Pao Chi

For my girlfriend's birthday this year i wanted to make her something functional and beautiful. Well, at least functional. Currently, she rides her bicycle with no tools, no spare tire, and no pump, an unprepared state of affairs that has left her flat-tire-stranded by the roadside several times. So how about making a tool case for her bike (and also buying her a hand pump)?

Good idea, i thought, and decided to prototype the idea once or twice to refine the design and construction before making the proper gift. So i did and came up with the following simple and effective design, which you can make too, dear reader, should you wish.

But first, here's what i didn't make, despite its smart look and free instructions from Bike und Bier.

Actually, i did make it but later abandoned it, because i found that these roll designs waste too much valuable space with so many pockets for so few tools. Better to save space and weight by minimizing the surface-area-to-volume ratio and make something more spherical, i say. Better to make a pouch. Better to make this.

It's basically a pencil case with a strap.

You can make it out of any fabric you like. Cordura, for example, would yield a strong, light, and water-resistant pouch. But Cordura is expensive and hard to find in NZ, so i chose denim then waxed it for water-proofness.

I wanted nylon webbing for the strap but could only find polyester for this build, so i made the strap detachable in case i find a better one.

Here are the ingredients you need to make the pouch with dimensions written in millimeters.

And here are the instructions.

  1. Cut your pieces.

  2. Fold, hem, and sew a strap loop to the center of the right side of the pouch body fabric.

  3. Sew a zippered pencial case using the single piece of body fabric folded instead of using two separate pieces as shown in those linked instructions. Though sewing on the zipper is more fiddly at the end this way, you get fewer seams and a cleaner look. I didn't do it this way in the pictures above but did so on another pouch afterwards.

  4. If you're using natural fibers, paint on some wax mix (11 g of beeswax and 4 g of jojoba or linseed oil melted down together), then bake the pouch in the oven for a 1–2 minutes at 100°C to dissolve the mix into the fabric. That will waterproof it for about a year. Rewax it in the same way as needed.

  5. Burn or sew the ends of the strap to prevent fraying, then pass it through the pouch's strap loop.

  6. Thread one strap end through one buckle piece and cinch it with a fastener. Thread the other strap end through the other buckle piece and sew it back on itself. I didn't do this at first but modified it later to simplify the design:

  7. Stuff your pouch with useful things, such as an inner tube, tire levers, allen keys, a lighter, and cable ties. Yes, the pouch is too small for a pump, so stow that elsewhere. (My bike has pump braze-ons on the non-drive side seat stay.)

  8. Clip the pouch upside down to your saddle rails and tighten the straps.

  9. Ride on, now better prepared.

Author: Alexander Raichev
Date: 2024-05-05