Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Getting Back On The Bike / Working On Bikes

I haven't been riding the bikes a lot, lately. When I have, I have mostly ridden the 1985 Bridgestone MB-1 (above). It requires wearing a backpack, on the commute or errands, but the rear brake on the Funk was giving me problems, and I just hadn't felt like dealing with it.

Today, though, I figured it was time to get the Funk back into good repair. I need to get back on the bike, more, anyway, but Bike To Work Day is this Wednesday (for Colorado). I figure that's a good excuse to get back into the bicycle commute. Plus, the band doesn't have a show coming up, for awhile, so I don't need to hurry home for practice.

The rear disc brake on the Funk had become largely useless, and I figured that the pads were worn down. But, when I pulled them out to look at them, they were fine. I tried adjusting the caliper, but the adjusting nut was frozen, and it was inpossible to get the pads in the right position.

Luckily, I had another matching caliper in my brakes parts box, so I just replaced the whole thing. Once I got it and the front brake adjusted, everything was good. (This is the problem with me and commuter bikes; I tend to do maintenance by replacement, only servicing the bike when something breaks....)

Once the Funk was good to go, I turned to a bike that I was working on for someone else. This old red Peugeot was originally sold in a bike shop in the Alsace region of France, according to the bike shop sticker on the seat tube. How it ended up in Denver is anybody's guess.

The rear wheel was pretty toasty, and I had to work on it for a good solid 45 minutes in order to render it useable, again. It is a replacement alloy wheel, from the mid-1990s. If it had been the original steel wheel, I wouldn't have bothered.  The front wheel was missing a spoke, so I replaced it, and trued that wheel, as well.

The brake levers needed a spacer between them and the add-on adjusters someone had installed in the past, to avoid the lever bottoming on the bar just as the pads hit the rim, no matter how I adjusted the brake. Once I added the spacers, the brakes worked great.

Then, it was on to the modifications that the new owner wanted: cruiser bars and a big cruiser seat. Once I got all of that done, the old road bike had a new persona as a pub-crawler.

  Corey, at Kaladi Bos. Coffee, bought this Miyata road bike from me, a while back. I fixed a flat on it, and gave it a quick tune-up, today. Such a nice bike...

 I bought these Wilderness Trail Bikes Trailblazer tires for the old 29er bike, a while back. I had installed 26" wheels, with 3-inch cross section tires on it, as an experiment, and I didn't like how they fit in the frame. Since I had some 27.5" (650b) disc wheels lying about, I sourced these tires in order to see how they would fit.
The WTB tires fit a lot better, both in the suspension fork and between the chainstays. So, I figure I will leave them on this bike.

Here, you can see that the WTB Trailblazer is taller, and slightly less fat than the 26x3 tire. It's still fat enough to provide good float in sandy stuff, and grip in the loose gravel we have on so many of our trails.

Frame clearance with the 26x3 was minimal, on the rear. Just a little knock out of true would result in frame rub. And, forget about riding in mud!

 As you can see, the WTB tire fits in the frame a lot better, both because of the slightly smaller cross-section, and also because the increase in diameter pushes the tire past the inward bend of the chainstays.

It makes a nice-looking bike, with the big meats on it. The suspension fork may have to go, though. The damping cartridge seems to be largely ineffective, so I might just put my VooDoo cromo fork on it and roll rigid.

My next big bike-work weekend will probably involve the motorbike. I have a long trip coming up, and I need to get it prepared. As for today, I am done working. Time for a shower and a cold beer!


Friday, June 05, 2015

Rain, Rain, Such a Pain

I moved to Colorado primarily for the weather. After growing up in the South, then living in the Midwest for 4 years, I was thoroughly sick of rainy Springtime weather and summer humidity. Three hundred days of sunshine a year! is a mantra for Denverites.

Well, it ain't happening this year! I honestly don't know if we have had a day of full sunshine, much less without rain, since April, and I am sick of the weather!

 My front yard, this morning, after I rode the bicycle back from the coffee shop, in the rain...

Everything is plenty green around here, but it's also soggy and out of control. I haven't been able to mow the back yard in a month, and the grass is taller than my dogs! It's going to be an unpleasant chore, once I can finally mow.

I did, at least, ride the bike to work a couple of times, this week. I have really not felt much like pedaling, lately, so it was nice to actually get on the bike for a bit.

 The wall above the work surface in my lab, at work, with all of our posters...

We have a couple of shows coming up, this month; one at 10:00 PM, this Saturday, and one at 6:30 PM, on the 19th.  I'm looking forward to taking the stage. I have a couple of new songs I am anxious to try out in front of an audience.

Outside of our building, adjacent to the outside eating area, is a railroad siding where tanker cars often sit for a few days (or weeks, on occasion). There was some interesting graffitti  on one of the cars, this week.

I was particularly amused by this one.

I have an Alternate Holiday I have to take before the end of our fiscal year (June 30), and I think I am going to take it on a Monday, so that I have a 4 day weekend. Then, I might just load up and go to Moab, for a long weekend. I haven't been in so long that I can't really even believe it. It would be nice to hit the desert (even if it rains).

Or, maybe, I'll just sit around and eat everything in the house, like I've been doing for the past 6 weeks...

Sorry about the rambling post.