How can I attach maps (or any routing tool) to the handlebars of one of the Boris Bikes (i.e. the 'rental' bikes in the Barclay's Bike Hire Scheme) in London?

I tried cobbling something together:

Heath Robinson Boris Bike iPhone mount

but I kept dropping my smart-phone (it nearly got run over by a taxi!) and to be honest the screen's too tricky to follow on busy London streets. I've ended up just using a hiking map holder and the print-out of the suggested route from their cycle journey planner:

Cycling a Boris Bike from Kings Cross to the RCA through Hyde Park

but this feels a tad eccentric.

As you can see from the first of those pictures the handlebars are not an easy shape or cross-section to mount to. They are based on the Bixi cycle rental system that operates in Montreal and other Canadian cities, if that helps.

  • 1
    Put the phone in your pocket and check it when you're stopped at lights? It isn't exactly safe to be peering at a small map while you're rolling along ...
    – Unsliced
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 16:16
  • Isn't that what satnavs do in cars though?
    – dumbledad
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 20:21
  • 1
    On my motorcycle I have a tank bag with a plastic "map pouch" that I put my phone in when I need directions to someplace I have never been to. Its a droid and the plastic still allows me to operate it (if I take my gloves off). Putting it in a pocket and looking at it every few minutes is way too cumbersome on a motorcycle since you need both hands to be at a stop (clutch/brake (Yes I am talented enough to only require one hand, but there are times when the red light just isn't long enough to get it back in the pocket))
    – BillyNair
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 16:18

3 Answers 3


Phone Attachment: I would need to get better views of the front of the bike. Probably fab something starting with an existing mount (looks like you started down that direction).

Map Case: It looks like you already have a map case, if not, do a search. If you take one that will fit more or less in the gap on the bar and add some lengths of double sided velcro you should be in business. May require a bit of playing around to find the best attachment points.

I'd start with medium loops at the bottom circling the bars about where they attach to the "stem area" (not a real stem on the Boris bikes) and a bigger loop going around the front plate. If this tends to slide, you can add pieces of velcro at the back of the top strap coming down at an angle (think a 'K' rotated 90 degrees to the right) and securing underneath the map case.

Once you have it figured, you can wrap the velcro that is not actively sticking anywhere with some old jeans and run the sewing machine across. This will help keep it all clean and make it so you aren't spending all the time unsticking it from itself.

Searches: 'bike map case' 'velcro cable tie roll, 3/4" x 5 yards"'

  • Yeah, just take your existing map case, or one like it, and velcro it to the bars. If you don't have access to a sewing machine and don't want to work your fingers raw sewing by hand, a tailor's shop will permanently attach the velcro for you, once you figure out the configuration. Commented May 17, 2012 at 11:10

I had a big clip that was supposed to be used to accept a ball attachment for like your windshield suction cup style cell phone holder and you could just clip it to something like a basket or a laptop screen or whatever. It had a strong spring and could be used to mount to that book holder basket thing, but for the life of me I can't find anything similar!! I did a google image search for "motorcycle cell phone holder" it sent back a HUGE list of things, some that might work (also googled "boris bikes" to see what I was dealing with: http://bit.ly/JhYO6a).

I actually like your contraption, and the holder seems like it could work if you got some hair bands, those elastic rubber band things girls use in their hair: http://bit.ly/JhZ7xI and wrapped a few around it. Kind of Ghetto, but it should keep your phone out from under taxis!!


Updated answer: The "Finn" phone holder: https://getfinn.com/. Cheaper at Amazon than direct, though smaller choice of colours.

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