Tuesday, August 12, 2008



Here's another gem from Craigslist. I know the text is pretty small to read, so here it is in all it's glory:

Ultra Hip Hipster Bar for Your Fixie - steel is real!

Make your already hip hipster ride hipper with these ultra hip short bars. 13.5cm across which is enough room for a babies (sic) hand or a little less than half an Oury grip (and please see my picture of the shortest bar I've ever seen here, which is actually exactly this described setup! Hee hee!). Steel Bar. 110mm, 1" threadless, 10 degree rise stem.

This made the best-of-craigslist.

You never really leave high school...


It just carries on in all sorts of ways, except that sometimes the school bullies end up carrying a badge and a gun. Thanks goodness for video cameras or this would have just been another case of "his word vs. mine." Also, please read about the report this officer filed regarding this incident.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another day, another bike


I thought I had done a post about this particular ride, but I just poked around and realized not. Here's the story of my Takara frankenbike. I got this thing for $100, pretty out of tune, but basically sound. I think it's from 1976, pretty heavy steel tubing, large frame (maybe 63cm?) but kind of a classy ride, Suntour bar end shifters, sexy styling, pretty good geometry (a concept which I feel like I'm starting to get a bit of a grip on finally). Here's a before pic:

I ended up just doing a big cleanup on it to start. Plenty of old gunk/tar/hard grease around to remove. Next I needed to lose some weight, so I did the following:
-swapped the wheels (some old Arayas with pretty heavy hubs) for a pair of 27" Rigida rims on Maillard hubs from a Trek 500. This made a big difference, aesthetically as well as weight-wise. I also removed the front derailleur, deciding that a 5 speed would be just fine for city riding. I left the front small chainring on, just removing the chainguard, so I can still do a manual "shift" up front if I suddenly need to climb a little mountain or something. I put a new upright stem on it. Not much to choose from here, I happened to have a stem from Harris Cyclery for the older 13/16" size around, it's not really very light, but probably a bit lighter than what was on there. I put on some nice Nitto drop bullhorn bars and some DiaCompe brake levers I had around. Also swapped out a nice lightweight saddle that I had picked up on the cheap a couple months back. It turned out pretty darned nice. Still probably weighs about 28 lbs., but I probably got it down to that from 32 originally. It's a remarkably fast ride for the weight. Pretty fun.

I shipped it down to Austin for the (then upcoming, now current) vacation I'm on. UPS ground for a bike in a bike box is about $45. I weighed this against what I've found for road bike rentals, coming in a circa $60/$100 day and decided that a $180 investment plus $45 in shipping was a pretty good deal. I can leave it at my brother's place down here and it'll just keep on paying off!

However, I must confess that I'm already thinking of selling it and moving on. I'm starting to feel like the person who finds the squirrel with a broken leg, mends it and then sets the little gal free. Or else like a catch and release fisherman. It's fun to get something all spiffed up and ride it around, but I always need a new project or experience shortly thereafter. Not terribly profitable, the used bike market (at least not for me!), but I feel like I more or less keep spending the same few hundred dollars over and over. More to follow, to be sure!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008



Well, I had worse than a flat as it turned out. I actually bent my "bombproof" Velocity deep V rim. Crappy. I think I was able to more or less fix it by using a crescent closed down to just the rim wall thickness and gently, slowly bending it back out. It wasn't terrible, and I got it pretty straight and lightly sanded out the little bite marks from the wrench. I figure at least I'll ride it until I screw it up again and then perhaps I'll get a new one. Such is life in the city I reckon.

I did get another bike at the beginning of the weekend. It's an '89 Trek 660. Pretty nice bike. It was kind of hodge-podged by the previous owner. Was supposed to have an all Shimano 600/Ultegra group, but a lot of it is Shimano 105 now. It's also got a weird "gripshift" rear derailleur shifter thing mounted on the end of the drop bars, kind of looks like a little mini beer koozy stuck on there. I have been riding it around for the last 4 days. I think I'll probably just ride it for a while and then sell it again after making it prettier/tuned up (it came with flats and kind of ratty bar tape and misaligned front derailleur). I have decided to turn my Paramount back into a normal road bike and then use my single speed wheels on an as-yet-unknown frame that can take a rack and fenders. It's a nice ride though.

I actually had a funny first ride on this bike. I had to literally get home from buying it, throw an unproven set of wheels on it (it came with flats and I had another set I had picked up on the cheap sometime earlier) and head downtown due to my previous day's rim bend on the Paramount.

I was screwing along down Milwaukee Ave. making good time and after a couple of miles, I noticed that the front tire had a curious bulge/bend thing going on. The tire was deforming and I was thinking "this is not going to get me downtown!" Right past Division (going SE), I noticed a window with a bunch of bikes in it. I stopped and walked the bike back down the sidewalk to the front of Ride bike shop. The proprietor, Ron, walked out and took a look at me and my front tire blew up right at that moment with a big "bang!" Pretty good timing. Anyway, he sorted me out with a used front tire for a few bucks and I was back on my way in about 10 minutes. Thanks Ron and Ride!

What I have now is a pretty janky looking bike, but I left for vacation yesterday to Austin, so I'll not be worrying about that for several days. Hooray for vacay!