If I'm going out in the evening and don't want to carry a big pannier bag or rucksack, I keep my lights and whatever else in a small 'man-bag'. It's like a smaller version of a messenger bag: about 20 x 15 cm on a shoulder strap. I try to keep it towards my back rather than under my arm, to stop it swinging around, but invariably it slides out (especially on right-hand bends) and towards my front. If I leave it, it dangles under my chest and rubs on my knees as I pedal.

What can I do to keep it in place? I've tried shortening and lengthening the strap, and I've used it nearly empty or quite heavy, and it doesn't seem to make a difference.

  • 6
    You could probably use a carabiner and hook one side of the strap to your rear belt loop.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 21:03
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    I tried the over-the-shoulder bag and never liked it (and still don't understand why they're so popular with cyclists.) I use a backpack or a mid-sized saddle bag with no issue.
    – WTHarper
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 21:18
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    This question is not what I thought it would be about, from just reading the title. :) Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 21:59
  • @WTHarper I much prefer my panniers usually, but if I'm going out drinking in the evening they're a bit of a millstone to carry.
    – Dan Hulme
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 22:06
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    @DanHulme If you are confident in your style, a fanny pack has the same sort of on-the-go style but doesn't intrude quite as much as a backpack. However, you will be made fun of...
    – WTHarper
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 22:15

6 Answers 6


At the beginning of this video:


it looks like this bike messenger has an extra strap for his bag that comes up under his left arm to stabilize his load. Looks pretty neat, like it can be easily unsnapped to get the normal messenger bag access, and possibly be DIY-able.


Another late answer, but posting because I don't see it posted as a solution.

With a bag this small, I will wear a jacket over the bag and zip up the jacket, the bag may slide around a little, but not much and never to the front and no dangling.


Leave it at home.

Those bags are such a pain and not worth the effort. There are plenty of cool looking backpacks out there.

  • Got to agree. Unless you need that messenger style access, backpack is all around better. But backpacks are not as cool as messenger style bags right now.
    – obelia
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 16:39

Instead of adding an additional stabilizing strap as suggested by @obelia, you could wear the bag like a fanny pack, around your waist. I'm a big fan of this solution, and I proudly sport my fanny pack (or waist bag/ hip bag) on the regular. In addition to solving your over-the-shoulder-sliding dilemma, it also has the added advantages of 1) no sweaty back, and 2) no uneven wait distribution on your shoulders.


If it's an over the shoulder bag with no stabilizing strap coming up from under your other arm, it's not a suitable bag for carrying while riding a bike. You could always go the DIY approach and attach such a strap yourself, but if you'd rather not then use a different bag that's more suitable.


Late answer, but when I was a kid I had a leather satchel as a school bag. This was before backpacks were common.

It had a decent leather strap that could be worn across the body, or could be lengthened to do a full square lashing. Hard to describe but the satchel sat on the lower part of the back, and the strap went forward of both shoulders, and then behind the neck.

It bounces around if you run, but riding won't do that. Since the bag is aft of your backside it should be more aero than a backpack. The neck strap will help you stay more aero too.

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