Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Wind Blows

We have had some really nice temperatures, here in Denver, this last little bit. So far, in 2009, we have had 16 days with high temps of at least 60F. It has made the commute a lot easier than last winter, that's for sure.

But, with those high temps comes a price to pay: Wind. I rode home, yesterday, in 67 degree temperature, against a steady 20 mph headwind, which was gusting to 35 (all according to the Channel 4 weather report).

I was a bit beat, when I got home, so I didn't work on any bikes. I did get the fork and frozen stem out of a late 1960s Raleigh Record. The fork is toast, and has to be trashed. I think I will just put the frame on eBay.


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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another Mixte

As I was building Trisha's Peugeot, last week, Carol let me know that she was in the market for a mixte, as well. She wanted a single-speed version, built up for relaxed rides around the neighborhood, with a rack for the occasional spur-of -the-moment purchase.

I had this Raleigh Record mixte sitting in the pile, so I started gathering parts.

From this...

to this.
I got some Nexave-hubbed cross wheels (the Nexave hubs are disc-compatible, which is neither here nor there, but they have a nice high flange) for a very reasonable price, and I mounted up the white tires I had on the orange Peugeot. I replaced them, on the Peugeot, with some cream-colored 700x35 Schwalbes.

A Nitto bar, with white Hunt-Wilde grips was installed with a high-rise stem salvaged from the chrome snow bike.

This is a Chinese-made copy of a Brooks saddle. I wasn't aware that it was Chinese until it arrived. I'll use it, but I'll avoid buying another. It sits fine, and seems well-made, but I just have a thing about slave labor.

This Raleigh-branded crank and the bottom bracket from the StumpJumper Monster X replaced the stupid front-freewheel unit which came stock on the Raleigh.
So, there you have it...

a nice little neighborhood runabout.
I love Mixtes.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

An Aggravating Day, But Somewhat Productive

Yesterday was one of those annoying days when nothing seemed to go right. I spent most of the day out in the bike shop, dropping tools, knocking over open boxes and spilling the contents, and just generally getting righteously pissed off. Still, I did accomplish a few things:

I removed the rest of the paint from the snow bike and buffed the chrome with a drill-mounted wheel and polishing compound. There are a few flecks of paint still on the bike (particularly in the weld beads), but it's good enough for a bike purpose-built to ride in snow and slush.

I aklso decided the final fate of the Miami Vice bike. I am going to send it to Tennessee and leave it at my parents' house. That way, I will have a bike of my own, whenever I visit, and my cousin Carol can ride it with her kids, any other time.
I installed a cartridge bottom bracket and an old Specialized crank I had lying about...

which, coupled with a BMX freewheel and an old 105 derailleur (acting as a chain tensioner), turned the bike into a 3-speed. Should be more than adequate for the uses to which it will be put.
I also got a couple of bikes tuned up for the upcoming backyard swapmeet, which is scheduled for April18 and 19, weather permitting. I'll be advertisingf it on Craigslist and, of course, I'll put up a reminder (or three) here.
Today, I have more bike work to do. I really hope to have a better day in the shop than I did, yesterday.
First, though, I have a French Press full of Raven's Brew coffee and some toast with pear preserves waiting.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How I Spent President's Day

Let's Go Ride A Bike is a blog shared by two ladies, one in Chicago, one in Nashville. Trisha, in Nashville, recently had her bike, Pinky, stolen. I saw the bad news, and offered to send her a bike to use until her new bike came in. Long story short, one of Trisha's friends loaned her a temp bike, but Trisha was in the marketto buy a mixte. So, I built up this Peugeot UO8 for her.

I t has 27x1-1/4" tires on alloy rims, a six speed freewheel, Suntour derailleurs, Shimano shifters, Mafac Racer brakes and cork grips on alloy bars.
It is a pretty classy ride. If you are in the Nashville area, keep an eye out for it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Check The Daily Grind

I have a bike for sale on eBay, if you are interested.


T-Shirts and Tires

You may have noticed a link to Rattrap Press, in the links section to the right. It is the blog of Myles Trigo, and he posts about his bicycling as well as the screenprinting business which he has. I recently got some shirts from Myles, and I couldn't be happier with them, both in terms of the artwork and the quality of printing.

Myles had posted this design on the blog, and it is the one which caught my eye. So, I contacted Myles about getting one. He had one in my size, so I was stoked.

The stoakage increased exponentially when I received a package from Myles with not only the shirt I had requested but also this one...

and this one (we had done a little horse-trading). Plus Myles threw in a 4-pack of bike-logo buttons.
I am thinking of having some new t-shirts made, when I come up with the funding. When I do, I hope to get them printed up by Rattrap Press.

In more style-oriented news, I got these tires for the Orange Peugeot, yesterday. They are 700x40c, made by Cheng Shin and marketed under the Electra brand. I had switched the 27" wheels from the Peugeot to the abortive Clubman-style Raleigh I had been building, so the Peu has 700c flip/flop wheels now.


The Raleigh was just too big for me. I actually sold it, last night. Glad I changed out the wheels and tires!


And, as a side note, since I have been trying to be a bit more stylish on the bike I have come to realize why sweaters are called that. I had a jacket on over that sweater, when I left the house at 18 degrees F, this morning. I was uncomfortably warm by the time I got to the coffee shop, a little over two miles away!


Thursday, February 12, 2009


Dammit, Blogger is annoying, at times. I can't get this picture to upload without rotating. Anyway, it's the new snow bike, with most of the paint scraped off. I need to finish it up, as there is still paint on some hard-to-reach places. And, I need to buff primer residue off of some of the tubes. It's looking pretty good to me, so far, though.

I used the red cable housing in order to color-coordinate with the Bone Kitty bell.
I've ridden the bike back and forth to work, the past two days, and plan on riding it in the morning. It is much nicer than the DiamondBack with all of those extraneous gears.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The New Snow Bike

Here's the new snow bike, ready to roll. Fixed gear, 36/18, U-brake in the rear, V-brake in the front. Flip-flop wheels with studded tires.

I went with the Mary bars, which I had used on the pink bike, when it was the snow bike.
It needs a better seat post and saddle, and I need to finish getting the paint off of it. I think it will look pretty sharp when it's all chrome.
I may actually get to use it, tomorrow. It was nice, today, but the snow/rain mix we were supposed to have this afternoon is apparently moving in to the west side of town now (6:00 PM).
PS I just put a new post up on The Daily Grind. If you get a Broken Link page when you hit the link in the blogroll to the right, just hit the link to Grinder Bikes, then select the Daily Grind from there. I don't know why , but I get the broken link page on my server.

Commuter News

Well, our run of 65 and 70 degrees days seems to have come to a close, and the weather guessers are calling for lower temps and some snow, this week. They don't anticipate any accumulation, but you can never tell around here. The last time we had this forecast, Denver got 6 inches of the white stuff.

So, I may need the snow bike, this week, but it still has a broken spoke. I gotta tell you, I am sick and tired of fixing spokes on that bike. So, I am going to build up a fixed gear bike and transfer the racks and studded tires to it.

This is the bike I'm building:

The frame is all chromed under the paint, and I plan on eventually having the paint off, completely.

In other news, I added some graphics to the ghetto bike:

The lettering is just precut decal letters from the arts and crafts store. I like this particular font, and I've used it on a number of bikes in the past.

So there you have it; the Grinder Jet 0-1. (And, I promise that I will not post any more pictures of this bike for a while!)

Friday, February 06, 2009


Carl, of Gettin Lost In fame, photoshopped some lettering onto the S.O.B for me.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This Is As "Monster" As It Gets

Click pictures for BIG.

I was going to try 29x1.8" Bontrager tires, but Frankenbiker informed me that his 1.8s measured 52 mm at their widest point. That's the same as the 29x2.0s I had tried, and which rubbed the frame and fork.

So, I bought these Maxxis Wormdrive 42c tires, instead. I really would like some 46-48c tires, but nobody seems to make them. The only 700x45s I could find were studded, and I have a pair of those already.

So, while the tires aren't quite as big as I'd like (I wish I had my Smoke 700x45s back), they are plenty big enough for off-road use. So, the MonsterCross Stumpy is ready for virtually anything, from street/road riding (with the the 700x35s) to all-terrain rides.

Luckily, the wheels interchange without even the need to readjust the brakes. Pretty handy.

And, with my studded 45s, I think this may well become the new snow bike. I just need to mount the rack and bags.

Now, I just need some spare time to get out and ride for fun.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ghetto Beautification

I had some scraps of self-adhesive vinyl, used to make race numbers for motorcycles, left over from an old project. So, I cut a couple of panels for the Safety Orange Bike (S.O.B.), both for decorative and protective purposes. I like the look of contrasting panels, and I figure the vinyl wrap will prevent a lot of chipping/scratching from leaning the bike against rails, etc.

To carry the ghetto style along, the vinyl wasn't wide enough to fully wrap around the tubes, so I had to scrap a piece in on the downtube, since it is pretty visible. I just left the gap under the top tube. You pretty much have to get under the bike to see it.
I kinda like it. I might actually go get a new sheet of vinyl, and redo it, with a full wrap.

The Creeping Terror

Many people consider Plan 9 From Outer Space to be the worst horror movie ever made. I think that those people either never saw The Creeping Terror or, if they did, they didn't pay enough attention.

Here in Denver, we have the bicycle equivalent of TCT, first spotted here, then here. And now, I have spotted it creeping around University and Wesley.

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry to get somewhere and couldn't stop to talk to the guy. I am quite curious as to the story behind this piece.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Most Ghetto Paintjob Ever

Well, the Yellow Bike is no longer yellow. It has come down with a bad case of Safety Orange.

I did the "I'm in a hurry and just want to get another color on this thing" rattlecan extravaganza. I didn't sand anything, or strip the decals off or, for that matter, even take the fork out of the frame.

I held the can too close to the frame as I sprayed, and used the paint as body filler over the chips in the old paint. When it made runs and drips, I wiped them off with my finger, then sprayed over the wipe. There's a can and a half of paint on this thing, and it probably won't ever fully dry. So I'm sure it will get all chipped and scratched pretty fast.
But then, hopefully, the weather will be consistently warm, and I can send it down to Lee to get it stripped, then respray it more carefully. I don't want to invest in powder coat on it, for some reason. I'd rather rattlecan it.
Anyway, I think it looks better than it did. I had just had an eyeful of the original paint.

I Am That Redkneck Neighbor

This was the scene in my back yard, yesterday. (No, it doesn't always look like this.) Still, my neighbor to the north (Canada, let's call her) did poke her head out of her second-story bedroom window and ask if I was opening a bike shop.

"Kinda..." was my reply.

If you can see it in enough detail (click for BIG), you will notice that in this picture are three main piles of bikes; the two closest to the house are the most complete and most easily made rideable. The third, largish, pile are bikes mostly slated to be parts donors, and then some random stuff (eBay bound, to be built for friends, etc.) are scattered about.

That's a lot of bike. And, they don't include my personal bikes or the pile of parts donors to the side of the house. Come to think of it, I have a few more in the smaller storage building.

As my 3 or 4 regular readers know, I have been building and selling (mostly) fixed gear bikes under the name GrinderBikes for the past few years. When I started doing so, business was pretty good. At that time, inexpensive fixed gear bikes weren't widely available. The standard procedure to get into the fixed gear scene was to build one out of a old road bike (a conversion, as it's known). A lot of people, lacking tools and/or mechanical ability, would come to people like myself to have one built up. Bike shops wouldn't even discuss doing that, around here.

Well, that's no longer the case. Purpose built, sub-$500 fixed gear bikes are in every major manufacturer's line-up, now, and in every bike shop in town. Plus, there are plenty of new manufacturers/importers specializing in such. So, the market for my conversions has pretty much dried up.

Lately, I have building more commuter bikes and such than anything else. But, I don't have an easy way to advertise, widely, that I do so and the volume of sales is low. Therefore, I have built up quite an extensive inventory of donor bikes and parts (as you can see). I have so many, that I have no storage room for anything else.

Why drag them all out into the yard? Well, I am going to get 40 or 50 of these bikes rolling, and have a huge bicycle-oriented yard sale, sometime in April. I am going to advertise it on Craigslist, and price the bikes at "can't pass this bargain up" levels and (hopefully) get them back on the road. Whatever doesn't sell will go to the local bike co-op.

As of now, the bikes to be refurbished are lined up neatly on the patio. The donor bikes are stacked neatly against the dog pen, and my motorcycle and scooter are in the 10x14 metal shed, out of the weather. (Along with the Campania, Richard.)

So, now, I have to get busy, making the bikes safe and reliable.

If this yard sale approach works out, it might become the new paradigm for GrinderBikes. I'll still build bikes request, but I'll concentrate on building up a sellable fleet then blow them out once or twice a year. It might even be worth my while to get a table at Velo Swap.

We'll see.


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