This weekend I worked on some bike frame bags to help free up some space in my rear panniers. Here is the result:
The small top tube bag behind the stem is big enough to hold my gloves, sunglasses, and other small things. The frame triangle holds our first aid kit and all my bike repair stuff besides my spare tire. Plus they add a touch more visibility to my otherwise grey bike.
The cloth I used is the cheapest PU coated ripstop nylon on ebay. I also had some velcro and webbing loops left over from previous projects. Finally, I extracted the zippers from an old pencil bag that I lovingly used throughout middle school. So, like most of my projects, time ended up being by far the most expensive component.
I started by making cardboard templates. I also put marks where I wanted the zipper and velcro straps to attach.
Below are all the cut out pieces of the triangle bag before sewing together. The left triangle with the zipper is formed with four pieces of cloth, each one sewn to a different edge of the zipper. The right triangle is solid, but has a mesh pocket on the outside. The are connected by a thin strip (shown folded over in the center of the photo). The rectangle in the top right will velcro around the top tube and hold most of the weight.
Here’s a closeup of the zipper panel in progress. Notice that the top flap covers the zipper entirely. Hopefully this helps keep things dryer if I am rained on, since the zipper is far from waterproof.
I lined the top edge of the mesh pocket with some nylon fabric. Both of the edges of the orange fabric are folded in, so you can imagine 4 layers total of fabric, 2 on each side of the mesh. The sewing machine has a really hard time gripping the mesh, so it works out really well to have fabric on both sides.
Here’s what it looks like with the strip. Now it is an actual bag, capable of containing a volume! Probably best practice is to double stitch or something, but I am lazy, so you are looking at the final product (minus some velcro straps)
Here’s a quick inside-out view of my top tube bag (which I documented much more poorly). I added two little internal pockets (see where my thumb and index finger are), which will hopefully help keep the small bits more organized.
Hopefully they hold up for the entire trip!