12.23 Studios

Lab Notes

(03/12/21)

This time the lab was solely focused on the last major piece of touring gear for the bike and modifying it to carry my tarp tent condo...


I went to the local Sports Basement store and found the only Axiom lowrider front rack in stock. Thumbs up: it was less than $30 with tax, much better than online price. Thumbs down: it was missing washers and one of the black oxide machine hex nuts...


The missing hex nut goes with a 1" 10-32 Phillips head machine screw. The black oxide screw is a loose 10-32, the 4mm allen head screw is a tight 10-32. Luckily, they both screw into the front fork eyelet...


Sizing the rack and tarp bag...


A Sat. trip to the local hardware store scored the 10-32 hex nuts, M6 nuts and 1/4 washers to ensure a snug fit for the rack on the forks...


Meanwhile, my REI membership coupon allowed me to score extra tent stakes for use with my camp stove's windscreen, and some quick dry bike socks...


With much fiddling I managed to mount the racks onto the front fork, not easy because these particular legs don't taper...


I don't like the way the rack sides splay out, all because the bottom mount point screws into the fender eyelet. More modification is needed...


A Sun. hardware store run scored a pair of 1/2" wide 1 3/4" dia. hose clamps to firmly mount the racks to the fork legs...


The eyelet mounts are separate, so zip ties lock them together...


Electrical tape for padding...


Once the hose clamp area is wrapped with more electrical tape, the top bracket is set, secured and bolted down. Extra M6 nuts and washers were still needed before the acorn nuts were added...


The rack placement is much better now from birds-eye view; the handlebar harness rack looks more askew than it actually is...


The leftover strap material for the rack baskets...


I finished reinforcing the carry straps for the camo tarp bags...


After measuring and cutting, there was just enough material for the two baskets with tie downs...


The different sections sorted and labeled...


Without heavy duty sewing gear, the carpet tape-Gorilla tape combo will do for now. Zip ties and more tape can always be added later...


The left hand rack basket with the end loops dry fitted with painters tape, ready to go onto the rack...


After a dry fit, permanent mounting starts with carpet taping the loops to give the basket structure...


The outsides of the loops are reinforced with Gorilla tape, finishing one basket...


The tarp bag sits almost snug, but the planned top straps are too short to reach the basket...


With the lateral compression strap added, weight stress is taken off the basket, letting it function as a base...


The contact points for the lateral strap are wrapped with electrical tape, then the strap is zip tied...


The front rack with tarp tent condo loaded. There's no noticeable effect on handling, but a shakedown road test with the bikepacking gear is next...

(03/29/21)

Following Pres. Biden's request to use my stack of patriotic mad money to help stimulate the economy, I damn near wrapped up my shopping list of essential cycling gear for going walkabout...


Matching long and short sleeved bike jerseys closes out my cycling clothes list...


REI Cycling Rain Jacket...


Rambo R180 Aluminum Bike/Hand Cart, so far my only luxury purchase. The hitch works with a rear rack, and the cargo area is big enough to carry everything on my relatively short cargo list, plus it doesn't scream 'homeless' like the shopping cart does...


Found my fenders - Elmer 26, made for mountain bikes with 26" wheels. Half off, but they didn't include screws for the eyelets...


A windy, sunny Tue. road test of the loaded front rack, along with the installed fenders...


The cycling rain pants from the Decathlon store comes with shoe covers...


I swapped out the three 591 ml Gatorade bottles for 1 L SmartWater bottles, almost doubling my bike water capacity...


The all-important Nalgene pee bottle completes my camp toilet...


An aluminum pot holder closes out my cooking gear...


While changing the brake cables my regular wirecutters proved insufficient, so a second trip to Decathlon scored a proper cable and housing cutter and an extra front cable for almost half the cost of a bike store cutter...


While waiting for the new cargo trailer I made a handle/shoulder strap for the harness from leftover strap...


The rest of the cycling clothes, plus a sleeping bag liner, all packed down...


Many days late, the cargo trailer arrived. I immediately unboxed it, checking for anything bent, broken, or missing...


First glance...


The frame looks properly aligned...


Just as other purchasers found, the tires aren't knobby like on the sales page, instead cheap city street tires that can be replaced with gravel/offroad models. The 16" wheels take 3" tires, enough clearance for frontcountry riding...


The tires barely function as spares, but the wheels are true...


The cargo area is split between a foot of upper space and 3 feet lower space...


The back end is 6" tilted up..


Almost 18" across. The owner's manual says the cart's capacity is 70 lbs. the cart itself says 300, and the ad copy says 150...


The hole for the hitch hardware is a perfect fit for my eye bolt. Now I can add threadlock, maybe a nylon locknut for overkill...


For hand cart use, I'm thinking of mountig the existing shopping cart axle and 10" wheels to the front end of the lower frame...


Finally found a backup 100W Boost-Buck Converter, but now they're only made and sold in China...


To mount the axle I settled on split ring pipe hangers - 2 pairs on the right, 2 on the left. The other components, 3/8 Inch threaded rods, have to be ordered because nobody sells 6 Inch parts, only 1 foot minimum...


A reference shot of a top bracket on the frame. The standoff screws could be a bit longer...


Following a backpacker tip, I reinforced the closures on my odor-proof OpSak bags with packing tape to prevent splitting...


I changed the pipe hanger standoff screws to 1" 10-24 machine screws with hex nuts. Checked to make sure there's no galvanic reaction between copper plating and stainless steel...

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