Monday, May 30, 2005

Brakes placed but hardly ready to ride Posted by Hello

Hemp twine to guard the chainstay Posted by Hello

Head tube, Stella Posted by Hello

Where they've been Posted by Hello

the Stella Frame Posted by Hello

Where I shellaced the first bit Posted by Hello

Another bit of hemp twine at the ends Posted by Hello

A round of Bar Tape Posted by Hello

Hemp Twine, New Belgium Bell Posted by Hello

Three Speed Derailleur Posted by Hello

This is one of the unusual features of this bike that drew me to it. I've never seen a 3 speed derailleur before. Usually 3-speeds will have an internally geared hub like this. I am totally unable to comprehend how these work.

Wright Saddle Posted by Hello

Bottle Generator Posted by Hello

First bit of Hemp twine Posted by Hello

Head tube Sam Benotto Posted by Hello

the Sammy in all its glory Posted by Hello

May Hem on my bike Posted by Hello

On my C'Dale Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

Fendered, At Last!

So I had some bad news at work, about which I shall vent in another forum, and I needed a fix of some sort. Getting drunk would have just ruined me and other forms of substance abuse were out of easy reach.

It was pouring rain at my quitting time, preventing me from making the 10 mile ride home, so I caught a ride with John, in his BMW and rode home from the Nelson.

"Fenders," I thought, "I need fenders."

So off to Acme where Sarah and Christy were working.

"What's wrong with your bike today?" (I had been in earlier in the week having the bottom bracket rebuilt."

"It just needs fenders."

"Have I got the fenders for you!", Sarah said, picking up a wrapped package of Honjos, "Only a hundred twenty bucks."

"That's more than the bike cost", I laughed. "No, I want those old ones we looked at on Monday... with the fins." I went to the shelf and looked through the old fenders. They were still there, chromed and cool.

By no means did they snap right on the bike. Originally built for a 3-speed, they required 3 tries at extending the stays. And the fronts, they needed to expand their radius to avoid rubbing the tire.

"Nasty chain, Jeff. You really need to replace this. When they get this greasy and gritty, you can't clean them. You're just pushing the dirt into them." I'll have to do that soon.

Anyway, it took an hour and a half, a couple beers and a trip across the street to pound the fender on a round table sitting on the side walk at the Vintage store but we made it fit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Thought for today

A journey is like marriage.The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.
- John Steinbeck

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

So I did a few things.

Donna's bike is in a "first draft" stage. New Tires. New Bars. Actually the original bars that came with my Sam Benotto 3-Speed. Much more upright now but it still needs a taller stem.

I had some tires in my garage that fit this thing, 700 by 25's. God Almighty, the fork and the seatstays are tight. There's barely enough room for typing paper there, (Does anyone still use typing paper anymore?) let alone a fender. It's definitely a candidate for 650B conversion like the Bluebird with a Technomic or a Periscopa stem. Maybe I'll call it the Blackbird.

There's an article in this month's Rivendell Reader about fork dimensions that demonstrates how poorly most current forks are designed, notably carbon forks. It seems as if manufacturers have worked hard to make it difficult to change to a more comfortable tire, as if we're all going to be triathletes or time trials riders forever.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Tired-Ass Blues

I slept in until 6:15 this morning. Compared to the 4:20 AM I've been doing all week, that's luxuriating. Part of it was participating in the Bicycle Commuter Challenge and getting to work at 6:00 AM. What am I? Fucking Crazy? I made a commitment to do it, mainly to myself. As Christy told me awhile back Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

As we fight wars for oil to continue the ridiculous "American Way of Life", someone has to say in some small way, "Stop this!" So I ride my bike. At 5:00 in the morning. In the dark. Through Mission Hills. Through the Plaza. Down Metcalf Avenue. With flashing lights.

And on Wednesday night, we rode the Ride of Silence. Laurie, or someone that apparently resembles her got her picture in the Star. Anyway, I noticed a rather pronounced squeak in the bottom bracket on my Panasonic Touring Deluxe. Off to Acme for a rebuild. So, on Thursday and Friday, I rode my Sam Benotto Cazenave 3-Speed with the 650B tires. One note, they ride much better with 55 pounds of air pressure than with 15 or 20. But it's a load of steel to carry.

Friday, May 20, 2005

My Best Week Commuting Ever

I sat on the front porch after I got home tonight, nursing a Red Stripe or two. My regular bike needed some serious work on the bottom bracket, more than I could deliver with
Van der Plas
and my toolset. So it went off to Acme for a rebuild. My other commuter, the Specialized HardRock had been loaned out so it fell on the Sammy for the Thursday and Friday rides. I don't want to cast any aspersions upon myself but it rides much better with 60 pounds of air in the tire than 20. Still a lot of bike work and still fun but man, am I tired. MARC doesn't have me on their rankings yet but I have 80 miles in this week.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Pissed On and Off

I feel like I've lived through Hell this week, although, compared to people I know, it's minor. I mean, last night, we had dinner with a friend who, in the last 3 years, lost his wife (killed in a police chase while riding her bike) and just completed chemotherapy after lung cancer. So, I suppose, my troubles are small but they are mine.

I feel as if I've been scapegoated for difficulties in the department at work. I took this position at other's encouragement, not realizing the steep learning curve to learn a whole new department and purchasing, also under a new team leader. So as the difficulties mounted, blamestorming pointed to me, as the weak link. So, I was told to step down or get out. I'm applying for another position within the store but I feel that if I don't get that, they want me out or something. Maybe I'm misreading it but it sure feels that way.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Where we start. Item 1

Schwinn Left side Before Posted by Hello

Don't take me too seriously

Here we go. I've got 4 bikes of my own. There are 10 in our garage, including the latest. 4 belong to my wife and one to our friend, Donna.

This is where I'm starting. Donna's bike is an old triathlon model, an aluminum Schwinn and the plan is to make it a more friendly, comfortable touring bike or, in the recent spiel of Grant Peterson, a "country bike", one suitable for daylong rides. It should be fairly simple but what is it they say about the best laid plans of mice and men?

The other project is my fixed gear/single speed project, the Stella Scorcher. Ever since I heard a report on NPR's All Things Considered about fixed gear scorchers. So I talked to my friends at Acme Bicycle Company and I'm getting started with the Stella. I'll post as that comes to fruition.

Anyway, Donna's bike, or Project Dervla, as I'm referring to it, after Irish travel writer and cyclist Dervla Murphy who rode a single speed Armstrong Cadet from Ireland to India and chronicled the journey in her Full Tilt, which I've read recently and enjoyed immensely.

First thing, the tires need replacement. I'll take the ones off my Cannondale SR500 and put new ones on the Cannondale that I've got sitting in the garage. It also needs less severe handlebars that can be raised up to allow an upright position as well as a taller stem.

Down the road, I'd like to put 650B tires on it to allow room for fenders and so forth. Maybe it can be saved and rehabbed.