Thursday, April 07, 2011


On my way home today some people pulled up in a car next to me.  I heard the window roll down followed by an "Excuse me."  This used to always result in the next question being something like, "Do you know where blah blah blah is?" or "How do I get to blah blah?" which 50% of the time results in my reply of "I don't know."  Lately, however, I've been getting many more comments on the bike and quite often the bags.  Such was the case today.
Lady in car (passenger), "Those are beautiful bags.  Where did you get them?"
Me, "Thanks, I made them."
Passenger, "Oh great work!  Do you sell them?"
This has been a item running through my mind quite a bit lately.
Me, "Not yet."
Passenger, "Oh well you should!"
Has the light changed yet?  Has the bus in front of me started to move yet?  Nope.  Gears turning in my brain.  Look back.  Window is rolled up.  Hmm.  Window rolls down again.
Me, "If I could sew them up on a sewing machine I might.  I hand stitched these."  Hand stitching - very cool for personal hobbies, too time consuming to make money.
Passenger, "Did you do the raised pattern on them too?"
Me, Of course I did!  I just told you I made them.  I did it all.  I did it from scratch. "Yes."
Light green, bus moving, end of story.

I've posted many pictures of my bike and the bags on Flickr to share with friends and recently many of the bicycle groups.  There I've also received many comments on the bags.

Flickr Person A - These are the most gorgeous bag I've ever seen! 

Flickr Person B - gorgeous bag! where did you buy it?  
Me - I made it myself, thank you. 
Flickr Person B - excellent! do you sell them? I'd love to get one for my husband! 
Me - Sorry. At this point in time I'm not making them to sell. But if I ever do I'll let you know. Thanks again for the compliments.  
Flickr Person B - :^(  well, if and when you do, let me know! what a great present they would make for my husband :^) 

In addition many more people have bookmarked photos of my bags as favorites, on Flickr and yet another person, whom I just met while out riding, went so far as to blog about them -

Now the question remains, can I make enough money producing these bags to justify the time put into them plus supplies?  If I cut many of the details and produced them on a sewing machine I believe I could.  From what I recall supplies for my saddlebags (panniers) ran somewhere between $100 to $130.  That's leather, dye, and hardware.  This particular bag - is currently selling for $347.00.  It's close to the dimensions of 1/2 my saddlebags.  Here's a Brooks Challenge Tool Bag -  It currently sells for 60 English Pounds.  I've seen them.  There not much larger then an eyeglass case.  I could easily produce this with the scrap from the saddlebags. 

I have a friend, a co-worker and cycle buddy, who is currently in taking courses at the New York Fashion Academy here in Seattle.  In fact this Saturday is sort of a final for him, a fashion show with his work.  I may pick his brain a little about sewing machines and leather.  Also I know he was working on some clothing for cyclists and also produced a musette bag.  Who knows, maybe we'll start something together.  This is all just food for thought.  It might go somewhere with it and I might not.
Twenty four miles of riding today, all to and from work.

First was the ride in to work at 9am.  This was supposed to be a nice simple commute with the wind at my back but the truckers were pissing me off.  Not waiting at the bike crossings, cutting me off.  One driver totally rolled a stop making a left right in front of me. 
(Me) (Waving arm) "Hey H E L L O!!!"
(Truck driver) Finally makes eye contact with me and shows no sign of empathy/apology.
(Me) (Waving arm turns to middle finger) "Fuck you bitch!"

We were cut out from work for about two and a half hours between shifts so thus begins ride 2, home for an hour.  Uneventful.  Headwind but I can look forward to the next trip back to work with the wind at my back, riiiiiiiiiight?

Nope.  A storm blows in from the Northwest shifting the wind back into my face.  Then I had to sit and wait for a train.  Usually I ride up past the end of the tracks but today there is a construction detour routing me right across them.  Apparently this is the time everyone is commuting home by bike for there are cyclists everywhere.  One compliment on my "rig".

At 10pm, the fourth and final ride of the day is the best.  It's Wednesday night and there is little traffic.  The rain has stopped.  I'm warm enough even though I've been hearing about sightings of snow all day.  It's almost a dead calm.  I'm full of energy and I slip into a wonderful cadence and all around me is this dramatic soundtrack of distance sirens, train whistles, the purr of my drive train, and a slight sloppy sound of my tires on the wet asphalt.  But the best part was the lone guy playing, what sounded like an old western soundtrack, on the trumpet, under the viaduct.  That made my night.

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