Comparing Docena MkI and MkII

It is hard to believe the Docena bag collaboration we produce with Swift Industries is now four years old.  The Docena still is only bag on the market that bridges the gap between rando front bags and the larger bags purpose built for porteur racks.  Since the inception of the bag, the key shortcoming in my eyes was the small rear pockets, carried over from traditional rando bags, getting smushed on the full width porteur rack back stops.

The workaround was to push the bag forward, or deal with the pockets sort of useless (crushed my OCD worse than the pockets).  Thus the plan was set into motion to develop the MkII.  The small rear pockets came off, but we added plenty of detailing to keep the functionality.  The key element is the addition of MOLLE standard webbing straps to the sides and rear face of the bag.  We retained the lock pocket (of course)

This allows for the end user to modify with the addition of pouches widely available from the outdoor and tactical gear market.  In time there will be some more cycling specific pouches, but the stuff already on the market is overwhelming enough and will be covered in a future post.  Pictures tell the store on the other differences between a MkI and MkII

The webbing on the rear of the MkII has two of the bar tack stitches skipped on the center of the lower two web straps for smooth transition back to the narrow back stop on a traditional rando rack

The Bottoms of the bags are identical

The final difference is the material.  The bar tack stitches at the MOLLE webbing needed a bit more support and we moved to a slightly heavier XPac material.  The final weight gain on the bag is negligible for the gain in strength.  We chose the X50 material in Black Multicam and a dark gray

I am really happy with the outcome, and the MkII may become my “ONE” bag, time will tell.  The Mk I bags have been with me a while, and sill have a place in my heart, but I am really enjoying the flexibility of custom pouch placement.

The first run of bags is available for pre-order and scheduled for June 2017 delivery, from there it will be a combination of the pre-orders and stock on hand style that has gotten a few hundred well loved MkI bags out in the wild.

Thank you for the continued support

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Mama-Porteur No 2

This last week we wrapped up another complete Rambler build.  For long time fans, this replaced a Bridgestone RB-T, build from a blog post many moons ago.  I have been calling these builds with the BoBike Mini+ kid seats MamaPorteurs and PapaPorteurs.  No bias other than who the captain is.  The seat is easy to swap between bikes that have the steerer mounting plate.  Of all the options out there, there are our favorite for ease of on/off and minimal encroachment in the captain space.

On to the build, it was our first full build with a 1×10 drivetrain.  A 40 tooth Wolf Tooth Component ring paired to a 11-34 cassette in the rear.  Shifting is through an indexed Gevenalle (microshift) bar-end.  It is spot on, really perfect for 90% of the riding most of us do.  The chain ring uses a wide/narrow tooth pattern that removes the need for any kind of front chain keeper.  I can see more of these in our future for sure.  There is not much more to say other than it just works.

The rest of the build was along the lines of our standard Porteur set ups.  Lighting front and rear powered by a SON 28, Berthoud fenders, King headset, Soma Porteur rack, and Nitto Albatross Bars.

The Pictures tell the story:

2.7 mel blog-11102422.7 mel blog-11102362.7 mel blog-1110232 2.7 mel blog-11102282.7 mel blog-11102792.7 mel blog-11102372.7 mel blog-1110247This is the second Rambler in the stable for this couple, stoked to have the support of friends, and give them tools that they will use and enjoy.  This bike is not going to be a garage queen by any stretch of the imagination, we build them to get used.  Thank you A&M.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Why A Kerchief

Aside for the obvious style and fashion reasons, who the hell wouldn’t want to look like a cowboy or pirate?  The Kerchief is a worthy tool to add to your daily wardrobe or every day carry kit.  I personally wear one through a good bit of the year.  The primary function is shelter for the midsection of your neck.  In the summer, sun protection is the obvious reason.  While a wet kerchief also provides evaporative cooling.  For the hot days, a basic bandanna gets it done.

As the seasons cool it is not uncommon to see the masses move towards a scarf as part of the outdoor wardrobe.  In Chinese medicine it is a pretty big deal to keep the neck and throat protected from wind to ward off colds and maintain health through the cooler months.  Most scarves are bulky though, Not ideal for the bike rides and come off with the jacket every time you head in and out.  But what else works to keep your neck covered in the gap area?  The kerchief of course!

1.17 Why Kerchief-1100919Most of my Fall/Winter/Spring layering is set up to minimize the need to peel layers off and on as the day, stops and starts.  Getting around town, many short to medium rides, in and out of shops, or in the shop etc.. We are pretty spoiled here in California with the weather, but things run on the cool side of temperate, often between 45 and 60 deg F.  I layer with breathable natural fabrics that adapt well to the warming and cooling cycles of the day and activities.  The layers increase and decrease as temperatures dictate, but the kerchief is there, the shield that otherwise bare stretch of throat and nape of the neck that the shirt collar misses.

A few years back I was looking for something more substantial than a bandanna, but not as bulky as a scarf.  I started experimenting with neck gaiters made out of different materials, but found them a bit too confining in all but the coldest of weather.  That said, on long cold and possibly wet rides, there is still one in the bottom of my Docena waiting to be called up for duty.

It was the exploration of materials for our caps that had me cross paths with the the materials known as double weave gauze.  Two layers of gauze like cotton, bonded together in a grid pattern by a shared yarn.  It offers all the ease of an old soft linen shirt, but doubled up into to layers building the loft, trapping heat between the layers.  I started searching out samples and sewing up test pieces.  Settling in on a 100% cotton material sourced from Japan, with a silky hand and slightly dense weave, our Double Weave Solid Kerchiefs were launched

1.17 Kercheifs wp-1100955These are with me most days, if not around my neck they have been torture tested as lunch napkins, furoshiki insulation for lunch in a mason jar, snot rags for the kids, and on and on.  The first ones I made a couple years ago have been though hundreds of machine washings and just keep getting better with age.  This last summer they even outperformed my regular bandannas as evaporative coolers.

Strongly consider adding one or more to the kit this year.  It may seem extravagant at first, but will quickly become part of your every day carry/or wear.  Many of our customers start with one, then come back, and back again as gift season rolls around.  I still cut and sew these myself in the shop.  Stock is constantly being updated, and there will be a few new colors as we move into spring.  Im looking forward to getting more of these out into the world in 2016.

As always, thank you for the support, that is what keeps this going.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Turning 41 today was more interesting than turning 40.  Forty was one of the longest and best years of my life.  So why not cap it off with a #hardstylewednesday shot from the weekend’s headshot self-portrait session.

7.28 HS 41-1090090Ridiculous, but fun, and that’s the point.  Forty is stereotypically suppose to be some sort of a melt down or mid-life crisis.  I on the other hand worked the hardest I think I ever have, am more sleep deprived than ever, the years finances were a roller coaster of success and despair, the family cars are 15 years old and on the brink, it seems things are held together with kite string at times.  Going into forty I started back at a day job so Aly could be home with our second daughter.  It was pretty much the same construction management gig I left behind 6 years earlier, building and refurbishing schools in the public sector.  The pay is OK, but the hours and windshield time are long.  In the middle of all that we grew OAC, kept Ramblers rolling out, brought a few new products to market, and moved out of the garage into a gigantic space a mile away.

This stuff was incredibly hard, long hours, stretching finances to the brink and back more than once and scary as hell.

The best part?  I plan to keep it up.  This is the most rewarding thing I have ever done and keep doing.  The school economy is growing and the company I work for is setting the stage for the next generation of kids and delivery methods for the schools that will facilitate the education of the Gen X and Millenial’s children.  The OAC business is right at the edge of an incredible tipping point, it is about to all come together.  There will probably be a few more years of little or no sleep some nights, and growing both facets to see which one wins the race.   I know it will be Ocean Air, but the other one lights the lamps for the moment…

None of this could happen with out the love and support of my ladies and extended family.

7.28 family-1070519They are amazing, tolerant and loving.  Watching my babies grow into little ladies, and them wanting to help.  Aly working to keep it all together and learning to start a yoga teaching practice.  So much amazing going on.

The vendor support, both the makers and suppliers.  So many of you stepping up to the plate to supply the odd combinations of product and make my dreams into real objects.  Swift with the bags, Blue Lug getting Ramblers rolling in Japan, RandiJo with the cap patterns, Dylan at Centri on and on.  Then the back packing companies like Trail Designs and Soto who wondered if people riding bikes would really want the gear to make coffee outside in the middle of the week.  And there are a bunch of others that have my languishing projects on the back burner, vendors and wholesalers, the list goes on and on.   Then the friends who listen to my ideas and dreams, lift heavy objects, and help when I need a hand.  Jason, Marshal,  Toby and all the others.  I have to get home for dinner or I would type for hours.

But it is really about the people, family, friends customers everybody who has come together to help hold the ship up, keep the wheels turning.  There have been other times in my life that come close, but this last year…What an amazing year.

All I can say is thank you, for the support, wanting to change the world with us, and keeping us going through the rough patches.  Without all of you, I am just a crazy guy without enough sleep and a dream.

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Round Three Docena Presale for 2015

The pre-sale for the third round of the Docena Demi-Porteur bags is on.  These are a collaborative project that we developed with Swift Industries last year, and you can read up on all of the design details HERE.  This has been my one and only bar bag for over a year now, and I am stoked that feedback on the first 50 that we sold in the last year are all finding love and use from their owners.

7.24 docena drawing-1060731

This round of bags will start production in about two weeks and we are projecting for a Late August / Early September delivery.

Click Here To Order

There are a couple of changes to the program as well.  the original gray body with yellow trim is being discontinued,  The color combo started life as our prototype.  While never intended to be a production color, the demand was there, but it is time to move on.  They are listed as out of stock, but if you really want one let me know via email and we can make one or two happen.  Bid farewell…

7.24 docena yellow-1050868

New to the line up is the All Black.  This color combo has been requested quite a bit in the past. We added some reflective details to help with visibility on the road.  Production bags will have a dark gray, almost black reflective tape that shines bright silver when hit with light.

7.24 Black Blog-1090032

7.24 Black Blog-1090034

After this there will be one more production run of 12 bags in 2015.  They are all made to order based on pre-sale quantities.  In general we sell through in about 3-5 days, although I expect that will get shorter as word gets out.  The faster we sell through 12, the faster they are ready.  Each pre-sale will start approximately a month after the previous delivery.

Thank you for the continued support and enthusiasm, without you out there, these would not happen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Swift Campout Solstice 15 at Casitas

We are getting a group together to ride up to Lake Casitas camp ground this June 20-21, next week, fathers day weekend to celebrate the solstice and the Swift Campout.  At the moment there are about ten to fifteen people going that I know of.  The plan is to meet here at Ocean Air Cycle soon to be shop in Ventura around 9;30 AM on the 20th and ride up to Lake Casitas.  There will be lots of this:

6.13 scout-1170260

and some of this:

6.13 scout-1170285

All at a family pace.  This will be the first full family bike tour that all four os us: Aly the girls 5 and 1.5 and I all get out on for an overnight.  We will defiantly not be setting any KOMs, but will be having a ton of fun and may take a bunch of breaks and stop at playgrounds and stuff.  Some folks are probably going to jam ahead, and thats cool too.  the route is a really simple mix of the Ventura River Trail and some country roads (minimal shoulder if that matters to you):

If the embedded thing above does not work click HERE for the map

We have reserved “Campground P” for the night.  It is a group camp that should hold at least 20 people comfortably, the park says 40, but I am not sure there is that much flat ground.  There is a water spigot and primitive toilet, no showers, but that OK

6.13 scout-11703086.13 scout-1170309We will get there, set up camp, and do camping stuff, maybe ride around the lake

6.13 scout-1170313or head up to Ojai for food and supplies.  it is a pleasant ride about another 5 or 6 miles north.  Since we will be riding with kids, we may not haul that much food to the camp.  The idea is to keep it simple and fun, this is not going to be all that hard, a couple big hills and a night outside with friends.  There will be touring veterans as well as some bike camping for the first time.  There are not a lot of rules, mostly guidelines, and just a few:

  • the idea is to get there by bike, self supported.  We reserved the campground and are loosely organizing this, but it is by no means a sponsored event with SAG wagons and catering at the camp ground.  (maybe we’ll do that for another trip)
  • Plan on having the things you need to get there, spend the night and get home on your own.  Others can probably help you out of a jam, but try to be prepared.
  • You are welcome to meet us there, take a different route, or come by to hang out, but get there by bike, please.
  • The route has a mix of road and paved bike trail, there are also a few hills.  None of it is crazy, all regular local cycling routes.  That said this is not a sponsored event and do it at you own risk and all that.  (I have to keep saying that so our insurance company does not call me on Monday freaking out)

In the morning we will do camping breakfast stuff, probably play with the kids and hang out.  Then ride back to Ventura.

If you know for sure that you want to come, please hit me with an email at so that we can gauge how many to expect.  Try and help me bu putting something like Solstice and Campout in the subject

This whole thing is part of a bigger thing Swift Industries put together that has spread around the world, pretty cool.  You can take a minute, and register, its kind of fun and there are prizes.  They make cool things really well, like our Docena bags.  Events like this are good motivators, and Martins(Swift Owner) is good a making things like this happen – Thank you for getting this going.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Receiving Your Docena Bag

With the latest round of Docena Demi Porteur bags starting to ship we decided to put together a video to help head off any questions that might arise.  The bag folds down flat for shipping and you will need to work through some basic steps to get it into the final shape you are familiar seeing in our social media feeds.  The video is just under 7 minutes, and covers every aspect of what you will see and be getting.  At no point is this hard, but there are some steps that we have gotten questions on in the past.  Hopefully this removes any initial questions you might have with your new bag, the one you have had for a while or the one you hope to get this year.

For mounting on the bike you will still need a small front rack to support the bottom.  We sell and recommend the Nitto Mark’s rack for our Ramblers and many other bikes.  The bag will work with most “Rando” style front racks.  You will also need some sort of upper support connecting the bag to the handlebars.  Traditionally this is called a Decaleur.  There are off the shelf versions made by Berthoud, VO, Nitto and Compass that all can work well with the Docena.  I have been using a prototype system made with pannier mounting hardware for well over a year now.  This is one of the many things we hope to get to market this year.

Thank you to everybody who had bought the bags so far and to Swift Industries for collaboratign to make my dream bag real.

Just for fun…the video was shot be me in the new work space we are moving into, one take, no scrips, the only edit was cropping the ends and attempted color correction.  I am pretty happy with it, and think my love and involvement with the product shows.  I could go on for way over 7 minutes, but had to stop for your sake.

I have a Docena with me on every ride.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Docena Presale for 2015

We are kicking off the new year with the presale of the first batch of the Docena Demi-Porteur bags.  These are a collaborative project that we developed with Swift Industries last year, and you can read up on all of the design details HERE.  This has been my one and only bar bag for over a year now, and I am stoked that feedback on the first 24 that we sold last year are all finding love and use from their owners.

1.6 Doceana burst 15-1This round of bags will start production in about two weeks and we are projecting for a Late February delivery.  Pricing is still holding at 2014 levels, $250 gray with color trim, $260 for multi cam and $275 for the Harlequin (My Favorite)

Click Here To Order

There will be four production runs of 12 bags each in 2015.  They are all made to order based on pre-sale quantities.  In general we sell through in about 3 days, although I expect that will get shorter as word gets out.  The faster we sell through 12, the faster they are ready.  Each presale will start approximately a month after the previous delivery.  These will be late winter, next will be spring, early summer and then the final round as Thanksgiving approaches.

1.6 Doceana 15-1 1.6 Doceana 15-2 1.6 Doceana 15-31.6 docena y-11.6 Doceana 15-4

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Orange Soda Demo Build

This past Saturday we had a tent set up to shoe the Ramblers at a local cross race.  That combined with a couple of other factors had me under tight deadlines to get a new 61 cm Orange Soda Rambler built up for the demo fleet.

11.2 OS WP-1Friday night ran long, like 3 AM long with a 5:30 wake up call.  I was able to have the bike built and rolling, most of the details in place too.  I am really happy with how this one turned out.  It is the replacement for the 63 US Blue that I tore down and shipped to Australia last month.  Most of the components came from that build.  I will probably be rebuilding a bit, refining the cable runs, front rack gets here this week, fenders and tail light.  Even with all that left to do, it is a perfectly functional Rambler.  It actually is much lighter without all that other stuff, and still has me wishing I had ridden to farmers market today to stuff the panniers.

This build is also a good study in color.  You all probably know by now that we have a lot of fun around here with the colored details.  I have been studying up on color theory, much more planning of the builds, and less random combinations.  This build was intended to be an triadic analog, with the Orange as the driving color and the red and tan (tire sidewalls) framing that out.  There was a last minute switch to the green headset, that gives you an idea what a difference contrast can make as compared to analog.  Tiger Color has a really good page explaining much of the color theory stuff we should have learned back in grade school.  Now on to the pictures:

11.2 OS WP-2 11.2 OS WP-3 11.2 OS WP-4 11.2 OS WP-5 11.2 OS WP-6 11.2 OS WP-7 11.2 OS WP-8 11.2 OS WP-9 11.2 OS WP-10 11.2 OS WP-11 11.2 OS WP-12Bikes like this end up as riders for us, and demo rides for customers.  Some things end up locked in with my preferences, Barcons begin one of them.  I may swap the headset for a red one, may leave the green, still thinking that one through.

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Rambler Stock Getting Low

We are getting to an interesting turning point with the business as Rambler stock is getting lower. But before we bore you with the details, a couple pics to tantalize you with what your Rambler could be:

10.13 Rambler Stock us wp 2-1 10.13 Rambler Stock us wp-1The current stock falls into a couple of categories summarized in the matrix below.  Nothing in the box means we have sold through that size/color combination in this run.  A number indicates stock on hand.  The letter “B” followed by a number indicated the number of blemish frame sets on hand in this combination.  Then there are the “X” frames.  These four have been caught in a combination of coating re-work and small business Purgatory.  The only thing setting them free will be cash flow from sales of a few more frame sets.  From there we can inspect them and determine if they are first quality, blemishes or worst case un sellable.  I can tell you, the line for the Sunflower 63 is about 5 customers deep right now.

10.13 Rambler Stock2 WP-1What does this mean?  If you have been thinking of getting a Rambler, and we have your size on hand it is probably a good time to buy one.  Will there be more Ramblers?  It is quite likely.  How we will get there is still not quite certain.  The demand is growing rapidly, I wish I had about 10 size 63 and 10 more 57.  Our current builder has minimums that push our cash flow to the limits and beyond.  I dream of doing 75-100 more Ramblers for Spring, but not sure how to get there yet, pre-sales, Indegogo, bank loan, etc.  Sorting that out over the next couple of months.  Short of a massive pile of cash falling from the sky, it will most likely be the middle of 2015 before a new batch of Ramblers are ready to go.

There is the issue of healing our wounds from this past round, learning some lessons, and adjusting sourcing and coating.  Some colors just did not work, hence all the Blems.  Some colors may come back, there may be new ones.  There are some business aspects, supply chain, increased quality control, contracts with rework clauses clearly spelled out, insurance for stuff destroyed in re-work, and all the other less exciting details of the business.  This will all start to be sorted in the coming months.

What is certain?  If you see your size in the matrix above, and you want a Rambler it would be a good time to get one.  They are great bikes, customer feedback has been unanimous.  The only thing changing in the next round is possibly less color choices.  The design is solid.  Need more inspiration, everybody loves bike pics?

10.13 Rambler Stock us wp 4-1 10.13 Rambler Stock us wp 3-1What else do we have in the works?  On the new front we have t-shirts, yes more than one design, custom printed bandannas, still searching for a leather contractor, possibly Rambler specific racks some new touring cap variants.  The standards are still her as well: Docena bags on a quarterly basis, Bandannas, Double Weave Kerchiefs, Farm and Field knives, Caldera Cone Stoves Silver Vice pedals, Tires etc.  We are constantly increasing the number of items on hand.

Thank you for helping us get this far.  Without your continued support we would not have made it this far.

Click Here to get to the Store Front

 Also, there are still two frames waiting to go at Blue Lug in Japan and Free Range in Seattle has two or three, one of which is built up and ready to ride

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments