Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What this space or no not this space but another space - oh just read below!

So I have it on good authority that the Trailer Park Cyclist may do some "Ghost Posting"  on the currently dormant site

Said posting may include updates on little miss Dangerous aka a Schwinn Letour and also a new acquisition by the TPC that looks a bit like this
You heard it here first folks check in over the next few weeks to see what happens

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A confession and some Miscellaneous stuff

I have been afraid to ride my bike... there I said it.  In mid April I had what I found out later was a very very minor stroke- emphasis on the very minor.  At the time my right hand and part of my right leg were tingly like I had slept on them wrong.  Initially I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to adequately squeeze the brake levers and that maybe I wouldn't be able to ride at all.  Although I identify as a cyclist, I haven't been riding much lately but the thought of not being able to ride at all or ever again was scary.
the bike is ready but is the rider?
After a few weeks I was pretty much back to normal with just a bit of tingling in my right palm, blood pressure meds, a better diet and daily therapy with an Xbox 360 controller for my hand (medicinal purposes only) all helping but still I couldn't seem to get on or work on a bike.  It might have been sloth or the now irrational fear that I wouldn't be able to control a bike, but as it was months passed with nary a ride.

Today I decided to finally visit my neighborhoods expanded farmers market.  It used to occupy part of a public parking lot but this summer it expanded to take up a city block that they close from 9 am to 2 pm on Sunday for the market.  I had been meaning to check it out and also see if I might find some deals on organic produce so I decided I would finally get off my duff and go.  Since the market is only about 5 blocks away it seemed like a good first ride, so I put some air in my tires, slapped on the panniers, blew the dust off my helmet and wheeled the bike out.  And lo and behold I had not forgotten how to ride, it was actually fun to turn over the pedals and generate my own power.  The bonus was pedaling again put a smile on my face.
my haul and a soft bike rack
The local yarn vandals has thoughtfully knitted a bike rack cozy so I didn't even need to think about my paint getting scratched while my bike was locked up.  And I did indeed find an abundance of reasonably priced organic produce including some yummy raspberries.
reflecting on a successful ride 
Back in July, while on a visit to Portland, I was inspired to actually work on a bike when I noticed my friend Karen's bike had very sad, droopy looking bar tape.
blue duct tape! C'mon
I built this bike and could not abide the falling apart bar tape held on by duct tape of all things so I made a special trip to the local bike shop and took care of it.

new and blue and not saggy

I also took care of some rear brake pads that had been bugging my friend.

the old -dusty and worn
So I removed the old ones and swapped them out with some spares she had laying around 
new pads in place

Finally my nephew, who is about to start his Junior year of college, messaged me recently about looking at his front tire.  As it turns out he has a low end - Motiv- mountain bike, perfect for campus use, but not great as far as the parts go.  When I got my hands on the beastie I was able to diagnose that it A) had a front wheel in need of truing and B) the return spring on one front brake arm was shot, those two things conspired for some pretty serious brake rub hence his issue.
give me a brake

I thought I would need to make a trip to the used bike parts store but as luck would have it rummaging in my parts bin I was able to come up with a nice set of Shimano Deore canti's.  After truing the front wheel and a host of other items like; cleaning and lubing the chain, adjusting the front derailleur so all 3 chainrings worked, wiping down the frame , lubing the seat post and stem and putting air in the tires the bike was ready for pick up.

campus bike ready to go
The nice thing about a Motiv is that it is serviceable and if it does get stolen its not a huge loss.

Dude seriously put me back together already!
Now that the Torpado is back in the bike stand I should probably get to work on it as well as continuing to ride my bike.  

Until next time ride, smile and repeat.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Le Mixte Fran├žais Part Deux

Hello friends! after a long hiatus I am finally posting.  I got this PH18L Peugeot Mixte back in March because I had Mixtes on the brain (curse you Mixte Heaven) and it was a great price and I thought I could build it up as a nice ladies city bike.  I then recalled that my daughter had outgrown her bike and the grandparents had promised a bike as a birthday present (January).  Since this was a small size I asked the girl if she liked it, she did, and checked the size, it fit, and then checked to see if the grandparents had done anything about a new bike, they hadn't, and if they were interested in financing the bike and new parts if I supplied the labor, they were.  So with all that settled I ordered some parts and then promptly did nothing.

The bike had serviceable tires one it but they showed their age and had kind of a ugly mustard brown sidewall so I asked the girl what kind of tire she wanted showing her a variety of options, she chose the Schwable Delta cruiser white walls.  Very nice.
The cables were also serviceable but were a fraying mismash of blue housing that matched the bike color (probably original) and basic black so once again I showed the girl a variety of options and she went with the Jagwire gold braided.  She has style that girl and she will be my consultant on all future mixte builds.
The original saddle was also serviceable but tired and it had a tear in it so the girl picked out this basic Selle Royale city cruiser saddle.

As I said this bike sat for months for reasons I don't quite understand myself but it dawned on me that A) summer was slipping away, B) the grandparents were asking how the bike was coming along and C) I didn't have to do a complete tear down (gasp) I just needed to make it rideable for the summer.  So that is my dirty little secret on this bike, I am doing it backwards, I hung all the pretty new parts so it can be ridden now and when the dark, damp winter comes I will do the hidden work on bearings and the like.

Now even though I took a "short cut" to get this bike on the road while the sun is still high in the sky I did put in some work;

  • Seat post removed and greased
  • Stem removed and greased
  • frame wiped down with armor all wipes
  • checked headset for play
  • hubs checked for smoothness, wheels checked for true
  • crank checked for smoothness and pedals for spin
  • new shift and brake cables and housing and adjustments
  • checked chain for wear then cleaned and lubed it, checked freewheel for wear
  • new saddle
  • new tires and tubes
This winter I will rebuild all the main bearings, give it a 3 step wax job and rebuild the pedals and maybe put on a new freewheel and chain but it was great to see the smile on my girls face when she saw the finished product today and got to ride it it around.
it actually works!

In profile

Front view

rear view
I half jokingly told her that she is my rolling billboard and that if any ladies compliment her on the bike she can tell them that her dad can build them one.  Now I just need to ride my own bike and then I can go for a spin with my girl.  Then I can take my own advice and ride, smile and repeat.

Friday, May 1, 2015

An ode to the Trailer Park Cyclist

I discovered today, that my virtual friend the Trailer Park Cyclist is hanging up his shingle on the 'ol internets citing among other things the time and toil required in being a grown up isn't leaving much time for being the TPC.  If you have never read the TPC I urge you to do so at his writing is a real treat and in the 4 years I have been reading him I have learned a little and laughed a hell of a lot.

Like my friend, I have been "on the beach" (unemployed) as often as not over the last 3 years.  I think Tim Joe got alot more out of being unemployed than I did.  I did a little blogging and some working on bikes but mostly I worried over getting the next job.  Tim Joe on the other hand wrote alot on his  blog and more often than not made me laugh and always made me eager for more.  Since he hasn't blogged much in the last year I wasn't shocked that he was closing things down but still saddened a bit that (selfishly) I wouldn't have a TPC post to look forward to.  I can, however, attest to the fact that being a grown up and being responsible tends to put a gigantic hole in your day and there often isn't much left to spend on pursuits like a blog.

If I recall correctly I first came across Tim Joe's work in the brief time I read the "Fat Cyclist" blog, he had written and excellent piece called "Trailer Park Cyclist vs Cervelo Guy" and I was hooked.  This was also a time when I was transitioning from a Roadie who craved carbon and going fast to a steel is real, ride fat tires and go off pavement and screw the HRM kind of guy.  Most of my cycling friends were of the former, pro kit wearing, variety and so I went down the old school steel path alone and ended up finding friends with a similar  bent, like Tim Joe, online.  Since I live in Seattle and Tim Joe is in Florida that means we don't do actual rides together but I do hope that one day we'll meet up somewhere with our trusty Steel Steeds and take a meandering ride down some back road and end it at a pub over a cold one.

Thanks for the Ride TPC.

In Honor of TPC's Le Tour "Little Miss Dangerous"

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Its like.....well...riding a bike (and working Steel)

Its a bit embarrassing that it took until nearly the end of March but I finally got my first ride of the year in on Thursday the 26th.  It had been so long I wasn't sure I would remember how but I was pedaling along in no time, I actually think I got more winded pumping up the tires than pedaling.  Although to be honest it wasn't an epic ride, I was just taking advantage of the first 70 degree day of the year to do a short ride up to the pub with a friend.
28 micro-brews on tap
My buddy rode his cool old school Guerciotti with its unique lugged aluminum frame.
I went a little crazy locking up with both a heavy cable and U-Lock,

One of the many things I like about my urban home, in addition; to a bus line right outside the door, a coffee shop next door and a hub of shops and eateries five blocks away, is that I get to see alot of working steel in my daily life.  

It might be a lovely Celeste Bianchi Eros.
unicrown fork

Or a nice lugged Miyata Triplecross. 
city workhorse

Lovely Japanese Lugs
A sweet red  Fuji

Or an old Peugeot UO-8 made into a city single speed.
love the no nonsense chain lock
basking in some spring sun

As a sucker for old 10 speeds I really love to see old steel bikes getting used and being useful rather than mouldering away in basements and garages.  I hope wherever you are that you are treated to a nice spring for riding.

Until next time Ride.Smile.Repeat.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Le Mixte Fran├žais

Lately I have been visiting Mixte Heaven on Facebook way too often and it has put Mixtes on my brain, especially the cool split tube european kind.  So there I was looking through Craigslist at Mixtes I didn't really need, and I came across a lovely blue Peugeot at a reasonable price.

Even at a good price it survived the weekend and I was able to pick it up during the week.  Turns out this bike is not just a Peugeot but a made for the french market one that came to Seattle with a French family who is going back to France and didn't want to lug a 30 lb. Mixte with them.

I haven't nailed down the exact model or year but its similar to the "all weather" UE-18 style bike.  Peugeot had different components for bikes in different markets.  This bike has 700c wheels rather than 27 inch and presta value tubes rather than schrader for instance.  Instead of center-pull brakes it has some entry level side pull brakes.  And I guess instead of north road handlebars these are Le Rue Nord.

I really like that this bike came standard with fenders and a cool integrated rear rack painted to match the frame,

unfortunately the bike didn't come with a front lamp although based on the bracket holes in the front fender it had one originally.  Another cool feature is the Peugeot branded bell which I understand are rare and expensive, I looked on ebay and one was for sale in the UK for $60, which is about what I paid for the entire bike.

The bike does have the standard 70s Peugeot drive-train, Simplex of course.
downtube Derlin simplex shifters

And now I really need to stop acquiring project bikes! although for this one I could probably do a "flip" if I really wanted to as its in nice shape to start.  I would like to give it the full treatment, however, and with spring coming and perhaps the addition of a basket I think it will fetch a good price.  On the other hand my daughter continues to sprout up and has outgrown her last bike and she likes the look of this one so maybe I will build it up for her.

Until next time ride, smile and repeat.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

1985 Schwinn Ladies Mesa Runner -Reborn

Make: Schwinn
Model: Mesa Runner
Year:  1985
Obtained: Aug 2009
Found: Someones Yard
Paid: The sign said FREE....

This is a throw back post.  I was going through some photos and came across a bike Project that I had not yet posted.  A number of years ago when I was; A) still a speed play using-lycra wearing-Aluminum frame riding-roadie and B) still married, I was out for a nice summer ride when I broke my chain.  I didn't have the right tools for a fix so I was clip clopping home in my roadie shoes when I came across an 80's vintage mountain bike in someones front yard with a free sign on it.
Free - "as is"
And I think to myself appears rideable and since its free I could ride it home and ghost ride the road bike...and with home only about a mile away I figure I can pull it off.  I take off my roadie shoes and use their velcro straps to tie them onto the rear rack and then set off pedaling in my stocking feet.  I could see the chain and freewheel  were pretty rusty so I expected the gravelly sound they made but I hadn't anticipated the ghost shifting which made life interesting on the short slightly uphill ride home.
El Rusto Primo
After getting safely home I did a bit of research and realized I had a 1985 Schwinn Mesa Runner, I knew it was an '85 as that was the only year of the two year run where they made a ladies version.  It had a few issues, the chain and FW as mentioned were rusty, and the shifters weren't exactly show quality.
seen better days

Some of the chrome wasn't in the best nick either.

And it also had cantilever brakes which I have never been the best at adjusting.

I realized my wife (now Ex) had a milestone birthday coming up and this might be a nice present, with a bit of TLC that is.  This project was unique in a lot of ways, its the only ladies mountain bike I have rebuilt and its the only the second bike where I have ever repainted the frame (the first was an old Azuki).  At this point in time I hadn't done much refurbing of bikes so I didn't really have a parts bin, nor was I as well acquainted with bike parts on the internet as I am now.  I did, however, have a Motiv Mt. bike (Costco purchase) laying around not getting any use that I could cannibalize.
not really motiv-ating
I bought the Motiv in late 1999 when I was just getting back into biking and didn't really know any better.  The irony is that at the time my (then) father in law offered an old Hybrid he had mouldering away in his basement.  Unfortunately  I lacked the; knowledge, skills and interest then to tackle a rebuilding project so I bought a cheap Costco bike instead.  Face palm.  Anyway it ended up being a great source of parts for bringing the Mesa Runner back to life.  The first thing I replaced was the rear derailleur.

I also took the combo brake and shift levers to go with V-Brakes which I also stole from the Motiv.

And as you can see I also though slick tires would be a good choice for some reason, well they were more practical for city riding than the knobbies at any rate. And I did splurge on some new parts like some swanky new pedals, a major improvement over the POS "resin" pedals it had before.

And what I discovered later was my most important purchase, a wicker front basket.

It was with this rebuild that I discovered that Ladies love the basket, when I presented the bike to her the very first thing she said was "oh I love the basket", not "Wow you did a lot of work", or "is that even the same bike!".... LOL.  So now when I build a ladies bike I always try to put a basket on it.

My paint philosophy with the 10 speeds I refurbish is to leave it original and use a 3 step wax process to get it in the best shape possible.  If the purchaser wants new paint I leave that to them but once you replace the original paint job you can't go back.  With this bike I decided on painting the frame because A) the paint wasn't in very good shape B) the bike is not a "collectable" and C) I had a vision for this project of a blue frame.  I was fortunate that on the day I was at the hardware store to get the spray paint for this project I had my, then 6 year old, daughter along as my advisor.  I had a steel blue in mind but when I picked it up my little fashionista piped up with "no daddy, not that one" so I asked her what blue she thought mom would like and that is what went on the bike, and of course her mom loved it.

Although the marriage didn't last things are good,  I live 3 blocks away, we get along better now than when married and she still has the bike and takes it  for rides with our daughter so I think this project ended up being worthwhile.  You may have noticed that in addition to cleaning up nicely I was able to the rear rack leveled (OCD) I think it makes things look much nicer.

Until next time. Ride.Smile.Repeat.