I bought this Specialized Rock Hopper back in '92 in Montgomery, Alabama. It was seen a lot of wear and tear. It was my commuter for many years. I rode it on the self-supported tour Geoff and I did across Washington. About three or fours years ago I hung it up in storage after a couple of rough winters as my ice bike. (I still have my home-made studded tires.)
I've been thinking about bringing it back to life for a couple of years now.
Since I had a whole pound of powder and the color was just right, I had the frame powder coated along with the Haulin Colin porteur rack on the Elephant NFE. I had a lot of new components installed and now it's looking and riding really nice. I'll probably bring it with me for the 24 Hour Race and maybe do one lap with it just for fun.
One of the great things about bike commuting in Spokane is that you can change up your route to include some beautiful countryside. It makes going to work so much more enjoyable.And it beats the hell out of racing to the next red light.
After reviewing a couple of sites where some people described how they made their own frame bags, I decided I wanted to do that for the Elephant NFE. It's cool to make your own gear. but the primary reason is I want the colors to match the bike.
Now the last time I operated a sewing machine with any sense of skill or confidence, Richard Nixon was about six months away from resigning. So, yeah, it's been a while. Last week I wandered into a Joann's Fabrics store where some very experienced ladies, some employees and some customers, answered my questions and helped me out. Regardless of how well they explained things to me I still had to be lead everywhere as if I was a blind man. But I got some cheap material to practice with, some thread, extra needles, and other sewing stuff. Fortunately, Kathy has an extra machine and all the cutting tools so I didn't have to pick up anything expensive.
I put a sheet of cardboard next to the triangle on the NFE, marked it off, and cut it down to size, giving me a basic template. Taking note of where the bottle cage bolts and cables are, I marked the template to show where the velcro straps would go. I used the template to cut the material and create both side pieces. Then I cut a long 3-inch wide piece for the part that fits against the bars. Last of all I cut strips of material to simulate the velcro straps.
Now comes the fun part. Between the diagram on the sewing machine, my failing memory, and the Internet, I managed to thread the machine. Okay, I'm on the road to success. I grabbed a couple of scraps, sewed a few stitches, and adjusted the machine until I got the length of the straight stitch I wanted. Then I started sewing the "velcro strips" onto the outer edge part. I had marked the placement using the cardboard template as a guide. After attaching all the strips on both sides of the outer piece, I attached one side and then the other. By the time I attached the second side I was feeling pretty confident on the machine.
I did not close up the outer edge piece because (1) it ended up too short so I couldn't if I wanted to, and (2) I would not have been able to turn the bag right side out. (You'll also notice I did not tackle the zipper. Baby steps, okay? All in good time.) I attached the bag to the NFE using paper clips to hold the straps in place. I was happy with the fit even though two straps were useless. The one that was supposed to wrap around the head tube was more in the corner so I cut it off. The strap you see at the very bottom of the triangle is supposed to connect to the seat tube.
Lucky for me, we have lots of experienced seamstresses in the family. I look forward to hearing from them.
You have to be very precise if you use a single piece for the outer edge part. I had two "straps that were way off target. So maybe I should use four pieces and use the seam allowance to align everything correctly.
If you don't have the needle in the correct position when you lift the foot and remove your work, you will break the thread and you'll have to thread the needle once again. That took me about 10-15 times before I figured that one out.
The 24 Hour Race is less than two weeks away and so far there are 36 people racing solo. This is my third year going solo and I wouldn't have it any other way. There's something about it that really appeals to me that I can't fully explain. Most people chalk it up as crazy and I'm okay with that. Normal is boring.
My brother John is joining me this year. He's in the 50+ group along with Glen. They are in a crowded field. Several of us lobbied for a 60+ group and the organizers came through. Unfortunately, only two of us have signed up so far. On the bright side, we're both podium bound. But without more participation I think the category will go away like the fat bike category did.
Regardless, I'm looking forward to doing as many laps as I can. I did 13 my first year. Last year I was laid up with cramps because I didn't hydrate properly. So I wimped out in the morning and called it after 10 laps. I would like to do 14 this year. We'll see how my legs, my bikes, and my fortitude hold up.
I was able to attend the breakfast this morning for only a short time. It looked like they were getting a good turnout. I missed out on the guest speaker(s) whoever they might have been.
Mountain Gear has been making pancakes for us every year now.
And Roast House has been providing coffee all these years.
Obligatory bike and Spokane Bikes photo.
No reserved parking needed.
My involvement in Bike to Work Week has been pretty limited this year. Work has made a lot of demands of my time. But I did manage to put together some commuter videos and I was pretty happy with the way they turned out.