Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blowout Bag

Did you ever have one of those rides where nothing seems to go right from the get-go? I had one this past summer. It was the normal Saturday morning group ride, but this particular version started out cold, and got speedy in a hurry. It was clear from the start that this was going to be an aggressive morning, and I was riding a new bike, with new tires. Not just any new tires, but a pair of bright red Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX's to match the red paint job on my new IF Factory Lightweight.

To shake off the morning chill, the pace went up quickly. After a few miles, someone stopped for a mechanical. While waiting, I debated taking off my wind jacket, but since it was still cool, and I knew we were about to hit a particularly fast descent, I left it on. I finally decided to shed the jacket, but only after the group started rolling again, and to avoid being dropped, I did a hasty job of stuffing it into my jersey pocket. You can guess the rest...

As soon as we hit the big descent, my rear wheel completely locked up, and I began to slide sideways down the hill in a drift worthy of Grand Theft Auto. You've been there... those milli-seconds ticking off in slow motion in your brain as you consider what the impact is going to feel like... the sound of metal skittering on asphalt, and the pain of your skin as it gets left on the road. You know that it is going to be bad, and all you can do is hope that nothing important gets snapped in the process.

And then suddenly, I came to a standing stop. I couldn't believe it... a complete lock-up at full speed and I was standing upright. I turned around to look for the cause and there was my jacket, firmly entangled in my rear brake. As I was taking stock of my bodily good fortune, and the damage to both jacket and bike, another rider rolled up and said, "dude, that was totally awesome, too bad no one was here to tape it, because that would be sick on YouTube."

The jacket was a total loss, which was no great shakes, since the pumpkin color was not my favorite, and remarkably the wheel was still perfectly true (yeah Mavic!), but the tire was a complete loss.

Normally I wouldn't lament the exchange of a $100 tire for the lack of any bodily damage, but like the Dude's rug, those tires really tied the bike together, and when I went to order a replacement, I learned that they were out of stock during a model transition. So now I was stuck with one expensive red tire that would be difficult to find a match for. I changed the tires to good old black, and moved on, but just couldn't discard the blown out rear. I figured that tire must have some seriously good karma.

I thought about what I could do with it, so I talked to Jon about making a belt out of it, or a bag strap. Given the Open Corsa's cotton casing, it was easy enough to cut off the bead and the width was a perfect match to stitch it to some strap webbing. Add in a little foam padding and some trim binding, and voila, a bag strap with a real story:
Mated to a silver 253 with a computer sleeve, and built up by Jan just in time for the Interbike trade show, it was quite a hit. I was stopped many times in the aisles of the convention center by admiring folks wanting to know where they could get one. Each time I just said that if they had a cotton casing tire with good karma, we'd be happy to turn it into a bag strap.
Stylish and comfortable... I feel invincible with this bag on my shoulder. Perhaps because it unconsciously causes me to periodically check my pockets.
Give us a shout if you have a lucky tire with a cotton casing that you'd like built into a bag for a modest charge. Ride on, or should I say, skid on?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BaileyWorks bags at the No. American Cycle Courier Championships

Hey folks, it's been a busy summer here and we've been quiet for too long. We thought a good place to restart is with some photos of hard working couriers and their personal BaileyWorks bags competing in the 2009 NACCC held in August right here in our backyard in Boston.
These fine photos come to us courtesy of Tyler at Independent Fabrication in Somerville. IF was a manifest stop in the NACCC work simulation race, and Tyler had his camera and photo studio set-up to capture the competitors along with their bikes and bags.

As you can see, these folks are the ultimate test of our craftsmanship and quality, putting their bags through rigorous real-world use every day. They also seem to prefer the more subdued colorways in the gray-scale range!

Even with the mono-chromatic colors, personalization and creativity abound.
This one is a personal favorite. Note the extra "Lookout!" warning written into the reflective strip. Speaking of lookout, be on the lookout for upcoming posts on special edition bags made from recycled banners, and a very special, limited edition bag featuring artwork from David Byrne of Talking Heads fame, to be purchased from, and benefit, Transportation Alternatives.