Change for the sake of change, I guess.

If you’re a regular reader of The Early Morning Cyclist, you’ve no doubt noticed a drop off in the number of recent posts. This is due in part to my alter ego, which includes the role of professor of art and art history, and all that entails. I can also blame Mother Nature for leaving me housebound for the past several weeks, snowbound and on the verge of going stir crazy. And for the first time in years I find myself without a winter bike project and without any fiddling around that I really feel needs to be done with any of my bikes. Frankly, I’ve nothing very interesting to write about!

After long consideration, I’ve decided to muck about a bit more with the Katakura Silk – not to change anything original to the bike, mind you, but I thought to perhaps introduce a bit of added functionality. It took very little to convince myself that adding fenders would be a step in the right direction. I’ve found myself curious to try a pair of SKS P35 Chromoplastic fenders, and at thirty-two bucks delivered, I could hardly go wrong. I’ll add those after they arrive next week.

More importantly, I’ve come to believe that unless I’ve some way to carry things with me a bike has far less usefulness to me than otherwise. I need a bag of some sort to stow camera, sketch kit, snacks, tools, layers that I peel out of, and so forth. Those tiny little bags that fit under a saddle might hold a tube, but that’s about it. I’ve been considering another Carradice to fit on the back of the Katakura, and that, undoubtedly, will ultimately be just the ticket. For grins though, I decided to install a seat post mounted rear bag support for a trunk bag I’ve had hanging about for a while.

With the snow finally beginning to leave, I went for a short ride. Immediately I remembered why I had removed this bag support in the first place: As soon as I went to heft my leg over the saddle I ran foot first right into the trunk bag, knocking everything awry. Damn!

I wasn’t thrilled with the bag sitting so high in the first place, and that initial experience has made me warier still. I’ve several rear racks made by Blackburn and I could easily install one at the same time as the fenders. That would allow me to add the trunk bag with a lower center of gravity, as well as a bit more aesthetically pleasing arrangement – form and function, how about that! Even still, I’m leaning more toward a Carradice Pendle, I think.

Out on the road, I dodged puddles and mud and unmelted snow and ice. With no fenders, this was getting old, and I wound up curtailing my ride sooner than I’d planned. Stopping for a quick sketch of the fish market, I considered for a moment continuing onward, looked down the road at what appeared to be a never ending mine field of pot holes left behind from the past weeks of winter crud, and sadly turned toward home.

Sure wish I had those fenders today!

7 thoughts on “Change for the sake of change, I guess.

  1. Love your drawings! For a rear bag – I have used the Detour bags which are mounted with a quick release clamp – they sit down lower so you don’t have to catch your leg on the bag when swinging it over. Best wishes for your fender project!

    • My Blackburn trunk bag is similar to the D2R Trunk Bag that Detours makes. I’m going to give the Blackburn rear rack a shot and see how that works out. I took the Katakura out again this evening and I’m really not liking the height of the seat post mounted rack.

  2. nice bike, I’ve had the nelson longflap, the barley and the zip roll from carradice.
    Nice thing about the smallest one is that it doesn’t need a bagman, though a brooks is a good idea.
    those nitto QR bagman attachments RIv used to sell always made me curious, but I’ve not tried one tho.
    The topeak big (under)saddlebags are quite good, but get the velcro,not the qr.
    I’d make a small rack for the rear.use the brake attachment, two braze ons and you’re good.
    then use the carradice racktop’s the most practical I’ve used.

    great drawing, btw.

    • I built my own version of the Bagman, which I use with a large vintage Carradice on my 1971 Raleigh International. I’m pretty pleased with the way it eliminates sway and stabilizes the bag, keeping it off the back of my legs, off the fender, etc. You can see how that turned out here and here. I have a small Topeak bag that I use on one of my Paramounts, but I like the roominess of a Carradice, as well as the ease of access.

      • That’s great the bagmark,the bike and the tree.
        I like the fact a carradice looks right, just like leather does,chrome,or a brooks does.
        Bicycle aesthetics are still very firmly rooted,otherwise this retro fashion we’ve been seeing in the past 5-8years would not have had the success it’s had.

        May I suggest a spring at the mudguard, to keep fenderline constant?Velo orange sells one. but I’m sure most people have a spring somewhere.

        Carradice have made a bagman mk2 with supporting struts but it’s so ugly it should be banned.

      • Great suggestion about the spring. Since that shot was made last fall, I fashioned a spacer that allowed me to snug the fender in closer to the tire. That also allowed me to do the same on the back end, thus evening out the fender line. The issue is that the brake bridge is low enough that it kind of jacks up the fender line at the top, so the solution wound up being to snug things in at the bottoms. (I could have split the fender at the brake bridge, but that seemed entirely counterproductive!)

        I agree with your sensibilities regarding “bicycle aesthetics,” by the way. To my way of seeing, there is a true appeal to classical design that is tasteful. Far too many contemporary designs are informed by a plea for consumers to live vicariously: If my jersey or bike is covered with logos and loud graphics, perhaps I can imagine myself riding the TdF; If my t-shirt sports a soft drink log/rock band graphic/pithy saying, then others may think I am cool…and so forth, and so on. As a designer myself, I cringe at many of these trends. And that, perhaps, is why I find an especial beauty in some bicycles that boast elegant lines, neatly hand fashioned details – and yet are functional and purposeful vehicles.

  3. The good thing about classics is that the aesthetic choice has been made for us, by time.
    I think what you say about selling ‘lifestyle’ is true. But it’s a mature strategy that started with bernays nearly a century ago, maybe cycling resisted, or maybe it didn’t,reading old brochures it seems things don’t much change.
    I’d humbly say that replacing internal validation with external (and mixing the two) is just a sign of our insecurities.
    Back to bikes. It is possible to have all that, but the price is something that, on the whole, people aren’t prepared to pay.
    As a builder, pricing is a dialogue, an internal one mostly, that should produce a comfort level,where saying yes, and saying no is natural.
    It comes back to maturity, and endless innovation doesn’t contribute to forming mature cyclists.
    I think that’s part of the marketing strategy.

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