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Here at Blank Brand, my primary pursuit is the design, development and production of bags and accessories, and more specifically, bags that really work for the people who use them. I have been designing and making bags for a number of years now, and the main goal for every bag has been to make it function very well for whoever is using it. Currently, this work is focused on the design and production of our current line – a collection of bags & accessories for everyday-use, that can carry just about anything you want, and will last for long time. This has been the driving force behind Blank since the beginning, and will be for a long time into the future.

But sometimes, an opportunity comes along that, while slightly outside of the normal day-to-day, is just too wonderful to pass up. This opportunity came along recently by way of a couple of very close friends, Kelly Schwan and Seth McBride, and their awe-inspiring expedition, The Long Road South. And I really couldn’t be any more excited to be involved.

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The Project

The Long Road South is a handcycle/bicycle expedition unlike any ever attempted. In the fall of 2013, Seth and Kelly will be heading on a yearlong, 10,000 mile ride from Portland, Oregon to Patagonia, Argentina to help raise awareness for the importance of daily physical activity for all, regardless of situation or ability.  Seth will be the first person with quadriplegia to complete a Pan-American cycle tour, and the expedition will be the first transcontinental cycle tour involving a disabled athlete that is self-supported – no crew, no vans, just two bikes, a trailer, and all the gear needed to camp, ride, and live for a year.

To check out local news coverage click here, and have a look at their video right here:

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Blank Brand Involvement

Kelly and Seth have asked for my help designing and making a series of bags for the trip, including 3 bags which will be their primary storage while on their bikes and moving. These pieces will be a lap belt access bag for Seth (while in the handcycle), a medium handlebar bag for Kelly (for access while riding), and an under-chair bag for Seth, which will be accessed throughout the day when they’re on the move.

Also, they already have a two sets of panniers, and a large bag for a single-wheel trailer that Kelly will be towing. These bags (5 total) are all great for their trip, and will serve them very well, but each of these is essentially one large open pocket. For inside these 5 large bags, I will be making a series small, medium, and large bags that will help them out in a couple different ways: they will help to categorize & organize all items in the larger bags, and this compartmentalization will allow them open a larger bag in the elements, access only the items they want, and close the bag without exposing everything inside to the weather.

All of these bags present a challenge. The three exterior bags will need to be weatherproof, easily accessed, and all bags will need to hold up well while exposed to extreme elements everyday, over the course of an entire year. I can’t wait to get making!

As this project develops, I will update here periodically to keep everyone up-to-date on what is happening.

For now, spend some time over on Kelly & Seth’s site for The Long Road South to find out more about a couple of amazing people, and the epic journey on which they are about to embark.

Thanks Everyone………More Soon

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