I may tell that story some other time, but for now I wanted to describe a couple of new methods I used for carrying stuff, on the odd chance that other bike tourists might also find them useful.
On past tours, I've carried snack foods--the essential fuel that keeps a bike tour going--in my shirt pockets or pants pockets or saddlebag or some combination of all three. I could never remember exactly where they were or how much food I had left, and once or twice I ran out of food altogether. That's no laughing matter when it happens far from the nearest convenience store.
This time, I tried a different approach. The basis of the Feed Bag is a tough cotton bag, measuring about 7 x 12", with a hem at the top for a drawstring. I bought a dozen of these a year or so ago--they're some kind of Italian military surplus equipment bag--but anyone with a sewing machine and some suitable material could whip one up in a few minutes.
Next, I found a piece of nylon webbing with a quick-release plastic buckle and stitched it to a flat side of the bag, a couple of inches below the top, so I could fasten it around my waist with the strap against my body and the mouth of the bag flopped down over it, as pictured below. I also removed the original fabric-tape drawstring and replaced it with a piece of ⅛” shock cord. I tied a knot in the cord so the mouth of the bag was mostly closed, but still open by an inch or so.
With the bag buckled in place around my waist, positioned a little behind my hip pocket, it was easy to reach back with my right hand, push my thumb, index finger, and middle finger into small opening, and spread it open enough to insert my whole hand. More often than not I would stop briefly to unwrap whatever I pulled out, but it still made refueling on the go a lot more convenient. And just touching the bag tells you how much food you have left.
Of course, if you tour in a bike jersey with the usual back pockets, this may be redundant. But I prefer to wear regular-looking clothes on bike tours, the better to blend into to the everyday world. And if you put on a jacket or wind shell over your jersey, you don't have to go rooting around under it to find a candy bar.
When that time comes, put a marble-sized pebble in one corner of the plastic grocery bag containing your food, and hitch the string with the toggle around it. (No doubt there’s a name for this rudimentary hitch--it’s too simple to be called a knot--but I don’t know what it is. Have a look at the photo of the marker and parachute cord in the photo below if you’re not sure what I mean.) The pebble keeps the loop of cord from slipping off the corner. If you can’t find a pebble, you could tie a knot in the corner of the bag instead, but the pebble is easier.
Tie another knot in the top of the bag to keep your stuff from falling out, and use the same hitch to secure the string that's connected to the strap around the mouth of the bag.
Put your head and one arm through the strap and adjust the bag so it hangs near the small of your back. Take the piece of stick (or fancy-pants handmade toggle) and push it through one of the belt loops on the opposite side of your pants. That prevents the bag from rotating around to the front. (Wait, what? You’re bike touring in stretchy bike shorts with no belt loops? Gosh, maybe you could sew a small loop onto the waistband. I’m no help here--I always wear lightweight zip-leg pants with liner shorts under them.) It may take a few tries to get the length of the strings just right, but do that at home. Once you have the rig set up, it never needs to be adjusted again.
That’s it! It’s even a pretty comfortable carry, assuming you can arrange things so no sharp corners are digging into your back. Transporting a frozen cake this way feels really good on a hot afternoon.