Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

The Anti-Rain Man

Today is the second day I’ve ridden prepared and anticipating a soaking during my daily commute. And it’s the second day of overcast or simply sunny skies while I was on the bike. I’ll just bet that if I left rain gear at home, it would pour.

Not that I’m complaining, mind. I don’t mind riding in either condition; I just love riding period. And the beauty of it is, I’m 131 miles into the 2-gallon tank. :-)  At 31 miles per day commute, that’s almost a week’s worth of driving for one fillup.  65.5 mpg is fantastic, and the primary reason we bought the bike.

I figure, comparing the Kia at 20mpg and the Rebel at 70mpg, 30mi total daily commute, $3.50/gal fuel cost, and riding 9 months of the year, I save about $731 in fuel cost. So the bike itself is paid back in a bit under 3 years, and including all the gear, about 3.5 years. Gotta subtract insurance – $99/year from Geico – and potentially extra usage of the Kia, but for sure in 4 years it’s clear and we’re saving $731 per year after that, even more if the price of gas goes up. (wanna take bets?)

Carrying stuff is my second major concern. the guy I bought the bike from threw in a set of saddlebags for nothing; they’re cheap backed leather, and even though I tightened up the yoke, they still hang toward the wheels. I’d need to get a set of brackets. Or make ’em – they run around $40-60 online for just a couple stainless pieces, which is ridiculous.

I bungee’d an igloo cooler to the pillion instead of trying to strap down my gym bag; looked quite a bit neater. I’ve seen a larger luggage box that replaces the pillion cushion that’s big enough to store a helmet, I just don’t recall the manuf/name. It’s in the rebel250 forum somewhere. Anyhow, my igloo works for small stuff; I have a bigger one, but I’d need to relocate the brake light for it to sit level. Alternatively, I could get a luggage rack.

I like the one shown in this thread, and was fascinated to read about the low-temp aluminum brazing he fabricated it with. Turns out there are several kinds (alumiweld, HTS-2000, Durafix, etc), and someone said that Harbor Freight has some small packs; I’m going to stop by a local surplus store on the way home and check. My local hardware store might even have the stuff. Some aluminum stock, and I’m on my way! This seems like a very *doable* project.

Once built and mounted, I can use the larger cooler, which would fit lunch, books, maybe laptop, rain gear, jacket, etc. and easily bungee or velcro in place. Maybe I can get a local guy to bend me a couple stainless saddlebag brackets, and I’m all set for just about anything, rain or shine.


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