Gear / Reviews
This bag was too big for the Eagle, and a minor mishaps left me wondering what to do with it. Final product, though prototype-ishly produced.
Part of my preparation for RAGBRAI included coming up with a way to carry my water / goods, without having to fill up my jersey pockets (I hate things on my back if I can help it). My first attempt at a bag utilized a new design and stitch process than I’ve used in the past, and I must say, I was very pleased with the outcome. That said, it was very much a prototype, with a few mistakes in stamping the holes, and the bag turned out to be too tall for the Eagle; when riding it, someone with long legs / tall knees hits the bottom of the bag. Additionally, because the bag is so tall, if it is not stuffed full, it shapes a little strange on the eagle, due to only having one single support rod in the back (the downtube of the bike itself).
I ventured into a shorter bag, hoping the outcome would be half as good as the first. Much to my pleasure, it was, and then some. I think this bag is even more stylish on both the Eagle and touring bikes (or rather, bikes with racks). On a modern bike, it looks like a nice sized tool bag, uniquely sized and shaped – I was very pleased.
As well, when I put both bags on a touring bike, they look great together. I could easily see making two of the bigger ones, and two of the smaller and doing a fully loaded tour on them. Once RAGBRAI is complete, and I am back in the safety (and heat) of my own state, I will craft a few extras of these, and sell them to those interested.
This is a long time coming (is 6 days really a long time? I guess it probably is.). An explanation!
From Seattle I had approximately three days until the border, and I was out of new replacement spokes. 1,000 miles traveled and I’d used well over 20 spokes – probably closer to 30. After having narrowed down the reason behind the breaking, assessing the solution was next in line. The reason was a coupled problem. Kennedy cycles are fantastic city rides. I still love the bike very much, and am so glad to have it. Throw on another 40-50 pounds and it starts to have a small issue. That small issue stems from a design flaw (oversight, ignorance – whatever you wish to call it). Center drilled holes (in the rim) make it hard for the spokes to have a nice straight line from the hub to the nipple. A slight bend sometimes occurs, and this eventually becomes the weak point in that single spoke. As well, the bicycle only has 52 spokes, when most ordinary cycles had somewhere between 70 and 100 spokes. This alleviates the spoke-line issue a small bit, and also adds multiplicative strength to the wheel.
Why is this such an issue then, considering I just said it wasn’t a big deal? Well. Breaking spokes on the road is a complete mind game. Breaks aren’t a huge deal. You get off. Replace it. Check trueness. Continue riding. All in all it takes me about 3 minutes to replace both a spoke and nipple as well as thread, jive, weave and maze the new spoke into the lacing pattern. When you break a spoke, it’s like both of your tires going flat at the same time (on a bicycle with pneumatic tires, that is!). It’s kind of a bummer. When the second spoke of the day breaks though, it’s like getting 95 flats at the same time (even though it only takes a few minutes to fix!). It’s just a mental deterrent. Spokes rarely if ever break while in the city without bags. Get on some 4-8% grades with 40-50 pounds of gear and the stress level overdoes it.
So where’s that put the Bygone Bicyclist? Well, he has a few plans up his sleeve that hopefully prove to be fruitful. In short, I’m on a small break, pausing until I get my issues solved. Have I quit? Far from. Do I plan to finish this SF to AK journey? 100%, of course. Do I still plan to do it by penny farthing? Is that a serious question? That’s the only way I can fathom traveling. Having completed 1,000 miles on my Kennedy up the Pacific Coast states, it’s clearly proven that I can complete this journey. It’s a matter of mechanics at this point. As soon as the problem is solved, you can bet you rear I will be back pedaling towards The Last Frontier. I honestly cannot wait to get more miles done. Since Seattle, I’ve taken a train home (to Phoenix), where I am planning out my return to the road with a stronger Wheel. Don’t write me off. I’m far from finished.
So Garrett was assisting me in getting some more “meat” on my hub spindle. In doing so, the torch welder fried the grease and shield of my fork bearing. I rode to a bearing shop to get it replaced, but had the problem of getting my cotter back into the crank arm. Hammering does little good, and it would just make the problem worse, and back to point one. Earlier in the week I met Matt from http://divideby1.com, a passerby that needed to see the penny farthing up close. We chatted a bit, and he offered his help if I needed it while I was in town. I gave him a call at this point, unsure what else I could do. To Springfield, OR the cycle went, and he and his buddy Ike started fabricating a tool to press the cotters in and out. At the end of the night, I had a fantastic tool, incredibly well made by two very skilled metalworkers/mechanics, and a full belly from Ike’s wife/girlfriend’s amazing dinner. Times like this reminds me that humanity does indeed have a chance – there ARE good people out there.
Tuesday I received my package from Mr. Tom Nostrant at Click-Stand. We had conversed over many emails, and finally believed to have come to a conclusion on a product that would work for my upcoming trip! He first contacted me wanting me to try out his product with my loaded ordinary, and I was happy to oblige. After finally having some time to play with the stand itself and loading up my bike, I can safely say that this will be a fantastic addition to my tool arsenal this spring & summer.
I had very often questioned an easy way to go about making a stand for the penny, but things have been so busy I never had the chance. This is better than the best solution. This happened at the *perfect* time, and there couldn’t be a better product. Not only does a Click-Stand weigh next to nothing, folds up into a tiny, self contained area, but it also conforms to what you tell it. A conventional kick stand works in one fashion. A Click-Stand allows you to move it around, get it situated and change its position depending on the load of your bike. An unloaded bike has a much different center of gravity than that of a fully loaded bike (especially a high wheel!).
Today I loaded up my panniers and put them on Pene and played around with the Click-Stand. One I locked up the crank (to the fork blade with a Velcro cinch strap), the stand worked like a joy. I’m pleased to say that Tom is a joy to work with, and his product is a *must have* for any touring cyclist – penny farthing, safety cycle or even unicycle! It’s pretty safe to say that he will take the time to get you the right product and make sure it works for you. This is what businesses used to be built around; a stellar product and outstanding customer service. Hats off to people like Mr. Nostrant from Click-Stand who still tote great ethics (and products!) I highly recommend this product and company.