theraceforthecafe.com                             .

a journal - cycling, sociology, social media

Sunday, 26 January 2020

DIY custom ... it's a W.R.A.P.


I am going to be racing on a disc road bike this year which is a first for me, a Giant Propel Advanced Disc to be precise, not my first Propel though and definitely not my first GIANT. I have had quite a few over the years including three TCR's and a Defy and I currently have a Giant Revolt gravel bike and a Giant XTC 29er MTB. As much as I really like GIANT bikes for this year I wanted to pimp my ride up a bit to promote the blog without too much hassle and without spending too much doing it.

A custom paint job is obviously the optimum way to customise and I had a look around at a few custom painters and soon realised that it can be quite expensive depending on the design and the best painters tend to have long waiting lists (several months for some) plus the bike needs to be stripped down to the frame and re-built which if you are mechanically challenged like me is a further cost. Another option is wrapping which is a little less expensive, with no restrictions on design but again to do a proper job the wrap would have to be done on the frame only. So, as I only really wanted to put the blog name on the down tube I decided to have a go myself, I mean, how difficult can it be ?
I actually really like the existing Giant branding on the Propel frame so it's a bit of a shame to cover it up but at least by doing a wrap if I don't like it or want to revert to the original I can easily peel it off.
STEP 1 - I took some accurate measurements of the frame and the existing colour scheme and transferred the size and shape to some trusty brown paper.
STEP 2 - I then decided on a suitable font from the dafont.com website. The one I chose is called 'He's dead Jim' - ?  bit of a weird name, Star Trek inspired I guess, but it was the font that best matched the existing Giant lettering some of which was still going to be visible.
STEP 3 - After deciding on the font I roughly marked the template to make sure the spacing of 'He's dead Jim' worked OK for theraceforthecafe just to make sure I didn't have a 'beam me up Scotty' moment (see what I did there ?) Please note the Allen key in the above picture just to prove that I managed to remove the bottle cage myself !
STEP 4 - Next I checked and double checked and trimmed the template for size and fit. I tried to mimic the existing paint job on the frame so that the wrapping would blend in as much as possible and not look too much like it was just stuck on ... which it's going to be obviously !
STEP 5 - A quick google of vehicle graphics/signage companies and I found several locally so just went with the nearest to me, a company called Colour Screen This turned out to be a good move as a couple of the guys who work there are cyclists and were keen to help, order placed Wednesday collected Friday, happy days.
STEP 6 - This is the slightly tricky bit. There is not much margin for error in terms of positioning the wrap even when applying it to mostly flat and straight areas. It's worth having a hair dryer handy for this stage just to warm the wrap slightly on any curved areas or corners. The wrap went on remarkably easily with just a couple of tiny blemishes but no air bubbles, so no issues really.
FINAL STEP - Position bike strategically in the kitchen to take pics for Instagram. 
NOTE: Obviously I was home alone at this point, wouldn't have tried to get these shots if            
Mrs theraceforthecafe had been in, that would have been madness !

A quick thank you to Andy at GIANT SHEFFIELD who supplied the bike. Not my local bike shop by any means but as I specifically wanted this colour and as it's a 2019 model there were very few left in the UK so I was happy to make the 200 mile round trip to Sheffield to pick it up.
It was an absolute pleasure to meet Andy and his team and the customer service really was first class. I was introduced to everyone, made to feel very welcome and treated as though I was in there buying stuff every week rather than just paying them a one off visit, I wish Sheffield was a bit closer to be honest, I'm pretty sure I would be in there every week.
One of the reasons why I wanted this specific colour was that I will be racing in matching kit this season designed and supplied by the nice folks over at RACESKIN in Huddersfield. Colin and his crew have sorted me out with enough top quality kit to last the whole season which I am extremely grateful for. If you are after custom kit for your team or club check RACESKIN out. My 2020 kit is exactly what I had in mind, I am delighted with the fit and quality and it matches the new race whip perfectly.
                                                                     Pimped -Total cost £30.00 !
Finally, another thank you, this time to everyone for reading. This week the blog hit the significant milestone of 500,000 page views which I am 'over the moon' about. 
I distinctly remember a few months after starting the blog being delighted when it hit 25K page views, so to be now at at the dizzy heights of over half a million is absolutely incredible - thanks for your support, I really appreciate it. 

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