Posts Tagged ‘bike bags’

Three new handlebar bags repurposing several great jackets and some pre-consumer Pendleton wool.









A new handlebar bag from repurposed jackets.






We are finishing handlebar bags, and wrapping up other projects before the show this weekend. Working the kinks out of some of the finer details on the handlebar bags, I often forget that it takes many, many attempts to move from prototype to production.

Realized the other night that it is more of a basket than a bag.


This one uses fire hose for trim. All of these bags are made with a cordura (nylon packcloth) body, and even the pockets are backed with cordura or canvas, so you are not counting on the vintage fabrics to do anything structural.

Pablo is learning to sew.

One of the wilder collage models.

I like the mix of brown fabrics and leathers in this bag.

We have the strapping design pretty dialed now, where it helps to cinch the rack to the handlebars.

The tags are made in the USA, too.

Here is the same bag on a different handlebar style. The rack is limber enough to bend a bit to fit on various stems.

Erika is wrapping up some field bags. I was in Portland last week and found the Pendleton Woolens Mill Discount Store, and bought various wool scraps.

This is my favorite one so far. The red flannel scrap is from a jacket that I bought at a thrift store in Bellingham, WA on my way to Alaska in 2000.




We are going to be selling some handlebar bags at the Bizarre Bazaar this month, and have been sewing the panels for them. We have made some handlebar bags in the past, but I have never had a reliable way of making steel hardware to attach the bags to the bars.I finally have time to design a new bag suspension system, and just finished building the tooling to manufacture a whole batch of them.


The finished product – these bars wrap under the stem and over the handlebars to support the tops of handlebar bags.


Here is one of the panels that we’ll be making into handlebar bags. The excitement around here about ‘Tweed Rides’ got us going on using vintage fabrics mixed with leather and waxed cotton. This is leather jacket, waxed cotton tarp, and upholstery leather. My only complaint about the Tweed Riders is that they have decimated the local ‘used wool jacket’ inventory!


I decided to use a regular handlebar and stem to build a jig that we could use to bend metal rods for the racks. We have done some of these out of heavy wire, but never had a reliable way to bend heavier gauge steel rod. We will be bending/forging these at our friend Dave’s blacksmith shop, and decided to set up the jig so that it could be attached to his largest anvil, which has a 1.5″ square ‘hardie hole’ in it. Here we are using a hole saw to cut a ‘fish mouth’ notch into a piece of 1.5″ square tubing – the stem on the jig will sit atop this notch, and the tubing will slide down into the hole in the anvil.


Stem welded into the 1.5″ tube. with a 3/8″ bolt added to define the first ‘pivot point’.


The upright ‘spuds’ on the handlebars define the points where the metal bar needs to change direction. The tapped holes on the ends allow us to move these pivot points to make wider or narrower frames.


The finished jig.


I stopped by Fairview Auto Wrecking on my way home to see if I could track down some bar stock for a prototype. David runs the place that his dad opened in 1956. In the last 56 years, I doubt if they have ever thrown away a piece of iron. I asked if he had seen the online auction doing up for the metal shop across the street from his shop, and he said “you’ve got to have money for those, and a computer. There’s 4 things wrong with America: Computers, The Metric System, Obama, and Environmentalists”. This is a bender that he made and uses to make heart-shaped branding irons.




Papa Irle and the guy that ran a tire shop across Park Ave for many years.


Papa Irle remembers selling gas for $0.27/gallon. The sewing machine behind him was 25 years old when he was born.


David grew up in this place, and he knows every hubcap by name. I stopped in to ask him if he’d swap me some 1/4″ round bar. He knew where to look.


Before I got out of there, David knew all about my project, and gave me this bender, that he just made out of some scraps.


From there, it was over to a forging party at Dave Richer’s Earthen Iron. I showed up as they were heating up this piece of heavy 2″ bar to make a sculpture, and the flames were billowing out of the coal forge, smoke pouring out of the open door, and 7 people were playing with hot metal at 2 forges and three anvils. It smelled like an industrial city, and sounded like one too.


I met Brent Bailey there – he’s the one cranking the forge. He makesworld-class blacksmithing toolsin Orland. They got this bar set into a swaging block on the floor and Dave’s assistant Anthony held it upright and leaned out of the way as Dave delivered overhead blows to the top with a 20 pound sledge.


We got 30″ pieces of the 1/4″ round bar hot in the forge, and then bent them around the jig. I think that they’ll do fine.

Just finished some Xtracycle bags for a Michigan winter bike commuter. He wanted bags that could stand up to being coated with salty slush for months at a time. 


These bags are designed to stand up to grime, rain and snow in an urban environment.

This project started with a roll of truck tarp from the ReStore, and the fabric from Brian Keough’s trampoline. I have a pattern that I created for an earlier Xtracycle project, and it saved me some thinking this time.


Here was the original design that I made 3 years ago – actually the guy that ordered this new yellow pair saw this bag on Flickr and tracked us down – funny, because it is the only other Xtracycle bag that I have made. I got halfway thru the brother to this one before I got sick of the project – it is still in a milk crate in the garage, and I have been sporting a ratty original Xtracycle bag on the other side of my bike.  


So the lesson from the first session (that I forgot this time) is that these bags take A LOT OF TIME to do well. Another thing that I learned from the original project is that leather is amazing for this type of exposure. I have been using this bag a ton for 3 years, in rain, mud, and sun, and it still looks and works great!


Bob wanted to be able to use these bags with Xtracycle’s new-style ‘P-racks’ – which are set up with a crossbar on them to hang normal panniers from, so unlike the older-style racks, where you can just sew fixed loops in the hangers, we needed to be able to snap these ones on and off.
I created a harness out of 2″ webbing that spreads the weight of the load across all 6 of the hangers. This webbing is backed with the woven nylon mesh from the trampoline and covered with the waterproof truck tarp. After the harness was in there, I trimmed the tarp and trampoline panels to match, and ran the whole shebang thru a binding foot to wrap the edges in 1″ nylon webbing trim. That was a huge PITA, and there has got to be an easier way to do it.


Pockets are coated cordura packcloth remnants from another local bag business. 


Some friends of ours go to the Unitarian Church down the street. Someone there heard that we were into salvaged textiles and gave us a box with 85 of these camstrap buckles in it. 

I added the female snaps to the flaps, and then stretched the bag onto the rack to locate and mark the male snaps on the body of the bag. 


The side flaps have loops of fire hose across the top that wrap a piece of 1″ nylon webbing. The ladderlock buckle lets you crank down the top of the sides to support your load. 


More pockets.

These bags fit any bike that uses the Xtracycle Freeloader rack system. They can be used either with the older-style Xtracycle V-racks, or the newer-style P-racks. They feature coated truck-tarp backed with a heavy, UV-resistant nylon mesh. Recycled military-spec aluminum cam-buckles adjust the bag flap to carry anything from a yoga mat to an 80 pound sack of concrete. Nylon fire hose armors the bottom against curb-strikes and the back of the bag where it rubs on the lower frame of the Xtracycle. 

MAN, THESE THINGS TOOK FOREVER TO MAKE and I charged the guy about half of what I should have – made me grumpy. But now that it is done, I am stoked.

These ones are spoken for, but we can make more of these with about 4-6 week lead time. 
April is a wild month in Chico.  A budding, blooming, creative explosion of lengthening light and lusty life.  We were lucky/taxed to have two deadlines fall at the end of it – RayRay’s ‘Bike=art’ show and Chikoko’s ‘Bizarre Bazaar’.  We overextended and are glad that they are over!  But we got to make a lot of new art – a spectrum from Bumblebee habitat boxes, psychedelic micro messenger bags, and rice harvester steel sunflowers to ‘Opium Den’ leather collage purses and fire hose totes.   Here are some photos from the two shows.
Hillbilly yard art, firehose snakeskin samba belts, tough-mama firehose totes, and rake+ski pole garden diggers – our uncategorizable booth at Chikoko’s Bizarre Bazaar.

Pulled together some new and old bags with a bike theme and decided to use my old chopper ‘Pinkie’ as a rack at the last minute.  Welded a stand, loaded up the goods into the hemp panniers and rode it to the show.   The bags on the handlebars are a new design that I am calling the MicroMessenger – they are big enough for a mini Kryptonite lock, cell phone and wallet; they have a loop to go on your belt, or we can add a traditional messenger strap and stabilizer. 

Our hemp panniers and large and mini messenger bags – I added a new stabilizer strap to the messenger bags.  
Stopped at the newspaper recycling shed at 6th and Flume to get some paper to stuff the bags with and found a paper bag full of old maps!  Score!  RayRay decided to put us in the window – I like what they did with the maps – they are prolific and amazing.

My folks were in town and pops took these photos – you can see him in the reflection, below. 

Thanks RayRay and Chikoko.  The RayRay show is still up in downtown Chico – make sure to go out back and look at Katrina’s handmade longbike – she did a beautiful job on it.
Down to the wire for the Bizarre Bazaar this weekend, and we have been scrambling to finish all the random projects that we have started in the last few weeks.
Here are Erika’s new handbags, a hemp and camo collaged fullsize messenger bag, and some small hip pouches that are big enough for cellphone, camera, and wallet.