Seriously. A saddlebag would make my commute way more awesome. They are just the right size for lunch and a toolkit. Maybe even a raincape. I don’t like messenger bags. They can be sweaty and clumsy. And panniers, no matter how useful, make even the sleekest bike look stodgy. Trunk bags? Uh-huh. No-way. I need a saddlebag.
Supposably, these olde bags are poised for a comeback. Like the triumphant handlebar basket, saddlebags are classic, simple and stylish. Why have they fallen so far out of fashion? Why are they only sold by “retro” bike shops in the US? Why are they all made in the UK? Why am I so cheap that I can’t pony up the $100 to buy one?
Bah. I’ll make my own out of the junk in my basement.
It starts with this bag. Perry gave it to me years ago. It was a factory reject. It is stamped “Banana Republic”. I assume that it’s from Honduras. I chose this bag because the leather straps on the top flap provide a nice place to hang the bag.
Most saddles don’t come with bag loops anymore, so we have to get creative. I found a couple of long eyebolts and fastened them to the saddle rails with Jubilee clips. (Those are hose clamps to you and me.)
The nice thing about this arrangement is that you can angle and position the bolts anywhere to fit the bag you want to use. A couple of nuts and an oversized washer acts as a stop at the end of the bolts.
Here’s what it looks like from the side. The large rear pocket stores the shoulder strap. It also is accessible while riding, so it’s perfect for maps and snacks. Not too bad!
Lou found this link to another DIY saddlebag conversion. More complicated, but also more attractive.