Back to front Brompton bag

In days gone by, bicycle saddle bags rested neatly on the rear stays which were, by and large, less acutely angled than they are today and provided stable storage for waterproofs and lunch. Likewise, conventional handlebars provided an ideal location for a handlebar bag into which small loads can be stuffed and on which maps can be stashed for easy reference.

However, on unconventional bikes like my Brompton, the handle bars are of an unusual design and there are no rear stays as such. This means standard handlebar bag fixings don’t fit and saddle bags either swing wildly from the strap loops on the saddle or need to be supported by an expensive saddle bag support mechanism. Although Bromptons have a range of panniers, the phrase ‘Brompton pannier’ is perhaps a little misleading in that they actually attach at right angles to a bracket on the head tube, rather than the rear rack (which not all models have). My large Brompton touring pannier is really too large and wind-resistant for simple day/club day rides and my Carradice saddle bag swings into my thighs when I’m riding.

Pondering on these annoyances last night, I hit upon the idea of removing the frame from the large touring pannier (designed to do so for cleaning etc), mounting it on the front of the B and attaching the saddlebag to it. In this way, I get the stable carrying capacity I want on day rides in an accessible position. A brief Good Friday test ride through the deserted local township early was enough to prove the hack was worthwhile and worked as hoped for. The only improvement/tweak I want to try is to fashion a lightweight interior frame from a discarded realtor’s sign (the corrugated plastic type) to provided a tad more shape and rigidity to the bag.

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