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August 31, 2014 2:05 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to start biking to my yoga studio. I need to bring my own mat. Talk to me about what works. Difficulty: trail-a-bike hitch precludes a cargo rack. Is there another way to carry it on my bike? I'm also open to mat bags that play nicely with riding a bike.

In the mornings I drop my son off at his school, with him behind me on a trail-a-bike. Lately I have been going back home, getting in the car, and then driving to the yoga studio which is maybe a mile from my son's school. If I could carry my mat with me on my bike, I could just keep going on my bike straight to the studio.

I had to take my cargo rack off my bike to install the hitch for the trail-a-back, so I have no rack to strap it onto. The hitch also precludes something like this. I've looked at some bags online, like this one and this one, but wanted to query the hive mind before dropping any money on this. Any bag would have to carry more than just the mat, since it would displace my current small messenger bag, so the simple strap thing won't work. I'd prefer to spend $50 or less, but if you can convince me that spending more is worth it in a meaningful way, I'm open to it.
posted by ambrosia to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If I were you, I would consider a small front rack or basket for your bike. My preference is always to put the load on the bike, not the rider. The mat could be strapped perpendicular to the rack. If you have V brakes or cantilevers, you might be able to use this Nashbar front rack or a similar product.

What kind of bike do you have? It's possible that you could use a bikepacking bar bag, or even just roll up the mat and strap it below the handlebars, as long as that doesn't interfere with your grip on the bar and the brakes, like this guy does with his tent.

Another possibility: mount a rack on the trail-a-bike, if you would take it with you from the school to the yoga studio. You wouldn't want a big load on it, but I would imagine that a yoga mat shouldn't affect the handling that much. You might be able to get your current rack to work, possibly with longer rack stays and a couple of P clamps to attach the rack stays to the trail-a-bike seatstays.
posted by brianogilvie at 3:00 PM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hadn't followed your first link before answering. I bet that yoga mat roll could be attached to the trailabike's seat, and possibly to the handlebars.
posted by brianogilvie at 3:03 PM on August 31, 2014

Is there any reason you wouldn't get one of those that slings over your back? That's what i normally do (one like this.
posted by waylaid at 3:35 PM on August 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would go with the sling. The mat should be a negligible weight and it shouldn't be uncomfortable to ride a short way with.

Also, ask the studio if you could store your mat there. Tell them your situation, I'll bet they would.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:03 PM on August 31, 2014

Two DIY versions that should work for your situation and will cost only a few $. You could secure it to your small messenger bag with a strap or two, so it feels like you're carrying one item.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:04 PM on August 31, 2014

Could you use your current messenger bag like this? No special straps or anything, I just tighten up a bit to make sure it doesn't shift in transit. Otherwise I'd be inclined to try something like this etsy product.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:12 PM on August 31, 2014

I had messenger bag made with the cinch straps at the bottom extra long. That way I can attach my bag at the bottom. Works really well and doesn't slide around too much like the sling type mat bags can.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 8:21 PM on August 31, 2014

Take an old pair of jeans and cut off one leg. Put your mat in the leg. Use the other leg to make your strap. You just want one strap worn messenger bag style. Fashion pockets out of the strap.

Also, some yoga studios will store your mat for you but cannot guarantee its safety.
posted by myselfasme at 8:52 PM on August 31, 2014

Most of the people I see biking to/from yoga around here either let the rolled mat stick up vertically out of their pannier (not an option for you without a rear rack) or wear a standard yoga mat bag or sling across their backs.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:31 PM on September 1, 2014

I've installed a few Wald baskets for people shuttling yoga mats. They're available (or at least to order) in most bike shops for ~$20. Add installation and you're probably below your budget. Finish with a bungee cord or elastic net and you're good to go.
posted by asterisk at 6:09 PM on September 1, 2014

If your mat is thin, you can fold it into a square-ish shape and put it in a normal backpack/large messenger bag. It's a little tricky until some creases start to set, but after a few times it will fold right up. (I think it will also slightly shorten the life of your mat because of the creases, but not by all that much.)
posted by anaelith at 2:58 AM on September 3, 2014

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