Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Birthday Ride, This Saturday, May 02

I know that the weather guessers are calling for coolish and possibly rainy weather, but that just means that we should dress warmly and bring dry socks for afterward.
Meet at Kaladi Bros. (Google it for directions) on East Evans at 8:00. Plan on hanging around for a while, then riding. I haven't really mapped out a route, yet, but if you're local enough to join in you probably have an idea of the terrain.
If enough people RSVP that they are showing up, I'll lay in some supplies for a little cookout/beer tasting afterwards.
Hell, if I don't celebrate the B-Day, who will?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Tape and Seat On 650B Stumpy (Plus some general ruminations on bikes)

Of course, click the photos for BIG...

As per Apertome's request for more daylight (better) shots of the 650b Stumpy, I submit the latest set-up. I replaced the black Brooks B-17 with a vintage Brooks Professional. It is dark brown, rather than the honey brown, but I think that it ties in nicely with the black hoods and tires. (And, my camera makes it look a bit darker than it is, for some reason.)

I wrapped brown cloth tape over the cork, and then put on a layer of shellac to darken it a bit (and protect it from moisture/make it more durable). This is how I always wrapped the old Scott AT-4 bars, back in the day. I like the added cushion of the cork, but it is pretty fragile for off-road use. The cotton tape gives a nice grippy surface, and armors the cork against damage in the frequent, small crashes that epitomize my mountain-biking "style".

It's funny that, back when I started riding and all I could afford was a steel frame (aluminum was still pretty exotic, then) and there were no widely available suspension forks, I dreamed of an alloy bike with suspension. As the equipment progressed, and I started working in a bike shop, I built a new bike every year to take advantage of the "latest and greatest" that the bike industry had to offer.
I had a Specialized S-Works FSR in '94, DiamondBack V-link Pro in '96, a Klein Mantra in '97; all full-suspension bikes. In between, I had M2 alloy hardtails, alloy this, alloy that...always with a suspension fork.

Now, I seem to have come full-circle. I really enjoy the added challenge of having to pick the smooth line, and the consistent geometry even under braking that a fully-rigid frame affords. The 650b wheels seem to roll a bit more smoothly than the 26" mtb wheels, but are a bit less difficult to spin up to speed than my 29er.
Now, if I was a serious racer, I would certainly be on a full-suspension rig with 4 or 5 inches of travel fore and aft. You have to ride that kind of bike to compete with all of the other guys who are riding those (all else being equal). But, I'm not a serious racer. I'm barely a racer at all, any more. So, for recreational trail riding, I see no need in riding the high-zoot race equipment.
That's pretty much my outlook on the road, as well. Heck, I don't even have a dedicated multi-speed road bike. This bike, with the road tires mounted, is as close as I can get to that, right now. And it serves me well, for the riding I do.
For that matter, the fixed gear bikes serve me well for 95% of the road riding I do.
As of right now, I am pretty satisfied with the bikes I have. If anything, I might have to thin the herd, a bit. I have one more project coming up that, depending on how it turns out, might allow me to get rid of a couple of bikes and make some room in the shop (and put a little cash in pocket, hopefully). Watch this space.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm Tough on Wheels, I Guess

This is the rear wheel on the Ghetto Orange commuter. Look closely, and you may be able to make out the four broken spokes (two on each side). Four... that's how many I broke on the DiamondBack snow bike before I gave up and built another snow bike. But, I broke those one at a time.

Bad part is, I don't really know how I broke them. I'm sure it's related to the curb jumping I do on the way home. All I know is, the rear wheel made an odd noise as I jumped up onto the curb at Cherry Street, after crossing the Evans/I-25 on-ramp. I looked down as I was riding, and I could see the wheel flex.

Since I was only about a quarter-mile from home, I just rode on, and checked the wheel once I got there.

I swapped the wheels out for a set of flip/flop 29er wheels I had in the shop. Hopefully the heavier-duty rim and spokes on the mtb specific wheel will hold up better than the 36 hole track wheels.

That's two rear wheels I've trashed on that bike. I may have to do something a bit more drastic to fix the problem.


Back From the Powdercoater

It was getting a bit dark by the time I got the 650b Stumpy reassembled, so the color looks a little redder than it actually is, in this shot...

...and a little more orange than it actually is in these two.

Suffice it to say that it is a reddish orange, very similar to the color of my 1974 Peugeot, and it looks just like I wanted it to.

The color is represented a bit better in this shot, with the street tires on.

I'm thinking I'll swap the black saddle and bar tape for brown. It just seems like it would go better with the new color.
Considering the fact that I was trying to capture certain aspects of the 1993 Bridgestone XO-1 and the Rawland cSogn, I think it came out nicely.
I can't decide if it needs frame graphics, or not. I kinda like the look of the unadorned tubes, but that may just be because I just got it back from Lee. maybe I'll ride it a bit, and see if inspiration strikes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Hard Is It To Test For This?

Seems to me that if you were using an EPO in the Tour, that it would be pretty easy to detect.
No need to pee in a cup...

'Tis The Season

For those of you, back East and other places, who wonder what the big deal is with thorn-resistant tubes, Mr. Tuffy liners and Slime...

Here's the cause of my second flat in two days. I picked up a thorn, yesterday, on the way home and had a flat before I went to bed. This one went flat within an hour of pulling the thorn out, tonight. And, I had a Slime-filled tube in the tire!

Spring and Goat-Head thorns...gotta take the good with the bad.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Art, Comments and Other Things - UPDATED

I don't know if anyone ever actually checks the 52 Card Pickup blog, but I just posted some sketches over there, this morning. I did some quick, one minute sketches as I drank my coffee, just trying to jump-start myself a bit to get back into doing some art. I kinda burned out on it, a bit, last year with the sketch-a-day blog.

Anyway, if you decide to check out 52 Card Pickup, be sure and read the second comment on the January 23rd post. Nothing I like better than high-brow conversation. Oh, least someone's looking at the blog.

I put up a preliminary ad on Craigslist, announcing the upcoming yardsale. Ten minutes later, I got an email from a guy wanting a quote on buying all the bikes as a package. I shot him back a list of bikes and the quote, which I think is quite fair. We'll see what he thinks, I guess. I really wouldn't mind getting rid of everything without having to kill a whole Saturday doing it. So, fingers crossed, as they say.

4/20/09 The package deal on the bikes went through. The yardsale is cancelled.


Friday, April 17, 2009

How Heavy Is A Wet April Snow, In Denver?

Before I shook the snow off...



3-Speed 29er

A while back, I bought a Motobecane 29er frame off of eBay, with thoughts of building up a fixed gear monstercrosser from it. These Motobecanes are made in Taiwan, apparently by Kinesis. It is badged as an Outcast 29, but am frankly confused by this.

The Outcast 29 has track ends, and uses V-brakes. The Outcast 29 frames for sale (cheap) on eBay have sliding vertical drops and are disc-only. This is what I bought. Of course, two minutes after hitting the Buy It Now button, it flashed on me that I couldn't run the 29er flip-flop wheels I was planning on, because they aren't disc-compatible (obviously).


So, back to eBay for a set of singlespeed 29er disc wheels. The 29er single speed wheels all use a freehub body, similar to the old Shimano DX BMX cassette hubs. There is no real good way to turn that into a fixed gear without irreparable damage to the cassette body, so I resigned myself to running freewheel.

I built it up with some Performance disc brakes, a carbon handlebar and old XT v-brake levers, and single-speeded xt crank (from my Trek STP I had built up, last year), plus my VooDoo fork from the 69er.

Didn't like it.

I rode it around town, and just couldn't warm up to the whole freewheel singlespeed thing. I don't mind spinning out on a fixed gear, but having to coast all the time on the spinny was annoying.

So, back to the drawing board. I started eying the freehub on the wheel, and it occurred to me that I had a lot of spacers on there to get the chain line straight. I took the cog and spacers off, got out the box of orphan cogs, and started playing around. Half an hour later, with the addition of a beat-up old XT derailleur and a SunTour front shifter mounted upside down on the right-hand side of the handlebar, I had a functional 3-speed.

I still didn't like the handlebar, though. So, I fitted my On-One Mungo (mustache-style) bar and some modified Tektro brake levers. Now, at least, it looks cool and gives me the riding position I prefer on a singlespeed/fixed gear bike, offroad.

The bike is currently shod with the 2-inch streetish tires I had attempted to shoehorn into the '84 Stumpy when I was trying to build it into a Monstercrosser. I have a set of knobbier offroad tires which are soon to be fitted.

I covered up the brand and model name on the frame. I consider it to just be a Kenesis frame, since the only thing that makes it a "Motobecane" is the parts spec.

When I swapped bars, the shifter cable came up a bit short. I'll swap it out, soon, so that the shifter can be moved a tad closer to the brake lever.

Eight-speed spacing, 8-speed chain. I might have been able to get 4 speeds out of it if I had used 9-speed spacers, but this was definitely a "whatever's in the parts box" sort of build. Besides: Low, medium and high are really all you need! Right?

The XT crank, with only the 32-tooth ring.

The original shifter position on the carbon bar.
I hope to get the bike out on the trail, soon (it's a little snowy for that, this weekend). If it works out as well as I hope, I plan on using it for something pretty cool (more on that, later).
If not, I actually found a disc mount which threads onto the freewheel side of a flip-flop wheel, and ordered it. If the spacing actually works out (the spacers are sold for chopper/lowrider guys to mount up discs) this may end up as a disc-equipped fixed gear mountain bike, yet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blackberry Blogging

I don't Tweet on Twitter (as much because I find the nomenclature cloyingly cute, as anything), but I just wanted to throw this short observation out there. Being at work (before start time), though, means I have to post via Crackberry.

This morning's ride was quite warm. At 5:45, when I left the house, it was 42 degrees F. Also, the sky is beginning to get light, earlier, nowadays and I actually had pre-sunup light most of the way in.

But the remarkable thing was the number of cyclists I saw on the way to work.

Normally, even in the summer, I might see 2 or 3 on my route. Today, I counted 10 (and only 1 was in no-lights Ninja mode)!

I've only seen that many bikes on the way to work twice, before; both times on Bike To Work Day.

A harbinger of things to come?


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Further Impossibility

If you read the comments on the original post about this bike, you know that David decided to take the conversion a bit further. It got gloss black powder coat, v-brakes and levers.

The pictures don't do the finish justice. The surfaces of the tubes actually look wet. I think it has a strong vintage "Pashley GUV'NOR" vibe to it (for a small fraction of the cost of a Pashley!)

You may notice that the True Temper Tubing decal is still there. I very carefully peeled it from the tube before taking the frame to the powdercoater, and then reapplied it with contact cement. I really just thought it was too cool to lose.

All it needs now, in my opinion, is a black Brooks saddle to finish off the classic/vintage look.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Just Put a Mixte Up For Sale

Check it out HERE.

To answer Erich's question, from the other blog, the weight is 29 lbs.

Friday, April 03, 2009


This is the only form of carbon fiber I find appropriate on the Ghetto Bike.

Woody grips from Rivendell. Kinda stupid, maybe, to put $40.00 bling-grips on a beater commute bike, but I just like the looks of them. They are a little slick under the gloves, but we'll see how they age.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dumpster Find

"Dumpster Find" That's always a phrase which always engenders envy on my part. Living in Denver, where people seem to be pretty hip to the fact that old bikes are sellable, I find that most people don't put them out on the curb, or in the rubbish bin. Usually, they end up on Craigslist, with a "vintage bike" tag (and price).
Recently, however, I came upon this in the trash (clicky for BIG):

It's a 1981 Schwinn Cruiser 5. Unfortunately, the chainguard is missing in action.

But it does have a rear drum brake!

Now, the only question is, "What do I do with it?"
Should I just replace the front tube, clean and adjust it, then sell it on? Pretty much anything I get for it will be profit (minus my time and a tube).
Or, and this is my weakness, do I lace on some alloy rims (using the front drum-brake hub I have out in the shop), install one of these, and a better derailleur/shifter? Then, I would have a very useable bike, but one which would probably be impossible to sell at a profit.
But it would be so cool!
Addictions are never pretty...