Monday, February 15, 2010

a photo interlude

Straight from My Time Machine©

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What is Important

Yehuda Moon knows what's important!

Happy Valentine's Day

May you share many more miles with your significant other!

A Tale of Two Wheels.

Actually a tale of 2 wheels told twice over. Spring is on its way, or so I tell myself, and while I get an early start on my spring cleaning I came across a couple pairs of wheels I built. I wanted to try Sturmey Archer's new 3 speed coaster brake hub, their 5 speed drum brake, and their Dynamo front drum brake hub. I'm already familiar with the front drum brake and love how it looks with it's sheriff's star cut-outs so I built a front to the 3 speed with one of those hubs. I planned on building a his & hers city bikes but haven't found frames I felt were worthy of these wheels so I decided to get a couple of custom frames made my way to roll these wheels on. Future blog entries will follow the design, frame building, parts and accessories selection, how and why I decided to do what, and how it all turned out. A little peak into the ideas about the bikes is his bike will have a frame built around the British influence of old Raleigh and Phillips bicycles and have the Sturmey Archer X-RD5 5 speed and drum brake rear and the X-FDD Dynamo front hub with drum brake. Both wheels were built with DT spokes and Ambrosio Excellence black anodized rims. His bike has 700 x 38c Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Her bike frame will be built as a Mixte with the design influenced from French Peugeots and Gitanes with Sturmey Archer's SRC3 rear hub with 3 speeds and a coaster brake, or 'back-pedal' brake, and X-FD drum brake in the front. Those wheels were built with black spokes just because that was my mood when I built them. I like the contrast of the black spokes against the (somewhat) polished aluminium hubs. Because her bike doesn't have a Dynamo or electricity generating hub it will receive a "bottle generator" either on the frame or fork. Her bike has 700 x 38c Duro Protek "Puncture Protection" tires in case He isn't there to be chivalrous and fix a flat (but future blogs will have a how-to on fixing flats and other maintenance because knowledge makes for confidence and confidence is sexy) . While I think Schrader valves, the type that is commonly found on cars and can be pumped up at most any garage, are more convenient my choice of rims doesn't allow for the larger valve and so I installed Presta valves. Presta valves require a special brass adapter or a floor pump that can handle both common types of valves. I chose internal gear hubs for both bikes so that there wouldn't be any chance of chains falling off on potholes (of which my city has lots and lots of!) or on country roads. Also by not having derailleurs makes it easier to fit a chain guard to protect pant legs from getting dirty and will add more style to the bike. It's fairly flat where I live and the gear range offered by 3 and 5 speed hubs should be good enough for comfortable riding on more than 90% of the roads here. As for the rest of both the bikes they are only thoughts and ideas but will most definitely have fenders, comfortable seats, front and rear lights, baskets and/or racks, kickstands, and bells. After all, it's only sensible!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In the beginning Man made Bicycles and life was good.


Definition as an Adjective: Having, using, or showing good sense or sound judgment. Cognizant; keenly aware. Perceptible to the mind. Designed for practical ends.

Synonyms of Sensible: Intelligent, sagacious, rational, reasonable, practical.


Definition as an Adjective: The act, sport, or technique of riding a bicycle.

Definition as a Noun: A person who rides or travels by bicycle.

And with the above is how this blog will start. Bicycling and sensibility. I think they go hand in hand, or at least should. I don't have a concrete direction for the blog other than it will be my thoughts, ramblings, found and given links and photos of bicycles and cyclists. I favour cycling for pleasure and transportation and will steer away from all competitive aspects of bicycles and racing. Everything has it's place but lycra and sub-twenty pound bikes will not be talked about much, if at all, here.

To continue I think a little introduction is in order. My name is Peter and I have been an avid cyclist for 39* of my 41 years on this earth. (*yes, I started 'riding' when I was 2 on a pedal-less bicycle). You may call me Peter or Baron. I answer to both. Baron is as in Baron von Drais and it's a moniker I picked up for this inter-web thingy. I have lived in the suburbs, the countryside, and in small cities in Ontario and Quebec Canada. For those not familiar with Canadian climate this means my riding season is an enjoyable 8 or 9 months of the year. For most of my school years I lived in the country where I had a couple options to get somewhere; walk, ride my bike, ask my parents for a drive, or stay home. Walking is something I enjoy but I've found as I get older I have less time to spare and going for a walk is something of an indulgence. Cycling in the city or even from the 'burbs to the city is as fast and sometimes faster than driving my car. Oh yes, I do own a car. In fact for business I sometimes keep a small van too. One person, two motor vehicles. Evil, huh? I off-set that 'karma' (get it?? car-ma?! okay, not so funny I guess...) with my 11 or 12 but ever growing collection of bicycles. I enjoy variety :) Back to the beginning - living in a countryside village that consisted of 2 intersecting roads meant 2 things; there were no shops to have bikes repaired so I had to learn to fix my own and that some of the vacant lots around the farmer's fields were sometimes used as impromptu dump sites so finding bicycles (read: spare parts) was common. From there I developed skills as well as a small collection of bikes to repair my bicycle and my friends bikes. After 3 years of repairing my own bike and with a little bit of hanging around the LBS in the neighbouring town I was offered a job. For better or worse I started working as a shop mechanic when I was 13. Many many years later I have worked in very small shops, large 'corporate' shops in the heart of the city's shopping center, to bicycle manufacturers as well as seeing myself self-employed in a sort of 'freestyle' business consisting of being on hire to 2 or 3 shops in the same summer, selling better quality and fashionable used bikes to students, and Internet sales [eBay] of bicycle parts and collectible cycling items. I've also been employed in ISO9000 specialty welding and fabricating shops. At present I work as a mechanic for a race oriented frame builder. No, I won't mention the name of the company as I don't think it prudent or relevant. I also continue to subsidize my wages and my desire to eat lots of sushi with my own hobby business. When I started working in shops a tune-up included the setting of cotter pins into the crank arms. Now I rarely see bottom brackets with adjustable ball bearings and almost never see gears that don't go 'click'. Times have changed but bikes still look the same. Through all the fazes of cycling I've seen and all the bikes I've owned I have to say I enjoyed them all. Also through all these years I have liked bicycles for transportation and recreation and maybe because of my German upbringing I *need* things to be practical. And with than loosely knitted stream of thoughts is where this blog will start. Tally-ho!