Knick knacks

Outfitting our bike has been fun. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding things that fit the unusual size and shape of this bike. Below I try to describe several of the knick knacks that are attached to our bike. I’ve tried to include links to products — not because we’re sponsored (obviously we’re not) — but to make it easier for someone with a similar bike to outfit their own rig.

The neck rests were a good start. They’ve actually evolved some. The super velcro wasn’t super enough, plus, I knew I needed places to put water bottles, so I drilled two holes in the neck rest (spatula) at the proper distance so on the back side the bolts would hold up a water bottle cage.

 

 

This works really nicely. The bottle is a little hard for me to reach while riding, but it is right in front of Natalie, so she takes it out and hands it up to me. When I’m done drinking I hand it back to her and she puts it away. She also has the same setup behind her neck rest, but she generally doesn’t drink from that bottle while riding. She swaps it with her easier-to-reach bottle when her easier-to-reach bottle goes dry. For some reason she refuses to share a water bottle with me….

Her easier-to-reach bottle is connected to the frame via velcro. We bought these cages from Amazon. I also have one on the front boom. It is hard for me to reach, so I too use it for backup. When the one behind my neck rest goes dry, I swap it for the one on the front boom.

 

 

The little blue bungee is used to hold the water bottle fast. It was not designed to hold a bottle horizontally, so they tend to fly out when going fast. :-O Natalie’s has a piece of green velcro she uses to cinch it down tight.

Also on the second picture you can see my phone holder (thing with a bungee string.) With my phone back there running komoot Natalie is able to participate in the adventure called navigation. It hasn’t bounced out yet. I am contemplating 3D printing something a little more convenient. The square bag you see next to Natalie’s cranks is a frame bag that carries my wallet, some lights, and a backup battery (in case the phone needs charging).

Behind my seat we hang a Camelbak designed for kayaking. We bought it on Amazon (link) and it doubles as our fridge. If we need to store chocolate (and we often do) it goes in this bag against a bladder of cold water. This is an important accessory for Natalie, as you might guess. To hang it I needed to make a strap, adding two loops positioned to be at the outer edge of my seat. I added a strong zip tie under the front of my seat to provide the forward connection point.

 

 

Finding mirrors wide enough for Natalie’s handlebars was a challenge. I bought some bar end mirrors from Amazon (link) and then modified them to have a much longer shaft. It is really important that these move. As we go through narrow gates she often has to fold them in. I may 3D print a new top section for these, but the bottom piece that goes into the handlebar tubes is super-well-built aluminum. I’m happy with these. The front mirrors are also from Amazon (link) and work without modification. Last year I used a different mirror from Amazon (link) but the mount kept breaking. Eventually those had to be zip-tied on.

 

 

The latest addition to our kit is a front light and front light holder. Last year we had lights attached to the front handlebars. However, the front boom had an attach point that was begging to be used. I 3D printed a generic mount and then attached this light (again from Amazon). 3D printing is going to change the world — it was so easy to design and print the part. (Let me know if anyone wants the STL file to print their own.)

 

 

In preparation for Iceland I may add a few more knick-knacks:

  1. Print a better phone holder, and possibly print one that will fit under Natalie’s seat so that she doesn’t have to keep using her fanny pack.
  2. Print a rear light mount for our trailer. I think we’ll want a flasher in the way-back.
  3. Get a GoPro like camera and modify the design on the front light holder so that it also holds the camera out front. Ideally we’d have a camera set at time-lapse mode for the entire ride. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found one that has 12+ hour battery life. If money was no object, I’d have a GoPro Hero6 in the front. However, besides being out of my price range, I’ve read it can only run a time-lapse for 3 hours. If anyone has a suggestion of something that is affordable and can do time-lapse for 12 or more hours, please leave a comment.

We also upgraded our panniers to the Arkel Orcas and purchased a Topeak Journey trailer.

As I said at the start — outfitting the bike has been a blast (if not a little expensive). Amazon and I are tight.  With unlimited funds I’d buy a good 3D printer and design/print containers that fit into the frame to carry miscellaneous gear. For now I send files to a neighbor and the public library to get prints. It works.

Btw, we rode 50 miles today – chain looks great. Go wax!

 

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