Bicycle Handlebar Bag Buddy Makes Grocery Getting Easier

Back when I was in grade school, rockin’ my red and white Huffy and running to the local Publix to grab syrup and a gallon of milk to make pancakes on the weekend, getting home was a test of both leg speed and grip strength. Of course, I could have ridden my mom’s 10-speed mixte and put it in the kid’s seat bolted to the back, but, ya know, it was no red and white Huffy!

Had the Bag Buddy been around, I might have been able to add some blueberries and peanut butter to my haul.

Developed by Norwegian-American designer Nicholas Fjellberg Swerdlowe in New York City, the Bag Buddy uses hard rubber composite hooks that snap around your handlebar ends to change the angle of a grocery bag’s attachment point. This serves to minimize the bags’ left-to-right sway, keeping them away from the front wheel. They’re cheaper and easier to mount than front and rear racks, and when they’re not in use you can just clip them to your seat tube or throw ’em in a pack.

The project’s on Kickstarter, and a pledge of $20 gets you a pair in blue, black or orange. Higher amounts could get you a gastronomic bike tour around NYC with the Bag Buddy team and a custom painted pair of hooks. Pics below…


PDXFixed - 01/02/13 - 5:02pm

Too bad plastic bags are getting banned all over the place.

Gillis - 01/02/13 - 5:10pm

PDXFixed, you could still carry the typical reusable shopping bag, but no doubt it wouldn’t be as effective.

paulpalf - 01/02/13 - 5:14pm

Such a bad idea. A friend’s sister was riding with her handbag slung of the end of the bars, much like this.
Hand-bag meet spokes, cue re-constructive face surgery. Ouch.

djconnel - 01/02/13 - 5:23pm

What an amazingly dumb idea. There’s so many good ways to carry stuff when riding, end of the bars isn’t one of them.

EF - 01/02/13 - 5:25pm

Your basically attaching two pendulums to the end of you handbars. If the bags start swaying in opposite/any directions you’d better be a damn good rider.
I hate to be negative but these are death traps in my opinion.

MaLóL - 01/02/13 - 5:34pm

this gets the most stupid kickstarte project ever, which is not an easy task. So instead of putting the bags at the end of the bar, i can spend 20$ to do the same taks but just a bit worse and more unreliable? my godness. it’s just embarrasing even to look at it.

Greg - 01/02/13 - 5:46pm

You can tell the people who made these have either no common sense or no assets, because the liability they’re opening themselves up to is immense.

RUSTYDOGG - 01/02/13 - 5:48pm

Oh, finally a place to hang my helmet.
Makes just as much sense.

Emily - 01/02/13 - 6:17pm

Wow. Bad idea carried out badly. Have to have four equally loaded bags to even reach balance, not to mention the aforementioned bag in spoke issue. Hello back pack friends. Or, my trunk rack instead. Get the real quick release type, wham bam thank you ma’am.

NotAMachinist - 01/02/13 - 6:51pm

“to change the angle of a grocery bag’s attachment point. This serves to minimize the bags’ left-to-right sway,”

Right, because the physics of a swinging bag is all about which direction you hang it, not that it’s a pendulum. At what level of kickstarter pledge do you get a dental surgery crash insurance policy?

KJR - 01/02/13 - 7:02pm

Can you say “lawsuit”?

zwheels - 01/02/13 - 7:38pm

How do I start a Kickstart to stop this product from being made???? Dum dum dum dum dummmm..

Justin - 01/02/13 - 7:41pm

One might infer how well these work from the positions of the brake levers and the reflector in the image above.

jake - 01/02/13 - 7:42pm

I never make comments, but this thing is so stupid and wasteful that it warrants a stamp of disapproval from me.

Jim - 01/02/13 - 8:39pm

I’m usually annoyed by the number of “this product isn’t for me so it’s stupid” posts, but god… stop right now.

Working at a bike shop for a few years, I’ve seen quite a number of “bag on bars” falls, including some broken bones. Do not encourage this stupid behavior. You will get sued out of existence and deserve it.

seriously? - 01/02/13 - 8:50pm

Seriously stupid project.

Too bad it takes a kickstarter account to comment.

But from the video comment about safety. . .(seriously?) “bag buddy distributes weight evenly on your bicycle.”

Really? The amount of crap you put in the bags distributes the weight not the foolish clips on the bars…..a roll of TP in one bag and sixer of brew in the other isn’t weight evenly distributed.

and on and on. . . . .hey…let’s see that example of hard turns (and short stops) with something other than tissues in the bags. . . .

and lastly. . .the point about putting the bags at the ends of the bars…woohoo….let’s amplify the pendulum on a lever effect! wheeee!!

bk - 01/02/13 - 9:08pm

@ zwheels
I’ll pledge to that!

Stratosfear - 01/02/13 - 9:39pm

Half serious question. If you donate to the kick-start for this product could you be found liable in inevitable injury suits that will follow?

parenthetic guy - 01/02/13 - 10:20pm

Stratosfear has a great point. Any legal opinions out there?

Mike - 01/02/13 - 11:21pm

Yes, this is hilariously stupid. But I can understand it, since I too used to carry grocery bags on my bars. Did so for years until last July, when I accidentally sucked one into my front wheel while riding to the Wednesday night crit. I had the worst wreck I can remember in an entire lifetime of bike racing…

Ron G. - 01/03/13 - 12:12am

My wife doesn’t remember the helicopter ride or the three days in the hospital. She didn’t know what happened to her. We knew the EMTs, and they picked up her bike at the scene and left it on our back porch. When we finally got home from the hospital, I found it there, with a plastic shopping bag full of swim gear jammed between the tire and fork.

dave - 01/03/13 - 12:13am

I do that with 30packs of beer all the time. It’s awesome. The danger makes it more awesome.

Rob E. - 01/03/13 - 9:32am

Wow, I guess I’m the only one who likes this idea. Sure, there are a lot better ways to carry stuff, and, yes, you have to be careful. But as someone usually travels with way more carrying capacity than necessary, it still seems like my wife manages to pick the days when I have no carrying capacity to ask me to swing by the grocery store or the Mexican restaurant on the way home. So do I say, “No, I left the trunk bag at home today.” or do I ride home with a plastic bag either looped over the handlebars or carried in one hand? I’ve done both. But a way to carry the bags without me actively hanging on to them sounds safer than me trying to steer, work the brakes, shift, and hold the bags in place. So while I appreciate that it’s not the best way to carry stuff, I also appreciate that sometimes you find yourself with a bag of junk and no good way to carry it. A couple of these is certainly more appealing than the one-handed ride home, or keeping my baskets on my bike permanently, just in case.

Jennifer A. - 01/03/13 - 10:14am

This product is a great idea, and with most bicycle accessories you as the customer assume responsibility.

From a legal standpoint:

The Bag Buddy users are fully aware of the risks and hazards connected with the use of the product, including physical injury and elect to voluntarily participate in its activity, knowing that the associated physical activity may be hazardous to its users and to property.

Hope that helps

EF - 01/03/13 - 11:39am

A solution would be to just stuff one of the tote/drawstring back packs under your seat between the rails.

Oderus - 01/03/13 - 1:09pm

I’m gonna Kickstart bags of my own poo. That seems to be what most folks are coming up with. Seeing how I’m full of it, I might as well convince someone else that mine is worth investing in.

uglyyeti - 01/03/13 - 1:38pm

Jennifer A, that “legal standpoint” is extremely porous wouldn’t hold an ounce of water in court. Better get a lawyer to look that over before you even give a sample away, much less sell one.

McClain M - 01/03/13 - 1:38pm


Gwiz - 01/03/13 - 1:51pm

I can only imagine the gnar when the first hipster with 3 inch bars try’s using these… So much for bringing those bags away from the front fork and wheel.

Walt - 01/03/13 - 3:30pm

It might be time for Bikerumor to instigate a “no kickstarter” policy. Seriously, they’re pretty much all terrible. I guess it’s entertaining, though.

jimmy - 01/03/13 - 3:39pm

“So do I say, “No, I left the trunk bag at home today.” or do I ride home with a plastic bag either looped over the handlebars or carried in one hand?”

You do neither. If you regularly find yourself in this position (as you said you do) you get a rack and panniers or buy a cargo/utility bike or get a large backpack. One panic stop or wobble and your teeth are in the curb. Nothing is worth that risk. As one example, Kona makes the Minute (literally a mini Ute) for exactly these sorts of city riding applications.

Psi Squared - 01/03/13 - 4:21pm

The answer when the wife ask you to stop by the store or the Mexican restaurant when you don’t have a backpack, rack, or panniers available is, “Honey, can you please do it? I’ve got nowhere to put that stuff.” Simple.

glenn - 01/03/13 - 4:36pm

This is a seriously stupid innovation. Panniers!!!, back pack or even a motor vehicle for the grocery run.
There are loads of good reasons (illustrated above) which strongly point to the conclusion that this is a seriously dumb product which places a cyclist at risk.
Something else that concerns me, is a great site but to endorse this product by highlighting it on the site – not good. Any one with a gram of common sense can see that.

Rob E. - 01/03/13 - 5:34pm

I have begged off of carrying stuff home when I don’t feel like it’s a good idea. And I would never ask anyone else to do something they felt was unsafe, but I have noticed this when anyone talks about about bike safety: The bare minimum safety requirements are whatever the person speaking does. Anything less is foolhardy. Often anything more is overkill. Everyone has the perfect level of safety nailed down, not just for themselves, but for everyone.
Sure, there are better ways to carry stuff. I endorse them. I use them. I sometimes leave the house without them. I don’t think this is a product that wants to replace anyone’s touring gear. But l know I’m not the only one to bike home from the store with a bag that he didn’t have anywhere to stow. I at least have the Kickstarter guy for company. Even though there seems to be a vocal set who feels that it is certain death to carry a grocery bag home on your handlebars, I know it’s not an uncommon practice for some people. This is a product for those people. To make it easier. Maybe a little safer even. For the ones who haven’t already died from reckless grocery bag portaging, that is.

Jefferson - 01/03/13 - 5:50pm

Bad bad bad idea!!!!

TheMan - 01/03/13 - 5:57pm

I’ve had Chinese take-out ordered to my office for 20 years, in the rain, snow, you name it, and those delivery guys have never spilled a drop. I bet they laugh at this gadget (and his overly-tight hipster jeans).

Mindless - 01/03/13 - 6:53pm

Idiotic idea. That is what racks and baskets are for. Or is it spoiling your hippie fixie too much?

Just a stupid, stupid, stupid way to ride. At least he has a front brake in that photo.

Jason - 01/03/13 - 6:56pm


Kickfarter - 01/03/13 - 9:41pm

Not only is this a bad idea but also without doubt the worst piece I have ever seen on this site to date.

Jake - 01/03/13 - 10:19pm

why dont u just wear a backpack? i find that stupid

guhruh - 01/04/13 - 8:24am

from a legal standpoint, nobody is going to sue Nicholas unless his parents have $$$. things change if he sell to dealers. however: point is I have been shopping for years with my bags hanging from my handlebar, but the again I also carry my iPhone w/o bag, protector, sleeve, security-case and my commuter-bike doesn’t have fenders and my pants no belt. guess I was not addressed and should no comment.

Brett - 01/04/13 - 1:14pm

Two things:

1. I’m pretty sure riding in NYC with anything dangling off the bars like this is illegal.

2. We have a customer here that is a lifelong cyclist that broke his neck riding with bags hanging off the bars when they went into his front wheel.

It’s also illegal here to ride on the sidewalk, or the wrong way on a one way like he does through this whole video. But I guess that’s beside the point.


Rosscoe - 01/04/13 - 5:57pm

This product was introduced to the market by facial reconstructive surgeons!!!!

I’m dying over here. Really, this product is too funny!

Peter - 01/04/13 - 6:40pm

Danger, Run and Hide,
I did not read all the comments but I still have the scars on my face and knuckles from doing my “lip stand”
36 years ago when the plastic bag with my McDonalds uniform found its way between my fork and spokes.
The idea gives me shivers.

Erik - 01/06/13 - 1:48pm

Let’s teach the creators of the “Bag Buddy” a few new pieces of bike slang:

“Rear Rack”

Ideas like this are the kind you come up with when you fail highschool physics. Don’t be a tool, stay in school!

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