Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Replaced The Orange Stumpjumper

A couple of weeks ago, I sold the orange StumpJumper I had built up XO1-style. I had put way too much money into it, thinking I would be using it as my main mountain bike. Once I realized that I like the 29er better, I couldn't justify keeping it.

But, I still wanted a bike built up in that style. I like the look of it, and it is a great "around-town" bike.

So, I pulled out a tig-welded RockHopper frame I had lying about, and started raiding the parts bins and junk boxes out in the bike shop.

I had the Campy Racing Triple drive train which came off of my LeMond when I converted it to single-speed. Carol's old 8-speed Ergo shifters went on, since I didn't have any bar-end shifters.
The brake lever on the right Ergo was ground down to a point when Carol's bike fell half off the bike rack, going down the highway. I took some quick-set JBWeld (the mechanic's friend), and molded a new end onto the brake lever. So far, it works fine.

The wheels are off of my old DiamondBack Voyager II, and the cogset is an 8-speed titanium stack from Specialized, circa 1998.

You can see the rebuilt brake lever in this view.

I ordered a modified military surplus bag, along with leather straps, from Out Your Backdoor, and installed it as a saddle bag. It was cheaper than buying a bag and straps, locally, even.

The only new parts I had to buy were: tires, tubes, cables and housing, and bar wrap.

I rode it to meet Brad, this morning, as we went to Wash Perk coffeeshop. Check the ACW blog for a review, soon.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Busy, Busy

Built and/or repaired a bunch of bikes this weekend. One of the bikes I worked on was the Schwinn Cruiser 5. I had built up a drum-brake front wheel, a while back, to match the rear. Today, I finally cabled it up, after installing matching Shimano motorcycle-style brake levers.

I also removed the Positron drivetrain, and replaced it with a cool SunTour rear derailleur and a thumb shifter.

I also got this old 3-speed Schwinn (built by Giant Bicycles, in the 80s) up and running, so I could sell it on CraigsList. (EDIT: Sold the 3-speed at 9:00, last night. Both it and the 24" Raleigh BMX cruiser are going to Burning Man.)

Two full days of bike work. Man, I'll be glad to get back to work and get some rest!


Friday Mountain Biking

Friday, I started the day out right. Coffeee, bike, the only newspaper I trust. Nice, relaxing start to the day.

This old Raleigh 3-speed is parked outside of Kaladi Brothers, pretty often. Not sure to whom it belongs. I wish they hadn't sprayed black over the original yellow paint. You see a lot of these which are black, but yellow would be fairly distinctive. Still, a nice bike underneath.

Eventually, I left the coffee shop and rode down to Peoria and Arapahoe Road, where I met Carol, and loaded up in her car. She drove us down to Greenland, where I did the 24-hour race, earlier this summer, for a mountain bike ride. This glove was stuck on a metal pole, giving everyone who came by the "thumbs up".

We rode over to Spruce Mountain Open Space, just across the railroad tracks, and did the Mountain Loop. It was a pretty nice ride, with a good climb to the top, then a rolling "lollipop" loop in top.

Who is that mysterious rider?

Best-looking picture of me that I've seen in a while. Amazing how some strategically placed shadows can soften the imperfections of one's face!

On the way back down, we passed this on the side of the trail. It wasn't there on our way up. Pretty mysterious. (That's an Evian water bottle, by the way.)
Back to my house, where the day ended with burgers and fries, cooked on the grill (my grill has a stove burner on one end, where I fried the potatoes.)
It was a pretty nice late-summer day, well spent. Twenty-five miles on the 29er, dirt and pavement combined.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adventures in Traffic

As I rode home, yesterday, I approached an intersection just as another vehicle approached. This "intersection" is actually a park access road, and doesn't have a Stop Sign.

Since I was turning right, into Garland Park, I wasn't too concerned when it became apparent that the other guy wasn't going to stop.

However, I did become somewhat alarmed when, as he was turning left, the jackass swung across his oncoming lane in order to "cut the corner" and not slow down.

"DUDE!" I yelled, for lack of any other response. Luckily, he heard me, hit the brakes and swerved to the right, almost losing control. I had come to an almost complete stop, and managed to avoid being plowed into.

Now, this particular "corner cutting" behavior is prevalent amongst car-drivers here in Denver. I see it every day, so I should have been prepared for it.

But, this wasn't a car. The guy was on a bike.

You'd think that if anyone was going to be paying attention to bikes on the road, it would be a guy on a bike. But, he was just riding along, as oblivious to his surroundings as any cager.

I hope that I woke him up enough to get where he was going, safely.

Ironically, I encountered nothing but courteous auto drivers on the ride.

Damn bicycle punks!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Fork For the Raleigh Commuter

From this:

To this:

I liked the fact that the gray fork I had on the Raleigh was lugged, both at the crown and the fropouts. But, the fork was suspension-corrected, which left a sizeable gap between the top of the tire and the fork crown. The gap was so large, I had to fashion a hanger to suspend the front fender low enough to actually give some coverage to the front tire.
The original fork which was supplied with these frames was not suspension-corrected. I picked this stock fork up from a fellow on eBay, for $14.00. It looks much better to me.

I actually had to use a different front fender, because there isn't enough clearance on this fork for the one I had on the bike. The shorter fork lowered the front of the bike, and quickened up the steering a bit. Combine that with the fact that the steer tube on this fork is 1-1/2" shorter than the steerer on the gray fork, and the handlebars end up quite a bit closer to the ground.
The bars are only slightly lower in relation to the seat, and the bike feels fine (on the test ride, anyway). I'll know more, after the commute, tomorrow.

Linkage - EDIT: Now With Photo!

Kate just sent me this picture of her bike with the license plate. Looking good!

One of my favorite blogs is Kate's What I saw Riding My Bike Around Today. She offers up not just observations of her surroundings in New Orleans, but also some pretty powerful insight, as well. Read the blog, it's listed in the blogroll to the right, and you'll see what I mean. I'm honored to be featured in today's post!

Coincidentally, one of my bikes appears on the Mixte Gallery, today, as well. Go check it out, if you haven't, already.


Saturday, August 15, 2009


Metisse (noun): A woman of mixed ancestry. Colloquially used to describe a "mutt".

A truer metisse could not be found in the bicycle world. I looked at the Ghetto Commuter, the other day, and decided I needed to repurpose it. So, after a bit of scrounging through the parts boxes, the Metisse Crosser was born.

I've always been fond of the bar and stem combo on this bike, so I left it in place. I really wanted to build the bike completely out of spare parts, so using a mustache bar and bar-end shifters was out of the question, anyway.

I dug out some old six-speed thumb shifters, and knocked the RapidFire shifter mounts off of these brake levers. getting them positioned correctly on the bend of the bar was a bit of a challenge, but it ended up working out nicely.

Being as this was originally a RockHopper, with 26" wheels and under-the-chainstay U-brakes, I had to get creative in mounting a rear brake. I couldn't utilize the cross-brace, because I had radiussed it to accept the fenders when it was doing duty as a commuter. So, I disassembled a couple of centerpull road brakes and fashioned a "clamp" to hold the sidepull brake on the seatstays. This particular brake will actually open wide enough to allow wheel removal, even with the big cross tires.

Of course,the brake is largely ornamental, as it does little else than slow you down when you pull the lever (no skids on pavement). I will try some newer, softer brake pads and see if that improves things, any.

I dug a couple of old Suntour cable guides out of the small-parts bin, and clamped them onto the top tube to reroute the brake cable from its original downtube position.

The SR crank came off of the bike I refurbished for Tiffany's birthday. 53/42 rings.

The Ultegra-hubbed rear wheel was a yardsale find, a couple of years ago. It's been pressed into duty as a singlespeed wheel, a couple of times. Now, it has an 8-speed cassette on it, made up of parts of a 9-speed cassette and an actual 8-speed.

Oddly, using the indexed mode of the shifter seems to work fine for cruising around. If I was going to run off-road with it, I'd put an 8-speed mountain cassette on it and run friction. But, I didn't have an 8-speed cassette in the parts box...

After I rattlecanned the frame, last spring, I put one of my GrinderBikes stickers on the headtube. But, it wanted to peel up, so I pulled it off to put another one on. When I did, the paint pulled off around the original Specialized logo, and left this. I think it's cool, so I left it like that.

The tires are some Ritchey cross tires that someone (Dave? Brian? I can't remember. Somebody tall, anyway...) gave me, a while back, because they had gotten new tires. The tubes were already on the bike, as was the cyclometer, which is glued to the handlebar, since I broke the mount when I endo'd the bike on the way to work, one day.

I didn't quite get the entire bike built from the junkyard parts, though. I ended up having to use a new rear derailleur cable and a rear brake cable. I didn't have a used example of either which was long enough to reach from the more outboard position 0n these bars.

I rode the bike down to the coffeeshop, this morning, and it performed admirably. It's basically just a home-made Specialized CrossRoads, now, but I like the junkbox provenance more than I would like a purpose built CrossRoads.

Now, what to do with it? I think I'll post it on the Daily Grind as "For Sale", and just use it as a knockaround bike until someone buys it. May not last long, as it will be relatively cheap to buy.

I kinda want to go do a mountain bike ride on it. Oddly, I like the big fat tires on the road, and the little skinny ones in the dirt. I'm a bit backward, that way.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Now, I like Mixtes As Well As Anyone...

but even I find this a bit excessive.

(For later, after the auction has ended and the listing has disappeared: That's a link to a 1980 Univega Mixte on eBay, rebuilt with drum brakes, and some other cool stuff. It also has a cool price, $3500.00!)


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Yeah, I Can Patch That...

This is why I always carry a spare tube, in addition to my patch kit.

Brad came by the house, Saturday morning, to ride to the coffee shop with me. While he was at the house, we pulled the front wheels off of his Bleriot and my Stumpjumper, to see if the Pacenti NeoMoto tires would fit in his frame . They won't, by the way.

So, I figured I might as well just ride the Stumpy to Kaladi. As we took off, it quickly became apparent that I needed to air the tires up. So, we went back to my workshop and plugged in the compressor. Once the tires were firmed up, we took off again.

As we went down Iliff, we could see that the traffic signal at Colorado Blvd. was green, in our direction. So, we sped up to catch the light. As we crossed Colorado, just at the centerline of the road...BAM! The front tire on my bike blew off the rim, and the tube started wrapping itself up in my wheel as I continued to roll.

Somehow, I managed to get stopped without falling off the bike.

"I saw that happen!" Brad exclaimed, as we stood there looking at the carnage. "I just happened to look over right when the tube blew a bubble out from under the tire."

Long story short, I changed the tube out, threw the old one in my bag, and we continued on to Kaladi Bros.

I was as glad to have a witness to the blowout as I was that I didn't wreck my bike in the middle of it all.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Night Rider

Most times, I like living alone. There is something to be said for not having to plan around someone else's schedule, and not worrying if what you are doing is going to bother someone else.

Other times, and they are rare, I really crave some company. There are odd nights when I don't really need anything to be going on, I'd just like to look across the room and see someone else.

I've had a few of those nights, this week. Sleep has been elusive, and I've been wound tighter than a three-dollar watch. I crashed out at 7:00 pm on Wednesday and slept until 7:30 am on Thursday, but I hardly felt rested after all of the strange dreams and tossing and turning in which I engaged.

Tonight, after dinner, I decided I couldn't sit around the house, any longer. So, I busted out the orange Peugeot, strapped on some lights, and headed out for a ride. On the way out the door, I called up Mark to see if he felt like joining me.

Mark was up for it, so we decided to meet at the Handlebar and Grill, which is about halfway between us. I got there about ten minutes ahead of mark, and went into the bar area to get us some seats. The Peugeot feels so fast, after riding around on the big fat 29er tires, so much. I don't know how fast I was going (no cyclometer on the OP), but I was keeping up about a 100 to 110 rpm cadence with the 65 inch gear.

This cool little KHS singlespeed mountain bike was being locked up as I rolled into the parking lot. I thought it was a fixed gear, at first, but it had a converted cassette hub on the rear.

Mark arrived soon after I claimed the seats of a departing couple, and we sat for awhile, and had a beer. After that, I was really wanting some coffee, so we headed for Pablo's on Sixth. Unfortunately, we got there after 11:00 pm, and the shop was closed.

No problem. St. Mark's Coffeehouse is open until 12:00 am.

On the way, we passed this odd outsider art, in the garden area of one of the local homes. I'm not sure what or who it's meant to represent, but it's kinda cool. Mark says that he always gets a kick out of seeing it, so I had him pose in front of it.

We cut through Cheeseman Park, and I had to stop to get this shot of the reflecting pool. The scent of flowers filled the night air, and the waning, almost full moon was bright enough that I got a pretty decent shot (on the third try).

The patio tables were completely overrun, at St. Mark's, so we sat inside. I had a big cup of black coffee and a raspberry/walnut scone. I had not been to St. Mark's since they moved out of their old space down on Market Street. What's that been, 8 or 9 years, now? Time flies...
At 12:00, the barista lowered the overhead steel shutters over the window, signalling that, even though we didn't have to go home, we couldn't stay there. So, we vamoosed.
Mark rode down to Downing and Speer with me, and we sat on the side of the street talking for a while. Eventually, he headed back toward his house, and I continued south.
As I rode, I decided to cut through Washington Park. I generally don't like to ride through the park, because it is too popular with a certain type of bike rider, and the pedestrian crowd seems completely unaware of the fact that bikes are even present, at times. But, I figured it would probably be pretty much my park, at 1:20 in the morning.

I was right, and I actually enjoyed the quiet solitude of the park. I stopped and sat on one of the benches beside the pond, and just enjoyed the cool night air, for a bit.

The moon and Venus kept me company, as the Peugeot patiently waited for me to continue on.
Eventually, I did just that, and headed out of the park and down Franklin Street, across I-25. I am always amazed at the volume of traffic on the Interstate, even at 1:30 am. I stopped and watched it for a moment as I crossed the overpass, then continued on.

I stopped at the observatory at Observatory Park, and got a shot of the Peugeot, just for the heck of it. I was within a mile of the house, and in no particular hurry to get home. But, I needed to go on to the house, and let the dogs in for the night. I don't know that they really understood it when I told them I just needed to pedal for a bit, before I left.
So, I got back to the house, let the dogs in, and decided to upload my pictures, so that I could blog about the ride later, today. Once I was at the computer, I thought I might as well get it all done, at once.
And, there it is...another exciting Friday night gone by. Now, it's 2:30 am, and I guess I should try to get some sleep before the sun comes up.
In the immortal words of Nelson Muntz, "Smell ya later.".

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Mixte Bikes

Well, on a lighter note...

I think all 5 of you who read this blog know, by now, that I am a fan of the mixte bikes. I built up one for my sister, for my friend Carol, Trisha from Let's Go Ride a Bike and for various others, through the years.

Now, esteemed blogger Doohickie has opened up the Mixte Gallery. The link is in the blog roll, to the right. Check it out.

PS Some of my mixte builds will be appearing there, as time goes by.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Tragic Loss

I received news, today, that one of my best friends from highschool (and through my college years), Taylor Davis, died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack at the age of 48.

I had been out of touch with Taylor for a number of years, and was planning on getting back in touch "one of these days". My sister and I talked about it, while we were at my parents' house in June. But, nothing came of it.

Taylor was smart and funny, played on the tennis team and sang for our little garage band after the rest of us went off to college. I cherish the fun we had recording our really bad music.

I had a "humorous" post planned for today, but I think I'll maintain a day of radio silence in honor of Taylor.

Rest in Peace, my friend.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Great White Buffalo

I offer this up as evidence that I'm not the only goofball who runs front and rear disc brakes on a fixed mtb.

My buddy Danny Mac got this used On-One frame, last winter, and brought it over to show me. He was planning on hanging it in the rafters, and gathering up parts to build it. I pointed out to him that, since he had the frame and wheels, I could use an old Kinesis fork I had lying about, along with some Stan's Crow tires, and various bits from the parts bin to get him rolling. That way, he could ride the bike, even as he was chasing down his "dream" parts.

So, we built it up, and he has ridden it, a lot, in the meantime.

Last week, Dan called me up and told me he was bringing everything over for the "official" build.

Of course, I neglected to take any "before" pictures, but here is the finished product.

The Origin8 carbon fork is pretty light, and the white crown and dropouts tie in well with the On-One's factory paint. The Midge bars came out of my parts bin, for the original build.

Avid BB-7 discs. No problem setting them up to work with the road brake levers. I don't know how the road version could work any better.
I swapped the original Surly front hub for the Surly disc hub, and then swapped axles between them so that Dan could retain the convenience of a front QR.

The rear bub is a free/free flip-flop. I added one of the spin-on disc adapters to it, like I am running on my Raleigh XXIX, and torqued the cog onto the other side. It was a lot cheaper than buying the $105.00 Surly fixed/disc rear hub, and rebuilding the wheel.

One of the fancier parts Dan came up with was a used White Industries ENO crankset. I swapped the single chainring for the double that Dan had ordered from White Industries...

and threaded on a Surly Dingle double-cog. The inner ring and inner cog combo adds up to the same number of teeth as the outer combo. So, you can switch from low to high gear without adjusting the chain tension.

Good looking bike, but the paint is fairly beat. There may be a trip to the powder coater in its future.

I'm digging the big wheels, lately.