07/28/14

Craft Bomb Your Bike!

by Jessie Kwak

If you’re into bikes and crafts, you’ve probably already seen Craft Bomb Your Bike, 20 makes for you and your bike – it’s been getting some great exposure all throughout the internets since it was released earlier this month. I was out of town most of July and my contributor copy arrived while I was gone – so I had to wait in anguish while the everyone twittered about it.

(All right, not really in anguish. I was in Spain because my cousin was marrying a fantastic Catalan man, and I was having far too amazing a time to be thinking about blogging.)

Craft bomb your bike - cover

Now that I get to hold my copy in my hot little hands – and it is HOT right now, isn’t it Portland? – I can say that it’s a beautiful book!

My project is an oilcloth clutch that attaches to your handlebars (long time readers may recognize the hot pink oilcloth). Long time readers will also be totally shocked – SHOCKED! – to find out the straps are made from recycled inner tubes.

Craft bomb your bike - cycle clutch1

The publishers did a fantastic job with the photography and layout – overall it’s a very beautiful book.

Craft bomb your bike - clutch2

I’m a particular fan of this pretty tool roll by Katie of Swim Bike Quilt.

Craft bomb your bike - tool roll

You can get the book through Interweave or Amazon.

The projects are all fairly whimsical and girly – you’ll find things like buntings for your basket*, a crocheted helmet cosy, and embroidered “I love my bike” label.

* Or “nests,” as my new cousin-in-law from Catalunya called them when we went on a ride together last week. “Do you want to rent a bike with a, what is it, a nest?” Yes. I most definitely would love a bike with a nest.

Craft bomb your bike - table of contents

And check out these fun crocheted birds by Kate at Greedy for Colour:

Craft bomb your bike - birds

I don’t care if they’re functional or not – they’re totally adorable. They’ll go perfect on my nest.

Happy crafting!

06/10/14

The maiden voyage of the Sparkle Kraken, preceded by a manifesto which you may skip if you like.

by Jessie Kwak

Sorry for the radio silence around here – I stepped back from blogging for a bit in part because I was forgetting just what Bicitoro was to me.

SKIP THE BORING BITS AND SEE THE PRETTY BIKE

Sparkle Kraken closeup | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

As I dive further into a freelance writing career steeped in content marketing, lead generation, and returns on investments, I found myself thinking so much about My Audience and My Message and Engagement that I waffled on what to write here.

What does My Audience want to read? What will get the Most Shares?

(“The maiden voyage of the Sparkle Kraken, preceded by a manifesto which you may skip if you like” is not the most shareable title for a blog post, is it?)

Stupid shit, really, because what I was forgetting is that Bicitoro is a blog wherein I write whatever I feel like writing, and you can read it or not. I hope that I do provide helpful tips and tricks, I hope that I inspire people to reuse things rather than throwing them out, and I hope that you folks do find my musings entertaining and maybe even thought-provoking – but in the end Bicitoro is just a project of fun for me.

Really it’s a place for me to gush endlessly about the gorgeous bike ride I just took, or provide vague, rambling instructions about projects I just completed. I’m not trying to achieve pop star blogger status. I’m not trying to build an army of bike crafters. I’m just sewing things and riding on things, and typing words about it here.

So now I, Jessie Kwak, do solemnly swear to keep Bicitoro a sacred space for personal enjoyment, wonder, and community.

Back to the fun.

The Maiden Voyage of the Sparkle Kraken

It’s alive!!!

Sparkle Kraken | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

I’ve been dabbling with this thing for months and months, and this Saturday I finally got to ride the Sparkle Pony Kraken in the flesh. We’ve been slowly collecting parts and putting them on whenever we had a few minutes.

This is the first bike I’ve ever built up (mostly) myself – under the watchful instruction of my mechanic/husband. Rob is an insanely patient and thoughtful teacher – a talent I’ve always admired in him. Despite making my living as a writer, I can’t explain things verbally to save my life.

Sparkle Kraken in stand | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

Rob, on the other hand, has the perfect mnemonic device to help you remember which direction to tighten your bottom bracket. He’ll demo wrapping your handlebar tape, then take it all off and make you do it yourself.

Me: Meh, who cares that I wrapped the handlebar tape over the hoods? No one will notice it.

Rob: I’ll notice it. Start over, grasshopper.

Sparkle Kraken powder coating | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

The powder coating process left some ragged edges, which I filed down with sandpaper before pressing in the headset.

And what a headset! Rob picked it up at the Seattle Bike Swap in the spring, and graciously donated it to the Sparkle Kraken project. It’s from First Bicycle Components.

Sparkle Kraken headset | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

Based on the heavy steel mixte frame (underneath all that paint Kraken’s a Torker Interurban Mixte), both Rob and I were expecting this to be a fairly slow bike. I was thinking Sparkle Kraken would be a novelty bike that I’d take out on short, easy rides to the bar, or to meet up with friends.

But to my surprise, it turns out that Sparkle Kraken is fast, aggressive, and an amazing joy to ride. The steel frame is really plush, and I like the mixte shape quite a bit. The Torker Interurban Mixte only comes in a 44cm frame, but we spec’d it out so it fits me just as well as la Konita.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s got a killer wheelset and Shimano Ultegra. Oh, the perks of marrying a bike rep.

Sparkle Kraken in the wild | Bicitoro Bikes and Crafts

It’s so gorgeous!

And it’s a predator – if it sees another cyclist ahead of us, it just wants to stomp them. Go fast, go fast, go fast, it whispers.

And I do.

04/28/14

Pedaler’s Fair crafty fun time

by Jessie Kwak

Hey, Seattle gang! What are you up to this Saturday?

Are you going to Pedaler’s Fair?

PF-2014-poster

Pedaler’s Fair is a marketplace of Washington based, bicycle-inspired small businesses – but it’s way more than that! There will also be live music, workshops, presentations, and a Bicitoro Craft Table for your crafty pleasure.

Check out the schedule of events for everything that will be happening, including Bicycle Yoga, a camp cooking presentation, and a film screening.

I’ll be there from 11-5, hosting a table where you can come get your bike craft on. Come say hello!

If you’re planning on biking there, consider joining up with the Critical Lass Ride, which will be starting at Fuel Coffee in Montlake at 9:30. I’ll be riding along.

Hope to see you there!

04/10/14

Crafting with Inner Tubes is now available

by Jessie Kwak

Okay, all the teasing is over — I’m now officially ready to launch the first-ever Bicitoro ebook: Crafting with Inner Tubes.

Click to read more about it. You can even snag a copy of your own if you want – I won't stop you.

Click to read more about it. You can even snag a copy of your own if you want – I won’t stop you.

I already gushed about it a ton last week and on its sales page, so I’ll spare you much more here.

I’m selling it for $6, but I’ve got a special deal for anyone who’s subscribed to my email list — it’s only $0.99 until April 15. Sign up for the list and I’ll send you the code.

Happy crafting!

04/1/14

A first look at the Crafting With Inner Tubes e-book

by Jessie Kwak

I made a book! And I’m just too excited to keep it to myself anymore.

Introducing the first e-book in my planned series of bicycle themed craft books: Crafting With Inner Tubes.

Crafting with Inner tubes | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

I’m still finishing final edits, and sending it to my trusty copyeditor (thanks, mom!), but I hope to have it for sale and into your hot little hands by the end of next week. Here’s a sneak (un-copyedited, sorry!) preview to whet your appetites.

Crafting with inner tubes preview 1

I’ve collected much of the advice, tips and tricks about crafting with inner tubes from this blog, and gone into detail about the various tools I use.

Crafting with inner tubes preview 2

And I’ve included five of my favorite inner tube tutorials. There wasn’t room for them all, but that’s what this section of my blog is all about.

Crafting with inner tubes preview 3

Many thanks to my devilishly handsome Artistic Director, Rob.

If you sign up for my email list, I’ll be sending out a first notification, as well as a discount code to thank my email subscribers.