Xtracycle Bags for a Michigan Winter Commuter – 90% Salvaged Materials

Posted: May 20, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,
Just finished some Xtracycle bags for a Michigan winter bike commuter. He wanted bags that could stand up to being coated with salty slush for months at a time. 

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These bags are designed to stand up to grime, rain and snow in an urban environment.

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This project started with a roll of truck tarp from the ReStore, and the fabric from Brian Keough’s trampoline. I have a pattern that I created for an earlier Xtracycle project, and it saved me some thinking this time.

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Here was the original design that I made 3 years ago – actually the guy that ordered this new yellow pair saw this bag on Flickr and tracked us down – funny, because it is the only other Xtracycle bag that I have made. I got halfway thru the brother to this one before I got sick of the project – it is still in a milk crate in the garage, and I have been sporting a ratty original Xtracycle bag on the other side of my bike.  

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So the lesson from the first session (that I forgot this time) is that these bags take A LOT OF TIME to do well. Another thing that I learned from the original project is that leather is amazing for this type of exposure. I have been using this bag a ton for 3 years, in rain, mud, and sun, and it still looks and works great!

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Bob wanted to be able to use these bags with Xtracycle’s new-style ‘P-racks’ – which are set up with a crossbar on them to hang normal panniers from, so unlike the older-style racks, where you can just sew fixed loops in the hangers, we needed to be able to snap these ones on and off.
I created a harness out of 2″ webbing that spreads the weight of the load across all 6 of the hangers. This webbing is backed with the woven nylon mesh from the trampoline and covered with the waterproof truck tarp. After the harness was in there, I trimmed the tarp and trampoline panels to match, and ran the whole shebang thru a binding foot to wrap the edges in 1″ nylon webbing trim. That was a huge PITA, and there has got to be an easier way to do it.

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Pockets are coated cordura packcloth remnants from another local bag business. 

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Some friends of ours go to the Unitarian Church down the street. Someone there heard that we were into salvaged textiles and gave us a box with 85 of these camstrap buckles in it. 

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I added the female snaps to the flaps, and then stretched the bag onto the rack to locate and mark the male snaps on the body of the bag. 

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The side flaps have loops of fire hose across the top that wrap a piece of 1″ nylon webbing. The ladderlock buckle lets you crank down the top of the sides to support your load. 

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More pockets.

These bags fit any bike that uses the Xtracycle Freeloader rack system. They can be used either with the older-style Xtracycle V-racks, or the newer-style P-racks. They feature coated truck-tarp backed with a heavy, UV-resistant nylon mesh. Recycled military-spec aluminum cam-buckles adjust the bag flap to carry anything from a yoga mat to an 80 pound sack of concrete. Nylon fire hose armors the bottom against curb-strikes and the back of the bag where it rubs on the lower frame of the Xtracycle. 

MAN, THESE THINGS TOOK FOREVER TO MAKE and I charged the guy about half of what I should have – made me grumpy. But now that it is done, I am stoked.

These ones are spoken for, but we can make more of these with about 4-6 week lead time. 
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Comments
  1. Betsey says:

    Ha! I just got a yuba mundo and am considering sewing my own freeloaders, basically. I googled and ended up here, so funny. Your comment that these took for ever gives me pause…though I guess I wouldn’t need to make mine so crazy tough. I might regret it though.

  2. dandeangeli says:

    Hi Betsey and Brian:I really like your over size bags. I recently got a cargo bike that takes xtracycle gear and would like to make my own saddle bags from messenger bags. Removable is part of the design goal, stong of course. I can get straps, catches, but how to attach to the bag? Grommets?my email is dandeangel@gmail.comYou are great artists!

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