Monday, November 8

Selling My Koga Women's (Mixte) 53cm Signature Traveller bike

 I haven't posted much over the last few months - perhaps I am becoming like another blogger I follow, who, when I commented favourably on one of his posts, replied -

Thanks Lizzie! I tend only to post when I've got something to say that's inspired me! I'm glad that the post has inspired you.

I've also noticed that many of the bloggers in my list of blogs I follow have not posted anything for several months, whereas they used to post more often. I wonder if that is a sign of the times. Life has changed considerably for all of us in the last 21 months or so. Perhaps many of us give priority to different things. One thing I would like to write about in the future is the change in the diet of Husband and I, in connection with health. Hopefully that will happen.

You may wonder, then, given the title of this post, where I am heading! Well, I'm not sure that this will exactly be an inspiring post, but nevertheless I thought I'd write it. I am selling one of my bikes, and until I do sell it I shall be down to the one bike, my faithful Old Lady Trek, as I like to call it, or my everyday/shopping/short rides bike. The reason for the sale is that I have not really enjoyed riding my Koga since my last long trip on it in September 2019, when I rode from Derbyshire home to Oxfordshire over 4 days. It may be that this bike is ideally suited to longer, loaded trips, and I don't really want to keep a bike which has that quality, and nor can I afford to.  Even on these longer trips, I have only ever ridden with two panniers, something on the back rack and a very small bag on the handlebars. I don't think I will ever need to ride with more than that, and I think a different sort of bike, would suit my needs better.

However, it is not just that. I have no idea why it is that I can no longer get comfortable on this bike, the main reason being that I cannot get the saddle far enough back. It must be the geometry of the bike, but why I should have this problem now and yet it wasn't always the case I do not know! I even swapped saddles for a while, taking off my favourite and recently hacked Brooks B67 and replacing it with one of my spare Bontrager saddles, which I can get a fraction further back. However, it's still not far enough back, and also I do so like my Brooks saddle, especially after that hacking which I described here, that I don't want to ride this bike with any other one. I looked into buying a new seat post with more set back but unfortunately the size of the Koga post is not the most common, and finding one was almost impossible, and certainly a lot of money.

I also have to confess a long term slight disappointment that this bike isn't steel (or a colour that I like! I know that colour sounds so unimportant but I think if you are spending a lot of money on a bike then you want one that you like the colour of!) which I believe, rightly or wrongly, would make for a more comfortable ride. I always wanted steel, but when I was looking for a bike in 2016, and after the disappointment with my Oxford Bike Works bike which I wrote about here, I could not find another steel bike that I liked. So, finally, I have made the decision to sell. Here are some pics, and if you are reading this and are interested in buying, then I can send more. I know that this bike will suit somebody out there, even if it doesn't suit me.

Details - 
Shimano Deore 30 speed gearset
Magura hydraulic brakes HS33
Schwalbe Marathon 37mm tyres
Frame - KOGA Aluminium 6061
Tubus rear carrier
B&M Lumotec IQ Cyo RT lights
Pletscher stand
Axa lock
Bell with compass
2 bottle cages (with 1 original bottle if you want)
Weight - 17.1 kg

The bike is really like new. I replaced the trekking bars with Thorn Comfort bars, and the Koga pedals with some larger platform ones, which in my opinion are much better than the Koga ones. The bike has had a very thorough clean and oil and is ready, as they say, to ride away! And the price? £1300. 

Saturday, October 9

For sale - Bernina 801 Matic

 I have recently become the owner of this lovely Bernina Record 930, in a Horn cabinet -

The drawers on the right pull out further to give more working space, but it suits me to leave them half in. 

I had been slightly hankering after a 930 for a while, knowing that they were considered extremely good machines. It was a question of - well, if one ever comes up.... A Horn cabinet had also featured in my dreams.... so when the two together came up for sale on Gumtree I made some enquiries. It was a couple of counties away, so in my first couple of emails I sounded out the seller to see if she might offer to send it - which she did! She was in fact extremely helpful all the way through, and the transaction couldn't have gone better. I used Shipley Couriers as she herself had used them before. All went well and everything arrived in good condition.

This Sewfit cardboard folding sewing table was also part of the deal -

It packs down flat, is surprisingly sturdy, and doesn't take up much space on our landing when in its box. I also received a pile of really lovely fabrics as a free extra - the sort I would have chosen myself! 

The machine was owned from new by the seller's mother, and the cabinet too I believe.

I had to completely reorganise my sewing room but am very pleased with how it is now. I just need somewhere better to store fabric, as at the moment it is in a cupboard in boxes and  I can't easily just pull a piece out.

So - my Bernina 801 Matic has served me very well for nearly 9 years, and I shall be quite sad to see it go, but go it must, to help pay for the 930! Here are some photos -

I have kept it clean and oiled and it works as perfectly as the day I bought it. If you are interested, or know anyone who is, the price is £300. It's also on Gumtree. I am not intending to put it on Ebay, as you can no longer sell on there without registering your bank details with them. I can't see why they needed to change their payment policy so will not be selling on there again.

Thursday, April 15

A few useful bags I've made lately.

Back in 2017 I made this messenger bag -

which was a very useful one, and which I could handily stuff into my panniers went I went shopping on my bike. However, it was never quite big enough - it needed to be about an inch wider - so I decided to make a bigger one. That first bag was made from a jacket which I'd bought in a charity shop, but with them all being shut at the time I had to bite the bullet and buy brand new fabric. Actually that was quite a treat for me! I ordered a metre of waxed cotton (which looks black but is actually very dark green) from Point North, at the reduced price of about £8, and made this bag -

However, because I changed my mind half way through about how I was going to construct it, partly in order to be able to attach the little pocket on the side more easily, it ended up too big..... I knew I was never going to be happy with it, so I unpicked it all and made this one, which is much better, but I left off the small pocket -

Space for the glasses at last

Dog clip for extra security 

You can actually get a lot out of a metre of fabric (I think it was 150cm wide)  so then I also  made this roll-top rucksack -

I like the simplicity of a roll-top fastening. I didn't have very suitable webbing for the straps so had to cut a wide one in half lengthways, so that I had enough for two, and then bind the raw edge with grosgrain tape (another recent favourite of mine). It does the job! The fastening is made from a belt from an old favourite Craghopper's skirt. I left the skirt behind in our B and B on holiday once, and when I rang up about it, mysteriously it had never been found....

Then, for my 5l rucksack -

I made this extension -

Folds up small.

I find that although the rucksack holds enough for a day's walk, if I remove a jacket or jumper then there's really no space for that. I made a pattern from the rucksack, and added loops to the extension and some extra ones to the rucksack itself. The fabric came from a free windbreak, and the zip from a bag I had picked up in the verge one day. (Husband gets quite embarrassed about my picking things up when we're out together, and sometimes says "You're NOT picking that up!") I think the yellow cord was free from somewhere too!

I tried it out on a walk the other day when I took my jumper off, and it worked really well! I was so glad I'd made it.

Then Husband said one day that he could do with a bottle holder to hold the 250 ml bottle (Nalgene, we both use them in this size) that he often takes out on a walk. He wanted it to attach to his belt. So, using fabric saved from old panniers and some ripstop (more new fabric from Point North) I made this -

The bottom was very difficult to get right


I actually took enormous care to line up the seam, but the ripstop moved, hence the misalignment. I couldn't use the new roller foot I'd bought, in that position, so couldn't stop the fabric moving. When you make something that you've designed yourself then it's only when it's finished that you realize how to make it better, and if I make another one I'll put the seam somewhere else as I don't like it there (even if it were lined up properly! So we'll call this a prototype.... Husband was pleased with it though!

And one last thing! some time ago, I bought a brand new camera bag from a charity shop, for about £3, thinking I could flog it for a fortune (it has worked for me sometimes!). However, it didn't sell, so I unpicked every bit of it and ended up with a lot of webbing, various fastenings, big bits of Velcro, a good zip, and some bits of fabric. There was a zipped mesh pocket inside the bag, and I kept that whole. It has now become the reverse of this little pouch, which I intend to use for first aid and other essentials on my bike, or in my rucksack -


The salvaged mesh pocket

Pleated pocket

Please don't look closely at the corners - they are not neat! I need to practise corners on binding. but I'm pleased with this and it will be really useful.

I have some other similar projects in the pipeline, but something for grandchild number 6 (that will be our third in 6 months!) due very soon, now takes priority.

Wednesday, January 20

New zip in sleeping bag

 At the end of last summer, I bought a bivi bag, an Alpkit Elan, wistfully thinking about future bike trips...... So far I have only slept in it in the garden, in a summer weight sleeping bag I had bought from Aldi. The problem with the sleeping bag was that the zip was not on the same side as the one on the bivi bag. I hadn't given this a thought when I'd bought the latter. I turned the bag over when I slept in it, so that the zip would be on the right side, although this meant I had to fold down the head shaped bit, which wasn't very satisfactory.

I knew we'd got another one - an ancient very basic one I'd had as a teenager, so was mystified when I went looking in the cupboard where we keep such things and found a rather better, 2-3 season Karrimor one (but not the ancient one - where did that go?). I thought it must have belonged to Elder Son, but it didn't. I have no memory of ever buying it! Unfortunately this one also has the zip on the wrong side, but it's a fairly decent bag and so I decided that it was worth attempting to put a zip in on the correct side.

I bought the zip months ago and have now finally got round to inserting it, and am quite pleased with the results. The first thing I did was to make two lines of stitching down the appropriate side, with a gap of about an inch in between, so that when I cut the bag the filling (polyester) would stay in place. It proved quite tricky as the fabric was slippery and wouldn't move along under the presser foot very well.  

This is the result -

On the right of the photo is the original zip, and on the left the new one.

I finished off the bottom of the zip with a piece of ripstop fabric that came from a sample I'd bought.  

I had to be a bit creative with what I used to make a cover for the new zip at the top. The other sample pieces of ripstop I had weren't big enough, so I stitched together several pieces of trouser kick tape. It does the job! Velcro holds it in place. I have still got to put cord stops in place where the safety pins are.

Here I have joined together the casing which holds that cord, having joined the cord itself first.

I would have liked to have top stitched the zip, as per the original, which would have held the tape of the zip more out of the way underneath, but the fabric, plus zip, would have been very thick and I didn't think my machine would cope with it. It's not strictly necessary as the zip works perfectly well without this extra stitching, so I didn't attempt it.

It wasn't an easy job and none of it is very neat, but I've done what I set out to do and am pleased with the result.