Tour Divide ’13

August 6, 2013

I received an email back at the end of March from Michael Arenberg who was attempting the Tour Divide this year. He had seen a post from Palespruce who has written a review of a framebag that I made for him last year.

He had the same specification- amongst other things, it would have to fit the 3litres of water that he had originally planned to carry on his back. So, i set to it…long story short, after an amazing effort and putting in 27 gruelling days he made it the 2859 miles, from Banff to Mexico!

Image

As you would expect he, his bike and the bag took a battering but all survived the ride. The bag was probably worst off, having the 3litres (which amounts to 3kg) of water in the non-drive side pocket, the velcro started to give at the seam under the weight with 6 days to go! So, with a bit of ingenuity Mike jury rigged the bag to make the last few hundred miles.

The bag is now back in my hands for a repair and after a close inspection, it is still in excellent condition (apart from the velcro at the seams). I have tested my bags but it is great to see them being put to the use they were they were originally designed for AND for the best part being able to withstand the rigours of off-road life. So, whether it be the Tour Divide, deepest darkest Scotland or in the sub-arctic Finland or Alaska, keep using and abusing them- they seem to enjoy it!

A little dirty but still good!

A little dirty but still good!

couple more

June 5, 2012

Longer straps at the front of the TopTube bags allow for more security around toptube and downtube.

Here is a picture of another bag on the same trip in the Cairngorms, I’ll hopefully be making my way in that direction in July…fingers crossed for the same great weather they had!

the process

May 6, 2012

Plans afoot…

March 16, 2012

Well, it’s been a while! I’ve been beavering away at orders and seatpack protos, hopefully I’ll have the seatbag ready for sale within a few weeks. Sourcing material in the U.K appears to be one of the most difficult parts of product design- I’ll get there though!

Orders are coming in “thick and fast,” it’s great to see lots of fellow bikepackers planning their adventures for the coming year. Watch out for a “how to make a frame template” blog soon.

Along with all this, I’ve been trying to plan the 1st of my own trips this year – Scottish Coast to Coast. There are lots of variations out there but I think I’ve found a good one starting at the far west tip of Skye and ending up in Montrose.

here is my planned route- not my image, I can't remember where I got the image from, hope it's ok to use

Looking forward to it, but don’t worry all orders will be shipped before I start planning properly :) I’ll also have a tarp to show off for that too.

Couple of pics…

February 9, 2012

I’ve been jealous of my handywork recently, so decided to make myself a half frame bag for commuting similar to the bag I made for a recent customer’s cross-check.

I've replaced the TopTube bag to the newer design for this setup (not pictured)- perfect commuting combo, no need for a rucksac here!

I also received great feedback from a customer who I made a FrameBag for their Pugsley. This bag flares out toward the headtube for increased storage capacity without the bag interfering with the knees during the pedal stroke.

This bike and bag will be making its way to compete in next February's 'Arctic Ultra 430miler!!'

History

February 4, 2012

Don’t be fooled that these bikepacking bags are a new idea, adventure cyclists as early as before 1900 have been putting together custom made bags for every occasion. The difference nowadays is the materials we use are far more superior and to those used back then.

X-pac has pretty much revolutionised the whole outdoor industry, now people can get a bag that is as bomb-proof as a bag made from heavyweight cordura that you could have picked up 10years ago but at a fraction of it’s weight. Using this fabric ensures that bags unbelievably robust to survive the rigors you will put them through on any given trip, but you also don’t have to feel as though you are starting off with a bag that weighs a “ton” before you have even put anything in it! What would we do without technology, eh?

Here are a few pictures I’ve found on my internet travels:

Arthur Richardson- 1st across Nullarbor 1896, 1st round Oz.

Franci Birtles, Warren & Robert Lennie, at Eucla WA, 1907. Lennies attempting Perth-Sydney record. both pics found on epicyclo's flickr photostream

 

I’ve been working hard in my little sweatshop recently so I thought I deserved a bit of time to get out and get some fresh air (strangely, no bikes involved!)

There may have not been a lot of snow and the weather wasn't as good as hoped but we had a lot of fun and found plenty of reason to hike with skis & snowboards strapped to our packs. Beats going to a resort!

New design

December 4, 2011

I headed out for a road ride today, bad idea! I turned back when I realised I was completely ill equipped for the driving freezing headwind and blinding blizzard that was taking place around me. So, after a cuppa to get rid of the brain freeze, I thought I better sit down and get started on a few bags that I’ve been meaning to complete.

This, half-frame bag, made from VX21 fabric, is shaped so the rider can still access frame mounted water bottles. It’s the perfect size for essential kit for a day ride. Team it up with a couple of top tube packs, handlebar harness and seatpack (coming soon…) and you’ve got more than enough space for a lightweight overnighter.

half frame bag, shaped to make frame mounted water bottles accessible.

Also, on another positive note- I’ve a new (old) sewing machine coming to me. It’s a tough vintage machine that will laugh at the multiple layers of fabric I will throw at it, this is in stark contrast to my now machine that has to be taken by the hand and nursed through difficult sections- holding my breath in the hope that the needle will survive. It’s not quite that bad, but you get my drift.

They’ve arrived!

November 9, 2011

time to finish and test the handlebar harness- Fingers crossed it’s as stable as I’ve worked it out to be (theoretical engineering vs actually using the product in the field can be miles apart).

This harness has been designed to carry a 8-10l dry bag. There will also be attachments for future map/safety pouch to be secured onto it.

I broke my first needle the other day

New lining fabric arrived in the post on Friday and I quickly set to the Top Tube bags Mark 2- you can now find what you’re looking for much quicker and it looks pretty good too. These bags can be made from xpac vx07 or the slightly more durable vx21 fabric, YKK water-resistant zippers will be on all production models too. To protect the frame, High Density Foam is used on all sections that come into contact with it and gives the bag a better structure.

p.s. I’m still waiting on items for finishing the handlebar harness, hopefully it shouldn’t take too long…

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