Sunday, March 26, 2023

Lightweight DIY Tote Bag for the Dahon Boardwalk

Double ripstop nylon construction, strong enough for the 30+ lb. Dahon Boardwalk.

The more I ride the Dahon Boardwalk, the more I want versatile traveling arrangements. Along with minimizing load carrying to one large front bag, one rear duffel, my goal was to create a foldable and stowable, but strong tote bag - something that's easy to lift on/off Amtrak, minimizing contact with a greasy bike, and avoiding the bicycle reservation and fee. 

With bag flat, I can easily pull up the sides.
I researched DIY tote bag construction for a one-piece design, figuring less seams was better; this pattern only had side seams. I altered the pattern by running the straps (1.5" webbing, easier on the hands) all the way under the bag for extra strength. 

For style and to define the exterior, I used purple thread and felt buttons from my stash.
I created several drawings, and measured multiple times before purchasing material and webbing. Black material was a given, but I initially wanted purple straps for contrast. However, supplies in general are expensive, so black made more sense. Using 40-50% off coupons, total cost was $40.

The bike sticks out a bit, but straps are placed correctly for carrying.
Even though I measured well, I misjudged the volume of vertical material, and had 18" extra, which also made the straps ungainly to lift. Rather than cut the bottom and compromise the ripstop's strength, I decided to tuck and fold the middle, ultimately creating 4 layers. It worked out well! At the outset, I was more concerned with ease of pulling up the sides around the bike, so erred on plenty of material.

With bike inside, the bag collapses of course, so the addition of hook and loop fixtures on the handles secures the bag upright.

I also placed 3" of hook and loop tape on each top end to visually make the bag smaller. There is plenty of space to put one of my two luggage bags also inside - possibly both - but the added weight might make it ungainly.

I had planned on sewing a simple wedge-shaped compartment for the tote bag, secured to the seatpost. Magically, I had saved a mesh exterior backpacking-type pocket, which was a perfect size - all that was required was adding hook and loop attachments to the existing buckles.

I'm excited to try out this arrangement! I have an adventure planned for an April weekend with accommodating weather. 

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