Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Ultralight bicycle bag

What do garlic, plums and Brussels sprouts have in common?

Have you ever wondered what garlic, plums and Brussels sprouts have in common? They are all edible by humans of course, but other than that they have another significant common point: they are all packed in similar plastic mesh bags. Now, a plastic mesh or a plastic bag immediately rings a warning bell. Certainly, you've heard emotional stories about huge amount of plastic in the oceans, endangering the survival of ocean species like Caretta caretta. The numbers are huge and menacing. Well, you don't need those stories to realize that people are producing too much garbage; any week-end wannanbe minimalist can tell you that. And after seeing thousands of plastic bags hanging from trees after autumn floods in your country, you can tell that recycling plastics is not working either. The only way to reduce the garbage madness is to stop using unnecessary packaging.

If you think – like many - that a single person can't do much about it, just look at the numbers: each of the 8 billions people on Earth using (or reusing) 1 less plastic bag only once in a year (the bag weighing 0.25 g) means more then 5 tons less of garbage every day. My addition to this recommended practice is here: a hint how to make an ultra light and practically costless bicycle handlebar/under seat/frame bag. Let it be my present to you for Christmas.

So, lets get back to garlic, plums and Brussels sprouts. The meshes they are packed in are quite tough and light: three of them weigh less then a resolution of my scale, which is 2 g. Add an unpaired shoelace that you somehow forgot throwing away and a buckle of a cinch chord from a trouser's legging (that any credible ultralighter had cut away and stored for possible future use) and you've got a not-too-bad-looking handlebar bag weighing around 4 g that can store almost 500 g of content. In this example the content is a light wind/rain jacket, a compact camera and a set of tools (all together 360 g) – which makes a world record content/container ratio of 90.

Mesh is attached to the handlebar with a shoelace and at the lower end to the brake/shifter cables.

And here is the mesh in action: holding a wind jacket, compact camera and a set of (mini)tools.
P.S. If you are truly dedicated world-saver, you won't go and buy Brussels sprouts to get the mesh; instead, take a tour in your nearest garbage bin and find your mesh there. It might also be an eye opening experience, the one you've haven't had for quite some time.


  1. Funny but great idea ;-)
    I love your blog/work!

  2. Nice ecological and practical lesson. I'm fond of your ideas for backpacpaking light.

    Benoît from France.

  3. Nice.Suppose u could use the mesh which u can get at garden centres to keep the birds off your strawberries.