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The Bag Buddy makes shopping on a bicycle less of a chore


December 28, 2012

The Bag Buddy is a simple handlebar clamp designed to make carrying shopping bags on a bicycle easier

The Bag Buddy is a simple handlebar clamp designed to make carrying shopping bags on a bicycle easier

Image Gallery (7 images)

The Bag Buddy is a simple device developed by industrial designer Nicholas Fjellberg Swerdlowe. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and regularly uses his bicycle to go grocery shopping – a practice that can be tricky if one's bike doesn't have racks or a basket. While Nicholas' product may not be a bicycle that turns into a shopping cart, it does reportedly make carrying bags on a bike safer and easier.

The main problem with hanging grocery bags over the handlebars is that they invariably swing into the front wheel. The Bag Buddy switches the orientation so that the bags will swing forwards and back rather than side to side (for the most part), thus preventing them from getting close to the spinning front wheel and potentially ripping open or even worse, causing an accident.

The Bag Buddy also helps increase the number and weight of the bags that can be carried. It is designed so that the weight of the bags – up to 30 pounds (13.6 kg) each side – tighten the grip on the handlebars. The Bag Buddy grips are small enough to sit on the end of the handlebars, allowing your hands to sit comfortably without plastic carrier bags getting in the way.

When not in use, you can either store the grips in a pocket or backpack, or clamp them to the frame. The video embedded below shows Swerdlowe discussing and demonstrating the Bag Buddy.

He has taken his creation to Kickstarter in order to raise US$20,000 for tooling and materials for the first production run. Pledges start at $5 for a sticker, with $20 getting you a pair of Bag Buddy grips – which is a steal if it prevents even one accident or lost bag of shopping.

Source: Kickstarter via Core77

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix. All articles by Dave Parrack

That looks dangerous as hell, the weight would have to be equally distributed on each side. Also don't even think about making any sudden turns to avoid a pothole, animal or small child.


Hmm, not much different than what we did as kids - put the bags on the end of the handle and attach a giant binder clip. My friend used a large rubber band to hold them on. The problem with having them on the handles though is you have to balance them out and you tend to kick the bags with your knees. I think I'd rather just strap a milk crate to the front.


Ridiculous! The problem isn't how to get the bags on the handle bar. Heavy bags (2 x 13kg) on the handle bar give you bike a will of it's own. After driving around a corner or avoiding an obstacle the bags will be swinging around and you'll have massive problems keeping direction.

I cannot see how these things will prevent any sideway swinging.


Carrying anything attached to the handlebars of a bike seems inherently dangerous to me. Even if attached securely, and roughly balanced at each side, shopping bags (e.g. plastic carriers as illustrated) will tend to swing with the motion of the cycle. This swing makes the weight of the contents, acting at the bottom of a bag act like a pendulum, making it more difficult to steer and also creating a varying force that can reduce stability, so increasing the risk of an accident.

So, while this might appeal to the occasional shopping cyclist, regular bike riders will know better and will equip their cycles to carry such loads safely.

Sorry but I see this invention as a dangerous option, to be avoided.


Dude, to start with get some canvass bags cause the wagging will break the bags and probably send your groceries flying. I suppose if you keep it low speed and you are athletic enough this might be an option but a rack or basket is a far better option. I don't buy that this orientation keeps the bag away from the wheel, gravity and inertia will not be changed by this. I see he has a bike without shifters and to create room for his hands he shoved the brakes so far inside that they are pointing forward because of the bend in the bars. Safer and easier? Just get a rack.

The Hoff

This seems cute, but it's a complete non-sense.

I've tried once to put my groceries on the handlebars and just did 5 meters from the superstore door out on the parking lot and canceled when tried to avoid few cars - as you begin maneuvering and everything starts to flip like crazy.

Doing it on a speed == suicide. Forget it. Just a "cute non-sense".

Best solution for groceries:

1) Cycling panniers 2) Handlebar basket 3) Rack basket 4) Trailer (but this is too expensive)

That's it. Proven.

However I like the guy's enthusiasm.


Why not just use your backpack? I always have my Dakine backpack on when I'm bicycling, and if I need a few things from the grocery store on the way home, I just park and lock my bike, and take my backpack into the store and buy what I need. It's comfortably balanced on my back for the rest of the ride home. These little "Bag Buddy" thingies, by comparison, make carrying groceries on your handlebars seem awfully unwieldy.

Chuck Anziulewicz

Accident waiting to happen. Manufacturer would get sued sooner or later.


This guy prefers to suffer all the consequences of continuing with a bad idea rather admit that he had a stupid idea. I got less than 100 feet before stopping and figuring out how to hang the bags over my shoulders.

Where does he shop that gives bags that you would trust to get you out of the parking lot?


Fine for noodles, but forget the milk

Gethin Coles

Having ridden with the plastic sacks hanging on the handlebars, I can confirm this is very dangerous. Amazing the ability of a small amount of weight to make steering and balancing a very difficult task. You can put a lot of weight on your back or a rack without any difficulties, although it does require a small investment to do so.


$20??? for 2 pieces of plastic?? am I missing something?

I lived at a ski resort for 5 years most of that time I used my bike to go everywhere. Its a horrible idea to put weight on the ends of handle bars, you can do it but it is fairly tough to control. I typically would just use a large back pack. I see no reason to spend $20 on this.

Michael Mantion

Between the adverse effects on balance, steering, braking, and pedaling, not to mention the bags swinging like a pendlum into the front wheel, I deem this the worst idea in cycling since the child crushing front mounted kid carrier so popular with cyclists who have no concept of physics.


As a bike shopper I can tell you that the ends of the handlebars is the worst place for heavy shopping bags. Turning the bags causes them to start swinging and that in turn makes your steering wobbly. it is much better to have them close to the handlebar stem, that way they don't swing or cause steering problems, and you don't have to worry about balancing them. of course a much better solution is panniers.

Michael Crumpton

re; RaverWild

A stylish trailer is expensive. The hard part about a homemade trailer is finding good low rolling resistance wheels.


I think it's a good idea if you happen not to have a rack or it's full. I do this every once in a while.

Just ride at a slower pace as you get home and you'll be fine. It's still faster than walking anyway.

Freyr Gunnar

Bad idea. I flipped over handlebars doing this. the bag(Pants from the cleaners on a hanger) swayed into the spokes.It hurt. Too hard to balance and counter swaying massses.


Many above have already mentioned stability, I could add the danger of the bags swinging into the wheel, jamming it, and over the bars. I can tell you I got my first ever ride in an ambulance this way. The black eyes and scabs over the face ( elbows, knees) were a continuing reminder.

I'm surprised this got through the Gizmag sanity checking.


It's amazing how many commentators have not paid attention to the article, or bothered to watch the video. One of the main advantages of these clever clips is that they change the orientation of the bags' swing so they DON'T swing into the front wheel. The video also demonstrates very clearly that it is entirely possible to ride safely with two heavy bags on the 'bars – I was much more impressed than I'd expected to be from just reading the article. Having said all that, I do agree that it's ideal to put extra loads on the steering system, especially if you give them maximum leverage! Personally, I use a rack, panniers and rucksack. However, I can see the attraction of these clips for someone who has to carry their bike up and down stairs and wants to keep it as light as possible when not shopping. Good luck to him!


pretty dumb idea

swinging weights are a bad idea on handlebars

a road bike already has brake hoods, which do the same thing, if you like living on the edge

and the bags will still swing into the wheel and fork


Plastic bags break or rip all too often. Even a basket attached to handlebars induces lousy steering. When one leans to either side the bags and the spokes may come in contact with each other. All in all this is not a great idea. Jim Sadler

Oh dearie me- what a silly idea.

OK, so the bags swing fore and aft rather than from side to side but it will have a bad effect on stability- esp when threading through traffic or round other obstructions.

What is wrong with a rack on the back and a basket on the front (for light idems only)? Also trailers are not particularly expensive these days, and lower the centre of gravity of the load considerably. The ideal solution would be a rack and a folding trailer that could be carried on the rack when not needed.


This idea is similar to the concept that if you are drunk, but you drive slowly, you will be ok. Get a backpack, a rear rack or panniers or a front basket. Those rigs which attach a dog's leash to your handlebars are also a plan for suicide.

Steve Swanson

Maybe you could design some for motorcycles and small cars, too.

Mighk Wilson

I agree with paulblez.

After watching the video I think that the naysayers questions have been answered.


Too much weight on front wheels. Can you say scallop potatoes, once you make a hard turn the bag of potatoes will be in your spokes. Been there done this.


While I would generally agree with the vast majority of voices against the crazy idea of hanging bags on bars, Paulblez has a good point: watching the video helps see the concept in action and does answer many of the questions like "Why not just a backpack?" He tells you -- Not big enough. Or "Why not a carrier rack?" Weight & stairs. Etc.

Finally, concerning The Hoff's remark about the placement of the brake levers puzzles me: there are at least two bikes being featured in the gallery and video and neither has brake levers out of position for easy reach and safe operation. I'm thinking that maybe my initial negative "common sense" reaction is unfounded ?

Still, davem2 seems to have the compelling argument. These things, right or wrong, if sold in the US without some additional "safety plate" or restraining system to make spoke contact 100% impossible, will probably end up in a lawsuit.


Highway Code 66 stated;

"not carry anything which will affect your balance or may get tangled up with your wheels or chain"

Thereforth not suitable for the UK.

Edward Scoble

seems useful to me...


No video to play on the page I'm looking at. I reloaded it a few times too. It does seem like you would have to buy exactly 4 bags that are even in weight every time. I have to admit that the brake situation looks different then I thought, but now that I look at it the rubber grips look unusually long and you would need that to have room for your hands because the bag holders take up room.

The Hoff

That bit about changing the orientation of the swing is a flat out lie, anyone can understand that if they look at the physics of it.

I occasionally hook bags on the end of my handlebars like this to get shopping home in an emergency and it is a nightmare to ride - it is incredibly hard to control the bike and totally unsafe.

The only reason he is riding the bike easily in the video is because the bags have almost no weight in them. Did anyone notice what his 'shopping' contained? Toilet rolls and potato crisps!

(Notice he effortlessly carries all four bags on a single finger and then when putting them on the hooks there is so little weight that he can hook a bag on one side only without it spinning the device around the bars.)

I think the marketing of this idea is pretty deceitful, Kickstarter should have policies against this sort of thing.

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