It’s taken more attempts than I could have imagined, but I finally have a water bottle holder I can live with on my Brompton bicycle. It’s adapted from this Childress stroller/pushchair cup holder, widely available at infant goods stores and online.
As supplied, this cup holder was too shallow to safely contain my tall water bottles (though it might work well, as is, with others). I added a cordura cuff at the top, reinforced with a thin strip of plastic*, setting the cuff inside the bound edge, and zigzagging it in place on my sewing machine.
The cuff is 1.75 inches/4.4 cm (without an allowance for the attachment seam), which brought the total height of the cup holder to just over 7 inches/17.8 cm.
To hold it in place on Basil’s handlebars, I sewed hook and loop fasteners to webbing straps, and attached the straps to the top edge of the holder. For ease in use, and to make tightening the straps simple, I sewed rectangular loop locks on each end of the straps and ran the webbing through. (You can usually find loop locks at EMS or REI or other camping goods stores.)
The loops give enough leverage to fit the straps snugly against the handlebars. Using this method also reduces the stress on the hook and loop fasteners, making them less likely to work loose.
Then I removed the cup holder’s original attachment loop — the large one on the left in the top photo — and changed its placement so that it circled Basil’s stem.
This part was a bit of a pain, since keeping the liner waterproof required hand-stitching the loop back onto the holder. As much as possible, I used the existing needle holes to reduce wear on the exterior vinyl.
Once all the adjustments were made, I strapped the water bottle holder in place and we were good to go. The interior is slippery enough that lifting the bottle out is easy, but it’s also just snug enough that the bottle doesn’t flop around. The altered holder is sufficiently deep that the bottle doesn’t fly out when we go over bumps, and the insulation is a nice plus on hot days.
Love the little mesh bags — those are gels in the pockets. A skinny cell phone would fit there, too. Or keys, or whatever. There’s elastic at the top, so the gels don’t fall out.
Best of all, this cupholder is crushable and it doesn’t interfere in any practical way with the slim fold of a Brompton. Sure, it sticks out a bit, but it mashes flat at a touch, yet it pops up ready for use as soon as Basil is ready to ride again.
The pros? Everything. The cons? It’s not elegant engineering, folks, and that pains me deeply. But it works exactly the way it should, and I haven’t had to think about water bottle issues since I installed it.
*That plastic reinforcement? I love using IKEA’s flimsy placemats for this kind of support. Very inexpensive, very thin, and works like a dream!