I’m about to embark on something big. Probably bigger than buying a house or having a babbin. I’m going to order a custom frame.
But in a characteristically Scottish manner, I’m doing it on the cheap via one of the many titanium frame building outlets in China. I’ve read a great deal about the process of ordering a frame from such an outfit over the last few months. There are even a few websites dedicated to the subject.
The general consensus seems to be that the process will only be as stressful as you make it. If you are explicitly clear with exactly what you want and accept things may take longer than you’d like, you’ll come away satisfied with the end result.
You could liken the process to flying with Ryanair. If you follow the rules and are very patient, you’ll come away happy. If you’re impatient or fail to quadruply check the details, you’ll get stung.
With this in mind and feeling dissatisfied with the options available on the market, I’ve decided to embark on this wee adventure.
Visual representation of embarking on a wee adventure.Read more
I’ve put a gazillion miles on my ghetto DIY Carradice Bagman support since last April and I thought it was perhaps time to revisit it. Not only to highlight any changes I would have made to the original design, but also for the hits as it’s one of the few things on this site which gets regular traffic. What a sell out.
The support has worked supremely well and I’ve carried some pretty ridiculous loads in it. As long as you keep the tension of the straps attached to the saddle rails in check, the bag will not sway. When you are carrying a heavy load, the stays do have a tendency to come a little loose at the rack bosses over the course of a ride. However, some serrated washes put a stop to that. Generally speaking though, the limiting factor tends to be having a lot of weight high up as opposed to the stability of the bag.
Not long after I made the bag, I chopped off the useless and fiddly leather straps and replaced them with some delightfully frayed polyester straps with snap clips. The retrogrouches of the world may claim heresy, but one cold and wet ride was enough to convince me that my life would be better without the frustration of swollen leather. These straps also give me the option to pack oversized items and still be able to close the lid. This has proved useful on more than one occasion.
Lastly, the aluminium plate I riveted to the bottom of the bag has worked admirably in stiffening up the bag. However, I’d perhaps recommend putting it on the outside of the bag as loose change and other small things have a tendency to make their way under there and rattle about. I admit it wouldn’t look quite as elegant, but every cyclist knows that mysterious sounds from bikes can often ruin a ride.
I am awfully happy with how little mod turned out and barring getting a whole new bag with some side pockets, I don’t see myself changing anything!
Yesterday I attempted my first double century and was to be the finest ride of my life thus far.
The planned route was an enormous loop, heading east to Dundee via Perth, then over the Tay to cut through the heart of Fife through to Kircaldy before heading further west to N. Queensferry to cross the Forth Road Bridge to then take NCN 75 through to Glasgow, returning to Crieff via Stirling. Although the route was ambitious with a lot of short punchy climbs, it was on familiar ground for the most part.
Waking earlier than planned at a quarter to Five, I was feeling restless to start the day. I made short work of a very strong coffee, a banana and no less than three tattie scones and three eggs on an excessively buttered slice of bread. Feeling fuelled for the day, I set out into the chilly morning and enjoyed empty roads and mist rising off the Earn all the way to Perth.