Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Formula One in the Rain

I put my truck in the shop, yesterday, and got some work done on it ($$$$$$$!). Of course, right after I dropped it off, I remembered that I had told Adam I would go over to his house after he was through slinging espresso, and do some adjustments on the Cafe Bike.

Since it was raining, and I wanted to put some miles on the F1, I took an old cruiser fender I had lying about and trimmed it down to size, then zip-tied it to the seat-stay bridge (formerly the brake bridge). Then, I strapped on so many flashing blinkie-lights that I looked like some mutant 20-inch wheeled ambulance rolling down the road and headed to Kaladi Brothers to meet up with Adam.
The fender worked pretty well. Plus, I thought it gave the bike a bit of a "StingRay vibe".

Riding down the alley behind Adam's place. 100% man-made fibers!


Tank Repair

Well, I took the Trident to a paintless dent repair shop on Friday, and Sandy, the dent guy, worked on it for about 20 minutes. The dent is pretty much unnoticeable now. I had to take a few shots before I could get the reflected light just right so that you could see the two little spots he was unable to work out. Well worth the $40.00 he charged!
I bought some high-heat engine enamel, also, while I was out. I'll try touching up the engine case, today. It was a bit too rainy out, yesterday, to paint anything.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Formula One Bicycle Madness

Most people I talk to have no idea what a Formula One bicycle is. I know that they never caught on, but it seems to me that anyone who walked into a bike shop in the late 1980's had to see them. I guess, though, if you were homing in on the new-fangled MTB's on the showroom floor, you might have missed the bastard-child-of-BMX section in the far corner.

F1 was an offshoot of BMX, which combined that sport and autocross racing. The bikes were essentially 7-speed BMX frames, with high bottom brackets and flat bars, and they were raced around a course outlined by cones in a parking lot. In retrospect, it looks like a lot of fun, to me, but it went over like a lead balloon at the time.
It's almost impossible to find any info on F1 racing on the interweb. If you have any that you would like to share, please do so.

The bikes are relatively rare on the used market. I have had one come to me, in the past 15 years, and it was missing its fork. I ended up building it with a Manitou suspension fork, PitBull brakes (the front modified to run on the 26" wheel fork while reaching a 20" wheel), old-school Dura-Ace cranks and Shimano bar-end shifters on a drop bar.

My friend Shawn ended up with this one.
I have looked for another F1 since then, with no luck. Then, I happened across this site: Willie Nichols is a bike builder in Virginia who produces new F1 frames and sells either framesets or full bikes. I contacted him, and he was cool enough to sell me an unfinished frame, with no braze-ons or paint, along with a rigid fork. And, he gave me a very decent price on it.

Here is the frame, as received, with some random parts stuck on to make it look like a bike.

The seat tube needed to be reamed, and there was no slot at the collar, plus there was surface rust on the tubes from storage. It was exactly what I wanted. I had originally planned on building an ENO-hubbed wheel so that I could adjust chain tension, but I decided to go ahead and put my new torch to some productive use and braze in track ends.

Of course, the frame is welded, rather than brazed, so I had to cut the vertical drops off, then slot the stays to accept the plate-steel track ends.

Once the track ends were in place, I used my Campy "H-tools" to align them.

I found that the Primo tires I was using hit the brake bridge and chainstay bridge unless the axle was at the rear edge of the slot in the track end. So, I busted out the angle grinder and the files and cut the bridges down to a minimal size, and erased the weld bead from the seat stays. I decided that the bead on the chainstays didn't look too bad, so I left it.

With that, the bike was ready to build and ride. I sprayed a temporary coat of Krylon Safety Orange rattle-can supreme on it, and let it dry overnight. I plan on powdercoating it, later, but I just couldn't wait to ride it.

It sports some generic black BMX wheels, Primo Comet 2.1" slicks, an old Super Maxy crank (42x12 gearing), a steel mountain bike riser stem and black bullhorn bar I picked up somewhere. The brake lever is a cyclocross "interruptor" lever which pulls a funky old Lee Chi "Sine Power" center-pull toggle brake from a Ross mountain bike I built up as a "Cafe" fixie for a customer.

This is one of the pictures I sent to the FGG.

I took the bike on a short shake-down cruise, this afternoon, between rain showers. It steers very quickly, but rides otherwise pretty normal. Unlike a modified BMX bike, the seat-to-handlebar relationship is pretty much the same as what I used to run on my mountain bikes back when I was racing.

The bullhorn lets me ride in a pretty relaxed manner (on the tops) or get down and aero (on the horns), so it was a good choice. I had considered a mountain bike riser bar, and I may still experiment with that. I'll put a few dozen miles on these, first, so that I have something to compare to.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it.


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Monday, March 19, 2007

Pride Does What...When?

I don't think I am overly proud of a lot of things. But, everyone who knows me is aware of how proud I am of my 1996 Triumph Trident. I put a lot of time, effort (and money) into the bike, and I came as close to fulfilling my vision of what I was after with a motorcycle as I have ever managed.

So, as they say, "Pride goeth before a fall."

File it under "It Had To Happen Someday", but I managed to dump the bike in the middle of Colorado Blvd. on my way home from work, today. It happened at Colorado and Ninth, where the road is always slick from oil-drippings as you approach the intersection. Ten or twelve miles per hour, coming to a halt at the red light, and the girl in front of me slammed her brakes on.

I grabbed a handful of front brake, to avoid slamming into her, and locked the front wheel up on the greasy pavement. Down I went. First time in the past twenty seven years, third time in 33 years of riding.
But, I did avoid hitting the car.

At least I didn't crack the cover.
Bent mount, cracked and scuffed carbon, scuffed chrome on the headlight bezel.

The real heartbreaker is the dent on the tank, right on the hand-painted pin-striping. I hope one of those "paintless dent repair" places can pop that out and leave the paint unharmed.

I managed to repair the windscreen mount, and put some nail polish onthe carbon to avoid further delamination...

Doesn't look too bad.

It really didn't help my sore back, much, to pick the 500 pound beast up off the pavement, either. That, and a scrape on my knee are about the only "injuries" I suffered, except for the blows to my pride and joy.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Sketchy Ride

I took the Peugeot L'Orange out for about an hour and a half, today. The sun is shining, temps are in the 50's. Beautiful day for a ride.

Of course, I neglected to take into account the snow we had a few days ago. A couple of pretty long stretches of the Cherry Creek Trail (notably, along the section where you ride the sidewalk outside of Denver Country Club) were still snow-packed and very sketchy.
Still a good ride to Confluence Park, and REI.

Outside the REI Flagship Store

From REI, I headed south on the South Platte Trail, pushing against a fairly strong headwind the whole way. It was that kind of wind which was so steady that I felt as though I was constantly headed uphill. I couldn't get into a comfortable cadence, either feeling as though I was pushing way to easy or way too hard, depending on my level of output.

I spent most of that section of the ride in "way too hard" mode.

Got off of the trail at Evans Avenue (sick of the wind, at that point) and headed over to Kaladi Brothers for an Italian soda.

While I was there, I tried to be discreet about sketching (heh! Get it?) one of the baristas as she worked. I didn't have my sketchbook with me, but I had my pen in pocket. So I drew on the back of an advertising flyer which was on the counter where I was sitting.

It's not a real good likeness. But for about 5 minutes (combined) of sketching time, I don't think it's too bad:

Yes, I am one of those creepy old guys who sketches you at the coffee shop...

Rode home from Kaladi's against the wind, yet again. Good ride, all things considered.


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