Archive for October, 2010

Hemp Pannier Details

Posted: October 29, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,






Hemp Bike Panniers

Posted: October 29, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,
Getting some of the new bike panniers made.  
We’ve been playing with stencil graphics,

making the hooks, 

we finished the first real pair.


Marty Beau came by and took some great photos, sewed a little, and learned how to set rivets.  Our friend Lauren comes over to sew with us, she is learning the zigzag machine. 

Adding hardware 



An almost-finished bag 


This cheap Chinese plastic shit is so cheap, we can sell it at third-world prices and still make billions!

Zeke and I recently went on a Wheeled Migration bike tour along the California coast between Montara and Santa Cruz. We had incredible weather and visited organic farms along the way. This is a pic of our bike parking and campground at Pie Ranch, an organic farm that grows ingredients for pies. We had a demo in the morning of how they stone grind their wheat fresh for the pies they make with school children. And then we ate it with pancakes. Yum.

 We took our rug rat, Ezra, on the back of Zeke’s bike; the little guy loved it. 


Ezra was so excited by the new sights, I had to be very creative to get him to eat his meals.


 Our last night we camped at Freewheelin’ Farm in Santa Cruz. Three farmers run a small farm which delivers it’s CSA shares by bicycle. Zeke and I were excited to see they use an attractive blue irrigation hose. When Zeke asked one of the partners, Amy Courtney, if they had any damaged hose, she brought us to a pile of hose bound for the dumpster. Oh lucky day!


Here’s Amy on the left, and Lisa, staff of Wheeled Migration, on the right. You can see the farm in the background. Wow, they are right on the ocean and the air was so alive.  


Here’s a shot of the farmers at work. 


When we got home, I laid out the hose on the lawn and washed it with a hose. 



This new blue hose felt to me like the perfect weight to make another suitcase. I’ve been wanting to try a bag big enough to be suitable for a long weekend, for someone that packs a lot of stuff. Here’s the “Pablo” overnight bag in progress, named after our friend Pablo, who needs to take several pairs of shoes on every trip.


And here’s the finished bag. Freewheelin’ hose makes up the sides, along with a fire hose strip (in light blue). Army surplus webbing makes up the handles and strap, and the middle of the bag is a soft, supple piece of scrap leather. Salvaged zippers finish it off. It measures 22″ long, 14″ wide and 14″ tall. It’s quite a bit bigger than anything I’ve made so far, and I think with an adjustment here or there, we’ve got a great new bag to add to our line. Stay tuned for matching pairs of large and small overnight bags.



Posted: October 24, 2010 in Uncategorized
In the woods yesterday I came across a strange beast.  It was rode hard and put away wet – I still couldn’t tell you if it was alive or dead.  Maybe buried by snow by now, or, perhaps someone will jumpstart it on Monday and drive it home? 










Here is a shot taken from the top of it.


What does this have to to with making bags?  I (Zeke) pay my bills as a Geographer.  One of my clients is the Sacramento River Watershed Program.  They are paying me to find and tell (you) stories about the lands that drain to the Sacramento River.  Lands like these.     

The New Hemp Pannier

Posted: October 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
People have asking us for bicycle panniers for as long as we have been making bags.  I have avoided them for just as long.  After relying on 4 incredible Overland panniers for nine months in 1997, I have felt like making panniers was a lot like making a backpack that someone might use to hike the PCT – a lot goes into a good pack, and people put an enormous amount of trust into this kind of gear.

So I have been prototyping.  Michelle Wurlitzer asked for a pair of bags for her grand bike adventure, and we made her a pair.  They were really hard to make, and I wasn’t thrilled with how they turned out, nor excited about her taking them on a huge tour.  She has a credit for a new and improved pair when she comes back to town – she is our first team rider.

Having an event to prepare for – Wheeled Migration’s Bicycle Harvest  – is motivating me to get going to produce enough bike-related bags to do a show.  Ryan Laine called last night to see if we needed help sewing.  I told him “I don’t know what I am making, or how to make it yet, so probably not”.  

After 4 prototypes, I have something that we can produce and improve upon.  


Here is the main panel of our new hemp pannier – it is basically a scaled up version of the toolbelts that we have been making. 


A friend at the county fire department was glad to hear that we could recycle their old hose.  They had been dumpstering it, and were glad to see it re-used.  This is a piece of ‘LDH’ – large diameter hose.  It connects a fire truck to a hydrant, or stiffens a pannier so the bag won’t sway and hit your spokes. 


Finding off-the-shelf hooks to attach the bag to the rack has been hard, and it isn’t really our style to buy hardware off the shelf.  I got some scrap metal plate cut, and am bending them by hand.  I was using brass, which looked beautiful, but it doesn’t seem worthy. 


The mechanism.


We love rivets, all kinds of them. 


Collage.  Zipper scraps from one of Erika’s projects, Carhartt pantlegs, army shirt camo, and a little fire hose. I have a lot of these pieces from fiddling around over the last few months, so this project should use some of them up.


These bags are meant to get a little shaggy.



Zipper to nowhere.  The brass grommets are leftovers from the hemp’s previous life as a mondo German Army Duffel Bag.



The lid is a challenge- it feels like the culmination of everything we have learned in the last few years.  Want something big enough to cover a bulging load, but not sloppy when the bag is closed.  It still needs some work.  Have been studying the construction on my old Overland bags – they really are works of art.  I feel humbled by all of the amazing Butte County bagmakers that have come before.  


The hemp is fairly water resistant.   


Took many hours.  Planning to make as many as I can by next weekend – they are a lot of work!

Autumn Bike Love

Posted: October 20, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
Wondering where you are going to put your chapstick, iphone, flask, cookies, and cigarettes while you are pedaling to Wheeled Migration’s Bicycle Harvest Festival in your skintight leopard-skin bodysuit?  We are looking out for you!  We’ll be selling some of our new bike bags at Grub at the start of the ride, and also at the event in the orchards.  Here is a sneak preview.
Erika’s handlebar bag – made from used irrigation hose that we got from Freewheelin’ Farm, in Santa Cruz.



Styley zipper!  This is really nice material to work with – not too bulky, and it doesn’t fray much when we cut it.


Barrel bag 


Fire hose ends 


Handmade brass hooks for panniers 


Brass is from a door kickplate from the ReStore 


Back of pannier detail – center strip is LDH – large-diameter hose, black hose for armor.  Both recycled for Butte County Fire Department. 


Pop-rivets are backed by brass tabs inside of the bag.  



Prototype simple pannier made from birdseed bag.  This material is fun, but doesn’t hold up well enough to sunlight for us to want to sell many made from it – the sun will rot it eventually.  These bags will be made out of salvaged truck-tarp material or hemp canvas duffel bags.


Birds Delight



Just a basic bag.  Big enough for a 12 pack of Pale Ale, or a hoodie, a raincoat, a blanket, a bottle of wine, and a bucket of fried chicken.


Onward – see you at the Bicycle Harvest (bring CASH)!