Attaching a Tom Bihn Empire Builder Bag to a bicycle.

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For many years, I was a bag slut. My relationships included REI panniers, Mountainsmith fanny/day pack, Jansport backpack, REI rack trunk, and a Timbuk 2 messenger bag. Each bag has some strengths, however the weaknesses outweighed them. I wanted to find my one true love. I wanted one bag for travel, business, commuting and recreation. This one bag has to be professional, over designed, well organized, durable, large enough for weekend travel and able to attach to my bicycle. There are two categories of bags….those that attach to bikes (usually panniers) and those that don’t.
I purchased he Tom Bihn Empire Builder after reading nothing but excellent reviews. I utilized her for business, recreation and travel. However, I was unable to take my love on my bicycle commutes. I would unload the Bihn and load up a pannier on commuting days. What a pain and waste of time. Plus the REI pannier wasn’t comfortable nor professional off the bike.
I was overthinking the bike/Bihn attachment method. While at Lowe’s purchasing sheet metal to fabricate my attachment, I noticed the wire cage holding the plastic shopping bags…..Hmmmm. The following day, chowing on Mellow Mushroom pizza, I looked at the pizza stand and knew that could work. I almost stole it. I eat there a lot, and that wouldn’t be right. So I did some web research and measured my love, 36…23….32….kidding and ordered a pizza rack from Amazon.
Upon receiving the pizza rack, I did alittle bending and broke out the best attachment method of the last 50 years…..zip ties. The Empire Builder has a “roll aboard sleeve” that fits nicely over the two vertical pizza posts. I found mounting the bag perpendicular to the wheel allowed quicker installation and removal of the bag. Mounting the bag parallel to the wheels was restricted with the seat and was difficult to install and remove. Your results may vary. A little bungee cord holds the shoulder strap and bag in place. I commute 30 miles roundtrip and have had no problems. I have a medium sized REI raincover for unexpected weather.
The chrome inverted, rotated pizza stand may appear a little ackward naked. However the tradeoff of a simple, quick attachment and availability of a Tom Bihn bag on my bike is worth the price.

4 Responses to “Attaching a Tom Bihn Empire Builder Bag to a bicycle.”

  1. Our Own Back Yard LLC Says:

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  2. Michael Lachman Says:

    This is why I love the internet. I’m totally stealing your design. Thanks a billion – the bag on a bike detail was the only thing that was keeping me from springing for an Empire Builder, and by sheer coincidence the zip ties holding another mini bag to my rear rack just failed.

  3. how do you carry your laptop when commuting by bike? Says:

    [...] size for a daily commute (though the idea is still an interesting one!). and, someone came up with a very clever way to attach their empire builder to the rear rack of their bike. any further thoughts on tom bihn bike panniers – whether dedicated or a design that converts [...]

  4. Attaching a Tom Bihn Empire Builder Bag to a Bicycle - TOM BIHN Blog: We make travel bags in Seattle, Washington Says:

    [...] “I was overthinking the bike/Bihn attachment method. While at Lowe’s purchasing sheet metal to fabricate my attachment, I noticed the wire cage holding the plastic shopping bags…..Hmmmm. The following day, chowing on Mellow Mushroom pizza, I looked at the pizza stand and knew that could work. I almost stole it. I eat there a lot, and that wouldn’t be right. So I did some web research and measured my love, 36…23….32….kidding and ordered a pizza rack from Amazon.” Read the full post over at Spokes And Beans. [...]

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