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Eric Abbott – DIY Front Trunk Bag and the C&O towpath/Great Allegheny Passage Tour

Two wheel Gear - C&O towpath Great Allegheny Passage Tour


Sometimes we get awesome bike mail from our customers that is too good not to share. Although this article features a lot of NON-Two Wheel Gear (including one company that has infamously taken our designs and used for their own good…Ahem. 

We think this project and email from Eric Abbott had a little bit of everything. It has a subtle bit of gear review, some inspiring bike touring shots (take for your own trip planning purposes) and shows an inventive new approach to mounting a front trunk bag.

We have been looking at various front bag solutions and think Eric has really nailed a new concept re-using an (ahem) existing bag. A lot of our customers are Do-It-Yourselfers (us included) and it’s valuable to share how concepts are born and existing products can be adapted for our individual use cases.

I hope you enjoy this inside look at Eric’s DIY design process and some of his touring experience on two wheels!

(if you have a project or experience you want to share on our blog, just email us at and we will be happy to spin the wheels with you!)


Hello Two Wheel Gear,
I thought you might want to see this project near completion, so here’s some context:

I commute every day in all weather to work at Seatac International Airport nearby, ’bout 16 miles round-trip. There are several short climbs on the route but that’s no big deal. I wear a uniform and the classic pannier 2.0 is perfectly suited for the transport task and is mounted on the rear rack.

A Nashbar-brand (sorry) trunk bag (This one is similar and available on Amazon) was permanently mounted to the front rack and carried my food for the day (a lot), rain pant, lock and cable, gloves, and rain cover, etc. Custom bracketry allowed mounting the (see-me/I see) lights on the front as any handlebar light beam would be occluded by the trunk bag.

Also, depending on the load requirements of the trip, combinations of forward, side-mount panniers could also be carried. This characteristic worked well for our trip on the C&O towpath/Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) tour two years ago, and for our NW loop tour from Seattle up through, and back from Victoria, BC. This was my Novara Safari touring rig before its theft (major bummer) two weeks ago:

Eric Abbott - Commuter bike set up

The C&O towpath/Great Allegheny Passage Tour

The Classic Pannier 2.0 easily carried my gear and three bottles of Barb’s wine.

Two Wheel Gear - Eric Abbott - Garment Pannier Bike Tour

Our stop for coffee and chow. Much of the ride was wet and the rain cover kept my gear dry.

Two Wheel Gear - Garment Pannier Rain Cover - Bike Tour

NW Bike Loop Tour

Barb and I prior to departure from Hogland House in Mukilteo, WA. The Classic Pannier 2.0 rolling like a champ.

Two Wheel Gear - Garment Pannier - Bike Tour

Back to the Trunk Bag project:

A new front (detachable) trunk bag for the Toughroad SLR. A removable bag hopefully reduces a thief’s perception of opportunity.

Two Wheel Gear - Giant - Commuter Bike

Side view. The catch, rail, and twist hooks on the lower floor of the trunk bag:

Two Wheel Gear - DIY Front Trunk Bag

Bottom view, standard parts and initial attachment:

Two Wheel Gear - DIY Front Trunk Bag - Rixen & Kaul TWIST

I borrowed a Lower Catch Slider from the Classic to get the positioning setup. What’s not present yet is a stiffener plate to hold the bag floor more rigid. I’ll probably move the slider rails outboard for additional lateral stability.

The bike rack configuration on the SLR:

Two Wheel Gear - DIY Front Trunk Bag - Commuter Bike

The parts mounting process consumed about 30 minutes. Standard stainless steel hardware was used throughout:

  • M4 x 12 Allen Head bolts
  • M4 x 14 Pan Head bolts
  • M4 Fender Washers
  • M4 Stop Nuts

Once the slider hooks arrive I’ll construct the light brackets (again) to get the lights installed. The advantage from this project using your wonderful parts is that I have additional flexibility on which bags I carry based on the load requirements of the trip.

I hope this article wasn’t too drawn-out. I used to blog about my racing and training some years ago and my writer’s tendency comes-out now and then.

Cheers from down here,

Eric Abbott
Two Wheel Gear - Bike To Work Guide

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  1. Sure would like to see the pics in the article… can I zip them to you or edit the post in some fashion?
    Cheers from down here,

    1. Yes please Eric! We didn’t even realize they weren’t showing. I guess they were just saved on my browser and everything looked good from my side, but in reality….No file source…D’oh! Yes, if you zip the photos and send them over, I will put them in! Thanks!

      1. Ok. I sent the .zip file to Reid email.

  2. Ahh, much better! Thanks for posting my project and short tour story!

    1. Sorry for the delay in getting those images updated Eric! It’s a great project and story! Thank you for sharing!

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