Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

How About a Bicycle-Related Post, For a Change?

 I was waiting around the house to see if a package I am waiting on would show up (it didn't), so I passed my time doing some bicycle chores.

First, I trimmed an inch or so off of each side of my Albatross bars on the titanium FUNK, and installed these cork-like Ergon grips.  They are a bit pricey, but I hope that they will keep my hands from going numb within the first 10 minutes of riding.  I have always had a problem with that, but it has gotten worse over the past few years.

 It was time for a new chain and, while I had it off, I replaced the finicky medium-cage XTR rear derailleur with this long-cage XT.  I also replaced the rear derailleur cable, while I was at it. On the test-ride, it shifted much more smoothly than the XTR, and the long cage allows for cross-chaining in both directions with no problem.

Ready to roll.  I hope to put some serious wear on the new parts, this year...

I cleaned up the RockCombo and got it ready to sell.  (Look here to see the pictures, price, etc, if you are interested.) With both the Bridgestone XO-2 and the Handsome XOXO in the fleet, I really can't justify keeping this one.  Even though it is probably my second-rarest bike, behind the Iver Johnson truss bike, I think it is time to pass it along.

In the middle of that, I got all ADD and installed the rack from the RC onto the Mukluk (that took some head-scratching and adaptation of parts), and started working on fenders.  I made some progress, but I am not satisfied with it, so no pictures until later.

I am also going to put my big Basil canvas panniers up for sale on Craigslist:

These babies go for $225.00, now, so I plan on asking $150.00 and see if I get any bites.  I am missing one of the lower attachment straps, but other than that they are unworn (just a little dirty).

I finished the day up by installing new Foss tubes in the tires of the Handsome XOXO.  If they work the way they are supposed to, I figure they will be worth the price on a commuter bike.

I cleaned the drivetrain, and noticed how chipped up the chainstay was getting.  So, I wrapped the stay with some white handlebar tape (to tie in with the white panel on the downtube).  Then, I reinstalled the bag and bag support.  (I forgot to take pictures, so I just now snapped one out in the dark of the front yard.)

I need to get back to commuting by bike.  I took a treadmill stress-test, the other day, during some health-related weirdness.  The doctor told me that I was in good shape, and had beat the time of everyone else who had done the test for the past week.  But, I have spent 8 weeks of the past 12 being under the weather, and I can only think that might be related to the fact that I haven't been riding the bike on a regular basis.

The bikes are ready to go.  Now, I need to get going, myself...


Thursday, March 29, 2012


I made a little change to the Scrambler, the other day...

Can you spot it?

I removed the chintzy cheap plastic name plates from the tank, and replaced them with chintzy cheap metallic gold decals.  Those plastic name plates have bothered me since I got the bike, so I finally did something about it.

I like the decals a lot better.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One of My Bikes For Sale

I currently have this bike for sale on Denver's Craigslist, but I want to offer it to you, as well (in the Continental US).  Go to the Daily Grind to check it out...



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Frankenstein's Monster's New Home

Randy rode his Matte Green Scrambler down to Kaladi Bros. and had coffee with me, this morning.

We stopped off at Pete's University Grill for breakfast and then came back to my house to install his new choke knob.

I was hoping that he would like it, but you never know when someone might think something is a little cheesy, even though you think it's awfully cool.

But, y'know...Randall and I have fairly similar tastes in these matters.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Custom Choke Knobs For the Scrambler

I busted out the Sculpey polymer clay, today:

Old Reliable...and a new example:

Frankenstein's Monster!

I mounted the skull on the bike (there is a bolt molded into the figure so that it will thread into the choke arm). 

 And I painted Frankie up in appropriate style:

You can see the lock nut on the bolt, in this shot.

It was a nice day, here in Denver, today:  Eighty degrees and sunny.  I had such a crappy week (I was pretty under the weather, and had some testing at work which couldn't wait, so I worked sick all week) that I pretty much spent the day just knocking around. This is the kind of stuff I do when I am just hanging out...

Hope you like them!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Bicycle Parts "Flintlock"

I was cleaning off the work bench out in the shop, yesterday, taking advantage of the nice warm weather, when I ran across a pile of these:

Those are the pieces which I removed from old drop bars in order to make "flop and chop" bullhorn bars for fixed gear bikes, back in the GrinderBikes days.  I had noticed their pistol-like profile, back then, and saved a few out, with the intention of possibly making some toy guns for my nephews.  I never got them done, but the parts and pieces never got thrown away.

Needless to say, I got distracted from my bench cleaning.

Part of what had prevented me from building guns, before, was the fact that I couldn't figure out how to do the trigger and hammer.  I wasn't worried about making a working firing mechanism, but I wanted the gun to look complete.  Yesterday, I had a little flash of inspiration...

I carved the hammer out of the brass-plated hook from an old coat rack.  I used my angle grinder and Dremel to cut the rough shape, then filed and sanded it to suit.  The striker box is a V-Brake pad mounting nut, held in place by a drywall screw.

The trigger is an old 1970s MAFAC brake cable hanger, which originally mounted on a seat-post clamp bolt.  I ran a bolt through the gun to secure both the trigger and hammer, and topped it off with a brass acorn nut.  The trigger guard is bent up from some Ace Hardware brass strap.

I messed around with some wood blocks, trying to figure out how to get the wooden stock on the gun, when my gaze fell on a couple of strips of natural-colored Cinelli handlebar tape that I had left over. They are the cheater strips that people use when they can't figure out how to do the figure-8 wrap around brake levers.

So, I used some contact cement to stick the cork on, and wrapped bands of hemp twine where the steel mounting straps would be on a real pistol.  The ramrod is a brass screw from the coat rack (as is the bolt which holds the trigger and hammer on).

I wrapped the grip area with a couple of layers of hemp twine, and inserted a champagne cork to serve as the butt of the stock.

At this point, it looked like a pistol.  But, I wanted to put a more wood-like finish to it.  So, off to Ace, the Helpful Hardware Place, yet again...

I got some black enamel paint for the barrel bands, and some shellac for the stock.

I put the finish on the gun, stuck it on a drumstick to dry, and went to bed.

In the midst of all this, I pulled this little box out:

I had bought this at the thrift store, a while back, and planned on sending it to my nephew Sean.  I figured that he would use it to store/display some knives, or something.

Coincidentally, the gun fits right in the box.  I don't think that I could have made it fit that well if I had tried.

I am pretty happy with how it came out, and I think Sean will enjoy it.  I may have to build another version, sometime...


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dave's New Fixed Gear, More Herd-Thinning and Downsizing

Dave came over, today, and we spent the greater part of the day building a new fixed-gear for him.  At six feet, seven inches tall, Dave has a bit of a challenge finding a good fit in a bike frame.  We had built up a big De Bernardi frame for him, a couple of years ago, but the top tube was still a bit short.

I had come across an even larger Peugeot Iseran frame, with a 60 cm top tube (as opposed to the 58 cm top tube on the De Bernardi), and we had casually talked about seeing if it fit Dave better than the other bike.  Last week, we decided that today would be a good day to do so.

So, Dave and I stuck some wheels, cranks, saddle and bars on the bike to check how the contacts points felt.  Once he sat on it, Dave decided that he wanted to build it up.  We then swapped the parts from the De Bernardi to the Peugeot.

Other than having to go to Cycle Analyst and get an English-threaded Campy bottom bracket, and installing 35c tires which wouldn't clear the brakes (and then reinstalling the original tires on Dave's wheels) the build went pretty smoothly.

I think it turned out pretty nicely.

For such a big bike, the proportions are pretty good.  The longish rear triangle seems to minimize the height a bit, or something.  Anyway, Dave likes it and is happier riding it than the De Bernardi.

While we were building the Peugeot, another Dave (from Kaladi Brothers) came over with his friend Travis.  Travis was in the market for an affordable single speed commuter, so I sold him the Raleigh XXIX, in cross-bike mode.

 I swapped out the pedals and seat, before selling the bike.

I hated to let it go, but I always hate to let bikes go.  It is a challenge to me to move these bikes, which I am not riding, along to someone who will ride them.  I sold it pretty cheaply, but I am happy with the transaction.  I got some money in my pocket and, more importantly, some more room in my life.  And, Travis has a cool commuter.

I also sent two guitar amps to new homes, today.  The downsizing is moving right along...


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Thinning The Herd

Well, I finally made the decision to get rid of some bikes, since I am beginning to feel like I should be on the Hoarders tv show...

So, I posted an ad on Craigslist, Friday, to sell the Fat Sand Bike.  I was still ambivalent about getting rid of it, but I figured I would have plenty of time to change my mind if I felt like it, CR being as flaky as it is.

Tonight, a fellow drove down from Westminster and bought the bike.  (So much for having some time to think about it.) But, I think it will serve him well, for his purposes, and I am glad to pass it along to someone who will get good use from it.

Now, to list a few more...