Tag Archives: Paris-Brest-Paris

when a musette isn’t a squeezebox

Before Dr B did the Paris-Brest-Paris Audax ride in 2011, I made a musette for him. It was quite a tidy piece of work, though I managed to twist the strap (he said it didn’t bother him, so we left it that way). I was reminded of it yesterday when he brought home a freebie from the Tour Down Under village. I pointed out that it wasn’t in the same league as the one I made. He agreed and said that having that made-by-me musette around his neck gave him great comfort on some of the longer, lonelier stretches when he wondered what the f*^# he was doing there. Aww. Ain’t it nice to be appreciated?

Bottom right corners aligned, which illustrates that the spotty one is slightly deeper than the one I made

Bottom right corners aligned, which illustrates that the spotty one is slightly deeper than the one I made though the width is about the same. You’ll note that our metal snap fastener is about the same size as the white plastic one on the freebie.

The one I made is a linen/cotton furnishing fabric, slightly less deep though the same width, is french seamed, has a metal snap fastener and the straps are sturdy cotton. The freebie is lightweight and there’s not a french seam in sight. I was interested to see that the TDU musette, which I’m sure we’ll be spotting everywhere for a while, also has a snap fastener, albeit plastic. We have another (a 2012 Tour de France freebie from a friend) with a velcro fastening and I remember being surprised by that. Dr B and I had had lengthy discussions about why velcro might not be such a good idea in the dark when you’re fumbling about trying to get food out of a bag. YoungB concurred. We reckoned it would stick to everything you didn’t want it to, probably mostly to your cycling gloves! I do understand that perhaps a snap fastener might not always be the best, either, but on balance we thought it preferable to the velcro. It seems that whoever designed this TDU musette was of the same mind.

Nice sturdy straps on mine, coming out of the top of the musette. The freebie has the straps coming out of the side seam. Mine are definitely anchored more securely.

Nice sturdy straps on mine, coming out of the top of the musette. The freebie has the straps coming out of the side seam. Mine are definitely anchored more securely.

The TDF one, however, had straps applied in the same way as mine – I don’t claim it was deliberate on my part; I couldn’t possibly have sewn through the french seam AND the cotton tape, so it was a matter of near enough having to be good enough and because the musette is worn crosswise, the offset straps were perfectly all right – but the TDU one has them coming out of the sides at a right angle. Hmm. All food for thought while carrying food for riders.

French seams and sturdy anchoring of straps. That musette wasn't about to come apart, no matter what Dr B put in it. The green one, I suspect, might not be of the same calibre but it's green and cheerful.

French seams and sturdy anchoring of straps. That musette wasn’t about to come apart, no matter what Dr B put in it. The green one, I suspect, might not be of the same calibre but it’s green and cheerful.

Tomorrow, when the Bupa Community Challenge  takes place, I dare say there’ll be heaps of those spotty musettes about the place. I don’t imagine Dr B will use a musette at all, but if he did use his own, would you reckon I’d be quite safe in saying he’d be the only rider with one like that!?


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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Cycling, Sewing


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beanie there

The knitted guernsey I showed you the other day is 30-odd years old. I started it while I was doing first-year night duty and must have come close to finishing it on third-year nights. Part of the reason it took so long was that I had several projects on the go (as you do; or at least, I generally do, because of portability considerations and urgency of request, et cetera) and because it was knitted with an 8-ply yarn (DK, I think, for those who use that system; and I have no idea what the North American equivalent would be) on very small needles: UK size 14/2 mm for the bands and UK size 12/2.75 mm for the body. The usual choices for such yarn would be UK size 10/3.25 mm and UK size 8/4 mm for bands and body respectively. To make a dense, nearly-windproof fabric, which is partly what a guernsey is all about,you need to work at a tighter/firmer tension. That would, I think, probably have been made using Patons Totem yarn. It was certainly pure wool.

Striped, of course.

Striped, of course.

This animadversion is simply a way of explaining why, when I made Dr B a beanie to wear during PBP (the 1200-Km ride that is the pinnacle of Audax cycling), I elected to knit it at a rather firmer tension than I would normally use for the 8-ply yarn I chose, although not quite such a firm one as I’d used for the guernsey. The theory was that he’d want something on his head when he was sleeping. There was never any intention that it would, for instance, go under his cycling helmet. But, having so little hair, he needed something soft to provide comfort and warmth during rest stops. I selected  Lincraft’s Zambezee, a Tencel yarn which is supposed to be good at wicking away moisture while retaining warmth (much as good cycling gear is intended to do). Dr B has quite a large head, so the beanie ended up being knitted on something like 156 stitches, if I remember rightly. In any case, it was around that number and it was certainly a big knit for a little garment. I probably used UK size 11/3 mm needles for the body of the beanie.

Now that PBP is but a distant memory, he uses the beanie for a nightcap to keep his head warm while he’s asleep. Mission accomplished, I think, don’t you?


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Somehow I overlooked a colleague’s birthday. This called for swift creation of something. These days, we’re all keen to have sturdy, reusable shopping bags so I decided to make one for her using some of the leftover linen curtain fabric that I used to make Dr B’s Paris-Brest-Paris musette.

The shopping bag is a mix of styles as well as being my usual mix of careful French seams (you don’t want your cans of dog food falling out) and slapdashery extraordinaire with regard to hems! The handles are well secured too (see previous comment about cans of dog food).

Accompanied by a lavender bag, of course


Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Cycling, Sewing


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So today the plan was to cook. We’ve had serial pots of coffee, homemade hamburgers for lunch and hours of reliving Dr B’s Paris-Brest-Paris efforts by watching a compilation of videos burnt to DVD. Cooking? Only if you count the hamburgers. You know what? Just lolling about and doing not much is probably a great deal better for us than getting steamed up cooking would be. It might become a problem if Dr B decides he has to start cooking late at night, which would always be an option, but there’s tomorrow.

While sporadically viewing the PBP videos, discussions centred around cycling jaunts and whether Dr B should attempt the Great Southern Randonnee distance of 1200 Km later in the year, or be content to do 600? After all, he’s still having problems with his knees after rides of around 200 Km (which would more than frighten off most folk, I know). Who’d have thought a relatively minor cycling accident would have such long-lasting effects? It’s a good thing he was so fit when he did that face plant. I think he’s amazing but there’s no advice I can give him as to which distance he should chose. He wouldn’t pay attention to anything I might say because, well, let’s face it, I’m no cyclist at all. I dissolve in tears at the very idea of cycling!

In other news, my knitting has slowed considerably but I’m about to pick it up again and should now be able to make some progress on the crown of the beanie though I’d be surprised were I to finish it tonight. There’s a TV program I want to watch when the boys have finished watching a DVD that was one of Boy’s birthday presents.

Why am I not watching it? It’s weird and violent so I’m not interested. For somewhat similar reasons, I’m opting not to see The Hunger Games on Monday. Youngest Aunt and I are having a cinema session on some Gold Pass tickets I’ve been trying to use on something worthwhile. Frankly, Gold Pass cinemas don’t show much that’s worthwhile but the tickets do have an expiry date. In the interests of using them, we’ve decided we’ll watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which at least shouldn’t contain too much violence, gratuitous or otherwise. Anyway, that’s the present plan.

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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Cycling, Knitting


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