After the last post I started to look at the bag again and think of how to improve on the structure. Sometimes, even when things work well enough for my purposes, I still feel an obligation to mess with it until I find some solution which is so good that I can honestly say “This is what they should have done when they manufactured it.”.
Such a solution presented itself after looking at the bag and thinking about the placement of the plastic inserts in the bottom and back walls of it. Filled side pockets give the sides rigidity, but the front has nothing, even though gravity is pushing against the bag support, or would be pushing against the seatpost if that was the way I had mounted it. What It really needed was some more support there. After 25 minutes down in the basement looking at my raw materials to work with (also known as the junk I should have thrown away months ago) I found an old square lid from a cat litter bucket. An hour’s worth of cutting at it with a utility knife and a little strategic bending on an angle after half-melting it with a heat gun and I found just what I needed to give the Ostrich Bag the rigidity it needs. The insert slides inside and is held in place by the buckles that hold the bag to the mount. Now I can put anything I need in the bag without worrying AT ALL about how it’s packed. Not bad for 2 hours and $0. Next on the frivolous to-do list is to make a small padded case for my camera so I can carry it on rides.
Update – 7/1/08 After using the bag for several hundred more miles, it’s as stable as can possibly be expected. No strange swaying while cornering, and the bag holds its shape regardless of how heavy I pack it or where I center the weight. It’s a great bag for carrying the following back and forth to work: a light rain jacket, helmet rain cover, saddle cover, multi-tool, spare tube, journal, glasses, sunglasses, ipod, lunch, a spare shirt, and a u-lock. The weakest part of the bag at this point appears to be the leather straps. They are holding up fine, but they look a little worn. If I could change anything about the bag or the mounting system right now, I would have built the bracket around a wider skewer so the bag straps aren’t pinched towards the center. When I built the quick release, all I had was a 135mm mtb skewer. A 145mm tandem, or one of those wider ones for hooking a b.o.b. trailer would probably give me the width I needed to make the bag a little easier to mount. This is a nit-pick, and I’ll never get around to actually rebuilding it.