riding, though.

I wasn’t sure how useful I would find this system, but I was surprised at how much I liked using the Sightseer, and how simple it made packing and transporting my Brompton.  As a stealth tool, and a solo bag which covered both my cycling and my clothing needs for the duration, it proved a great solution.  It’s one I’ll depend on again and again!

One thing does need changing, though in my opinion:  I don’t want to travel with an obvious bicycle logo on the side of my luggage.  I’d like to see this bag made available without the (admittedly appealing!) bicycle graphic.

I feel so strongly about this that I sewed a flap over the logo before I travelled with the bag; I don’t particularly want to advertise that Basil may be alone in my hotel room on the occasions when I can’t have him by my side.  (I left the Vincita logo, though; it’s discreet, and anyone who guesses what the bag is might be very happy to know where they can find one!)

The other suggestion I’d offer to Vincita is to include a card which explains the features of the bag.  I didn’t notice the hook-and-loop straps, for instance, until I’d used the bag a couple of times.  The Sightseer is feature-rich; I think Vincita should capitalize on all those details — and ensure that owners will use and appreciate them by spelling them out in detail.

The price, in US dollars, is a quite reasonable $159.00; Vincita is in Thailand, so shipping cost to some parts of the world could be an issue.  However, Urban Bike Fitters, in Oregon Fremont, California, is a Vincita dealer, so they might be a possible source for USA residents, and there is an extensive range of global Vincita stockists.

Disclaimer, and a Giveaway!

Vincita  provided the Sightseer and its internal sleeve to me at no cost; keep this in mind if you think that may have influenced my review!  Vincita also sent a second set so that I could give it away to a reader; I’ll be paying the cost to ship it to a winner within the continental USA.  Details of how the giveaway will work will be posted tomorrow, and I will add the link HERE once that post is up.

Luggage My Brompton

New T Frame Mod

Basil can never have too many bags, right?  I own a slew of Brompton bicycle bags (well, three, and the Brompton “basket”), and have made quite a few, too.  Each has its place, but no one is perfect, and there’s always a new idea to play with.

I started with a T bag frame.

This time around, I wanted bag that was as tall as a Brompton T bag, but smaller, narrower, and closed all around with a zipper. So I took the T bag frame apart, leaving only the center section (which I promptly forgot to photograph just after the destruction).

Then I bent 1/2 inch copper tubing into a more-or-less pear-like shape (well, half a pear, anyway).

Once one side was done, I traced the shape onto cardboard, so that I had a fighting chance of replicating it for the other side of the frame.

This sort of thing is much better done in a workshop rather than on a kitchen floor. I managed to pull a muscle in the process of bracing the tubing, and didn’t get the sides perfectly symmetrical. “Hand made” has its flaws.

Then I stuffed each newly-bent side into the T frame.  The resulting bag frame is not perfect, but it will do.   The frame is not substantially less wide at the top than the original T frame, which is what I had in mind, but it is so at the bottom.  Without tools, I wasn’t able to bend both ends as drastically as I would have preferred.

It will do, though. Now all I need is the bag.

(For those new to Brompton bags, each clips to a luggage block on the Brompton bicycle frame.  In most cases, the luggage slips onto a removable inner frame, like the ones above, which have the mate to the luggage block built into the back side of the lower frame.  This allows one frame to support a variety of bags — and also allows for a a lot of amateur experimentation.)


Mini O

I’m still grounded, so I haven’t used it yet, but Basil now has a Mini O bag as part of his burgeoning luggage collection.  (This is not as insane as it seems: I do a variety of different kinds of bicycling, and what’s suitable for one type is often all wrong for another. )

At any rate, what I haven’t had was a bag that was truly waterproof.  This Ortlieb bag claims to be, within reason. (Don’t dip it into a stream!)  It’s also small enough that using it for long rides is probably feasible; the largest Brompton bags are like wind sails, and not really suitable for 30 mile/48.2 km trips, unless you’re touring and have no choice.  The Mini O  has a much smaller profile.

The Mini O’s mounting plate is integrated into the bag.  It’s big (and relatively heavy), but also supports the bag well, and I can report that it clips on and off the Brompton block quite easily, just as you’d expect.

There’s a Brompton logo at the upper corner, which is a nice touch — and a useful identification tool, as I think Ortlieb also makes a similar bag with a different attachment device. (The logo is  on the right, above, next to the peak of the mounting plate.)

Here’s the back view, and the side facing the cyclist.  This is also the side of the front flap that opens:  Those little tabs to the right and left sides are what you grab to pop the snaps.  (You can just barely make out the round snap caps behind the tabs.)

The flap falls back toward the front of bag and bike, and this is what the rider sees.  There’s a zipper pouch attached to the inside front, and a key fob (to the left, attached to the pouch) inside, and a surprising amount of room inside.

I was dubious about those snaps, but I needn’t have been: The upper edge of the frame is completely rigid, and getting the snaps to connect and close is not a problem. Nor does the frame flex when closing the flap. The snaps are sturdy metal, not molded plastic.

The inside bottom of the bag is supported by thin plastic sheeting, rather cleverly slotted into place.  This seems quite sufficient, especially as the rest of the bag is so well -crafted.

Off the bicycle, the bag is supported on two sturdy feet and the back plate.  It stands on its own, and is so well-balanced that it does not tend to tip even when the top flap is open.

On each side, there is a button to which the shoulder strap attaches.  The top flap is designed to rest on this button, rather than to cover it.  That’s a bit counter-intuitive, but probably adds to the waterproof aspect of the bag. I find that I automatically want to pull the flap over the button when closing the bag, but expect that this inclination will diminish over time.

A shoulder strap (supplied) clips — with a satisfying click — onto these buttons.  Once clipped in place, the strap will rotate, but not disconnect.  I find that I like this connection better than a snap hook, probably because, although the buttons stand out from the side of the bag quite a bit, the clip itself is flat and less obtrusive than a snap hook.

Its other virtues aside, this bag feels a bit odd when worn; that may not matter, as it will primarily be attached directly to my Brompton.  I must remember to wear it with the front next to my body:  The back plate is not a nice thing when pressed against a human waist!  The unyielding nature of the bag — an advantage on the bike — is no such thing on a human.

Too, the bag is a bit awkward to use on a counter, rather than on a bicycle, as it is light weight and opens the “wrong” way.  There’s no ballast to hold the bag in place once it’s off the bike, so pulling a wallet or whatever out of it in other circumstances can be clumsy.

There’s one last feature:  The Brompton logo, and the trim on the handle, are reflective, which is always a nice touch.

I usually buy my Brompton gear from NYCeWheels in New York city, who give great service, but they were sold out of this black-on-black Mini O. I found mine at Portapedal Bike in Tempe, Arizona.  I phoned to confirm that the bag really was there, and Al sent it out to me immediately:  I had it by the end of the week.  (Hint: want an out-of-stock waterproof bag?  Go to the desert!)

That’s all I know so far. I took this new Mini O (and Basil) to the doctor’s office when I got  my stitches removed, thinking, all-too-optimistically, that I’d be able to ride immediately, which let me report on what wearing it is like.  Soon, I hope, I’ll be able to report on what it’s like to use it on Basil.

Luggage Tours, Trails & Group Rides

Picnic on the Greenway

When Basil came into New York City for his repair, the job was done in the flash of an eye.  In the meantime, my schedule changed, and we were able to stay over one more night. We made good use of the time, especially since the weather was so cooperative.

We headed north a bit and passed the entrance to the George Washington Bridge — and ran into our first bike lane impediment of the day.

For the entire time it took us to ride three blocks (and wait at one stoplight) two women stood behind their SUV chatting.

Needless to say, they (and the SUV) were still there when Basil and I arrived — at which point I noticed that there had been a driver in the SUV all the time.  That made squeezing between the SUV and traffic all the more problematic, since the bike-lane-hogging driver was, obviously, not going to watch for cyclists if he decided to open his door, or, finally, to pull away.

I’m a motorist, too, and I just don’t think it’s all that hard to share. Really.

On this excursion, Basil was outfitted with my homemade S bag flap.  Weirdly, Basil’s bag flap got got more attention on this visit than did Basil.  We’re not used to that! (One person wanted to know if those were real merit badges; I had to confess that they were actually Demerit Badges!)

I  love the view through this tunnel, especially in early summer:

It’s the gateway to my favorite bridge.

I saw more Brompton bicycles on this trip than ever before — I lost count at around fourteen — which was so much fun!

This cyclist was just getting used to her brand new B. She’s an experienced rider who keeps a bike in another state — something serious. (I don’t remember what, but the “serious” part stuck with me — maybe it’s carbon fiber?)  She wanted something she could easily keep in the city, given the natural constraints of apartment living.

When in NYC, I often consider the merits, or lack thereof, of the cycling chic-vs-spandex-cycle-apparel-arguments.  I couldn’t help admiring how brilliantly this woman — whether intentionally or not — managed to look, well, chic, while wearing actual cycling threads.  And her shirt is about as close to high vis as one can get without going all the way.  There’s no recreational/commuter/road racer clothing kit argument here; there’s no fight to pick!

At the Fairway Market right off the East Side Greenway (at 130th Street) I automatically put Basil and his S bag into a cart before I realized that we’d arrived so early on a weekday morning that the store was deserted (by NYC standards).  I quickly sprung my Brompton, put him into shopping trolley mode, and we continued on our way.

Ahhh . . . Fairway, how I love thee!  (About thirty minutes later, this aisle, and all the rest, were not nearly so clear.)

Just above the front of Basil’s bag is one of the most wonderful things Fairway sells:  grilled artichoke hearts.  I planned to picnic next to the Hudson River, so I thought “why not?” and packed up just enough for lunch.

Across the aisle is the olive oil and vinegar bar, with tasting stations.  I don’t know much about olive oil (or vinegar, for that matter), but I do consume both.  On a whim, I tried the Italian Saba vinegar . . . and was transported in an entirely different way than when on two wheels. The flavor is that of a rich, deep Balsamic reduction.

It also costs like wine. I didn’t care.  I bought two bottles: One to take home, and one for The Manhattanites, with whom I stay when in NYC.  Basil’s S bag has two huge pockets on the back side, just made for Saba vinegar.  See the gold caps?  The bottles are sealed like wine; I assume that’s no accident!

With a fresh baguette fitted securely beneath the S bag’s flap, Basil and I set off to find a picnic site.

OK, the view of New Jersey isn’t exquisite here, but the river is lovely, and the shade most welcome — and the sky just got better and better as we sat.

What a tasty impromptu sandwich: a fat, flavorful artichoke heart mashed into a bit of perfect crusty bread!  I wanted to open one of the Sabas to add a splash, but figured that cycling with one open bottle might push my luck even further than cycling with two closed ones.

(Saba, as I learned later, is an amazing dip for strawberries. Fairway also recommends  it over ice cream, which could be just incredible.)

I had some company while I dined (along with Basil, of course):

She was pretty shy, but her mate, though apparently far bolder, was also quite courteous, and, once it was clear I wasn’t sharing, left me to my meal. (Love that little teal flash on her wing!)

This is the thing about New York City: sights like these (ducks and boats and sky) are never far away.

Also, there’s always something going on.  That’s a large dog, below, in a flotation vest, being escorted from a sailboat — the Ishtar —  to a nearby harbour.

I’m guessing he’s got a pretty good life, not only because he’s clearly enjoying the ride, but because of the unusual markings on the ship from which he came.

The figures on the side may be something else (lions or their kind?), but they look suspiciously like a stylized canine and feline to me.

Everywhere I looked, the view was serene.

I was feeling pretty serene myself by the time Basil and I set off again.   Along the way, we met this smiling couple, who were visiting from France.  They aren’t on CitiBikes, but rented from another company.  CitiBike is not designed for tourists (or even occasional use, though that’s possible); its lending schemes are really only attractive to subscribers.

The requirement that they be docked every so often (45 or 30 minutes) make the blue bikes unsuited to recreational cycling.  I was surprised, then, to see a fair number on the West Side Greenway — especially since there are no docking stations on the Greenway itself.

The Department of Sanitation’s Potemkin façade is particularly hilarious when backed with a surreal blue sky and such dream-like clouds.

We ventured off the Greenway onto city streets not long after the noon lunch hour; by that time, it was clear that CitiBikes were getting a lot of use.

It’s really too bad that nothing of this sort can be managed without a corporate logo; wouldn’t it be far nicer if these roving ambassadors advertised New York City?  Nonetheless, the bikes are indisputably a good thing, and great addition to city life.

Basil and I admired the big blue bike, and went on our way; there’s more, but this is quite enough for one post.

Gear Luggage Tours, Trails & Group Rides

T Bag by Train

This is all the luggage Basil and I required for six days we  spent in New York City earlier this summer:  Just the Brompton T bag and an admittedly large ancillary bag. And helmet.

My clothes for the week, as well as the hip pack and my cycling gear for the 5 Boro Tour, are all packed neatly inside.  The T bag makes traveling with Basil easy, even though we go by train, not by cycle; it slips onto my Brompton’s luggage block, so Basil carries the weight, not me.

We were traveling a lot more lightly than some on our train. I’m pretty sure you could fit a Brompton into two of those suitcases — along with an over-stuffed T bag.

Basil and gear nearly disappear behind various other bags.

Next to bicycles, trains must be the best way to travel, ever.  Windows!  Leaving New York, the sky was overcast.

But not for long:

The sky, like the scenery, changes as the miles fall away:

Travel. It’s such a good thing.


Basil’s M Bag in Action

It’s a hit!

Basil’s M bag is the perfect size for longer runs with a short stop, or for light errands that don’t involve grocery-hauling.

There’s only one thing I wish were different.

As you can see, there’s an embroidered iguana on the flap of the underseat bag; it’s a commercial embroidered patch I picked up years ago.   I used it because the flap looked a little bare, and, after all, the iguana color coordinates well.  I’d kind of like to have one on the M bag’s front flap, too

Sadly, I haven’t been able to find another similar patch on the Internet (or anywhere else), so the flap on the new M bag remains unembellished for the moment.  We’ll see if anything else turns up. Or maybe it’s just fine plain.

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the convenience of a front bag that is neither too big nor too small, and is kitted out for times when I want to haul stuff, but not too much.   This is my everyday Goldilocks bag:  It’s just right!

Luggage Water Bottle Sagas

Waterbottle Mod for Brompton T Bag

The problem with the open sleeve on the back of the T bag is that, if you want to use it for a water bottle, the bottle tends to stick against the fabric of the pocket as it is used. That’s a pain when you are riding.

One of the clever fellows on Brompton Talk  (I’m sorry to say that I don’t remember who) said that he’d slipped a cut-off milk carton into the open sleeve at the back of his Brompton T bag in order to solve this difficulty. UK milk cartons must be a better fit; ours here in the USA didn’t work well.

However, a cut-off seltzer water bottle worked perfectly. (Something slightly larger would, too, but I’m not sure what that would be.) Above:  back of the T bag, cut off Faygo bottle (midwestern? must have bought this back from a trip), and tall Sigg metal water bottle.

Seltzer bottle dropped into the T bag sleeve. There’s room for a larger inner “sleeve”, but for my purposes, this works just fine.

Water bottle in place, and now super easy to lift in and out. No drag at all — it’s a brilliant, low-impact fix, in fact!

Notice the fuzz on the pocket in that final picture?  Fuzz that isn’t present in the first image?

I had “help”.