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Anyone ever convert a book bag to a bicycle bag?

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Anyone ever convert a book bag to a bicycle bag?

Old 08-10-19, 09:01 PM
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robertj298
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Anyone ever convert a book bag to a bicycle bag?

I've seen some really nice looking book backpacks. That look like they could easily be converted to a rear rack bag and they are much cheaper than most bike bags' Here is an example of one
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Old 08-10-19, 11:13 PM
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canklecat
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Improvised bags are a PITA without the mounting hardware for racks. More trouble than it's worth. And potentially dangerous if a strap flops into the wheels. Been there, done that. Finally got proper bike panniers and handlebar bags.
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Old 08-10-19, 11:32 PM
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thook
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i say it's doable...or more so...with the right rack. my old jandd has more of a square'ish loading profile than say my old blackburn that has a more triangulated profile. however, i do agree...it is potentially dangerous. i've had straps come loose on a an actual pannier and get jammed in the wheel. i didn't wreck, but i did come to a fairly quick slow to halt. really messed up the pannier, and a real pita to get it unjammed during my ride. i think my partner gained an inch on his beard waiting

if you were set on doing it to save some coin, i could see it. but, you'd have to have your strapping modified to really grab the rack securely and well stitched to make it durable. that requires a legitimate machine/needle for the job. (hand stitching is not quite the same) and, by the time you've spent the money on doing that, you could more easily have found some second hand panniers

honestly, i've mulled it over several times to try your idea out with some backpacks i have. but, i realized the logistics to make it really work well wouldn't be worth the trouble. sometimes money is spent in the name of simplifying. just my opinion, though
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Old 08-11-19, 12:14 AM
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Works great on front. This bag moves from bike to bike as needed, take about 2 minutes to put on or take off:




The 'rack' that I made for it is just a strategically bent length of 1/4" aluminum round stock (shown with a 3/16" version of the same thing for a lighter bag:



Just hangs on the stem. The shoulder straps of the backpack get undone and you tie the upper part of them to the handlebars where the bars meet the stem and the lower parts tie together onto the head tube . Pretty simple and effective. It helps fit better if you ride larger size frames, like this one. After using it for awhile, I reinforced the bottom of the bag with a layer of stiff plastic (from a laundry detergent bucket lid) inside and a very thin 1/8" piece of plywood on the outside. This gave me a solid base to mount two P-clips to keep the bag centered on the rack tubing.
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Old 08-11-19, 12:30 AM
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On the back, I converted a case for a mini DVD player (anyone remember those, lol?) to hang from the back of the seat rails with nylon U clamps, as shown:



This pic shows, again, a thin piece of plywood reinforcement in the top of the bag to mount the screws in, with wing nuts to make for quick and easy removal:



And these are the nylon U clamps that hold it on the saddle rails:

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Old 08-11-19, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Works great on front. This bag moves from bike to bike as needed, take about 2 minutes to put on or take off:




The 'rack' that I made for it is just a strategically bent length of 1/4" aluminum round stock (shown with a 3/16" version of the same thing for a lighter bag:



Just hangs on the stem. The shoulder straps of the backpack get undone and you tie the upper part of them to the handlebars where the bars meet the stem and the lower parts tie together onto the head tube . Pretty simple and effective. It helps fit better if you ride larger size frames, like this one. After using it for awhile, I reinforced the bottom of the bag with a layer of stiff plastic (from a laundry detergent bucket lid) inside and a very thin 1/8" piece of plywood on the outside. This gave me a solid base to mount two P-clips to keep the bag centered on the rack tubing.
whoa! this is an approach that had not occurred to me! so cool!

i have an old gregory rock climbing pack with a compartment for a helmet, straps for roping, and water bottle pockets. i'd love to do this and be able to use my pack.

where'd you get the aluminum round stock? lowe's or similar? and, how'd you bend it without it snapping?

i'd guess you made atleast the hook for the quill by bending around the quill and bars. and, i suppose making the lower right angle bends just something of the desired shape? like what?

Last edited by thook; 08-11-19 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 08-11-19, 01:34 AM
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gawd! why didn't i think of that?! i could see doing something like this nicely for a rectangular cooler bag for heat of the summer travels...or even winter to keep water from freezing!
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Old 08-11-19, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
...
where'd you get the aluminum round stock? lowe's or similar? and, how'd you bend it without it snapping?

i'd guess you made atleast the hook for the quill by bending around the quill and bars. and, i suppose making the lower right angle bends just something of the desired shape? like what?
Yes, at Lowes or similar; I think most hardware stores stock this kind of thing.

Aluminum is easy to bend once, no problem. Try to bend it back the other direction, and that is when it snaps. But if you screw up, just go and buy another $5 section of round stock.

I make the initial bend on a section of broom stick clamped down in a vise. (Do this after you put on the protective sleve of vinyl tubing, if desired) Then I take the bent round stock to the actual handlebars of the bike I'm intending to use it on, and make the next bends in place. The last bends, where it's more or less 90 degrees to make the horizontal part the the bag sits on, is just clamp the stock in the vise.

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Old 08-11-19, 12:08 PM
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I do that all the time. I take the backpack put it onto a the pletscher mod c rear rack and then use the straps to fix it on the seatpost.

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Old 08-11-19, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Improvised bags are a PITA without the mounting hardware for racks. More trouble than it's worth. And potentially dangerous if a strap flops into the wheels. Been there, done that. Finally got proper bike panniers and handlebar bags.
Wife found an old East German backpack for next to nothing. Great on an explorer rack till one day (after many hours of riding) something caused it to rotate just enough to catch a buckle onto a spoke.... The perfect storm continued as I was on a sidewalk and going straight.... The skid marks are still there. Unfortunately my rack is not quite straight to this day....

What Canklecat said!
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Old 08-11-19, 12:40 PM
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Sure, a well-designed piece of bike luggage with the hardware to match is great.

But successful improvisation with cheap stuff can be very rewarding.

$5 eBay bag with a piece of chrome plated wire from an old shower caddie and a couple zip ties, voila!




Works great and the old Peugeot handles well with a front load.
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Old 08-11-19, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post


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Old 08-11-19, 02:19 PM
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Lots of ingenious adaptations.

I've seen some camera bags that I thought would make good "trunk bags", with a little work.

It should be easy enough to convert a computer bag to snap on a rack, as long as one doesn't get too much heel overlap.

There are a few pack/pannier combos available, but still, more expensive than many packs.

I suppose one question is whether you need/want the pack straps. Take them off, and attaching the bag should be much easier.
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Old 08-11-19, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
I've seen some really nice looking book backpacks. That look like they could easily be converted to a rear rack bag and they are much cheaper than most bike bags'
If you can find a way to keep the straps folded to the front, maybe with a short strap with parachute buckles, something to make the back rigid, a couple of J hooks and a bungee cord.
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