Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mystery Sidecar Rig

I know a little bit about motorcycle history. I read a lot, and I've been an active motorcyclist since 1974. So, I always find it interesting to see a bike I just can't reconcile to what I know.

Henderson was a major brand of American motorcycles during the early 20th century, known for their powerful and reliable inline-4 engines. Schwinn, who built motorcycles under the Excelsior name, bought Henderson in 1917 and produced the Henderson bikes in Chicago.

I spotted this one, sporting a sidecar, on the street near my home. Oddly, though, it has a V-6 engine in it.

I don't know if this is a vintage shoehorn-style conversion, or if it was done recently...or if it is a factory model to which I just can't find any reference. I really didn't want to poke around too closely on someone else's unattended machine, so I didn't get a really good look at the engine.

Here's a closer shot of the engine. Note the exposed rocker arms.

It's a fine-looking motorbike, and I especially dig the dual-saddle arrangement for carrying a pillion passenger.

Anyone have any idea as to the origin of this rig?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

You Meet the Nicest People On a Triumph

I was pulling out of the CDOT parking lot, on my way home from work, the other day when a fellow in an SUV flagged me down.

"Oh, great!" I thought, "How did I make this guy mad?"

Well, come to find out, the fellow just liked my motorbike and wanted to know all about it. He told me that his name was Richard Kirk, and he does photography. Then he asked if he could take some shots of the Thruxton.

It was okay, by me, so he did. The bike looks great, but I looked kinda crazed in this one:

Of course, after a full week at CDOT, I tend to look a little crazed, anyway.

He sent me the link to his web gallery, today, and I asked permission to post this shot. He graciously granted it.

Check out his other stuff here:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stamp Out Bikes

Stamp them out all day long with this little gem!

My friend Carol needed a rubber stamp of a bike to personalize her MS150 Thank-you notes, but we couldn't find one in the stores. I happened to have a 4x6 inch square of rubber stamp material, which I bought last year, so I told her I'd just make one.

Of course, I had never made one before, but that didn't seem like too big of a deal. I've done a few wood block prints, just for kicks, and I figured this would be easier than that. Turns out that it was.

I took a drawing I had done a couple of years back, for another crafts project, and did a photocopy reduction of it to the size Carol wanted. Then, with a medium-heat clothes iron, I transferred the image to the rubber block.

From there, it was just a matter of carving down the rubber where I didn't want it to print. The fenders were a little tricky (I used a large sewing needle to pick out between the lines).

After I made a couple of test prints, I trimmed off the high spots and glued the stamp to a block of scrap wood I had lying around.

I'm pretty happy with it, considering it was my first try at making a rubber stamp.

Stem Hell Research

Yeah, I mean "stem hell", not stem cell.

I ran into one of my worst bike-mechanicing nightmares, once again, this week. I had a 58cm Centurion frame which I was trading to a buddy of mine for his too-small 56cm. The plan was for both of us to strip the parts off of our respective frames (save the headset, seat post and brakes), and then swap them out.

No problem.

Then, I put the Centurion in the stand and starting removing parts. Cranks: off. Bottom bracket: out. Derailleurs: in the box. Everything was going so smoothly...Until I went to pull the stem out of the fork.

To say that it was stuck is to do the word an injustice.

So, I went to the old standby, Liquid Wrench. I put a few drops on, gently tapped the stem a bit, and left it overnight. I repeated these steps over the course of three days with the usual Liquid Wrench results: the freaking stem was still stuck tight!

I often wonder why I even buy Liquid Wrench. I've never actually had any success getting stuck parts loose with it, and this time was par for the course. (Your results, of course, may vary.)

Anyway, I ended up having to saw the stem, then use a drill, hacksaw blade, hammer, 18" pipe wrench and chisel to get the quill out of the steertube.
It only took about an hour and a half of sweating and swearing to get the dang thing out!

The end result of "getting medieval" on it.

I broke the axle and quick-release skewer on the junk wheel I stuck in the fork so that I could try to twist the stem out. But, no other damage was inflicted on the frame or fork, and it's ready to go.

First, you drill the stem to thin out the wall of the quill. Then, you hacksaw a notch in it, and chisel the mutha' out!

It's been a few years since I've had to do this. I must say, I hope it is many more years before I have to do it again.

A Rag Mans Anagrams

I was listening to the radio, the other day, and "L.A. Woman" came on. I had just recently read, somewhere, that the line "Mr Mojo risin..." is an anagram for "Jim Morrison" and it made me wonder what kind of anagrams I could make out of my name.

Being the lazy bum I am, I just went to this site and typed in my name rather than sitting down and rearranging the letters, myself.

Grinder returned a few good anagrams, my favorite being "Nerd Rig". I think I'll name one of my bikes the "Grinder Nerd Rig".

My legal signature, "Thomas J Grinder" brought up a bunch. "Jarring Methods" (great name for a blues group and/or album) was my favorite out all of them.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

New Tires on the Yamaha

It's been a long time since I've posted anything new about the street-tracker project. I really just haven't done much to it, lately. Tyler did use it to practice riding before taking the MSF class and getting his license, but we haven't done a lot of working on it.

My friend Dan brought his tire irons over today, and we finally installed the Bridgestone tires which came with the bike. The old ones were rather crappy!

The new ones took some good effort to install, but Dan did most of the work. I removed/replaced the wheels, and Dan did the better part of the actual tire changing. He has had a bit more practice than I, since he changes his dirt bike tires out, periodically. I hadn't changed any in about ten years before today.

Of course, the dogs helped out by supervising .

The new tires look more serious, somehow. And, I know they will ride and handle better than the dried out, 25 year-old rubber we took off.

Next up: Paint!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mystery Bruise

Yesterday, I noticed a slight tenderness on the inside of my left thigh as I sat on the motorbike. It felt like a small scratch, and I didn't think much of it.

Then, this morning, I saw something as I was getting dressed for work.

It's about 4 inches long, and from 3 to 4 inches wide. I wonder not only how you get a bruise like this, but also how you get a bruise like this and don't know it until it's fully formed. I suspect it's from Moab, but I just have no clue when I got it.

As a side note, I'd like to blame the flash for the whiteness of my skin in the picture. Unfortunately, that's pretty much my natural Scots-Irish color!