Friday, May 5, 2017

Rack Hacking.... Ack!

One of my favorite Comics in my late youth/early adulthood was Bloom County and Bill the cat's catch phrase (ACK!) sums up how I am feeling about trying to get a rack mounted on the Schwinn Passage.  When Bloom County came to Facebook last year after decades long absence it was like getting a Christmas present, but as usual I digress.

All I wanted to was to recreate the front rackage of the Handsome Devil on the Schwinn Passage so I could swap my bag back and forth, how hard could it be?   Well as you know from a previous post  an old canti fork and new canti rack aren't really simpatico.

My first step was to measure the stock hardware so I knew what to look for when I went to the hardware store.  Since stock was about an inch and it was too short I needed something a bit longer.

And at the super mega big box hardware store I found it -a 1 1/2 inch bracket, which wasn't perfect but was a start.

More of a V than an L but hackers can't always be choosers and the length was working.

To make this work I was going to need to cut down one side of the "V" bracket and, as I discovered when test fitting, make the outside hole on the long side bigger to accommodate the canti post bolt.

To make those modifications I would need a bench vise to hold things steady, I had the hack saw and drill but no vise, however my ex graciously let me use her garage when she was out running errands and since the house is only a couple blocks away I was in business.

Since this was my old house, the  garage has my dad's old bench vise in it.  If I ever have the space again the vise will come with me but its in a good spot for now.   That old vise was on a work bench in the garage of every house I lived in growing up, 5 that I remember, so its an old friend and I got custody of it when my parents went from house to retirement community back in 2006.  Anyway, I gave it a little workout.

And produced the desired result..

I had purchased a sack of 4 brackets for 2 bucks and change and modified 2 of them.  I used a wire brush mounted to the drill to clean up the sharp edge where I hack sawed as well.

Did a quick compare before mounting up both modified brackets and fitting to the bike

Ok so "fitting" is not the right word -I now have the opposite issue I started with, I could mount a mix of "new" and stock hardware but then the piece that mounts to the hole in the fork crown would be off center, or maybe I can find someone with a drill press and make a proper slot, rather than holes, in the modified bracket like the originals has ..but

rack interference with brake - penalty! repeat first down.  Oi vey! I think the front Canti-rack is not going to happen.   There are other front racks out there,  Soma makes a couple that mount to the fork eyelets and hole in the fork crown but for now I have other options.

I still have the rear rack from the Gitane Tour de France that I parted out so lets try that.  Turns out under that ugly black plastic deck (which just snaps on and off) is a nice alloy Vetta made in Italy.  I cleaned it up and got a few nuts and bolts from the local True Value which has a great selection of metric fasteners; nuts, bolts, washers, hex head, button head, Philips etc.  I mounted it up and realized that I needed to loosen up the rear brake to accommodate the rack bracket that mounts to the brake bridge...

Even though the Tektro CR 720s have a very long straddle cable it wasn't going to allow me to use this rack with how high the rack bracket was.  I had some thoughts about bending it or drilling a different hole but it dawned on me I had a bike that would suit this rack as it, the 1983 Raleigh Record that I found forlornly at the side of the road almost exactly a year ago.

The bracket on the Vetta rack should fit behind the brake bridge and use the brake bolt just like it did with a center pull brake on the Gitane, so I took it off the Passage and put things back to normal and stowed the rack until I can get to the Raleigh Record.  Rack fail number two! My friend Annie is way ahead of me with rack hacks.

I got to thinking and realized that Passage, as a touring bike, has eyelets galore including some below the seat cluster and if I found a rack that had two stays that connected to the eyelets my brake cable and straddle could go between them and not be affected.  I was also the recipient of some unexpected severance from my last employer today, so I went on Amazon and found a modest $25 rack that should suit, fingers crossed, mounting to the rear of the Passage.

Stay tuned.  In other news riding, yes still pedaling after the event ride.

We had back to back 70 degree days this week, the only 70 degree days we've all year, so I had to dig in the closet and break out the board shorts and sandals.  I enjoyed espresso shakes..

And sunny skylines

Of course Mother nature doesn't want us to get greedy, I was getting rained on by end of my ride on day 2 of warm weather and last night we had a full on thunder and lighting storm and heavy rain and today we are back to this..

Oh well, there is supposed to be more Sun in the coming week.

I got an offer from my credit union for half off tickets to the Seattle Mariners so on May 15th I am going to a game.  Although the stadium is close, using a car and paying to park and dealing with the congestion is a nightmare, the Bus is a good option but that means lots of waiting/crowded seating on the way home after the game so I am planning to ride my bike.

Through Annie's blog I discovered Rootchopper and have enjoyed his blog "A few spokes shy of a wheel" about riding in and around the other Washington, Washington D.C.  He has written a number of times about biking to Washington Nationals games where they have a bike valet.  I don't know if anyone named Hargroves wearing white gloves will park my bike ( I say Hargroves be a good chap and park my bike won't you) but I did read online that:

Safeco Field has secured parking for over 150 bicycles in the Safeco Field Garage located on Edgar Martinez Drive east of Occidental Avenue. There is no charge for bicycle parking. Additional bicycle racks are available next to the garage on the west plaza and on the Centerfield Gate Plaza on the north side of the stairs...

Its about 5 miles from my house to the stadium but unlike the not-quite-reality of riding on smooth flat bike paths I will be riding on roads with traffic in the city to get to and from the game, but it is mostly bike lane or path on the route, so my bigger issue will be the hill on the way home.  All the more reason to keep riding.  I even ordered a new hat for the occasion when I realized that my current M's cap is in season 19 of use..

Ride me out to the Ballgame, smile and repeat.


  1. I have that sunlite front rack also and damned if I can find a way to mount it to any of my bikes...well, maybe the old mongoose, but I bought it for Little Miss so I could put on the Wald basket I bought awhile back. The Wald rear rack, however, bolted on like it was made specifically for a '81 Schwinn SLT. It probably was, now that I think of it.

    As a side note, the basket fits EXACTLY to the rack so I could just zip-tie it on there and be done with it. But those wire baskets look really cool up in front of a drop-bar bicycle. I never carry anything around, mostly, and when I do my old Goodwill messenger bag gets the job done just fine.

    But I did have some shady plans involving one of those soft-side six pack coolers, a couple hand fulls of ice and, well, a six pack. Which means I would end up sooner or later getting an open container violation or even a BUI so really, its probably best the basket didn't fit, after all.

    Funny how things have a way of working out. Nice hat, BTW.

    1. The universe is looking out for your Brother! I love the old hat but it kinda makes me look like a homeless person. I mounted a wald front basket(137) to the bike I built for my niece with no issues but it had north road bars, you get could a "suitcase" of beer in that rack.

  2. I really plunged into the deep end and ordered a velo orange front rack for Ogre. It did not fit. My yard foreman is one of those guys, you know, guys that can build anything. He eyeballed it and measured it and came back the next day with the same rack re-cut and welded and then it fit Ogre perfectly. It mounts to the bosses where canti brakes would go if you used them and the bolt through the top of the fork.

    1. Man I need to find a friend like that Jim! Someone with welding Skillz. My rear rack for the Passage should arrive soon and I am hoping for a better result, not that this was the front racks fault... I think a VO Constructeur Front Rack would work but it will have to wait, I know the Pass Hunter will not because I asked them about the width and its much wider than my skinny Passage canti mounts. Live and learn.