ANATOLY IVANOV / PROSE / 2008-12-06

BACKPACKS TO CARRY A FOLDED BROMPTON: MY DIY RUCKSACK

by Anatoly IVANOV

CYCLING / INDUSTRIAL DESIGN / TRANSPORTATION / TRAVEL / ESSAYS

A BIKE IN A BACKPACK

How about putting your bike in a backpack?

In other words:

Of course, not any bike will fit in a backpack in less than 5 minutes. You’ll need a folding bike. And not any folding bike either. In my case, I’ve chosen the Brompton folder specifically for its ability to travel on my back.

 

Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s unfolded Brompton P3L / See my bikes gallery

Also, not any backpack will welcome a Brompton. Few off-the-shelf rucksacks will.

OFF-THE-SHELF BACKPACKS

In fact, I’ve tried all 3 current backpacks made to carry a folded bike. And I disliked all of them for several reasons:

No satisfactory off-the-shelf, ready to buy solutions? Well, I’ll make my own bag!

MY DIY BACKPACK

 

Photo: Jean-Christophe LEBEAU and Anatoly IVANOV Ultralight Brompton carrying backpack

I’ve teamed up with fellow lightweight backpacker Jean-Christophe LEBEAU in Paris. An engineer by day and a DIY guy by night, he sews impressive backpacks, sleeping bags and tarps.

I got bleeding edge fabric for our project: a rip-stop blend of Dyneema and nylon. Weaved in a grid pattern (white lines in the picture) inside nylon (green in the picture), Dyneema is:

Together with Jean-Christophe, we’ve designed a minimal backpack following the current ultralight principles:

MY DIY BACKPACK CONTAINER POUCH

Additionally, Jean-Christophe invented a special backpack container pouch that fastens to the Brompton’s main frame by 2 cross-inverted elastic straps.

 

Photo: Jean-Christophe LEBEAU and Anatoly IVANOV Ultralight Brompton carrying backpack

Look ma: the backpack is on my bike! No need to carry anything. And the Brompton folds even with the backpack attached.

 

Photo: Jean-Christophe LEBEAU and Anatoly IVANOV Ultralight Brompton carrying backpack

MY FOLDING BROMPTON BIKE IN A BACKPACK PROCESS

  1. Attach the backpack container pouch (with the backpack inside) to the bike frame.
  2. Ride.
  3. Stop at the destination.
  4. Detach the backpack container pouch.
  5. Fold the Brompton.
  6. Detach the left MKS AR-2 Ezy toe-clipped pedal. The right pedal stays on the bike.

 

Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s folded Brompton P3L / See my bikes gallery

  1. Place the pedal into a plastic bag. The pedal has an exposed greased part.
  2. Pull out the backpack from the backpack container pouch.
  3. Place the folded Brompton inside the backpack.
  4. Pull out the Brompton’s seat post with its seat to reduce the package volume (you will need to push the seat post back in to pick up the bike out of the backpack).
  5. Place the seat post horizontally between the main frame and the pedal crank.

 

Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s folded Brompton P3L with removed seat post / See my bikes gallery

  1. Place the MKS AR-2 Ezy toe-clipped pedal and my Assos half-gloves inside my Giro Atmos helmet.
  2. Place the helmet on top of the folded Brompton.
  3. Zip the backpack.
  4. Clasp the adjust squeeze buckle.

 

Photo: Jean-Christophe LEBEAU and Anatoly IVANOV Ultralight Brompton carrying backpack

  1. Put the backpack on the back.
  2. Go!

SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES

ALTERNATIVES

TRANSLATIONS

CHANGE LOG

2008-12-06 Added warning against picking up the folded Brompton with seat post removed. Thanks to Greg SMITH, Brompton, for this suggestion. Added link to French page.
2008-07-08 First publication.

16 COMMENTS

Miguel Marcos / 2008-09-14 21:17

Excellent!

ANATOLY IVANOV / 2008-09-14 22:15

Thanks Miguel!

David Galvan / 2008-10-22 18:09

Doesn’t the metal and uneven distribution of bike parts poke into your back? I would think it would be uncomfortable to wear the loaded backpack.

Also, I’d point out that many commuters need to carry a backpack or some other bag with work or school material anyway, so they might already have a backpack full of stuff they need for work, and wouldn’t be able to carry an additional backpack for the bike. I guess it just depends on the needs of the individual.

ANATOLY IVANOV / 2008-10-22 18:35

David,

Doesn’t the metal and uneven distribution of bike parts poke into your back?

Yes, the bike parts do poke into the back.

However, I did my best to reduce the number of pointed parts on my Brompton. For example, I have added a plastic locknut protector for the front wheel. It converts a spear-like axle into a flat surface.

I would think it would be uncomfortable to wear the loaded backpack.

It’s not the most comfortable backpack on the planet… If used as is.

However, you can pad the back section with stuff you carry anyway. For example, I sometimes use my spare clothes, or an empty Ortlieb backpack. The contents of the Ortlieb backpack go into the bike backpack.

With padding, the backpack is surprisingly comfy.

In any case, it’s a “classical” ultralight backpack. It uses the same tips and tricks. It requires a bit of ingenuity and reuse. OK, we’ve decided to abandon the “socks in shoulder straps” concept. ;-)

Also, I’d point out that many commuters need to carry a backpack or some other bag with work or school material anyway, so they might already have a backpack full of stuff they need for work, and wouldn’t be able to carry an additional backpack for the bike.

Well, I do usually carry an additional backpack and my bike backpack rolls down so small (see pictures) and weighs so little I can always stick it inside.

That’s the main difference compared to the off-the-shelf bike-containing backpacks. Ours is light and compact.

I guess it just depends on the needs of the individual.

Absolutely.

Maren Zubizarreta / 2008-10-23 16:22

Hi:

Very good design

I have two quetsions about:

- Can you put the brompton in the bag without pulling out the saddle??
- As I read in a Forum, are you going to finally sell it??

ANATOLY IVANOV / 2008-10-26 12:07

Very good design

Thanks!

Can you put the Brompton in the bag without pulling out the saddle?

No. As you can see in the picture, the saddle sticks out way too much.

As I read in a forum, are you going to finally sell it?

Honestly, I still don’t know. I already have 3 full-time jobs: photography, design, journalism. Making and selling backpacks would become yet another full-time job.

We’re looking into possible solutions with Jean-Christophe.

If you have ideas, please suggest.

John Bibby / 2009-05-09 20:36

Brilliant solution (doubly appreciated as a light wt backpacker myself). If you are not going to be able to sell this do you have the template so I can attempt to make my own?

R Verdoold / 2009-06-21 16:14

It means you have to take of the saddle first before you can take out the pen from the bottom side. I am going to make a bag as well to take the bike as hand luggage in the airplane. Since i have the rear carriage i can take things there. On the front i mounted my ortlieb office bag on the brompton frame which i bought through a shop in london over internet.

ANATOLY IVANOV / 2009-08-25 13:05

I’m very sorry people, but Jean-Christophe and myself are still stuck and overscheduled. No movement towards manufacturing and selling the bag.

And we have zero templates or drawings: everything was done adjusting prototypes, then redoing, then again adjusting, etc., before sewing the final variant. So we’d have to spend some effort and time to make a technical drawing.

If anyone would like to help us put the design into manufacturing, we’d appreciate.

Robyne Leisti / 2011-05-04 03:55

Interesting concept and execution. I am a pretty handy seamstress and designer. Since there are no technical drawings I might play around with it and try to make one, or something simiar for my Brompton as well. If so I will post schematics somewhere. Cheers!

ANATOLY IVANOV / 2012-04-11 23:40

Thanks Robyne. Sorry, we didn’t make any technical drawings — we just made it without much help from Grafis or AutoCAD.

Ehren Gresehover / 2012-06-01 22:34

This is really fantastic. As someone with multiple jobs myself, I understand why you never made these, but I definitely would buy one.

Knuth Posern / 2012-12-04 21:38

Hi,

I am exactly looking for this type of Brompton-Backpack/Rucksack solution!
Could you possibly make me one??

If the seat-post stays in the bike … the backpack won’t close anymore or is this possible ?

Thanks!

ANATOLY IVANOV / 2013-08-30 06:31

Yes, the backpack will not close if the seat post remains in the bike.

Sorry people, I really need help from someone to get this into production. Jean-Christophe is even busier: he has a family now.

I can show how to make the bag and where to source the fabric, but as time has shown, I’m unable to launch this thing to market alone. Unless something changes radically.

Vaïata Bron / 2014-04-30 10:57

Je suis vraiment intéressée par ce sac… Pourriez vous me détailler sa fabrication ou… m’en vendre un ! :)

jojo / 2018-03-09 01:35

looks great!!

do you put any padding in the straps?

can you send me some pictures of the bag without the bike in it? i’d like to try to make one for myself too.

merci beaucoup from boston!

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