Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yes! Another Orange Peugeot

It's a 22-inch folding Peugeot Neuvo Style. Mark found it for me, and brought it by, today.

Once I get it cleaned up and rideable (assuming I can get tires for it), I'll post pix of the whole Orange Peugeot tribe.

Hi, Richard!

I finally remembered to put Richard Goggins' Peace Corps blog in the blogroll. Check it out.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Build

Just completed this 48cm Miyata for a customer. White powdercoat, old-school Shimano 600 crank, flip-flop wheels with freewheel only, 28c Conti GatorSkin tires, pink Terry bar tape.

Pretty slick.

I'm Back! Didja Miss Me?

What I did on my Memorial Day Vacation:

(Click pictures for bigness.)

This gate is a bit over 5 feet wide. Quite a handful to build and hang, by myself.

You can't see all 58 feet of this portion, because the metal building is in the way. Close to 250 slats, with six screws apiece. Treated 2x4 stringers, 8 feet on center, connect the 4x4 treated posts, set in concrete. Took me about a day and a half to get all of this up, once the concrete had set around the posts.

This little piece was a pain in the neck, because each end is on an angle.

Randy C. came over and helped me with this gate, on Monday. It was a heck of a lot easier than the first gate.

I uncovered about a half-dozen snakes in the course of moving stuff around, while building the fence. That probably explains why I've had no mice problems, this Spring.

Oh, well... I need to go finish building up a nice little Miyata singlespeed road bike.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Super-secret Skunkworks Bike Project #3

This is a Dyno Slammer, which I pulled from the pile at the Junque Yard sans front brake and rear wheel. It is one of the "Made in USA" Dynos, and was originally one of the highest models in the lineup.
I put an Odyssey Evolver front brake on it, found a rear wheel, pegs and tires for it, and set it up for my nephew Kyle. (It's Super Secret, because he doesn't even know I have it, much less that it's coming to him.)
The pegs were a bit of a challenge, as the frame has the PacMan dropouts (they are recessed and shaped a lot like th videogame character), and there are only a few pegs on the market made to fit them. Fortunately, a post on the BMX Forums dicussion page pointed out that 1-1/2 inch pegs would slot in, since the PacMan-specific pegs just neck down from 2 inches to 1-1/2. I bought a couple of pair and, sure enough, they work like a charm.

The bike had Hoffman Bikes bars on it, which is a plus. It had been partially spray-painted black, but I cleaned most of that off. I left it on the fork, though, just in the time-saving mode.

The blue hub is random, but it combines nicely with the red chainring and polished (in lieu of white) front hub to give it something of a theme. The blue trimmed seat is a good companion to the blue hub.

Yeah, I's my inner interior decorator coming through.

Anyway, I figure a pro-quality bike will stand a better chance of holding up to the abuse Kyle and Sean will put it through, so I was very glad to find it.

Lastly, good fences (hopefully) make good neighbors. This is my Memorial Day Weekend project, a 6-foot privacy fence across the back yard and gates at the house, so that I can let Jack have a bit more freedom. Hope it works to keep peace with the neighbors!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Super-secret Skunkworks Bike Project #2

A while back, I modified a mountain bike frame, for Brad, to reflect the vintage "camel back" frame style. Unfortunately, I had a little problem controlling the heat of my torch, and the downtube ended up with a crack in it.

I figured out the problem with the torch, and fixed it. So, here is Version 2.0 of Brad's soon-to-be cafe bike/path racer frame. No cracks, this time, so the next step is to remove the derailleur hanger and excess frame fittings, then strip and paint.

It's destined to be a freewheel (with a fixed on the flip side), upright bar all-rounder. Should be cool.

I like these bikes that are as much of an art project as transportation.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finished a Nice Build, Today

I completed the build on this early 90s Cannondale mountain bike with an ENO flip-flop hub, this afternoon. It was powdercoated flat black, and runs a really cool new single chainring Stronglight crank. The 2.1 Continental Town and Country tires give it a pretty purposeful look, mounted on Sun Rhino Lite rims.
Its owner picked it up, today. This is the second ENO-equipped C-dale I've built up, in the past year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Heart Potato Chips

This one, apparently, feels the same for me.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Super-secret Skunkworks Bike Project #1

As I hinted, yesterday, I have been working on a couple of personal projects in between every thing else I've been doing. Gotta figure out some way to use up all of that spare time!

This one is finished enough to show to the world. It may get a bit of fine-tuning, in the future, and it may not. It's quite usable and fun, as is.

I bought this, last year, as a 24" wheeled mountain bike, complete with a double crankset and 5 speed freewheel and derailleurs. It struck me odd that the bike had sidepull brakes, rather than cantilevers, but I bought it just because it was all chrome.

Raleigh American (RAMPAR) was originally a licensing agreement between "real" Raleigh and Huffy, to sell BMX bikes and parts with the Raleigh nameplate. Eventually, Huffy sold the name and business out to Derby, and the whole American series of Technium bikes (and other, Asian-built, frames) was born.

This bike was built during the Rampar years, and I suspect they just added cable stops and water bottle cage mounts to their cruiser frame. The more I looked at it, the more I wanted to convert it.

So, I bought the old-school handlebar, stem and brake levers from Richard, down at Cycle Analyst, and ordered an NOS Robinson cruiser fork off of the Bay of E. Add one BMX freewheel and chain, and , Voila; a 24" BMX cruiser.

Of course, I now have too much money into it to sell it at a profit, so I guess I'll have to ride it a bit and get some use out of it. I just tooled up and down the block a couple of times, and it's a blast to ride. I had forgotten how much fun BMX bikes are, and having one a little more in scale to my size than the 20"-wheeled versions is even more fun.

Coming soon: SSBP #2


Friday, May 09, 2008

Wotta Week!

ENO hub in the rear wheel

KInda slow, at work, and tired all over. I finally hit the "wall" on Wednesday night, and crashed out at 7:00 PM. I really didn't get a whole lot done, all week.

One thing I did manage was to get the wheels ready for a fixed gear Cannondale mountain bike I am building up for a fellow. He brought me the bike to convert, and decided that he wanted black wheels. Of course, the frame has vertical dropouts, necessitating the use of an ENO eccentric rear hub.

So, I ordered in a set of Deore disc-hubbed wheels, in black, with the plan of disassembling the rear wheel and rebuilding it around the ENO. I just had a feeling, looking at the two hubs, that they would require the same spoke lengths (meaning that I could reuse the original spokes and not have to buy more).

I did the spoke calcs, and the two hubs required spokes within 0.1mm of being the exact same length. So, last night, I rebuilt the rear wheel, and trued and tensioned the front. They came out pretty nice. Now, I'm just waiting to get the frame back from the powdercoater.
I also built up a Barracuda commuter mountain bike for a customer. Hopefully, it will go home this weekend. (Pics later.)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Birthday Ride 2008

Click for BIG
Every year, I go for a birthday ride either on or near my actual birthday. The rule is that I have to ride at least as many miles as my age, that year.

I started this on my 30th birthday, and I think I've hit every year, since.

Yesterday, I took the LeMond Zurich (originally my road bike, then a cross bike, now a fixed gear), and tooled around the bike path loop. I had thought of actually doubling my age, this year, but the bad knee started complaining at about mile 50. So, I cut it short and headed back to the coffee shop for a couple of Italian sodas.

The weather was pretty nice. I left the house with the temps in the upper 20s, but under sunny skies. As I rode, the temps warmed, and I stripped off a couple of layers as the day went along. I ended up in a wicking long-sleeved tee and a thin wool sweater, over cargos (with bike shorts and capilene under them). (I've become a proponent of wearing "normal" looking clothes, when on the bike. Of course, I still wear the shorts on longer rides; I just keep them out of sight.)

The only thing that could have made the ride better would have been some company. Unfortunately, no one was available, so I rode alone.

I used my new pedals, to see how they work. I like them, a lot, because they have a big platform like my BMX pedals I use on the commuters, but they weigh about a third as much. I got these with some of the money my parents sent for my birthday, so they are "birthday pedals".

I had tried to order these from Rivendell, a couple of times, but they were always out of stock. Richard, down at Cycle Analyst, had them in the case, Friday, so I bought them from him. Sorry, Grant.

Finally, I took the photos in this post with my new Nikon Coolpix camera, which I got for my birthday, as well.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

May One to May One Challenge

A year ago, today, I embarked upon what I considered at the time to be a challenge. Namely, I planned on riding my bike to work every day of May, in honor of National Bicycle Month. May passed by so quickly, and I enjoyed the everyday aspect of the commute so much that I decided to continue through June in honor of Colorado Bicycle Month. (We observe bicycle month in June, because May is still a potentially snowy month, as evidenced by our weather, today.)

At the end of June, I decided to bite the bullet and announce to everyone that I was going to continue my bicycle-only commute through May 1, 2008. A whole year, four seasons of riding a little over 17 miles round trip, sounded like an adventure to me. And, truth be told, I had figured out that bicycling on a daily basis was making me happier than I had been in years. Back when I worked in a bike shop, I rode my bike almost daily, whether I was commuting, mountain biking, recreational road riding, or just yukking it up with some urban street riding in the Denver Tech Center, at night. I really hadn't realized how unhappy I had become, over the past few years, until people started commenting on how I seemed more like the Jon Grinder they had met and come to know, back then.

I also outlined my plan to cut down on combustion engine-use in other areas of my life. My stated goal was to use, in the truck, motorcycle and scooter combined, no more than 90 gallons of gasoline for the 12 months. That equalled out to the equivalent of six tanks of gas in the truck. I made it through the year on five tanks, and ended up putting less than 1200 miles on the truck, 450 miles on the motorbike and probably 50 miles on the scooter.

Of course, many people I told of this plan couldn't comprehend riding every day. "What will you do when the weather's bad?" "What about traffic?" "Winter's coming up!" etc., were some of the concerns people expressed. Oddly, none of these expected "problems" with bike commuting proved to be much of a problem in real life.

It has been said before that there is no such thing as "bad weather". Weather is just weather, it has no intentions, either good or bad. Much like Karma, it is one's perceptions of, reactions to, and the effect upon oneself of weather that make it seem good or bad. Yes, being blown away by a tornado or struck by lightning is a bad experience, but the weather is neither good or bad. It just is. If you prepare for the effects of weather (take a rain jacket, dress appropriately, etc.), the weather is never a real problem.

At least, it was never a big problem for me. I spent a few of the dollars I was saving on gas, and got some decent winter base layer clothing. A trip to the Army Surplus store netted me some water-resistant BDUs, and a pair of neoprene shoe covers kept my feet warm and dry all through the winter. As winter progressed, I bought some SnowCat rimmed wheels and a pair of studded tires. Combined with my snow chains, I found that the road conditions never prevented me from riding (and enjoying it). The windy days affected me more than anything else. No matter how you dress, wind is wind.

I think the aspect of the ride that has most pleasantly surprised me was the traffic aspect of it. Fifteen years ago, when I was commuting through Parker, I was subjected on a daily basis to aggressive driving, shouts and having things thrown at me from passing cars. By contrast, I have had little to no trouble with automobilists, other than just general bad driving (passing me too closely to stop signs, the one kid who backed into me at Tennessee and Holly on my 100th day of commuting). Most people have either been very courteous or, even better, just acted like I was another vehicle on the road rather than an impediment of some sort.

This could partly be due to the route I ride. It is not by accident that I commute mostly on residential neighborhood streets. For the most part, I only deal with heavy traffic on streets I cross, with the exception being on Holly, crossing Cherry Creek, on my way home. And, it's probably also no coincidence that the only aggressively rude behavior I can think of on the part of a motorist was the crazy old coot on the Holly bridge, who blared his horn at me and screamed that I was in his way, even though i was in the through lane and he was in the "Right Turn Only" lane.

A funny thing happened about six months into the challenge. A few of the guys at work began to realize that not only was I was serious about this challenge, but there was a chance I was going to pull it off. I actually gained a little cheering section, and people began to ask how long I had to go rather than tell me I was crazy to try riding for a full year. As the end-date got close, I began to get the same question from everyone, "What are you going to do, once you've made the year?"

Well, that was a harder question to answer than you might think. I knew what I wasn't going to do. I wasn't going to start driving again. The year of exclusively riding the bike to work, and using it for most of my grocery store, laundromat, etc. errands had taught me one basic lesson: I don't have to drive.

Driving is a luxury, not a necessity, most of the time. In fact, if I didn't share the house with my dog, Jack, I might just sell my truck and give up driving, altogether. The only problem with doing that, with Jack around, is that I can't take him on the light rail and riding all the way to Parker so that he can have his play-dates with Ruby would be a challenge I'm not sure I'm up to. Plus, emergency trips to the vet at midnight (none so far, thank goodness, but you never know) would be impossible. However, if I could find a motorcycle with a sidecar...

So, after a lot of thought, I came up with my next bike challenge. Rather than just extend the "no car-commutes" rule for another year, I am going to shoot for 500 work days in a row (this year totalled up to 211 days and 3646 miles). I'll also continue on the 90 gallons of gas per year mode, as well.

Finally, I'd like to thank all of you who have shown support, whether through daily interaction or comments here on the blog, throughout this past year. The thought of not letting you down has gotten me through more than one rough (windy) patch over the past few months.