From the end of the Trans Am Bike Race in Yorktown, Virginia to New York City, seaside Connecticut, a tour through Nutmeg Country and the Berkshires of Massachusetts to a corner of Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York to the St. Lawrence River, a plane from Ottawa to Bozeman and a quick six day tour to Missoula via the Trans America Trail. That’s less than a month, 5 trains, two short distance car rides, one plane, and about 600 miles of casual (mostly) paved old-fashioned bike touring.
In the days following Lael’s finish on the Trans Am Bike Race we awaited several other finishers including…
Lael arrives in Yorktown in 18 days and 10 minutes. She is the first American to win the Trans Am Bike Race, her time is the second fastest time in race history, and it improves upon the old women’s record by nearly 3 days.
Departing from Astoria, OR on the morning of June 4, 2016, an international field of over 60 riders raced to Yorktown, VA in the third annual Trans Am Bike Race. The self-supported Trans Am Bike Race was founded in 2014, building on the growing style of self-supported bikepacking races like the Tour Divide, and popularized in a documentary film by Mike Dion called “Inspired to Ride”. In 2014, both men’s and women’s records were set by high profile ultra-endurance athletes—Mike Hall finished in 17d16h and Juliana Buhring in 20d23h.
Lael rode to the finish on Wednesday morning, June 22, 2016. She arrived…
DIY bonanza continues, and again I recreated (almost) Alpkit bags. This time I made Mk2 of the frame bag I’ve got already. The bag is proven to be probably the most useful piece of kit, mostly for storing hardware like tent poles/pegs, pump, puncture kit, battery pack etc. The only change I’ve done this time is additional hole for cable on the side. Construction is simple not to say primitive. Two side panels on the left hole for cable
(corresponding with same hole in top tube bag) on the left (always dismounting on the left side) is zipper, and there’s no point to split the bag so it’s one large compartment. Polyester webbing around and stitched in places (Alpkit idea) to create attachment points for Velcro straps.
Top bag is a similar construction: two side panels, zipper in the middle, cable hole on the right. On front and bottom is piece of webbing sewn same way as on frame bag, to provide “loops” for velcro straps.
Both bags are made of Cordura type fabric which is quite stiff and thick, and probably better choice will be some kind of reinforced polyester or something. The problem with Cordura is when you sewing thick material like that it is real pain to make all tight corners nicely, but I wanted to make it on cheap from the stuff I already got. Anyway bags came out as expected, and despite the fact I’m not happy with quality of my stitching they should do the job. Below short story in pictures.
hole cover (made of ripstop nylon) sewn to right panel roughly just to keep the fabric in place
I had normal zipper (quite long) so I had to shorten it to the right lenghth
thick cordura is a bit awkward so plenty safety pins used (I still didn’t manage to sew it straight)
ending of the zipper covered with double layer of ripstop nylon (less thick than cordura easier to manouver)
finished left pannel, at that point I just simply cut off mirrored panel from right one
I roughly measured circumference of the pannel and cut much longer strip of fabric, so at the end I can join it together and cut off what’s left
left pannel hand stiched to “center belt”
everything sewn together. I haven’t got picture, but essentially I had to add poliester webbing (for attaching Velcros) before sewing right pannel. I simply fliped everything on the “right” side and sewn every ~7cm as velcros are 5cm wide
cable hole cut undeneath, hand stitching still there and on the insde looks pretty ugly
top of the bag a piece of webbing stiched to the bag
both bags finished
nothing really to say about the small one same construction
webbing on the bottom with velcros
tada! finished product on a bike
I need to figure out better velcros positioning
both top and frame bag have cable holes on the same side so I’ll be able to transfer some “juce” if needed
when they’re empty looks a bit weird but one they filled with stuff I’m pretty sure will look better
Smart phones are quite power hungry, especially if you use features like GPS or continuous data streaming. After a couple of hours navigation or tracking a training ride, it’s time to start looking for a charger. If you mobile charger happens to be that of the USB type there are some options to get your phone juiced up en route, both commercial and DIY. We did an online search for words dynohub USB charger and among the DIY crowd basically two types of designs popped up.
One idea is to use a set of four NiMH cells to regulate the voltage from the hub generator and, in to the bargain, also provide intermediate power storage allowing removing of the battery pack and using it for charging or power source also off-board.
The other option is to use a low-voltage-drop 5-volt regulator to directly feed the USB power source. The following…
I’ve decided to make my own “snack bag” for the bike, basically used the idea from Alpkit Stem Cell (with my own dimensions) and make my first piece of gear with liner. Didn’t go as I expected, so at the end I had to cut some corners. Normally the easiest way is to sew the liner and then sew it to the outer shell, but the position of stitching needs to be carefully thought through. I made mistake and some of the stitching are inside. Minor detail next time I’ll do it properly. All in all the bag is doing the job as you can see.
I used Cordura type fabric as is stiff and I don’t need anything to keep the shape
First stich and webbing sewn
That’s how it looks after turing inside out. The webbing obviously needs to be slightly longer than circumference of the fabric
lazy way of finishing bottom, at that point the fabric stiffness started to be annoying
view from the side, the excess eventually has been cut
sewing liner using poliester ripstop, in red to give it “Dracula look” ;-),I’ve done it the wrong way
just a tube with drawstring channel on top
top of the shell with one fold sewn
another fold on top to create stiff edge
liner pushed all the way to the fold and sewn (just enough space on my machine to fit the tube)
again I’ve done it wrong way the whole liner should be done and than sewn to the outer
bottom of the liner
that’s what I’m talking about, the stiching should be inside
ok moment of truth, whole thing turned insode out
that’s how the bottom looks
a piece of bungee cord been added and cord lock
on the bike I’ve decided to make cuts and hide knots on the bungee underneath velcro for neater look
tada! that’s how it looks on the bike
just a test if the fuel bag actually holds “the fuel” 😉