This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Spring is finally getting around to us

    About nine of us got together for a vintage bike ride this spring.  We got lucky and had absolutely perfect weather.  If there was a cloud anywhere during the day I was too busy hyperventilating to notice.  It was cool shirt sleeve weather in the morning and a mid seventies in the afternoon.  It couldn't have been a better day for a bunch of vintage riders to ride around on vintage bikes.
There were even a few woolen jerseys mixed in among the spandex.
Bikes ranged from Steve Cox's very well ridden 60's Pogliaghi
to a perfectly pristine Myata
and meticulously preserved Mercian,
but Tim Potter took the show with his latest tinker toy
 a '68 Louison Bobet 650b conversion from 
a classic French road bike to a beautiful Rando bike.
My "de-finished" Hunqapillar raised a few interested eyebrows.
We spent the morning on the White Pine Trail which is mostly paved
but approaching Howard City, degrades to a gravel two track. 
 It's an enjoyable ride, a rail trail with a mild grade
and we were able to find room at the local pizza joint 
in bustling downtown Howard City.
There were frequent and lengthy stops for the vintage riders as this was the longest ride any of us "enjoyed" this year.  It was a killer metric ride up and back on a rail trail.   Yes, a metric century with less than 2% grade one way brought  all of us to our knees before getting back to Jim Townsend's house where his tolerant and over indulgent wife had prepared 
second lunch for us with beers all 'round.  
Back at Jim's house we had a chance to admire a couple of his latest finds.  
A beautiful mixte by JP Wiegle he had found for his wife,
 and a practically unused Nishiki he found somewhere.  
       All this talk about meticulous restoration of vintage bikes and especially a detail of the Nishiki left me in quite a quandary.  Jim said he placed the top tube cable guides carefully to be sure they were exactly and evenly spaced.  That's important.  I recently managed to break one of the cable stops on the Hunq and have the correct size cable guides ordered to go "old school" with a full housing.  Now, placing the guides correctly and evenly spaced becomes an issue.  Do you measure from the center of the seat tube and head tube, or is it more aesthetically pleasing to measure from lug tip to lug tip, or base of the lug or seat tube wall, or......

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Yeah, I took a few days off.

      I've been working on a larger project for a bit and took a few weeks off from the blogosphere, but you realize that  winter commuting gets a bit routine on the bike.  My life, as exciting as it sounds, is just about as routine during the winter as a spandex hamster during the ride season.  Now the snow is going away I started noticing the vague signs of danger I was so confidently wandering through each day.  
      Finding my way through the frozen muck of the north on a daily basis I tend to get very comfortable with my route.  Riding the same way, the same time each day it's pretty easy to take things for granted.  I don't really notice the drivers that much and assume that I'm seeing the same motorists in the same cars at the same time each day.  Such is life embroiled in the grid.     
Now I'm beginning to see the damaged 
signs of the danger I was navigating
on street corners where I had grown so comfortable in my daily commute.  I have to wonder what made a driver go so far over the curb.  Do they know what they are doing is dangerous?  I've been driving for 50 years and never lost that much attention in a day.    It's just a rude reminder that we have to look out for our own safety, if they can't see a street sign that's protected by a curb they are not too save on the road.
    In the meantime the "All Powerful Bike Lobby" has struck again!  Yeh US!!!  Our Michigan legislature has finally passed a law requiring motorists to yield 3 feet of distance when passing cyclists.  We don't expect rampant enforcement but it is a general step forward to educate the public about vulnerable road users.
Take that Dorothy Rabinowitz!
     In the meantime I have been doing a little wrenching on the Hunq.  Spring is time for cleaning and I took it step farther.  I was getting stressed at the damaged paint  from all the back road traveling I do.  I could no longer get a reasonable touch up color and the bike was starting to look like crap. 
So I had it stripped, and there below two top coats and a coat of primer I found a photo shadow of the original decal.  That's some pretty serious UV light.  I'm not forgetting my sunscreen.  Onward.  I polished up the frame with a sanding sponge and coated it with a super duty epoxy/polymer something or other that is made to bond, seal and protect bare metal from rust.
I love the way it turned out and the brass brazing material highlights the lug work beautifully.   The good people at Rivendell provided new decals at a modest price and it looks like something from a mad max episode.  More about this in a much later post, don't jump in and try it without research.   I tested some other rusty metal before I did, and the substance itself is really nasty to work with.  I opened the can, my cats ran under the bed,  and  I was fearing brain damage, but everybody needs a hobby right? 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Are we there yet?

      Ok,  I know it's not really spring  yet.  I live very near the 45th parallel which  means practically nothing except that our four seasons fall right on the lunar calendar.  No matter what that rodent in Pennsylvania says about winter, ours will last until March 23rd.  Plan on it.

        This year has been beyond crazy, even by Michigan standards.  We are getting 2-3 feet of snow in multiple day onslaughts alternated with a week of 40-50 degree sunshine to melt it all down.  What are we supposed to do with this?  When I plan to go skiing it's too warm,    I take the studded tires off, another storm hits.  It's enough to make the President believe in climate change (I seriously doubt it, but I thought I 'd throw that in).  So we have been riding through waist high drifts on icy streets one day 
and flooded trails a few days later.
While we are out on the streets hoping not to freeze to death one day or drown the next, Lexus is offering Michigan cyclists an alternative.
       Their new velodrome takes indoor training to the next level and is developing praise all around as a magnificent facility.   Is this really an attempt to promote the sport of cycling or an elaborate indoor trainer?  They sponsored a beautiful new track, a cage to keep the spandex hamsters off the street and out of their way. I smell conspiracy.