Apidura + Condor Repairs Workshop

Repair, reuse, recycle. At this time of year, with endless sales and flash discounting deals, it’s all too easy to forget the mantra and be lured into replacing instead of repairing. As an antidote to Black Friday, we decided to celebrate the joy in creating something useful from something that might otherwise be thrown away.

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The best discount you can ever get is a repair. If you’ve loved something for years and used it so much that it has finally fallen apart, putting it back together again will cost you far less than replacing it – no matter how well discounted the replacement.

A repair takes time, skill and commitment, however. If you are unsure of your ability, it can be daunting. But it’s always rewarding – even if your first attempts at repair look ‘rustic’ and end up needing a touch up in a few weeks, months or years.

We are lucky to have an in-house design team skilled in the art of creating useful products from their base components. A team that can repair pretty much anything they’re challenged with. For the rest of us, those who work in logistics, marketing and customer service, repairs are a little less straightforward.

To help us hone our skills, the design team came up with a challenge; take some pre-production Racing Saddle Packs that no longer have a use and repurpose them into something useful. Olivia developed a pattern that used waste material and hardware as efficiently as possible to create a shoulder bag that was achievable for those of the team less acquainted with a sewing machine and that would help us all brush up on our skills.

After our successful in-store packs repair pilot programme with our friends at Condor Cycles, we decided to invite them along for the ride. We also had the pleasure of Riccardo Guido’s company – a Great British Sewing Bee finalist and keen advocate of Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. Riccardo famously created a bomber jacket from a leather sofa he found in the street (and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a keen cyclist too!).

Under the expert tutelage of our design team, we were able to transform 12 unsalable Saddle Packs into functional bags, each with their own character and each meaning far more to their new owner than anything we could have bought off-the-peg.

The opportunity to brush up on our sewing skills also meant that team members who had been putting off repairs of other items had the confidence to get stuck in and rejuvenate their broken belongings. Including me…

I have a rain jacket I’ve owned for much of my adult cycling life. A jacket that isn’t special – the ‘technology’ is old and outdated, but the fit is better than any other cycling jacket I’ve tried and I’ve worn it for some of the biggest challenges I’ve attempted. It means a lot to me and it’s a design that’s no longer on the market.

Earlier this year, while riding the Transcontinental Race, I tore the rear pocket. Not badly enough to stop using the jacket, but enough to make the pocket unusable and to let the rain through. With the zip also damaged and feeling uncomfortable about taking a needle and thread to the thin, stretchy material, I’ve put off trying to fix it for months.

However, with the design team and Riccardo offering advice, I was quickly able to repair the damage and get the jacket back in usable condition. Sure, it’s not as neat as it once was, but it tells a story and will continue to keep me dry over countless adventures to come.

If any of your gear is in a similar state of disrepair, our roadside repair guide contains guidance on fixing common issues. Self-Support: The Ultimate Roadside Repair Guide for Bikepackers.