Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Porteur Bag - Good Enough For Government Work

After much thinking, drawing, and figuring, I finally put the porteur bag together. I'm not as pleased with it as I am with the frame bag but it's to my benefit to consider it a learning exercise. Putting it together went great. I had all my pieces sized up, lined up, and matched up just right. It was going together so easy I was getting excited at having a finished product.

But the design and the materials are lacking. The nylon material is substantial but not nearly enough to keep it's shape. Like me, it needs structure. I added some corrugated plastic board to the bottom and sides. I used duct tape to hold the pieces together so they don't shift or slide. That is working pretty good.

The vinyl I added to the lid to hold a map or other papers isn't as useful as I hoped.  It's too loose so everything falls out when you open it. I might close up the forward edge.

The velcro holding the sides and back of the lid isn't quite in the right place so there's some peeping out from under the edge of the lid. It remains to be seen how well the system I came up with for strapping the bag onto the rack works. I have two weeks to test it out. Well, one, because if it doesn't work out I'll have to buy a porteur bag. Or maybe stuff everything into a dry bag and strap that to the rack.

I didn't enjoy making the porteur bag as much because I put so much thought into creating a method for attaching it to the rack that fits within my means, i.e., my wife's 24-year-old sewing machine and the materials it can work on. So making another bag is questionable for the time being. I'll see how well it holds up on the trip.

The top with the sides flipped up.

All the pieces attached to each other and ready to have the sides sewn together.

I don't care for the ugliness up front but that's what 
my weak mind thought of until I had a better idea later on.
I have nylon webbing with inner tube strips sewn in and then velcro onto the front.

I added an elastic cord and a hook to help hold the top down 
and minimize the forward slide of the bag.

And in the blue corner, weighing in at 65 pounds...
the Elephant!!!

I loaded up all my gear and found I still need the panniers to carry everything for the Hot Springs Loop. The weight up front really smooths out the ride but when I get some speed there's a tendency for some oscillation. I rode up Division to North Division Bike Shop to pick up a couple of items. Climbing with the heavy bike didn't seem all that bad but I was on asphalt. I'm sure there's a difference when it's several miles and on forest service roads. I didn't let the bike completely go coming back down the hill. I figure I need to get a couple more rides in to get used to the feel of the loaded NFE. Tomorrow morning I'll get some gravel climbing on the way to work.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gas Tank Bag - First Attempt

I put the porteur bag on hold. I have all the pieces cut out but I'm still working on how to mount it to the rack so it stays on over the long run. Instead of using velcro I'm going with straps.

Instead, I thought I'd make a gas tank bag, which is made to look easy here.  Of course, I made stupid mistakes, one of which was not making sure the velcro straps line up so the hooks engage the loops. Instead of ripping the stitches out I cut one piece of velcro, turned it over, and sewed it to the piece protruding from the bag. Twice. Yep, I did it to both sets. With all the other difficulties I was having this turned out to be a practice bag after all.

In the photos I'm presenting in the best possible light. You don't want to see the details. I'm not happy with the size. The next one will be longer and wider.

By the way, the frame bag did well in the rain. For good measure I hit it with the hose for a while. The towels inside stayed dry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

North-South Freeway Circa 1956

I thought I'd check out the Dec 18, 1956 issue of the Spokane Daily Chronicle and see what the news was on the day I was born. Along with my birth announcement, a perfunctory "To Mr. and Mrs Henry W. Greer, E504 Tenth, boy" there was this. The more things change the more they stay the same, eh?

I really enjoyed how the publisher made use of every square inch of newspaper. And things were placed where they fit. Obituary notices, farm reports, news from anywhere, officers elected to various civic organizations, etc.

And then there's the advertisements.

And some bowling advice for the ladies. Apparently men were all perfect bowlers back then.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Porteur Bag - Making Progress

I added the lid to the practice porteur bag, added cardboard to the inside to give the bag some rigidity and checked out the fit on the Elephant NFE.

Yes, it's ugly. That's why we practice.

I'm going to continue the lip around the back on my next one so I won't have the corners sticking out like that.

Here we are on the porteur rack.

Overall, the fit is good.

Plenty of clearance for shifting.

I made all kinds of notes on all the mistakes I made and difficulties I had. The seam ripper and I have been spending a lot of time together and I think Kathy is getting suspicious. Hopefully, my next bag won't need as much error correcting.

Taking advantage of today's rain to test the waterproofness of my frame bag. It's stuffed with towels. If all goes well, dry towels.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Porteur Bag - The Prototype

I drew up my plans and put them into effect to make my first porteur bag. My plans quickly fell apart. But I expected this to be a learning process so all is not lost.

Measuring where the velcro for mounting it onto the rack would go.

Everything pinned in place.

Okay, it looks like it's lining up pretty well.

And this is how it would attach.

Do you see the problem with the two pictures above? How am I going to attach the sides of the bag to the bottom of the bag if those velcro strips are in the way? Sigh.

I also attached a clear vinyl piece to the bottom, creating a pocket for the plastic board. I had to cut the vinyl open and remove the board in order to sew the four sides to the bottom. So if I leave one side open I can remove the board. Or keep it simple and skip the vinyl and push the board into the bottom.

I also put a vinyl pocket on the left and side side, each holding a board to help the bag keep its shape. The board in the back is just pushed into the bag. I'm liking that idea better than sewing in vinyl pockets.

I put it on the bike to check the clearance and make sure the bag doesn't interfere with shifting and braking. The braking is fine. I'm concerned about the shifting but I'll have a better idea once I put the lid on. Also, the bag sits more forward on the rack than I anticipated so the velcro on the bottom  is out of alignment.

Another day, then.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Frame Bag - Part 2

I rode the NFE to take photos of Kathy and my sister Barb while they ran the Windermere Half Marathon. I put Frame Bag #1 on and loaded it with stuff, including a two-liter water bag. I hardly noticed it while I was riding. Only once when I was going pretty fast into a sharp turn. I felt the weight of the bag swaying slightly when I went into the turn. Not enough to throw me off but it was noticeable.

After I got home I decided to press on with Frame Bag #2. Taking what I learned from making Frame Bag #1, I showed and told my neighbor what I was doing and asked her for advice. She was quick to notice the mistakes I made and told me how to avoid them.

I patiently made my way through #2 and I was pretty happy with the result.

#2 and #1.
The corners are actually corner like
so the bag has the desired box look.

 And it looks great on the NFE.

Halfway There

Kathy now has six of her twelve half marathons completed. One per month is the plan. Today she did the Windermere Half. It was a warm day but she did well.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Frame Bag - First Attempt

Today I made my first frame bag. I got much better with the machine and even more so with the stitch ripper. Since you're making this inside out you have to really pay attention to how every aligns so that it turns out right.

I double checked and I was still wrong with one side of the bag. I attached the velcro straps on the wrong side. I pulled it all apart and fixed it.

I took my time and made lots of notes. Hopefully the next one goes easier and turns out better. Attaching a side to the strip that fills in the center was a pain, especially working around the corners. Attaching the second side was even more challenging. Every got shifted just a bit so the velcro straps don't line up exactly right. And the body got twisted a bit.

Before I make the next one I'm going to load this one with stuff and see how well it works.

Oops. I did it wrong.

This one was good.

After doing the other side right.

The hardest part was joining the second side to the main part.

It doesn't look that bad, but it needs work.

Room for a huge logo on this side.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

We Are Creatures Of Habit

On Tuesday afternoon I left work to drive to Yakima. I changed out of my work clothes and put on shorts and a t-shirt so I'd be more comfortable during the three-hour drive.  After checking into my room I laid out the clothes I was going to wear to work on Wednesday.

I did not have any pants.

Since I bike commute I take my clothes to work and leave them there for the week. I drove to work on Tuesday and I wore normal office clothes to work. When I changed into shorts, instead of packing that pair of pants or one of the others I have at work, I hung them up with the others because that's what I do when I leave work.

So it was Shorts and T-shirt Wednesday for me.