Long Distance Cyclist
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: I ride where the thylacine roamed!
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I know you've found your answers, but I will mention this ...
If you go to one of the many dollar stores that have cropped up all over North America, and possibly other countries too, you can often find bags of various shapes, sizes, and materials. I picked up one for $2 which compacts down into itself (and zips together to keep it together). In the compact form it is practically flat and about 4" long and 2.5" wide. When I pull it out, it can be either a full-sized tote bag (like the cloth grocery bags you can buy if you don't want to use plastic grocery bags), or a backpack. It's got handles and shoulderstraps. It is made of a light nylon material, so I probably couldn't haul anything too heavy around in it ... but it would work for some grocery shopping at the end of a ride, or a trip to the beach on a day off the bicycle, or something.
Incidentally, I've also picked up several other bags of various sorts from various dollar stores to keep my toiletries in, to keep my dishes in, to keep items separated from each other (i.e. clean clothes vs. dirty clothes), and so on. I even got a collection of waterproof bags there for documents and things like that.
If some of you haven't taken a trip through your local dollar store lately, you might have a look ... a lot of the stuff in those places is junk, but they also stock a lot of odds and ends which other stores don't necessarily carry which can work well for things like on cycling tours!