Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
My commuter bike's computer had died. The battery failed - again. I decided to find a way around the problem. There was an old calculator with a solar cell in my junk box, but just for fun, I decided to try a bigger solar cell meant to charge a car battery.
Why stop there? The bigger array offered more power, so I could add a few extras.
Another junk box yielded an ancient TRS-80 type 200 laptop. The solar cell would easily power it, but for surges I decided to add a small battery too. With some Hall effect devices and strain gages, the computer could monitor speed, cadence, and various forces applied to the bike frame. I could actually measure the lateral stiffness and vertical compliance! Yes, it's real-world geekery, but I was bored. I fabricated brackets out of old bike parts, angle iron, and some bits stolen from kid's broken toys. It wasn't pretty, but for a quick lash-up it would do.
All that extra power only added temptation. I mean, what self-respecting electronics geek could ignore it? A few calculations revealed that I'd only be using about a quarter of the energy on hand, so I immediately added a few other goodies: a GPS system, a old video camera, and a cell phone for mobile Internet access. This all required more wiring and cables, of course, and the video camera needed a short mast since I wanted overhead shots.
So far, I'd stayed within the law as far as the FCC was concerned. The next step was going to be tricky. I wanted to rig up a proximity sensor that would switch on the camera as a vehicle approached from behind. I gutted my son's old toy baseball radar gun, but it was designed for very low power and short distances. More power would make it operate over greater distances, so I scrounged the magnetron tube from our old microwave oven. Now kids, don't do this at home. It's a job for a professional.
The maggie tube and power supply went onto the rear rack. I had to find a bigger battery and ended up with an old car battery back there too, as well as an inverter for the higher voltages required for the magnetron. An FCC inspector would have a heart attack if he saw this, and drafting closely could offer some hazards - like getting cooked internally. But this was just a quick lash-up.
A trial run was in order. I pushed the bike out of the garage and set off down the hill. It was immediately apparent that the extra weight caused problems. I wobbled wildly and steadily gained speed. The rear tire blew with a deafening bang! The wheel thumped a few times before all that weight on the front end caused the fork to collapse. I vaguely remember flying over the handlebars.
Witnesses said the following events happened in short succession. The bike had barely stopped moving when a short circuit caused the car battery to overheat and explode. Bits of casing peppered houses and cars. Someone called the cops, the bomb squad, the fire department, and presumably an ambulance in that order. The wiring and cables on the bike caught fire, resulting in a brief but intense blaze that actually melted the aluminum frame.
But like I said, that all came from various witnesses. I'm sitting in a cell at the local police station, waiting for an interview with Homeland Security about the alleged bicycle bomb. This is the bright side. At least I didn't have to go shopping.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
What is it about we humans imbuing inanimate objects with “personality”. We give objects importance. We have favorites, (bikes, guns, fishing rods, bats, gloves…” that seem to us to perform better than others for us. So we give them names and character and feelings.
I am currently working to restore, modify, so restomod is the word I suppose, a 1968 Raleigh Super Course. What’s that you say, you were not aware that the Super Course was made in ’68? Well according to the good folks at Bike Forums and my own research. It is likely the first year that it was made and furthermore this frame appears to be a Carlton Grand Prix rebadged as a Raleigh.
This was taken shortly after I got her. That saddle was from another bike and has since torn beyond repair, (sigh) it was a Wrights 34.
This bike is now forty years old and now that I have her (see, I did it there) back on the road I seem to get this “feeling” of joy, of happiness at being ridden again. This is the point I am trying to get at. I know with my “logical mind” that this is impossible. But logic has little to do with the emotions involved with riding.
On Sheldon Brown’s Retro Raleighs web site. (from which I got the images) There are catalogs (catalogues) from 1968 and 1969 that show this bike. The ’68 catalog lists the parts accurately with the exception of the crankset which is a Stronglight Model 93 and was either a shop upgrade or done by a previous owner. I lean toward the in shop scenario. It is also interesting to see that in ’69 the Super Course cost $110.00. The 1970 catalog lists different derailleur’s than mine has. One of the reasons that I believe that she is a rebadged Carlton is that the serial number #110536 is on the left rear dropout. Carlton is reported to do this but at that time Raleigh did not.
My plan for her is a “randonneur” type of kit. With full fenders and bags, she came to me with a little rack attached to the front brake that is for keeping a very large handlebar bag off of the wheel and or fender, which is what, gave me the randonneur idea. The paint is really rough. She seems to have been stored outside for at least some of her 40 years. Still there are some areas that the original coffee color can be seen. I am still trying to sort out how (or if) I will repaint her. It appears that the method used was transparent brown over a copper or bronze metallic.
As for the decals, they caused quite a stir on another forum. I did receive a graphic for the down tube Raleigh and I think I can make one for the seat tube from a picture of the headbadge. The top tube has Super Course in a script of some kind I might try to do a rubbing and see if I can get close. I’ll also need some sliver tape for the seat tube striping.
I am really excited about this project. I think that the beauty and grace that this bike displays is of the era it is from and something that some manufacturers are doing again, and either saying that it’s “new” or that they’re getting back some “nostalgia”.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
First a little background. While our daughter was in preschool my commute was often multi-modal. I would drive to the preschool and park the car there, then ride to work or ride to the bus if the weather was iffy. I could then ride back from work get her from the school and drive home. It worked for us and apparently it also impressed our youngest son enough to write about it. Now, I will not lie here. When I read this the first time I choked up. I was not aware that this process of commuting to work on my bike would inspire any of my kids.
If your having trouble reading his handwriting it reads.
My Dad is Lightning
dad is like
lightning he rides to
work and back
going up down up
down to pick
up my sister.
I think it's cool.
Friday, September 12, 2008
It was a good ride.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Click for a little bigger
Bicycle Friendly Community '04-'12
I think this was the best coffee I had, and I had a lot.
Mmmm, pancakes and sausage.does a body good
What is it about watching the only guy working
The only other fixed gear but mine I saw
The guy on the right came from Loveland
Station at the Y
Present and past
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
"Write a haiku about bikes" I said. "What is a haiku" they said. "5-7-5 syllables" I said. They said ummm ok....
Any way, four of them got one or more done and I came up with a couple.
My bike is wicked
It has foot pegs on the wheels
I fly on my bike
My bike has cool wheels
My bike wheels have many spokes
A blur on the street
Speeding super fast
Through the muddy grass
A big grass killer
The breeze caresses my back
I’ll sweat later on
Turning northward oof
The breeze now a hurricane
Spinning gone just mash
Head down chest heaving
Turn ahead, a copse of trees
Relief, rest, home soon
Cars and trucks rush by
Honks and cheers they cry I think
You walk on sidewalk
Hybrid car driving
Quietly sneaking beside
Your conscience scared me
Left right stop air brake
Look left right left back front turn
Start slow use helmet
I like riding bikes
My friend and I like bikes
I enjoy bike club
I love my new bike
It is red and black with gears
My bike is awesome!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Today, it was all around me.
Blowing this way and that.
And I just tucked into it,
And let it wrap me in it's evil charms.
I was not going very fast into the bosom of the beast,
But feeling its chilly embrace,
I knew she was somehow helping me
become a better person
This is from FGGF and describes quite well how I felt yesterday. Pushing against the North wind blowing in our snow falling today.
Monday, March 24, 2008
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Friday, March 7, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
This is "Tyra" Fenders a Wonder! Stock Mongoose Tyax Elite with Planet Bike fenders and a DIY bike light
This is "Keley" my first fixed gear conversion. In this picture I had spent around fifty dollars for parts and paint.
This is "GiGi" my second fixed gear. I went really spendy on this one and bought a new cog, tires, tubes and some new to me pedals. the frame I traded for and the rest is parts bin.
This is "Sophie" and has been accused of being the catalyst of my renewed bicycle geekism. I found her on a corner with a sign that said free. I tore everything apart and cleaned and lubed and adjusted. I learned later that it "should" have been harder because she has a two-speed kickback coaster brake hub, made by Bendix. Apparently they aren't very user friendly. Oh well, now I know it was difficult. NOT!
This is "Martha" found beneath a HUGE pile of other bikes on top of a Volkswagon van. The wheels in this picture are now on GiGi. I have a set of 27" more appropriate for her. Do you like my emergency fender?
The next project to finish is a Schwinn Suburban. I just need to get some more elbow grease from the shop.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
YMCA basketball season has struck so time is a rare commodity. I am coaching two teams and assisting on one in another league. Sleep, Ha.
I have been trying to get some bike time in as well, commuting seems to be all the riding I'll get for a while. That and below freezing temps (sometimes below zero) have me chickening out. Most of my bike projects are done, I still have the Suburban to finish. See above as to why it's not done as well.
Perhaps when I get a chance I'll put some pics of the bikes up.