Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rackufacture: Reclamation Mods & A New Budget Porteur Bag

There's no popular demand, but the Rackufacture series is back, whether you like it or not. I don't have anywhere near the free time I've had the last coupla winters, but I'm managing to squeeze in a little rack activity where I can.

I guess I'm not happy unless I'm trying something different and about two years ago, I built this nutty-looking job. It's actually a modular rack that consists of a smallish pretzelized portion designed around a specific bag that carries things like jewelry and keys and looks like a man purse but is definitely not, and then a second removeable portion that looks more like a normal porteur deck for carrying bigger stuff like cases of beer and XL pizzas.  Posts on the original builds are here and here.

Some of the rack experimentation I've done to date has worked out pretty well, but this one has turned out to be kind of a pile.  For one thing, the deck is big and has lots of big gaps and is not very useful for hauling bags of groceries or the type of stuff I need to move around the neighborhood.  A good, functional porteur bag might help solve the problem but I've been too much of a cheapskate to spend the coupla hundred bucks on a proper one and I haven't put forth any effort towards figuring out a home-brew solution.  For another, some dopeshit mounted the light right behind the potential porteur load, which totally limits what you can haul after dark.

So it has long been my plan to do some corrective hacking to make this mess a little bit more functional.  I've been able to enact the plan over the past few days.

My search for a budget bag hack led me to Cabela's.

I've been here twice before - once shortly after it opened just to see what all the hysteria was about, and one other time when I was looking for what they might have to offer in terms of bike camping gear.  What they sell just has very little overlap with my interests - the majority of what's inside has to do with getting geared up to go out and kill animals and that's not something I would ever think of as fun.  Nothing against anyone who does, just not my thing at all.  If I had to hunt or fish in order to survive, I would Nike up and just do it of course.  Luckily, I live in a time where someone does all the dirty work for me.  Where I'm going with this I guess, is that through my glasses, it's a pretty interesting walk through this mega-store.

Yes they are all real.

Real dead, that is.

I'm not strictly anti-gun or anything, but it does scare me a little bit about how gun crazy we've become.
I mean, when you can't sell guns fast enough and have to put a first-come-first-served
 take-a-number system . . . well, it just gives me pause.

I do think this is not my last visit to Cabela's in search of some bike-nerd/outdoorsman-nerd crossover gear.  Case in
point is this day-glo hi-tech fabric vest.  I've been feeling the need to make myself a little more visible during National
Forest rides, during which time I'm sharing space with hunters.  Plus I could stash all kinds of cool shit in the pockets.

So anyway, here I was again, looking for something bike related that I wanted and maybe only these guys could help me with.  In this instance, it was fishing bags, and I wasn't disappointed.  Don't they look a little bit like something you could strap on a porteur?

 I know! Totally!  I am so smart.  I scored this one for forty bucks.

Buying the bag was the easy part. In order for it to be a workable solution, I'd need an easy-on, easy-off budget hack mounting system.

In a long-ago post that I don't wish to spend any time searching for, I talked about unraveling one of the nets on
the left and ending up with the righteous roll of bungee cord on the right.  I even found where I had put it.
Then I scrounged up some fender washers.

Few things in life are as exhilarating as drilling holes into something you just bought.

This is the inside of the bag, with the aforementioned bungee cord sticking through the fender washers and tied off.

These are new bungee loop posts.

Those are bungee cord finger loops, for hooking your primary bungee cord loops over your bungee loop posts.
I know you are basking in the terminology.

Stretch and hook.  So easy, even a baby could do it.

Hooked in, ready to roll.

That problem solved then, next under the knife was the light mount.

New mount.

As it should be. (What in the hell was I ever thinking.)

But what to do with the old light mount . . . mmm.  Hack it off?  Neh, too much work.  Why not turn it into a bell mount.

Never owned a bell before.  Oh the joy that must await me.

I thought about maybe sharpie-ing down the volume on the bright yellow embroidery, but hey, these guys
provided the solution.  So for the time being I intend to wear it proud, wear it loud.

In case you are even wondering, please. Don't insult me. Of course my new Cabela's gear will enable me to bag
a half rack. Hmmm. Maybe I have some of that hunter gene in me after all. No, wait.
Bullets + beer bottles = bad business. Guess, I'm a gatherer, then.

All up, I'm pretty excited about these mods . . . I think the bike is gonna be way more useful and therefore way more fun.


bmike said...

next time through the store that sells stuff to kill with, grab some of these atv mitts:

seen here in testing on my fargo, but purchased for the pugsley. thin liner gloves and toasty hands!

Jonathan Eberly said...

Awesome post Pat. One error tho, there is ALWAYS popular demand for Rackufacture. Indeed.

The bag looks great. Great solution for mounting it as well. Simple and effective. How tightly does the bag stay on? Does it shimmy at all on Spokane's battle-torn streets? What about when you lean the bike over?

Pat S said...

Mike, I'd heard that Cab's had pogies and I did actually cruise the atv section hoping to get a look at their version. Unfortunately, my local branch doesn't stock this particular item. Boo. Where's the bike love?

Jon, you obviously need to build a rack. When are we gonna do this thing?

As far as the bag, you're saying it has to look good AND perform? I'll have to get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Danny McAskill needs to discover the Cabela's dead animal mountain. What a great stage for some sick tricks!

Wileydog said...

A Cabela's bike bag that holds a half-rack - that's pritnear genius!

Daus said...

Right on!

I have a porteur rack too. Unless you have a good bag, its really quite useless to carry small items. Most bags are cumbersome to mount, but this solves it all.

Even better was the small bag on the rack. That's perfect for a kryptonite mini lock.

Great job!

Jim G said...

Agreed -- rackufacture makes for good reading! Other good sources for lofi rack bags include soft-sided cooler bags, tool bags (see Lowes or Home Depot), and pizza-delivery bags.

Links courtesy of James Black and his Cycle Truck:

I just use a Timbuk2 messenger bag held down with a cargo-net-bungy thing.

Sherrill said...

Awesome, creative alternative! Luv'd the way you upcycled the bungee for attaching bag to rack! I might copy it, as my hubby has been looking for a way to carry his fly fishing gear on the rear rack of his new Kawasaki KLR!