Saturday, September 17, 2005

Tricking out the Bike

The Laundry Bucket Bicycle Pannier If you're the ecologically-minded kind of person that I am, you buy your laundry soap in big buckets and ride a bicycle as much as you can. Flowers in background planted by the best next door neighbourI decided to combine those interests by making a pannier with one of the many laundry soap buckets around the house. All it took was four holes drilled in one side and two bungee cords. The only problem was that with the soap logo and text on the sides the pannier looked cheap and tacky. No problem. I came up with a little rocket ship picture that would go well with the blue lid and the white sides. Printed the picture onto some heavy paper, cut the pictures to 6"x8" , glued them to three sides of the bucket with spray adhesive and then coated the pictures with a waterproof spray-on substance. Got some thin foam at Spins'n'Needles and cut out star shapes that I sprayed with reflective paint. Glued the stars to the bucket. And voila, a flashy pannier that doubles as a stool. Kathy A and Dave T tell me that riding around with a bucket pannier with cartoon spaceships makes me look eccentric or kooky. And that the option of saying that the pictures were drawn by a nephew or niece would only work until people find out I have no nephews or nieces. Then I'd look creepy too. So best to go with just being kooky. As we get older, we're heading for either good kooky or bad kooky anyway. I say, this is good kooky. Camouflaged Toolkit See that extra water bottle on the bike in front of the bucket pannier? The one with the flat top. It's a toolkit. Wrench, multi-head screwdriver, can of oil, a rag, two Allen keys. So far, nobody has stolen it. [Author's note: although yesterday, a Scribbles reader who saw my bike said "I feel like stealing that water bottle."] Addendum If you are wondering how to arrange the bungee cords on the bike pannier, here is the arrangement I used. The quote is the moral from Thurber's The Moth and the Star Don't ask about the duct tape


Anonymous said...

I strongly agree with Kathy A and Dave T (Even though I only know one of them). Please lose the bucket. I cannot emphasize this enough. Even ecologically; it does not make sense in terms of the bucket allowing you the space to acquire things that are not absolutely required.

(Please ignore this if you only use it on specific, short missions, on early mornings, on sheltered short-cut alleyways).


Dave T is very correct in his assessment. I will never do it because I am a visible immigrant. I cannot even aspire to be kooky should I wish that on myself. I will always be a SLIK (Stupid Little Immigrant Kid - a term of affection for me coined by Kerry the SLIG)

However, your advice on the water bottle/tool kit is very good. You must be free on a bike, neither you nor the bike should be encumbered. It allows for changes on one's route.

David Scrimshaw said...

Haz, so far, I've only used the bucket on afternoon trips to the Loeb. I'm afraid there's no back alley route that will get me there.

Are you thinking I shouldn't use the bucket to take my books to school? I could detach the bucket and carry the books to my classes in it. It would be very handy.

Anonymous said...

The current edition is of particular interest to those of us who bicycle.

We would like to see more of this kind of creativity in the design of DIY cycling gear. But how do you deal with the centre-of-gravity problem?

David Scrimshaw said...

Patrick, I've got some ideas cooking in the back of my head for future DIY additions to the bike and will indeed share them.

The centre of gravity has never been a problem while I've been in motion. When the bike is stationary, you do have to hold it more carefully and you can't rely on the kickstand.

If you get a bucket pannier and find the centre of gravity a problem, there's an easy solution of course -- a second pannier.

Let me know if you need a bucket.