Wednesday, April 22, 2009

longest post. EVER

The weather is beautiful again, which has made shop days a difficult struggle between my desire to get work done and the urge to go riding. Early evenings have been the toughest: I have a half day of work done, the temperature is perfect, a little breeze kicks up, and the light starts to take on that platinum hue... This always seems like the perfect time to ride, but I find it extremely difficult to walk back into the shop after dark and pick up where I've left off. After a good ride 'til dusk, it just seems right to lay around, bask in the glow of a freshly worked body, sip a frosty one, and ponder how to be faster next time. The key for me seems to be to ride either at the beginning or end of my day. Both require that I get up earlier...
...soon to come.

On Sunday I rode with Team Beer and friends to celebrate the life of recently fallen teammate Steve Nelson. While I did not, by any means, know Steve the best, I remember him as a smiling face and company to clink glasses with from many a race. Oh, if these pints could talk... The ride was widely attended and was a nice opportunity to share the light of Steve's life and the company of others that he enjoyed. Steve, you will be sorely missed! But never forgotten.

Before the memorial ride, I started brazing my fork together. By 11:00 on Monday night I was done with the torch and started to polish the stainless crown. Tuesday was one long day of polishing. My fingertips are again stained black and my thumbs chafed to near blister. My crown? near mirror. I'm telling myself that there's no need to find an excuse to polish anything for a little while now. I don't need to. I won't. Ok.

I rode to work at the pub today without my bag on my back. It was a spur of the moment decision, but as I ran out the door -- edging on ten minutes late -- I decided to throw my bag on my new rack. Looping the shoulder strap around the handlebars and clipping the buckles for the flap around the rack frame, I gave my bag a good shake test just to make sure my laptop wouldn't launch to sure catastrophe. Secure. Go! I gotta say that the rack took a significant weight off my back, even if it made me a little late. 'Welcome to the dark side,' says Tad. We'll see.

I'll be buckling my own straps for the next nine days. On Friday, May 1st, I'm joining seventeen other bike builders in displaying our craft to attendees of the City Club's 'It's All About the Bike' forum. I am really hoping that all of August's parts will be ready for pickup on Saturday because I still need to build wheels, and the last I heard the paint shop was waiting on detailing for both the hubs and frame. Hmmm. This should be interesting.

I'll be taking my commuter frame to be repainted with my new fork.
I'm finally going to have a pretty, pretty, purple bicycle.

Sleepy Time

I'm a little late to bed, but I got my fork finished! After cleaning and truing my front wheel, I installed a new tyre, brake caliper and my semi-custom TCB porteur rack.
Very short test ride.
I could hear the noise of fresh rubber on asphalt, projected through steel fork blades and rack struts, then magnified by the aluminum deck plate.
More will have to wait 'til tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So I was supposed to go on a mini vacation this week -- or at least sleep in my sleeping bag somewhere other than my house. One of my best friends, Jeremy, is in town for a couple of weeks, and I was excited to venture out with him and Chuck like we used to in our more youthful days. Sadly, Chuck found himself stranded in Fontana, CA (which I know little about, but sounds like maybe not the coolest place). I did, though, get to have a few long days in the shop, which I appreciated, seeing as I hadn't gotten as much done as I would have liked in the week prior. Things seem to go that way for me sometimes.

After having ordered labels and paint masks from Kyla at Signwizards and dropping off everything for August's bike at Class Act (the paint shop), I'm sitting here with an immense feeling of relief. I can focus now on a fork for my commuter bike that will have both a polished stainless steel crown and top eyelets for a rack a la TCB .Cross bikes for Owen and Erik are queued up behind that.

I guess things worked out, but I'm gonna sleep under the stars -- or clouds, as it may be -- soon.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Now that's a stem...
...just for August.

Monday, April 6, 2009

August's bike

August's frame is finally finished! And, having now put him on the trainer with a couple of different stems and spacer sets, I've been able to decide on a good position for his bars. We'll be off to paint just as soon as I've got a stem brazed together.

Polishing August's water bottle/rack bosses and dropouts ended up taking a ridiculous amount of time, but was a good learning process. Horror: discovering deep scratches on the dropouts after having installing wheels for the trainer session! Some of them aren't going anywhere. Ouch. They'll be covered by bolt heads once the wheels are on, but I'll know they're there. ...and they'll ruin my perfect pictures.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I rode the De Ronde today. It was the gnarliest road ride I've ever been on. Fifty miles linking all of Portland's 'worst climbs ever'. Brynwood was something amazing. Every time we approached Fairmont on the last third of the ride, I was sure we were about to see the last climb to our final destination at Council Crest. That was about every time the route turned back down the hill: more super bumpy, broken pavement and twisting west hills descents. It was both terrible and delicious.

I'm totally bushed, but as I type this at Tiny's over a Cubano, I know I can't go home without quaffing one at Roots with the survivors. I also know it's about time to get back in shape...and build a lighter road bike.