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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Fender Mounted Reflectors

This is one of those things that used to be pretty standard on bikes that went away for a long time.  It has been a side burner project around here for years.  I have talked with CatEye, a few smaller makers and some third party importers from Japan.  Take note, there are some pretty cool options in the fender mounted gadget scene over in Japan.  It really came down to a numbers thing, the affordable options involved quantities too high for us, and the smaller runs could not be done a fair price to you.

Then Velo Orange went off and just got it done, and did a pretty darn good job.

10.11 Flect-5 10.11 Flect-4 10.11 Flect-3 10.11 Flect-2 10.11 Flect-1It does everything a reflector is supposed to do, and looks good doing it.  The time change is coming on fast, tail lights are a must for night riding, but a bit of extra passive reflectance never hurts.

We have added these to the store front and will do our best to keep them in stock.

Click Here to Buy

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First Fall Coffee Outside

Life has been happening at an astonishing speed this summer.  That is when I realized summer was over…I pulled the emergency chute this morning and headed to the beach for some coffee outside.  California did not disappoint with indian summer Santa Ana conditions in full swing

10.3  Coffee Outside WP-110.3  Coffee Outside WP-210.3  Coffee Outside WP-310.3  Coffee Outside WP-410.3  Coffee Outside WP-610.3  Coffee Outside WP-5

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Andrews King Cages In the Store

I have used a ton of different cages over the years at all price points.  for years now there is only one cage that we prefer, use and now sell.

10.1 King cages b-1 10.1 King cages-1Andrews King cages are made in Colorado from tubular 304 stainless.  They do everything a cage is supposed to do: hold your bottles, not let go unless you are pulling it out the top, easy to get the bottle back in etc.  They do two different shapes, the standard King cage and the Iris.  The standard King cage is based on traditional designs and just works better than anything else we have tried when using standard bidons (water bottles).  The stainless steel will not markup the bottle either.

10.1 King White-1The Iris is unique in the bottle cage world.  formed from the same 304 stainless it has all the basic properties of the standard.  The shape holds as tightly too, but there is no inwardly bent upper tab.  The in turn works much better, and rattle free, with many of the metal bottles like the Klean Canteen.  his one will scuff up the metal bottles a bit, but IMO is a fair price to pay for not rattling

10.1 King White-2We love and use then both on our Rambler builds.  As an introductory bonus for adding them to our lineup of offerings you can use coupon code OCEANKING to shave $2 off each cage until current stock runs out or tomorrow night, whichever comes first.

10.1 King cages b-2

 

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Thoughts on Packing and Shipping Stuff

Getting the stuff you buy online is part of the experience.  It has become part of the reality most of us encounter.  At the low-end of the spectrum you have the small item from amazon bouncing loosely in a box ten times its own size that lands on your doorstep half crushed.  As regular American I get my own fair share of stuff shipped to the door, as well as most of the product we re-sell.  I see a fair bit of the good, the bad and the ugly.  We strive to be as far as possible to the good side when we send things out.

There are a few things I consider paramount.  When you choose your packaging it should serve its minimum purpose of protecting the end product for a secure delivery.  After that it needs to enhance the general experience.  This can be done by imparting useful information, creating an unwrapping experience that brings back good memories, feels like getting a gift, all of it is able to be reused or recycled, or leaves you with useful materials beyond the intended purchase etc.

Here is the latest in our evolving practice to deliver a favorable experience when you receive your stuff that we shipped you.   On the receiving end we get a ton of different packing material.  The bottom end of the spectrum are the foam peanuts, but our favorite is the brown craft paper.

9.27 Packing-2We end up with mountains of the stuff at times.  It all gets flattened back out, and staged for reuse.  Not all is created equal, certain types are better at different things, but almost every square inch of it sees a second chance at passing through the shipping channels.

9.27 Packing-5The lighter weight pieces are used for wrapping, the rest ends up as packing material to hold the item securely in the box.

9.27 Packing-3In the past we tied the wrapping closed with the scrap fabric from our double weave kerchief production.  Lately we have become enamoured with the colored hemp twine from Newbaums.  You probably already know we have a thing for color, and traditional bar tape with twined ends.  This twine opens up a whole new range of options to add some more color to your builds.  Starting in the last week, packages have been going out with the thank you notes attached with a length long enough to do a trial wrap somewhere on your build.  Sometimes I pick a color that I know is either your favorite, and or could complement your Rambler well (yes I actually think about this stuff while wrapping things up).  They have a wide variety of options that match or complement just about every color of the Newbaums cloth bar tape.  The rolls from Merry Sales are huge, way bigger then the average person will need.  In the near future we will be adding it to the storefront in 10 ft lengths.

9.27 Packing-4

I think about this sort of stuff, probably way too much.  Every little bit helps, it keeps it fun for you and us.  Sometimes I envision the paper being used over and over, stamped by each brand or user, and ending up like that well traveled passport.  This one is just getting ready to start the next leg of its journey.

9.27 Packing-6Reduce – Reuse – Recycle!

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Topo and Docena Synergies

I have been a long time stalker of Topo Designs bags.  They do really good stuff, simple, yet feature filled and made in Colorado.  About a week ago I pulled the trigger on a couple of their Dopp Kits and a Mountain Hip Pack.

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9.18 Topo-4

Both happen to have a really fantastic synergy with the Docena handlebar bags.  The dimensions work out to be near perfect modules for organizing or escape pods.  The dopp kits are a bit over 11″ wide. about 5 inches tall and triangular in cross section.  This slots them perfectly into the upper or lower compartments.  One is great for helping keep things organized, as a dopp kit for toiletries, camp kitchen supplies.  If one were really on an OCD tear you can get two easily into a Docena section, possibly 3 if they were not overstuffed.

9.18 Topo-2 9.18 Topo-1The Mountain hip bag completely fills either the upper or lower Docena compartment.  Why carry a bag in a bag?  if you are headed out to the mountains, either all day or overnight for a bit of biking and hiking it is a great way to get you day hiking stuff to the trail head without having to ride with it on your body and then carry the docena on the hike.  At a bit over 400 cubic inches in volume, with multiple external lashing points, it is the perfect companion for day hikes, walks dow to the stream for a quick fish haul a compact camera system and your lunch etc.

9.18 Topo-6

9.18 Topo-7 9.18 Topo-5I am looking forward to working all of these into my daily carry routines.  great bags help make transport fun and the lads easier to manage.  Thanks to everybody at Topo for making great bags and all sorts of other stuff.  I can see some of their Accessory Bags in my future, also coincidentally sized to drop right into the Docena

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New Rambler In the Demo Fleet

The summer has been pretty good to us, and it was time to take some of that cash flow and use it to add another demo Rambler to out fleet.  Until now we had the 51 and 63.  Everything in between for test rides, expos etc. depended on the help of friends and customers.  I pulled a 59 US Blue from inventory and built it up in a pretty non-standard Rambler way, just to show how versatile the frame set can be.

9.13 sunset b wp-1The drive train is the White Industries Double/Double, The front rings are a 38/35 machined from a single plate and a 16/19 freewheel in back.  This gives me a great high gear for around town and moderate hills, and a more moderate low for when I hit the dirt roads.  The rear ENO hub has an eccentric axle to manage chain tension.  Switching between high and low is done manually.  There is also a fixed cog on the other side should I ever choose to go that route, options.  Up front there is a SON 28 dyno powering B&M head and tail lights.  Silver Vice pedals, King Sotto Voce headset, Nitto Albatross bars wrapped in Newbaums Cotton, Selle Anatomica NSX saddle and plenty of Paul Comp details.  The Docena bag fits the gap between bars and rack on the front like a glove.  The tires are the new Soma Cazadero 700×43 knobby, and I am liking them a ton.  So far I have about 40 miles on the build and am beyond happy to have it as a second Rambler in the fleet that I can ride.  I will have a more detailed photo series in a week or two once I have everything dialed in, already swapped the bars and saddle, there may be a few more adjustments, but things are close.

9.13 sunset wp-1The shakedown ride after the above mentioned bar and saddle swap was a roaring success and the shellac is drying on the bar tape as I type.

9.13 sunset wp-2

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