Thursday, March 20, 2014

Old Bikes, New Gimmicks

Here in California it's been sunny and warm for like 2 weeks. It's been so warm in fact, that I've started researching ways to stay cool. You see there's nice weather, the kind that doesn't require you to unzip your jersey, then there's half-unzipped jersey weather, and finally there's totally unzipped, flapping in the wind jersey weather. That's basically all the types of weather I know, but now I've learned there's a new kind of weather that requires you to pay $250 for a device that basically pisses on you.

Meet the KoldRush. A device that you've never needed, until NOW!

My favorite thing about this video is that neither of them ever acknowledge that they could just use a water bottle to do the exact same thing. Perhaps carrying an extra 5 pounds of water and AA batteries makes more sense. Especially since you can cool yourself off while you wait for your wife to pick you up when you get a flat tire. A flat tire that you can't fix because you've ditched your saddle bag for a water dispenser.

Save yourself some money and just do this:

Ancient technology called a "plastic water bottle".

In my last post I mentioned that a friend of mine found a bike in the trash. The bike was a Raleigh mixte and it looked like this:

It fit his wife so he asked me to get it set up for her to ride. Her only requirement was that she couldn't ride the bike with its current handle-bars. Her idea of a nice bike is just a beach cruiser so "roadie bars" were too weird for her. So I grabbed my tools and started working.

I started by hacking off the bars with a grinder. I know I should have pried the stem open but I couldn't find my good screwdriver so I ended up with this:

I lack finesse, apparently.

The new bars!
Then I tried to true the rear wheel which was so badly bent that I ended up cracking the nipples from over-tightening. When I learned the rim had a flat spot on it I ditched the wheels altogether and ordered some new ones.

The new wheels are rounder, true-er, and shiny-er than the old ones. I think that's an improvement.

Busted nipple. Did I mention I lack finesse?

The new wheels.
For a bike that was found in the trash it wasn't in bad shape. No obvious signs of rust, bearings were in good shape and the chain has plenty of life left in it. It needed brake pads, wheels and some serious derailler adjustments but it's more bike than what you can get at Wal-Mart or Target. You also get the satisfaction of knowing that someone put a lot of time into building this bike in the first place.

It's brown, I know but brown was cool at one point in history.
Here's some detail shots for the bike dorks:

Awesome details at the head tube.
Back in the day bike manufacturers branded the components even though they were made by someone else.
This bike was sold originally in Deerfield IL at "The Pony Shop".
The head tube is split into two narrow tubes with the rear brake cable in the middle.
SunTour downtube shifters.
Yes it's a Brooks but it's made of vinyl not leather, so don't get all excited.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rain, Dumpster Bikes, and Robert Smith's Face

In Southern California we don't get much rain. When it does rain though, our toughness gets washed away like Robert Smith's awful make-up after a long night of crying.

"Boy's don't cry, that's why I look like a girl" - Robert Smith (probably)
So you can imagine the gigantic suitcase of courage I needed when I manned up and decided to ride in the rain during our epic storm this weekend. The "storm" dropped about 3 inches of rain and totally eclipsed anything seen on the Eastern seaboard. I decided to go out anyway since I put fenders on the Surly. For a while I wondered if I would ever use them considering we had 85 degree weather like 2 weeks ago but they finally saw action.

H.M.S. Surly at full sail.
The SKS Longboard fenders do what they're supposed to. The only downside to having fenders, is that it doesn't rain enough in SoCal to justify having them mounted all the time unless you're constantly riding through puddles or bum urine. Usually they just catch the wind and push the bike sideways but I'm so lazy I probably won't bother taking them off unless they start rattling or something. If you live where it rains and don't have fenders you need a set of these. Unless you want to look super badass while riding in your own wheel spray:

I'm also proud to say that after their first dousing my lights and dynamo proved to be sufficently water-resistant. Riding around in the rain will be a breeze from now on. I can't wait to do it next year when it rains again. Awesome!

That hub is so wet.
In other news, a good friend of mine recently found a bike in a garbage dumpster. I think it's a 1974 Raleigh, what I don't get is why someone just threw it away. It was quickly rescued and I've fixed it. I'll provide better coverage and photos when I get around to it.