Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Random Stuff

Seventy five degrees when I got home from work, today! Supposed to rain and stay in th 50s, tomorrow, though. Springtime!

I need to get a few things done before I leave for Fruita, on Friday. For instance, I would like to get the TREK built up, and take it with me. I also need to pack. I'll do one tonight, one tomorrow night, I guess.

I put a couple of layers of shellac on the Clubman's leather bar wrap, on Sunday.
(Click for big.)

I'm liking the look of it. Hopefully, the shellac will add a degree of waterproofness and allow the leather to last longer, even with sweaty and/or rainy rides.

I also put some home-cut bullhorns on the F1. I had taken the original bullhorns off, and sold them, then replaced them with a Noah's Arc. I didn't like the Noah's Arc, as it put my hands too close to my knees when climbing, so I went back to this.

Unfortunately, this bar wouldn't fit through the clamp on the original stem, so I had to swap out this Technomic. I'm not sure I like it, but I'll ride it a bit and find out.

I saw 11 bikes, on the way home, today. Further proof that Spring is here.


Monday, March 24, 2008

The Chrome Bike

Well, after fruitlessly searching the internet, trying to luck up on a picture which would solve the mystery of the chrome cruiser I found at the Junque Yarde, I gave up. Then, it suddenly occurred to me that I have a shelf full of actual books (remember those?) for reference.

So, I pulled out The Evolution of The Bicycle, edited by Neil S. Wood. This is a book full of pictures of collectible bicycles, from collectors across the U.S. It only includes American bikes, but it is a great source of cruisers, muscle bikes, highwheelers, etc. On page 177, there is a picture of a rather deluxe version of my bike, including a motor-driven front wheel.

The mystery was solved. The bike is a Murray-built Sears Spaceliner. Designed by Viktor Schreckengost, a famous designer of such various items as mid-century modern lawn furniture, the first mass-produced American dinnerware, the cab-over truck (!) and fine pottery, the Spaceliner was supposed to invoke the Space Age with it's swoopy lines, modernistic gas tank/headlight, and all-chrome frame.

Sadly, Schreckengost died on February 4, 2008, at the age of 101.

The stock version.

The bike was also produced in painted form, both as the Spaceliner and the Murray AMC VIII.

I think it's going to make a nice Street Rod bike.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ye Olde Junque Yarde, Part Twain

As promised, here is the haul from Friday's descent into madness. In no particular order:
(click the pictures to enlarge)

A 1973 Raleigh Folding 20. It's in pretty rough shape, and missing the seatpost, so it is of little interest to collectors. I actually asked a fellow with whom I've been emailing back and forth about Formula One bikes and 20" folders (his website is here), and he told me I should sell the light and crank, etc., and just modify it to suit me. I think that may be the plan, unless someone else comes forward and wants it.

This one had just come into the yard, and had not yet gotten a ton of crap piled on top of it. KHS Montana. I have built two different Scorchers from these, and I really like how they ride. This one may become the Scorcher for HBC, or it may just become a random Scorcher. Either way, Scorching seems imminent.

UPDATE: Just got an email from HBC saying to go with this one. So it shall be.

Late 80s Rockhopper, with under-the-chainstay U-brake. This is my first choice for HBC's Scorcher, because I like how clean the rear end looks with this brake (like my Miami Vice bike). But, it may be a tad too large. If it is, we go with the KHS.

Raleigh SuperCourse from 1976. I built my first fixed gear from this same year SuperCourse. This is a 58cm, so it's a bit too large for me. I'll build it up and put it in the For Sale section on the site. It has a cool Nervar Sport crank: steel arms, but not cottered, with alloy rings. Reynolds 531 tubing.

Here's the crank. I think it will stay with the bike, unless the purchaser requests something else.

The hoods are in terrific shape. My camera won't pick it up, but they have the Carlton logo molded into them.

A fairly large GT Karakoram (22"). I want the parts for a vintage MTB project (in the future) and I figure I'll put the frame and fork on eBay, or something.

Bridgestone XO-3, with the handlebar which inspired the Soma Noah's Arc bar. I was somewhat disappointed to realize it is the 700c version. I prefer the 26" wheels and mustache bars...just like the Miami Vice bike. Hmmm...

Hercules 3-speed which dates from 1962. This one will get a light restoration, and I will try to find a buyer who wants a classic 3-speed, rather than modify it. If I didn't already have my Clubman project going, I would probably keep it for myself. But, I just don't want two different 3-speeds.

This one is one of my favorites. No idea of the manufacturer, or the age, but it is painfully cool.

Double top tubes, double secondary tubes. Reminds me of the RetroTecs.

This tab suggests to me that the bike may have had a "gas tank" of some sort.

Pretty fancy fork for a cruiser, too. Tubular legs, nice crown. Looks like the forks on the 70s and 80s era Motobecanes. I think a lot of the chrome will polish up, though some of it is fairly rusted.

Maybe I should sharpen these "knife blade" dropouts and go all Ben Hur on my first ride. I may have to check out the Denver Cruisers ride, one week, once this is built up.

That's it for the bikes. I pulled a couple of headtube badges from some destroyed frames, for my collection. I couldn't find any info on Shields Deluxe Cycle, but I did find an Emory website.
The Emory badge reads: Guaranteed, Hand Made, Emory, Jacksonville Florida, 76
So, that was the haul from the metal yard. I don't think I can stomach going back and dealing with the guy, again, but I was happy to come up with this eclectic mix of bikes to play with.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ye Olde Junque Yarde

I have a buddy, named Mark, with whom I do the occasional "horse trade", bike-wise. He has been going to a metal salvage yard, north of here, for a couple of years now, buying bikes from the scrap man. I have avoided the deal, for the most part, because the scrap guy is hard to deal with, and wants too big of a commitment in order to give you a decent price.

When the guy is buying bikes, they're scrap metal. When he's selling them, they transmute into fine collectibles, apparently.

Yesterday, I finally went with Mark to check out the "piles of bikes" and see what I could find. Now, when I think of "piles of bikes", I think of a situation like my storage building, where there are a few too many bikes for the space allotted to storing them. At the scrap yard, "piles" means just that: PILES.

My God! I've never seen such a thing as what was awaiting me at the scrapyard.

This is the first pile we dug around in. This pile is probably 30 feet on a side, and Mark's feet are ten feet off of the actual ground, where he is standing. That is a full-sized beer delivery truck in the background, and the top of the pile is higher the roof of the truck trailer.

This is the same pile from a different angle. There are lots of Huffys and Magnas, etc., but there are alot of older road bikes, and quality mountain bikes mixed in. The killer is, you'll see a bike you want to rescue, but it's five feet down in the pile. I left a lot of stuff behind, which I would otherwise have run with. You tend to get picky when you know it's going to take 20 or 30 minutes of hard labor to dig an old Peugeot out.

More of the same pile. There's so much stuff there, I just couldn't get a picture which gave you a decent idea of the scope of the thing.

This is looking down into a pit we had dug to drag out a bike. You can sorta see the ground in one spot.
After exhausting ourselves on this batch, we moved into the warehouse and dug through three piles in there. It was way too dark to take any pictures. I found some keepers, though, then we moved on.

Our next step was one Mark had never taken. We climbed a couple of rickety ladders to access the roof. The old guy who runs the place had said there were some bikes up there. Mark and I were, literally, stunned to speechlessness when we saw what was there. Laid out in neat rows, where we could actually see them, were hundreds of bikes.

It's hard to tell, but there are 6 or 7 rows of probably 100 bikes each. Again, there was a preponderance of Huffys, etc., but there were some prizes, as well.

I took this series of photos to just show the scale of the operation. The airplane cockpit/fuselage had USAF markings. I might try to figure out what sort of plane it was, later.

Just past the red trailer is the beer truck beside the first pile of bikes we were on. There are two more piles visible in this pic. If Blogger chooses to enlarge the picture, you'll be able to see them more clearly. (I don't know why, but sometimes pictures will enlarge, sometimes they won't.)

Here, I'm lowering the bikes to Mark, who is at the top of the lower ladder. From there, I handed them down to him while he was on the ground.

This is how we got the bikes to Mark's place. In this picture, we had already unloaded Granny's rocking chair. Seriously, I don't know why we didn't take my truck. Just didn't, basically. We were only planning on getting 7 or 8 bikes, but having two people to dig through made it easier to find usable bikes.

These are the ones I brought home. Tomorrow, I'll post pictures and details on them. This post is already picture-heavy and possibly too long to be interesting.

RG's Birthday Ride

My buddy Richard turned 22, today, so we took a Birthday Ride. It was kind of a "combined" Birthday ride, since the mileage, for me, ended up equal to our two ages added together. I'll be 47 on my next birthday, and that adds up to 69 miles, combined. You can see that I surpassed that by just over a mile and a half.

I rode to Pablo's On Sixth and met up with Richard, then we rode the Cherry Creek/470/South Platte Trails loop. We stopped off at The Market at 15th and Larimer and had lunch, then I rode on home.

I took the LeMond on this ride for its shakedown cruise. Other than the seatpost working its way down and making my seat a bit too low by the time I got home, it was flawless.

It seems that I need a better bolt in the seat collar. I had to replace the Allen bolt with a regular hex-head Nut and bolt to get the cantilever cable hanger to work, and I just can't get it tight enough.

I was happy to find that I can still cruise at over 20 mph on the flats. All of the loaded commuter-bike riding I've done lately has been at an average speed of about 15 mph, and I just wasn't sure if that was because of the bike or because of me. I feel better about it now.

Hell of a headwind on the last couple of miles, coming back to the house. Made the Reuben sandwich I had for lunch get up and walk around, a little. It seems to have settled down, now, though.

Good Springtime fixed gear ride, with sunny skies, temps in the low 50s and little wind (until the end).


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Monday, March 17, 2008

Eight To Ten Inches Of Snow By the Evening Commute

Yeah, in Shrinkworld, maybe. This is all of the snow in my front yard, right now. The roads are dry and the sun is out.

Sure am glad I rocked the studded tires, today.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Springtime In Colorado!

Well, the weather-guessers are calling for 5 to 8 inches of snow, over the next 24 hours. Of course, it's supposed to be 50 to 60 degrees Tuesday through Friday.

Anyway, I got the Pink bike ready to ride in the snow, tomorrow. I bought another set of panniers for it, because I am sick of swapping the bags between bikes.

Then, I fashioned a new mount for my CygoLite out of aluminum stock and a tail light seatpost mount.

It's not as convenient as the quick-release style mount it came with, but it's hopefully more sturdy. I made it hang the light below the bar, rather than perching up over it. Seems like it would be less likely to suffer crash damage, this way.

I really wanted the brighter light for the snowy conditions I'm supposed to be riding in, tomorrow. So, now I'm all set for the snow, and for the good weather to follow.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

More Clubman Goodness

Made a bit of progress on the Clubman, today. I still haven't gotten any rims or spokes, but the small parts are coming together, nicely.

I got a bottom bracket and crank installed. The crank is an SR copy of the classic Campy Record. I like using these Japanese cranks because they have a nice look to them, and I feel that the actual Campy stuff is kinda overkill for this type of bike. Plus, this level of crank would more likely have been installed as OEM equipment, than would the Campy.

The pedals are genuine Campognolo, simply because they were what I had lying around. I just got the leather-covered MKS half clips in the mail from Velo Orange, today.

I also got a cool brass bell, as seen here, from VO, today. It goes well with the leather bar wrap, which is finished at the ends with hemp twine. I'll shellac it, later, when the temperature is a little warmer.

I also mounted up some Weinmann centerpulls and the associated fittings and hardware. They need new pads, of course.

In the lower left hand corner of the picture, Jack moves in for the kill.

So, here it is, as it sits right now. Once I get the wheels built, and the shifter mounted, it will be ready to ride. Well, with a chain and new brake pads, too.

At that point, I will make the final decision on what to do with the finish. I am leaning toward buffing compound, and wax on the existing paint. If it doesn't look like I want it to, I can always do something else, later. I would just like to retain the original paint, if possible because, as they say, once it's gone you can't bring it back.

Plus, I like "patina of age" that the bike has, now.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Near Miss

Or, as George Carlin would say, "Near hit."

I left the house at 5:40 AM, and the temperature was 47 degrees F on the front porch. The weather guesser on Channel 4 described conditions as "warm and breezy", and she was right. Of course, in Denver Weather-speak, "breezy" means a sustained 20 mph wind, with gusts to 25, or so.

As is my luck, the wind was from the northwest, as I headed north to the lab. It was okay, though. The warm temps made up for the wind.

At one point on the morning route, I turn east for a few blocks, going slightly uphill. The street I am on, at that point, is the through street. And, except for one 4-way, all of the streets crossing have a stop sign, while I don't.

Taking advantage of the tailwind, I was riding along at a pretty good clip, as a Chevy or GMC SUV pulled up to one of the stop signs, on my right. I kept my eye on him, as I approached the intersection, prepared to hit the brakes if he rolled on through.

Lots of people do that on residential streets at 6:00 AM.

But, he came to a complete halt, and I entered continued on. Then, as my front wheel reached a point directly in front of his driver's side headlight, the guy gunned it off the line.

"Broken leg," I thought to myself, as I watched the high-mounted bumper heading toward me. In the split second it took me to stand up and begin to sprint, I was wondering if I would get completely run over, or if I'd be thrown to the curb on the other side of the street.

VVRRROOOM. All I could hear was his engine. I was up, cranking as hard as I could, grateful for the tailwind, when the bumper of the vehicle passed about a foot behind my rear wheel.

Then, the guy hit the brakes and stopped in the middle of the road.

I was so happy to not get hit, I didn't even think to get mad. My heart was pumping like Uma Thurman's, after the O.D. scene in Pulp Fiction, and I just cruised on up the hill and made my turn to head north, again.

I don't know if it was just one of those instances where he saw me, but I didn't register on his brain or if he just didn't look. Maybe he was taking a sip of coffee.

Maybe he was trying to run me down. I don't know. I really don't even care.

All I care about is, I avoided him.

I'll take a near hit, any day, over the real thing!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Shine The Light on Me

Daylight Savings Time.

Man, I don't mind losing the hour of sleep. I don't mind having only a 47-hour weekend. But, I do hate having to ride in the dark, again, all the way to work, in the morning.

I especially hate it when something like this happens:

That's my nice, fancy new CygoLite hangingfrom the battery pack by its power cord.

"Did it just pop out of the mount?" you ask.

"Nay, my friend. Behold!"

The mount snapped at the point where the neck for the click-in interface emerges from the body of the mount.


Yes, I was Just Riding Along, this morning, on the way to work. I was about halfway there, and I saw a lady walking her dog on the street, coming toward me.

"Good morning"s were exchanged, and I swung a little to the right to avoid crowding her dog. That caused me to hit a pothole, which resulted in the damage you see.

I'm sure the manufacturer will replace the mount, but I am a little concerned about it's longevity. I bought this light for the 24 Hours Of Moab, it broke on a Denver city street.

So, how long will it last on the Behind the Rocks trail?

Maybe I'll make an aluminum mount for race time. I'd rather not have to worry about it at 3:00 in the morning, as I hallucinate little elves chasing me through the woods.

In the meantime, I have to rely on my back-up unit, I suppose.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Work Starts On The Clubman

Today, I put the Clubman in the stand and stripped off the derailleurs. Then, I started test-fitting parts. I considered using 27" wheels, rather than 700c, to stay period-correct. After playing around with a couple of sets of wheels, I decided to use 700c with 35 width tires.

As I was test-fitting wheels, I found that the fork was not properly aligned. In fact, it was so bad I had to check twice and make sure it wasn't a Peugeot. It took me about an hour to get the fork legs aligned, and the dropouts widened to accept a modern axle diameter.

Of course, these wheels are nothing like what I'll be using. I plan on silver Sun rims, in a normal cross-section, laced onto a 1969 Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed, on the rear, and a high-flange Normandy hub on the front.

Here, Jack contemplates peeing on the rear wheel, as I admire the randonneur bars, forged alloy stem and Mafac brake levers.

These tires look the part, and ride pretty well, to boot. I've used them on a number of bikes, in the past. And, of course, a Brooks Professional rounds out the retro feel.

The AW 3-speed hub gives gear ratios (as applied to the gear inches produced by the cog and chainring) of 75%, 100%, and 133%. So, If I gear the bike at 66 inches, that gives me 49.5 inches, 66 inches and 87.78 inches. That should suffice for my needs.

Your friendly blogger.
While I was in the shop, I removed the rear tube from the Scorcher (slow leak) and replaced it with one into which I had installed Stan's sealant . Then, I swapped all of my commuter stuff over to it and got it ready for the coming week. The weather is supposed to be nice, with temps in the upper 50s and lower 60s for the next few days, so I'm thinking the studded snow tires on the Pink Bike are unnecessary.
Of course, if the past is any indication, we'll have a blizzard, overnight.
Going to be a busy month. I have Jury Duty on the 24th, and RV and I are going to Fruita for some Mountain Bike Extravaganza, over the last weekend of the month. Maybe I should finish building the STP and take it to Fruita. Might be a good shakedown cruise.
Then again, trhe 69er is calling...


Friday, March 07, 2008

Clubman In The Raw

Well, here it is, The Raleigh Sprite 27. It's a ten-speed, now, soon to be a 3-speed Clubman Tourer. (I add the "Tourer" because, technically, a Clubman is set up for racing, while I intend to leave the carrier and add either saddle bags or a large seat bag for utility. I might even use it, occasionally, to commute.)

I like the handlebars, and I'll probably use them on another bike. This one will have drop bars, although I will retain the stem, if at all possible. It is quite nice, with a "lugged" look, and good chrome. The handlebars and brake levers seem to date the bike to 1974. If anyone has better dating, let me know.

I am torn as to what to do about the finish. I love the orangey color, but it is badly faded, in places. I may respray it. If I do, I will mask this panel off and retain the Raleigh decal. Even though it is worn and faded, it is also original and cool.

I bought this bike to get the fenders, as much as anything. They are steel, with a really nice semi-flat black (probably due to fading), and the British-legal six square inches of white on the rear, and yet another Raleigh logo decal. The front had one tiny dent in it, otherwise they are in excellent shape.

Another view of the bar and stem. If the picture will enlarge (it's kinda random, with Blogger) I think you can see the "lugged" stem pretty well.

It's not the most high-end of frames. It's basically the same frame as a Raleigh Record, with fenders and an upright bar added. It measure 58cm on the seat tube, and 56 on the top tube, which is the same as the blue Record frame I built up as a fixie and loaned to BC a couple of years ago.

That was one of my favorite bikes because it rode so smoothly and was just a comfortable bike, all around. It eventually got powder coated white, and sold as a retro 10-speed. I've missed it, since it's been gone, so this should take care of that.

I also picked up a 20" wheelset, with a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub. I may just unlace the 3-speed wheel I have, and relace it with the S-A, to keep the bike English.

(Also, that wheel arrived with no cog or lockring, and the standard S-A cogs don't fit it. That may be why I got a "good" deal on it, in the first place.)

So, now, the build can commence. I'll build it with the finish as-is, and make sure everything is working out to my satisfaction before I make a decision on whether or not to respray.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I Made It Snow, Last Night

At 6:00 PM, last night, I watched the news and got the weather forecast: Twenty percent chance of light snow showers, mostly in the foothills, with little chance of accumulation in the metro area.

So, I went out to the shop and busted out the Miami Vice bike, and spent twenty minutes swapping bags and lights and blinkies from the Pink Bike to MV. I went to bed, secure in the knowledge that I was going to ride fixed on the way to work, enjoying the dry roads for a change.

I got out of bed at 5:00 AM, and looked out the front door only to see...two inches of snow on the road, and a steady amount continuing to fall.

So, another twenty minutes of swapping stuff around, and the Pink Bike was back on the schedule.

I'm beginning to think I need to invest in at least one more pair of panniers, so that I don't have to go through this every time it snows (or thaws). I just kinda hate to spend the money (again), especially when I consider that I am planning on getting these for the Clubman 3-Speed project.

But, hey, it's only money. And I'd rather have cool stuff than cash, I guess.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Couple O'Milestones

Yesterday was the first commute of the tenth month in my year-long everyday commuting endeavor. Two months to go, March and April, the snowiest and third-snowiest months of the year in theses parts.

Today, about halfway home from work, I rolled through 3,000 commuter miles since May 1, of last year. I didn't stop and celebrate, or anything. The blustery West wind was doing its best to blow me over sideways, and I felt it was probably best to just keep chooglin' along.

I choogle a lot, on the bike, lately.

The wind is supposed to bring colder temps and a chance for snow, tonight and tomorrow. I am tempted to swap the bags back over to the Scorcher or Miami Vice and just take my chances with the roads. I 'm kinda tired of riding the studded tires on clear streets, just because there may be some snow.

One other milestone approaches, this weekend: Daylight Savings Time.

I have conflicting feelings about "springing forward". I guess it will be okay to have more daylight after I get home, and the sun will be less in the eyes of drivers behind me as I ride home. But, it has been getting light as I am on the way to work, these past few days, and I've enjoyed that. After DST kicks in, it will be back to fully dark as I roll up to the building.

Oh, well. What's another six weeks, or so, of a dark morning commute?

Now, if we could just get to some long-term warm weather...


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Back On the Pink Bike, Tomorrow

It was 74 degrees here in Denver, yesterday. I sat out in the back yard, in shorts and a t-shirt, and had a G&T while I drew my daily sketch for the other blog. Beautiful Spring weather.

This is the spot I was sitting in, yesterday, as it appears today:

The temps have been below 30 degrees, all day, and the wind has been howling. We've only gotten about 3 inches of snow, but the wind pushes it into small drifts and makes it look like more.

I don't think there will be a lot of actual snow on the road, tomorrow. The warm pavement has melted a lot of it as it has fallen. But, the shady spots will have some snow on them, and the 20 degree low temperature, tonight, will most likely produce some icy spots for the morning commute. So, I swapped the lights and bags back to the pink bike, so that I will have the studded tires for the commute.

Speaking of lights, I finally had to put my CygoLite on the charger, today. I've been running it for a month on the factory charge! I suspect it will last through the night at Moab, if I don't run it on high beam. I might get an extra battery for backup, though, just in case.

I got the three-speed frame back from the powder coater on Thursday. I built the bike up, but found I didn't have Ty's phone number in my saved email messages, as I had thought. Ty is a coworker, who I set up with an old-school mountain bike to ride around with the kids. When he picked it up, he saw this 3-speed leaning up against the shop, and asked if I could fix it up for his wife, including a coat of red powder, since that's her favorite color.

I knew it would need replacement wheels, a new shift cable and some other parts, so I told Ty I would let him know when I could find all of the stuff it needed.

It already has the "new" parts on it, here, but still in the original paint. I wanted to get it rideable before stripping it down for the powder coater.

Here it is, in red.

I ended up buying another three-speed for parts, and swapped wheels, brakes, cables, and shifter over to this one. I also took the original steel bar for the Scorcher, and put this alloy bar on the 3-speed. Then, I polished up the chrome fenders and the crank, cleaned the grips and seat up and put it all together.

I really think it came out nice, even though I also thought it was quite nice with the original green paint.

I was supposed to put a wicker basket on the front. But I haven't found one, locally, so it looks like I'll have to order one in. The cheapest one I've found, in a usable size, is about $40.00. I guess that's not too bad, in the scheme of bike accessories.

I'm happy to get this bike back on the road. The fork from the donor bike looks like it will work to repair the tandem, which got damaged on the way to the Moonlight Classic, last summer.

And, the fenders on the donor are in good shape, as well (painted, not chrome), so they will find a home on some bike or another. Hmmm, maybe on the tandem. I'll have to see if they'll fit over the big cruiser tires.

Reuse, recycle...