A Handlebar bag for Ron and Cindy

Posted: April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

I just finished a bag for our friend Ron, who is a bike mechanic, pacifist, former Marine, and man of action. Ron is passionate about bikes as a solution to oil-driven war and violence, and has made building low-cost bikes his life’s work. He has also ridden his bike across the country several times on rallies to protest war and militarism.

Ron Bikes 4 Peace

Ron left Chico yesterday to ride on part of a cross-country tour that is being led by Cindy Sheehan, who became a major voice in the antiwar movement after losing her son in the Iraq war. The ride is called Tour de Peace, and it is a fundraiser for charities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ron is riding as far as Flagstaff, and the rest of the riders will follow Route 66 to Chicago, and finish their ride in Washington D.C. The riders demand: To end wars, to end immunity for U.S. war crimes, to end suppression of our civil rights, to end the use of fossil fuels, to end persecution of whistleblowers, to end partisan apathy and inaction.

The riders in action:

I decided to make Ron a bag for his ride, and hoped that the bag would make it across the country with the tour. Ron just built a bike for Cindy using spare parts and with donations from a lot of our local bike shops. He said that he’ll give Cindy the bag once they get to Arizona.

Made in the USA

This was an introspective project – what do you make for a woman who is riding to mourn her son and raise money for the innocent people in the countries that we have destroyed? I thought about making the bag all out of military surplus fabric as a metaphor for healing the cycle of wasted potential, squandered resources, and ruined lives, but I ended up thinking that I wanted to make a piece that was beautiful, calm, rich, and fit for a grandmother – a dignified woman out on an important errand.

This bag ended up being a little larger than our stock handlebar bags, and it barely fits inside of Ron’s mustache bars. It is supported by our locally-forged steel frame.

I used repurposed tweed, upholstery scrap, and a bit of a waxed-cotton tarp that was the roof of our friend Lauren’s family’s Sierra Nevada summer tent cabin.

Most of our handlebar bags haven’t had lids on them, as I like being able to graze out of mine as I ride, and they are deep enough that things don’t usually fall out, but Ron wanted a cover for foul weather, so we came up with this first draft – it is made from repurposed drysuit material that we got from a friend who does fisheries research. The back is attached with snaps, so you can remove it when the sun is shining. Trim and clip on the front are military surplus.

We ended up with a bit of military surplus in there after all – the trim on the sides, buckles, and brass D-rings are all surplus. Actually the only new or virgin materials in this project are the rivets, thread, and steel rod in the frame that holds up the bag.

Salvage is the new patriotism. We salute the peace riders.

  1. emilia says:

    Totally Gorgeous. Way To Go Zeeko.

  2. Kristi says:

    Beautiful bag!

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