Thursday, January 9, 2020

Sewing to Cycle & Sail

Photos by Jack A. Waldron

Happy New Year 2020!  This is a special blogpost meant to bring good tidings and cheer in the coming year . . . and beyond!  Ordinarily, my post topic centers around ancient sites, and that will continue to be the case in the years to come.  However, there is a new chapter on the horizon, and I would like to share that with you now.
As you can see from the photos, I have been trying to extend the lives of my seven year old gear, which has required the tried and true work of needle and thread!  But, why, you may ask?  Well, to use an old adage coined by the Ben, 'A penny saved, is two pence clear.', and I have grande plans for those two pence multiplied!  I also see no need to buy new, when the old will do.
Sewing the liner of my bicycle helmet has been a blessing in disguise . . . , well, maybe not so disguised.  The stitching actually made the edge more comfortable, a sort of buffer between the sharp plastic rim . . . and my forehead, though now I wear a bandanna.  I highly recommend doing this, especially since it's near impossible to find new liners when out and about around the planet.
So, why am I trying to save all my pennies . . . or pents?  That's easy to answer, because I don't make a lot dollars . . . or pounds!  As most people know, while teaching is, dare I say, a noble profession, it really doesn't pay that well.  So, in order to bring in the new horizon for Bike Classical, I am faced with an expensive proposition, which I will explain in more detail further down.
Cyclists will recognize these large red bags right away, and, the seam problem that comes with them.  I must say now, that I love my Ortlieb panniers, and when the day comes, if the day comes, I will/would replace these with new Ortlieb panniers in a heart beat!  But until then, these bags will be repaired and sewn until parts are no longer available, or until they won't hold a thread.  But, why go through all the trouble? 
Well, part of the reason has to do with the environment, which is a core of the mission of Bike Classical.  Making things last means less toxins into an already fragile environment, not to mention, more pennies in my pockets.
I stuck a pencil through the separated seam of the panniers in the photo above in order to illustrate a problem with this design.  That said, after sewing them, the problem is solved (pictured below).  I use nylon thread, which is nearly indestructible.
Another serious issue with these panniers centers around the back-side clip attachment, which is a nylon material that loops through the clip and is sewn.  This material eventually begins to rip, or, the thread starts to loosen, or both (pictured below).
This problem is easily solved, yet again, with a needle and some nylon thread (pictured below).
So, you can see that it may be possible to save this gear from the trash heap for quite a while longer, perhaps even for the rest of my cycling life . . . , but more importantly . . . for the sake of the environment.  Keeping these panniers alive does not only save a few pennies, now we are talking about some serious dollars, because these bags are not cheap!
As I mentioned above, Bike Classical is going to take the next big leap in its mission to explore ancient sites around the planet, and that involves the sea!
Yes, the sea!  Within the next two years, I will be purchasing a sailboat, which will take a crew and myself on fantastic adventures to ancient sites throughout the Mediterranean and beyond.
You may have just said to yourself, yeah, that would cost a fair amount of pennies, and you would be correct.  Approximately, 5,000,000 pennies!  Do I have that many pennies?  Not yet.
The question arises, will I continue to tour by cycle, and the answer is absolutely yes!  The bike will go with the ship.  I will cycle inland from the coasts, into the mountains and beyond in order to reach those amazing ancient sites that await.  Bike & Sail Classical will become a much more dynamic mission.
So, as I save for this major undertaking, how will I sustain the cost of a sailboat?  Well, I will of course continue to work as a teacher, probably through the internet, and/or at schools when docked for an extended period of time.
However, there is more than one way to make a mission more dynamic.  I will be starting a VLOG, which I have yet to name, but of course, Bike & Sail Classical would seem the obvious choice.  I have already established a YouTube account and Blog with these names, but more on those later.  But surely, this will not generate enough income for maintenance and provisions.  So, how else can I achieve this lofty goal?  The answer, by maintaining what I already have, as best I can.
All of the equipment you see in these photos were purchased in 2013, when I began my tour cycling adventure.  The bib cycle shorts you see here are Specialized Brand, and I think I got them on sale for $85, which was about half price at that time.  The issue with these, and I imagine most cycle shorts, is that the elasticity of the material around the bottom of the shorts stretches, and begins to look ridiculously like two ballerina tutus.
As you can see, I tried two different hand stitches in my attempt to pull the elastic back to a tight fit around my legs, and I can say after several months of use, that the combination has worked out fine.  I sewed them square in the front, and with a V in the back.
These Keen cycling sandals are the greatest tour cycling gear I own.  I will keep sewing these puppies until they either rot off my feet, or, until they are ripped off my feet by some rabid canine, or wild boar!
I truly love these cycling shoes/sandals, and I absolutely recommend them for tour cycling and, any other excursion you might take.  They are great on the pedals, stiff enough for the long haul, yet flexible and versatile enough for the long hikes involved in exploring ancient sites.
I beg Keen, please, do not stop producing these cycling sandals!!  Pleeeez!  Mine may not last forever.
Unfortunately, the cycling gloves pictured below are no longer in service.  They finely gave out, as they could not hold a thread for any length of time.  Fortunately, I found a cheap pair here in Turkey, though I can honestly say, there's nothing like a quality pair of cycling gloves.
I'll keep these around for an emergency, and also to remind me of the pleasures of tour cycling!
Finally, the pair of Keens that could . . . , and did, and continue to do!  These are on their last leg . . . , foot, feet.  When the hike of an ancient site has required a bit more climbing, these are the go to.  I also use them around the camp, and anywhere else I may tread.
Speaking of tread, as you can see, these have lost theirs.  I still use them though, because they are also quite pricey, and I have not been able to find a comparable pair here in Turkey.
Sewing these puppies has required an extra strong needle, as I've had to reattach the upper to the sole.  I'm not perturbed about this in the least, however, it's the burrs that come through the missing sole that make one jump and shout!
I think I sewed these about two years ago, so they are holding up fairly well.  Again, the longer I can make them last, the fewer pairs I will have to buy before I hang up my spurs.
So, why show all this equipment fatigue?  Well, to show that we can live with less, and that is good for the environment, and our pocket books.  I'm proud of these works of art, and, that I can make things go so far.  That said, patching and sewing does not make a sailboat float . . . safely!
So, here comes the pitch, that if you appreciate the blogposts I have produced over the past 6 years, and value the efforts I've made to save my pennies, and wish to support the future of these efforts, then you can help!
I currently have 1 Patreon supporting my efforts with a pledge of $10, and that means more to me and the mission than you know.  It inspires me, and gives me a lot of extra oomph to keep on keepin' on!  So, if you would like to support Bike & Sail Classical by becoming a Patreon, please follow the link below, and I welcome you aboard!!  Cheers!  Jack


  1. I don't like throwing away old good, tested equipment eithers also.

    By the way, thank you to the manufacturers who are true to themselves - producing reliable things for decades. We can buy same easy. And we need it.

    I have advice for you - now that you know the weaknesses of the equipment - you can immediately reinforce the weaknesses, after Purchase.

    Seeing the Ortlieb bags on the bend. Sewing the sole on the sandals - in Turkey do it very easy. Helmet lining - I sew its straight away - I have a home sewing machine.

    In general, we need taking advantage of the old experience to prevent breakdowns in future.

    1. That's GREAT advice! Cheers for insightful recommendation. I will try to reinforce things prior to them breaking down. Cycle Safe!

  2. You are Welcome))

    I am Russian, but spring/autumn is my time in Turkey.
    training and research.

    Turkish artisans work in a special quarter called - *sanay*.
    There is such a quarter in Alanya, Gazipasha, Konakli, and everywhere.

    Cars, motorcycles, bicycles are being repaired there.
    And sew mattresses for deckchairs with powerfull sewingmashines.))

    So, everything can be repaired there.

    if U have any qwestiions, can write email direct always.

    The Pic from Anamur - very nice)))

    1. That's excellent information for when I get the sailboat! Cheers!


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