Junk in the Trunk

Since the idea entered my head to ride my bike ~560 miles in Canada next summer, I’ve been preparing. I’ve been preparing myself by riding more. I’ve been preparing my bike by going to the St. Pete Bike Co-op and fixing it collaboratively with the awesome mechanics there. And I’ve been preparing for the trip itself by getting camping and other gear together. Occasionally I’ve been switching out bike gear for things that work better.

Bubo helped.

I used to have a basket on the back of my bike. But as I plan for the trip it became apparent that it was too big and bulky for my needs. And I can’t get panniers easily on and off the bike with the basket I had. So I took it off.

After a ride or two, I realized how much I needed that basket or something to put my stuff in. I started Googling for bicycle trunk bags. The ones I liked were around $150. That was more than I was wanting to spend. So crafty me decided to make one.

I bought a big roll of leather at Renaissance faire this year and had some good-sized pieces left in that. I had rivets already. A friend gave me fabric left over from her mother’s stash. I had beeswax left over from when I was trying to make my own lip balm, so I could wax the fabric to make it water resistant. I could do this! I would make my own trunk bag!!

And I did!!

This bag is flawed in a lot of ways. Some of the rivets are rumpled because I had to use vice grips to put them on since my rivet vice wouldn’t reach them. Some of the rivets aren’t on straight, but they are holding well enough (for now). It would have been better to put two sets of small straps on the bottom instead of three that spanned the whole width of the bag. Too, I want to figure out a way to make a quick-release system, instead of having to bungie it.

But it works! And it looks Ok! And it’s functional! I took it for its first ride this afternoon, and everything stayed in it and it stayed on the bike. I can fit my bike lock in there, tools, and much more. I can use it with panniers, as long as I put the panniers on first. I think I can get the panniers off without having to remove the trunk bag.

I’m not sure if I’ll tour with this or not. It definitely holds a lot, and it isn’t too heavy. This might be the perfect thing for my clothes and small personal items. I’ll have to feel it out…

Regardless, I’m pretty proud of this bag. It’s my biggest leather crafting project.Next time I’ll put more planning into it. If I were ever going to make one to sell, there are some tools I’d need to make sure I could do the rivets right.

Next time I’ll put more planning into it. If I were ever going to make one to sell, there are tools I’d need to make sure I could do the rivets right. But for a first-time project? Just to please me?

I’m pleased!! And proud.

I can store junk in my trunk again.

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