Saturday, January 31, 2009

Groovy Steerer tube video

WOW. Rody just put this vid up today on the Groovy Blog, and its awesome because this is the technique I'm using to create the steerer tube on my tall bike. Press fit, drill holes, fill holes with weld. so rad. It really felt good to watch this and know I'm going about this the right way.


Here's my attempt:

It turned out pretty well, but not nearly as classy as Rody's. As long as it works I'm happy though.


I absolutely love things like this. It belongs to a kid who goes by 'Spendiesle', from Charlottetown PEI.

I had a pretty sick GT Snowracer when I was younger. After killing the rear skis, I replaced them with some of my shorty HEAD skis. I think that was my first experience with counter boring hardware. I also made a slightly narrower/longer seat out of wood, covered in vinyl. The frame was painted in a safety orange to yellow fade. The sled was scary fast, and would drift more than it wanted to turn. I think that's how I got my first concussion too.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Took a bit of a spill on ice this morning, so I'm gonna sit out this afternoon icing my knee and watching videos. Here's a rad one I found on Micheal Greens Bike Blog:

Brothers in Thailand from Christopher San Agustin on Vimeo.

What stoked me the most about this vid, besides the sick riding (whip to footjam?!)... was that it was the 20 year old that wears the full face and elbow pads. Its also nice to see that the BMX uniform and flourescent colourways have made it over there too=]

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

20" of pain

Here's a cute vid shot by Andrew Gobbo as he bums around SF:

Breakin Welds from Andrew Gobbo on Vimeo.

This, combined with Morgan's 20" of enthusiasm has me eying up the Seshin. I took it down from its hanger last night, gave it a cleaning, brake adjustment, and lubed the chain. I'm actually still sore from the MTB trip on Sunday but I feel like I have to get back on the horse, so to speak. Checking my records, (and YOU KNOW I keep a detailed ride log) the last time I was on my BMX was when I rode to the Macy's Thanksgiving parade on Nov 27TH... the last time I actually RODE BMX was Oct 25th for BIKE KILL 666. Yikes. That's a long time ago. This is probably going to hurt me more than it hurts you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Big C'mon

This evening was to be a gap of relaxation time sandwiched into a weekend packed with obligations. I bought and chilled a box of Winter Ale and a six of Bowen Lager at work, and called ahead to check that Dave was working at Ride On. The intention was not to drink all the beer, but to provide a reasonable selection for the occasion.

Not expecting much, there turned out to be some projects going down in the shop. One of said projects is a customer's refresh of a late '90s S&M Sabbath, one of the beefiest flatland machines you will ever see. It brought me right back to those days of a black S&M frame, one that currently sits idle in my collection. This bike even had a Hoffman Gack front wheel, which complements my S&M's rear from the same era.

S&M Sabbath, circa late '90s, refreshed.

The bike was heavy as hell, about as heavy as my tall bike, which turns out to be somewhere under 40 pounds if the scale at Ride On is at all accurate. Of course, chillin with Dave brings you thoughts of bike aesthetics at the respectable and still functional level. I'd say the nearly-original custom build S&M was within those limits. 

Another example of period-correctness is the outfits just before the most famous scene in rad; the topic of the Baby Come Back top tube pad has brought us back to modern BMX. The Sean Burns Blood Wolf does look good, but its specs page is weak as compared to the Rebel Contender. I want to know bottom bracket height!

Metal Blood Wolf

Dave's Metal pops too! I'm pretty sure its name is Big C'mon. Who the hell else pulls of that kind of ridiculous colour combination? Of course it also rips it up down Main Street.

Big C'mon

The tall bike's left crank arm had been dry for too long and finally started complaining about it. Dave asked if there was any grease in there; the jury's still out on that one. Rather than continuing to dry-wrench it until it went quiet again, I chose to grease it, which worked a lot like butter. Dave, meanwhile, was hammering a Campagnolo headset cap into this beater. C'mon!


My callous fell off and now I've got an oddly-shaped tender hand. But I feel great. Riding BMX twice this week was good for me. Talking to Dave about progression was also good. I'm going to come out and say I want to learn tabletops this year. So I say: set it up and the shit will happen. Get out there and ride, god damn it. Bleeding hands and all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An afternoon with WMD

I finally made some progress on the TimeTrialTall today. While WMD tore apart his place looking for stickers, I got to work in his shop.

Thats the steerer, lathed down 25.4mm BMX post, and 1-1/8" sleeve welded up. I made two little M shaped Jigs out of angle iron, and then used them along with the 1-1/8" tubing to rotate it around to make sure it was straight. (delicately adjusting it to perfect colinearity with a mallet)

So now the compression fit 25.4mm post is permanently in the steerer, and the 1-1/8" sleeve on the right is permanently attached to the 25.4 post. I ensured good weld penetration by notching the end of the 1-1/8" sleeve and filling them with weldment.

Now that just needs to all be compression fit into the oversize steerer and welded up. I'm not using any bolts, but I've figured out a way to get the welding strong enough throughout the steerer.

I also built a new rear wheel for it a while ago. Its an Easton Tempest 2, relaced to a NOS 28H Velocity 'Aerohead Deep V' (before they just started calling it a deepV). The crazy thing about the Tempest 2 is that its half radial, and has wildly butted spokes that are threaded on both ends. Thankfully it originally had a rim with a very similar ERD to the Deep V.

Here's what the yet to be mitered Fuji frame looks like against the Peugeot.

I should probably put the 26x1" tire I've got on that Spinergy Spox front wheel for better perspective next time I do a mock up shot.

Today I also figured out a much better way to sleeve the carbon fork's aluminum steerer into my oversize extended steerer too, and its going to be amazing. (hint: no bolts, no welding)

I'm still debating on how to set up the drivetrain. WMD and I were discussing the different methods of having it set up with dual chains, utilizing the fuji's bottom bracket. For now though, I think I'll just add a derailleur tab to the left stay of the Fuji, and run it 1x9. THat should give me the range I need, and suite the Time Trial aesthetic that I'm going for.

I absolutely cannot wait to take this bike on its first weekend trip up the 9W to Nyack!

An afternoon with Fast Boy

Yesterday I had the opportunity to hang out at Fast Boy Cycles shop in Harlem, and pick his brain on bike building, while he brazed together a fork.

A little back story: Fast Boy Cycles is one guy. Ezra Caldwell. I met him in the summer here, and his life took a turn for the strange shortly after, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He's got a blog about it HERE. Long story short, he's doing great, and working against his doctors orders amidst chemo treatment cycles.

It was really interesting to see him work, and discuss frame building techniques.

"The one thing I like about brazing, is... its just... so quiet." He said while flowing brass into the crown of the fork. His voice is scratchy from a cold, and its still easy to hear him over the torch. "Its just glorified soldering, really."

A bit about the fork. It was a 1" threaded steerer with Pacenti crown, straight blades, stainless dropouts AND a disc tab! I thought this was a strange combination at first and wondered if it was at the customer's request. Ezra assured me that the customer had given him free reign to do whatever he wanted with the frame. Must be nice to get to do whatever you want knowing that someone is looking forward to the end result.

I was most impressed with the choice of tooling Ezra had set up in his little space. Most of his fixtures were from Anvil, apart from a home made fender forming jig, and small milling machine. The Anvil stuff looks really user friendly, and probably makes his work a whole lot easier.

Here's the Anvil 'Phrunt Shui' disc tab fixture. Seeing that, along with the fork fixture gave me some good insight into how one would go about creating strange custom 5 piece forks.

At the end of my visit, the straight blade fork was complete, save for a touch of filing. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished bike on his Flickr.

I'm really glad I went to see Ezra work, as he is a pretty inspiring guy. He got me really stoked to work on my tallbike today over at les shop du WMD.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

snow biking

I've been out on the MTB quite a bit lately. While its still freezing I've been trying to get up Inwood hill as much as possible. Inwood park is awesome because its one of the only 'wilderness' areas in Manhattan where you could actually get lost. You can find a lot of strange things there. Once Rhiannon and I were there at 9:00am and we found a Hispanic guy passed out face down in the forest. We thought he was dead at first but after poking him with a stick he came to and assured us that he had just partied too hard the night before. Anyways, here's something that almost got caught in my drivetrain yesterday:


The snowy trails are packed now from hikers and cross country skiers, so they're great for mountain biking. However, yesterday's barely freezing temperature meant that the snow is thicker, and sticks to the tires more. I was having issues with both my tires filling with snow and wandering about, and I spun out a few times trying to do some climbs. It ALMOST made me want studded tires, but I know those have limited use.

I recently found out about a crazy ice race in Montreal called COUPE DES GLACES. It looks awesome, and if I DID have studded tires, I would want to give it a go. Its on Valentines day this year. Check out the video:

Another fun looking snow vid I saw recently reminded me of doing the Rossland winter carnival downhill snow race in BC. Except MORE EXTREME. This is intense:

That's a pretty massive back flip. I noticed he's using older Nokian Gazzaloddi mud shedding tires. Perhaps if I got some of those for the Shasta I could really conquer Inwood.

Riding Dirty, No Doubt

The only wooden section of the Patullo Bridge was catastrophically damaged in a fire last week. They have officially closed the bridge to all traffic. Now, this should hardly affect most of us who live in the City of Vancouver and ride bikes, as the bridge crosses the Fraser River from New Westminster to Surrey - not to mention it's one of the shittier bridges in town for riding across, with no guard rail and a lot of truck traffic.

But somehow it does affect us in the city: "Bicycle access on SkyTrain is suspended on all lines until further notice due to capacity limitations." What the hell!? Unbeknownst to my defiance, I took the tall bike on its first train ride to Surrey on Monday. I merely rode my bike to the train station and was late enough for class that I decided to take the bike with me.

Riding Dirty

The next day I went with the bus, as I didn't need to go to work after class. At the Frances St bus stop, I run into none other than Randy Moffat, local (it doesn't really get much more local) BMX ripper. He mentions that he's headed to work, for some reason I assumed further west in Vancouver. We have a quick conversation and I leave him at the front of the bus to watch his bike while I get out of the way of the southbound bus congestion with my courier bag full of drawing gear.

I find a spot on the train, and notice that Randy is also headed east. After a few minutes, I headed up to talk to him again. He's working in Burnaby, and using his bike to get to and from the bus and train. We talk about the current ice-fog epidemic, and then I mention that bikes are banned from the train right now, a fact that Randy was also unaware of. Here's the bike check of Randy's current setup: all black with green spokes, brakeless, super wide bars. Reminds me of another Randy...

Two bikes worthy of discussion, ridin' dirty on the Skytrain. Talking to Randy inspired me to go riding even though it's cold and foggy out. I've come to the conclusion that riding BMX with music, talking to your friends occasionally, is the way to go.

I spent at least an hour at Plaza that afternoon, working on my wall rides and manuals, mostly hitting the far north line. I will soon have wall tail taps within my grasp. This photo of that "beginner" wall ride spot at Plaza courtesy of Chicago race organizer and BMXer Matt Sipple, who was in town last week checking out what we've got to offer, including the green green forest of North Van with myself and his girl Emily.

Supreme Green

My instructor had seen the tall on Monday, and on Tuesday mentioned I could bring the bike in as a drawing subject. Hmm, could I possibly bring another bike from the collection instead? Another bike worthy of discussion? I shall report back on this, if it ends up as a photo of one of my bikes in an art class. Could end up riding dirty on the train again soon if they don't lift the ban.

I leave this one with a photo of the day after that first BMX ride in oh-too-long. The girls at the office were not nearly as stoked on this as I was.

Ride BMX until your hands bleed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Frozen in time

On this icebound morning of the first month, my two wheeled gentleman's conveyance became some what of an H.G. Wellian time machine. I was transported back a century, to the bustling banks of the Hudson River, where a new era of industry was occurring. No longer would the street carriages and light rail spew soot, oil and steam into our air. We would soon be powering them on clean quiet electricity!


The steam driven generators at the Yonkers Power Plant were in service for over 50 years, before the demands of the Eastern railways became to much for this monster of stone and iron. I imagine the lights dimming as a full train pulled out of the station. Soon, it was time to turn the power off, and remove the heart of this machine.

Then.. another 50 years passed. Now frozen snow floats down in the great generator hall, from holes in the skylight panes. The basement floor is glass smooth ice, from where its flooded areas have become solid. This is progress.

Lets look to the past for some more inspiration, shall we?

I imagine this is what I must look like to most automobile drivers encountered on the streets of Bronx NY. Elegant. Regal. Gentlemanly.

It is discovered that one can cycle at great speeds, if the air is broken in front of the rider.

If one wants to go very fast without assistance, one has to lower their frontal area

... or strap rockets to their bike.

The large wheels on this bicycle allow it to traverse all sorts of terrain.

I think we all know that bicycles can go where motor vehicles cannot. Even places you wouldn't want to go.

Could this be the bicycle track of the future? Just imagine cruising through the city, elevated above the street carriages, horses, and layman.

Of course, sometimes its fun to go absolutely nowhere at all.

There's always something to be learned from where we came. I hope you've enjoyed this trip through time with me today.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bilenky Junkyard Race

This is pretty dope. I heard about it last year, and this year I read about it the night before it happened. I was pretty tempted to hop on a Chinatown Bus and get out there, but decided against it at the last minute since I didn't think I would be welcome on a bus on the trip back, covered in toxic sludge. Looks like I missed out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Cyclecide Video from MAKE

Maker Profile - Cyclecide from make magazine on Vimeo.

I liked how this vid showcases the fun nature of Cyclecide. Sure, the tallbike, swingbike and chopper are nothing new, but the video is obviously going to show it. I would have liked to see some mention given to Chunk, black label, Pedalplay etc.. Chopper zoos and bike rodeos are going on all over North America. Pedal powered stuff is NOT just for art. It IS the future.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Feelin Fine in '09

You know what FINE stands for, don't you?

After starting the year off with a debilitating stomach flu which the wifey and I lovingly shared, I'm back in action. Not only able to eat solids again, but I can ride a bike too. I've got a couple projects on the go right now, as do the other Projekt members.

Some of my short term goals this winter are to build up my new hubs when they come in, have my shit together for NAHBS, work on my tritall at le cyclery de WMD, Ride my new old school WMDMTB on the local trails, and harass DFL_Nick on the internerd.

You see, I showed him this picture of the new bike:

...and he got all hot and bothered.

Nick: ...and now you've got me eyeballing that Timberline out on the balcony...
3:52 PM me: haha
3:53 PM you have no parts
3:55 PM Nick: I have OCB. Srsly, I need a beater.
And the wheelset off the Cirrus would be perfect.
Rack/fender mounts, singlespeed, perfect snow goon.
3:56 PM ...and no aesthetic concerns whatsoever :D
3:59 PM me: Thirty Dorra says you cannot have timberline running in that incarnation before snow melts.
4:01 PM Nick: hah, it'll make a good beater either way!
4:02 PM me: yes. you've had it for 2 years now, patiently waiting to be ridden again
4:03 PM Nick: I totarry backburnered it, too many carcasses kicking around as it is.

This is just the sort of motivator a (money) hungry courier needs to get off his ass and actually resurrect one of the bike frames he's currently tripping over. I'm really hoping I don't win this bet to be honest. I haven't checked The Weather Network yet to see what the long term forecast is looking like.. But I really want to see Nick working on a single speeded fender and rack equipped GT Timberline in the snow, while he still needs a snow bike. Sure the .243 is a decent plow, but its got no fenders and winning 'hardman' awards from the walkengers isn't that big of a badge of honour. I put more weight on actually having running bicycles. Still, he's planning on cannibalizing his once running condition Rocky Mountain Cirrus for parts, but I'll let that slide since he already stripped it. I will not accept removal of parts from the 243 (ie brakes or drivetrain components) as that defeats the purpose of making a second bicycle.

I'm pretty sure he got to work fitting some wheels onto the frame as soon as I left him last night, because this morning I received some email bitching about missing cantilever cable guides. If this motivation keeps up, he could actually have the snowbike running in super rush time.

So what does it need?

Decent snow tires tires, full fenders, a rack, brakes/pads/levers/cables, cranks/bb/pedals/chain/cog/spacer/ring, (all of which could be priced out reasonably at OCB if he sweet talks Leanne)..and some sort of solution to the non horizontal dropout issue.

It could be majik geared, which takes time and experimentation and is not the most reliable setup for a work bike. The rear dropouts also have room to be extended via dremel, which takes a steady hand. ..or it could have a tensioner bolted on, which is the quickest solution really.

I'm curious to see how this turns out, and I'm rooting for courier cat on this one.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Neistat Brothers

I'm sure everyone has seen the Neistat Brothers 'Bike Thief' video.. but here's one that is new to me (its actually almost 2 years old). This is called the Holland Tunnel, and it is the only direct way to New Jersey from downtown Manhattan. Since I'm so far North, I can take the incredible GWB, but props to Neistat for taking it underground.