Friday, January 04, 2013

Bicycle madness! Planning for DIY madness!

Yeah, I've bike madness again.  For the last few days I've been skulking around bike sites, torturing myself with Brooks gear, Republic Bikes, and the WorkCycles Monark Truck.  However I don't have a couple of thousand bucks to spend so I'm also poking around and a couple of other DIY places.  I checked out Donkey Boxx but they look kind of cheap.  So I'm on the hunt for something that rings my bell (which reminds me I should buy a bell for my bike...fuck).

Currently jerry-rigged on my 2011 Simple 3 rear rack are a pair of Wald 582 Folding Baskets but frankly they kind of annoy me for some weird reason.  They seem big enough but when I go to the grocery store they don't hold all that much and they look kind of crappy.  Granted the ones I bought were gathering dust in the back of The Bike Shop (awesome staff, super helpful) and they put them on my bike.  Functional but not exactly stylin' and profilin'.  Granted ain't nobody gonna steal them either (plus the guy at the shop used spoke wire to secure the baskets).

So what's the plan, Stan?

Welp, after finding some instructables about DIY'ing Army/Navy surplus bags into panniers I figure that might be an interesting way to expand carrying capability as well as giving my ride some style.  I was digging around on Uncle Sam's Army/Navy Outfitters and found a number of possibilities.  I'm definitely going to pick up one of these:

Only $28 - which compared to other stuff is cheeeeeeeap.
I was given a bike multi-tool (thanks AmazonButterfly!) for Christmas and with my lights and a couple of other odds and ends I normally carry in my messenger bag it'd be nice to have a place to stash that crap.  I also found some massive (15"x15"-5") Musette Bags I could use as new panniers with minimal DIY involved.

Upon returning home today, I rummaged around in a closet and found my old green mechanics bag which I think could be monkeyed with to make a trunk bag.  I was thinking of getting a saddle bag but with my seat where it is I doubt that's an option.  I figure I could put some grommets in the bottom of the bag and secure it  with some bungee cords.

I'm also looking at taking one of my wooden wine boxes and mounting it on the front of Big Blue.

Yay!  Stock model Big Blue!  Man, I put some damage on my paint job...

I found a decent article about rigging a crate to a bike on ridingpretty.  The thing is I'm considering getting another Wald basket for the front (if not a Wald then a Basil) if only to: A) not have to piss about with removing my rear baskets and B) keep a uniform look to my bike.  Plus DIY is much easier if you actually have the right tools.

In any case the Giant Simple 3 is a great bike for just tootling around town a couple of miles a day (4-5).  I've noticed a few problems as a rider though.  It's just a wee bit big for me (I'm 5'6" in my big boy shoes) and the top bar hits my jimmy and my feet barely touch the ground when I'm waiting for a stoplight.  In Nacogdoches there are a lot of hills and while I've gotten used to most of them I wish I had gone for a seven speed to help power up some of the inclines (fuck you West College St).  I suppose it's one of those cases of getting into something as a n00b and a couple of months in you realize that you should have spent the extra money for what you really wanted from the get-go.  C'est la vie.

That being said, if you're thinking about getting back on a bike, want something reliable (not some cheap piece of shit from Walmart), fuckin' sturdy (Big Blue is a freaking tank even after my crash and banging into stuff), and fun to ride (yeah, so I make airplane noises sometimes when I'm cruising down hills) then I whole-heartedly recommend this bike.

Ride safe my friends and keep the fun between your legs.

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