If, like me you are an avid home rower, and like me, you glow and perspire a little whilst indulging in the odd 10,000m here and the even odder 500m intervals sesssion there, you need one of these….a RowerBlower:
….or to be more precise, something a little better than this, which I am going to create by rebuilding the RowerBlower Mk1, photograph the process, record and relay that process on this webpage, then you can create your own RowerBlower, which will probably be a good deal better than mine. And all achieved from recycling stuff you would otherwise throw away. It’s a bit like the lost episode where The Wombles get heavilly into erging and Wimbledon Common was left covered in litter, whilst Madame Cholet took the prize of “First to 1 Million Meters”.
I bought my model D with PM3 with my last paycheck from teaching, having survived 15 years in Primary, Secondary, and latterly, Special education. This was part of a very typical “Who is that fat fella in our home videos” mid life evolutionary moment, which I am still enjoying 3 years later, having clocked up 2.7 million meters so far.
The RowerBlower was born out of those many hours sat rowing away, sweating like a good ‘un, bored, listening to music, with my butterfly mind flitting from the joys of parenting, the decline of my beloved Wolves, the financial crisis that the bankers created but we are paying for whilst they walk away with a fat pension, and why sweat always seems to find a way to trickle into your eye and sting like a bugger. There has to be a better way, especially as I am too tight to pay for electricity to power a fan for hours on end, to use the movement of air I am creating with my exertions, to cool me down a bit. “Surely some other looney has sat with a sore arse and similar thoughts, and solved this problem?” I thought.
Following a little online searching, I found the C breeze, ordered one, I believe from the USA, and found that I couldn’t get it to stay on the Model D for love nor money, plus, for the brief time it did stay in place, it seened to blow in all the wrong places, ’nuff said.
Hence, born of frustration, and in the spirit of all British men and their sheds I decided to Do It Myself. The following bullet points are the key steps if you wish to do it yourself.
RowerBlower required bits:
#DON’T DO THIS IF YOU LOVE A PRISTINE ROWER OR ARE WANTING TO MAXIMISE ITS RESALE VALUE, THE TAPE WILL NEVER COME OFF COMPLETELY IF YOU REMOVE THE BLOWER, IT STICKS LIKE S##T TO A BLANKET, THAT’S IT’S JOB.#
- 15-20 4 pint / 2.272 litre plastic milk bottle empties
- Stanley knife and / or scissors.
- Carpet tube or similar diameter 4-6″ – minimum 18″ length, more is best as you will probably “experiment” on a few.
- Gaffer / duct tape.
- Velcro tape 4″
- Patience, quite a lot of it.
- Sunglasses to row in if you do it right, to protect your eyes from the stiff breeze at sub 2 minute paces.
- Start collecting 4 pint / 2.272 litre plastic milk bottle empties. If you have kids like mine, you will soon have the required 15-20 or so required. Cut them as you go along to save space and blisters if you like. Choose your weapon, Sir Stanley the Knife or a pair of scissors both work equally well. I have come to favour scissors, fold the bottle under the handlle (where the stanley blade is pointing, below) & snick with the scissors, then insert them & cut as normal.
- Cut the bottom, flat section, between the bottom of the handle and the ridged bottom section, off. Lop off one of the long sides so you get a C shaped section like…
- Using the best quality gaffer / duct tape you can find, tape the outside of the C to its neighbour, like so…
- Keep doing this to make an armadillo about 5 bottles long, making sure that all of the C- sections overlap the same way on the inside…(this will help retain air flow later, without using the entire roll of tape).
- Acquire a tube from your friendly local carpet dealer, these are what carpets are rolled around for transit & delivery purposes & they generally get recycled anyway, you’re just upcycling it. It needs to be cut so that it rests on top of the rower blade housing, as seen below. Working backwards, from the hole that is going to be “blowing you”, position it next to the PM so that it is roughly pointing at your head, chest, etc (pic1). Then you need to cobble a cut to best fit the other end, the bottom of which is resting on fan housing (pic2) and the top of which needs to be as “high” as possible (pic3) to catch all of the air which will be flowing into it shortly. As mentioned above, this may be a trial and error job, mine is rubbish, as can be seen in pic2, but once I’ve covered the gaps in tape, it’ll be fine. If you were into style over substance, you wouldn’t be doing this to your rower. This is functional.
- When its positioned about right, stick some velcro on the side of the PM3 and the tube to hold it in place.
- Now the fiddly bit. Working backwards from the tube, tape the 5 bottle armadillo to overlap the tube, laying them so that each flap overlaps it’s neighbour to the right. I am no expert, but I figure this must keep the air in & flowing. Just tack the flaps down to begin with, with little bits of tape or cheaper tape. Trim around the fiddly bits & try to get a tunnel of 1-2″ depth. When you have tagged on the other 5 bottle strips & gone as far round as you wish to, and got the basic shape so’s you’re happy with it, sit down, pull and hopefully feel a breeze. Tweak to your own satisfaction.
- Finally, please take a foto and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add it to this page. Also, any improvements or tweaks will be gratefully received & added.
- When YOU are happy, finalise it by slapping gaffer tape all over it. You could go the whole hog, and tape every joint & flap, but it works fine as shown. You have created your very own RowerBlower. Well done.
- On this second attempt, I have covered up to 3-4″ short of the carpet tube, covering all of the resistance adjusting bit, as seen below, which is a bit fiddly, but its worth it. I will definately be rowing in glasses from now on.
- Over the years, the tape will dry & holes will appear. A little ongoing maintenance will keep it all good. Eventually though, you will get to the stage that I have, of ripping the lot off and starting again, and doing it better. Which is fun.
- If you’ve read this far, you may as well give it a go and be the first other looney in the world to “Pimp my erg”.