On a whim, I made this guy.
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.
Actually, at this point it’s mostly less than two months.
My original plan was to leave the Continental US around the first week of May. However, I might have to leave a week or two sooner – time will tell. The most important thing part of when I leave is allowing myself enough time to reach as far north as I wish for by June. If I don’t allow for enough time, I’ll risk potential snowy/cold times as I venture back south.
Hectic is the best word to explain my status. Not a moment of my current life isn’t busy with something. Being the person that I am, and valuing quality over speed, cost and quantity, I’ve spent incredible amounts of time researching gear for this trip. I wanted to purchase one, and have it last, and I think I’ve done a superb job thus far. Because of this, I’m going to start a sort of ‘gear review’ section of this site. When I say I’ve spent ample amounts of time doing this research, I mean countless hours across multiple weeks have gone into deciding each and every item. Of what has arrived, I’m overly pleased with, and I have no doubts about their further pleasure and strength. There’s something to be said for quality. [Thomas] Stevens rode ~13,000 miles on the same ordinary cycle he left home on, and only had mechanical issues *ONCE* on his whole trip around the world (that took nearly three years). The one time he did have that mechanical problem is most likely due to the abuse / lack of care by some foreign officials. With the technology we have today, don’t you think we deserve things that could last us a lifetime. I know I’m sick and tired of material objects with a half life (which happens to be often months, rather than years or decades).
The bulk of my purchasing is done, although I do need to find a few more things to finish up my fashions. Just this week I came to the idea of how to modernize my saddle, allowing a modern saddle be easily installed or removed if necessary. I’ve had to go against my initial plan for baggage and resort to a more modern approach; panniers are on their way (and will be attached at the spine). I still would love to have a ‘large’ MIP bag (Multum in Parvo – much in little), but with time constraints and lack of venues for getting one, I’ll have to wait on that. After the baggage and saddle work, I have to reinvent the wheel with the help of some local Wheelmen, and then I believe I am mechanically sound for the trip. One of my final tasks is to finalize a mapped plan, including rations for the “end-goal” (including the purchase of said rations). The one part of the trip that worries me is that ‘last’ (I quote it because it’s more like the middle, as I have to head back afterward). Food and travel will be tight, but I have no doubts about being able to pull it off.
Today with the help of the brilliant father of mine, I fashioned a new seat post, of sorts, for the ordinary. This allows me to mount a modern day saddle to the wheel (something I slightly worried over considering the possible extent of such a trip). One forgets what happens to leather over 40 years, but is quickly reminded when using a brand new leather saddle – one’s posterior reminds you have such things though. After finishing the mount and getting it dialed in (and riding it a nice 5 mile jaunt), I disassembled the machine. I’ve been worried for some time about the missing paint and wears, and I’m taking it to our plater tomorrow to see if it can get a new jacket of nickel within a 2-3 week window. After that, the pannier brackets and rebuilding the wheels are all that remain.