torquill: Art-deco cougar face (Default)
I decided that I was going to get on the bike today if at all possible.

Adventures and gaming )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (dork)
I rode my recumbent bicycle (Lunokhod) to work the other week, and while it worked okay, I could feel some sort of grinding in the back axle again. Not the first time; I've taken that axle apart to clean and lube it several times now, to good effect, and it's quite possible it had gotten enough mileage on gritty muddy roads to need it again. So I sighed and set some time aside to do a hub job.

The first part of the saga: repairs )

The second part of the saga: the test drive )

Next time I have to fix Lunokhod I'll think about today, rather than grumbling about high-maintenance bikes. :)
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (techie)
I have been idly looking at websites on coaster brake overhaul, since I had to take one apart on the Buckeye and I had never dealt with coaster brakes before. What's baffled me is the references to brake shoes... this hub had no shoes in it. So I dug a bit deeper, and finally looked at the hub to get a make and model.

It turns out this is a New Departure Model D. I should have expected antiquity, given that I dated the bike by its chain to the mid-40s, but it simply hadn't occurred to me that the hub would be so old as to have a totally different design. Elegant, to be sure -- it doesn't wear nearly as much as the ones with shoes in them, which is doubtless why it's survived this long. I'm sure there aren't any parts to be had for love or money, which is why it's a good thing it's in such fine shape inside.

It is not, however, a typical coaster brake assembly. I think I can say with some certainty that I will never see one like this again... *sigh* I'll have to be sure to photograph it extensively before I put the hub back together.

Technical notes on how to reassemble it; of little interest to anyone else )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (techie)
I fixed my bicycle stand today. The bottom-bracket cup was ill-designed plastic, and had cracked through, making the stand unsafe; my dad and I used his machine shop to turn a galvanized pipe fitting into a replacement. (I had originally thought to line it with foam, but it turns out that simply riveting the old plastic cup to the metal replacement produced a very solid part.) A couple of hours of work, and I once again have a functional portable bike stand.

That's a good thing, as I have about six to eight bikes to fix up before Burning Man. Three of them are for our own use, but the others are scrap bikes I hope to sell... one came back from the Burn last year, and the rest were abandoned in [livejournal.com profile] eastbaygreg's backyard. I can get cheap parts in Berkeley, and most of what they need is TLC anyway. Proceeds from bicycle sales will go toward buying a new battery bank for the RV, which it desperately needs (and marine batteries are not cheap).

We also made a simple tool to get the bottom bracket off of our friend Helena's oddball low-rider bicycle; I need to lube that, and that keeps me from having to break the chain in order to get the fixed-gear back wheel off. I hope to have that ready to go by August at the latest.

I'm set for a schedule of yard work/car work in the morning and bike tinkering during the heat of the day, under the dense shade of the backyard here. Assuming the repaired stand holds up, I can also set up my bike repair shop at the Burn again. And, as always, I'm available to do tune-ups for a reasonable fee.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (dork)
I rode Opportunity, my hybrid cruiser, downtown to have lunch today.

I can ride it reasonably well, though I have to pedal with my heel on the right side because the flexibility just isn't quite there yet. Other than that, it's not giving me any trouble. I was a little surprised that I feel just as stable on it as ever, though it's a little weird to be so far off the ground after riding Lunokhov these last few weeks.

I'll start doing relays of Opportunity (which I have the muscles for) and Lunokhov (which makes severe demands on my quad muscles) as soon as I'm sure I can manage 2.5 miles on the recumbent. I'd like to be able to easily ride both. Once I start relay (and later switch to alternating days) I can start taking the train to school. No more long car commute!

I'm also getting into the habit of wearing a helmet. It's that much more important with Lunokhov, since a recumbent gives me so much less visibility to cars, but I figure I should probably learn a lesson from getting dumped off the cruiser in January and take reasonable precautions against such an accident having a more severe outcome. Helmets aren't proof against head injury, but they can help.

I've been contemplating putting a sticker on it: "Better a dork than a vegetable".

Then again, I own a recumbent... I'm not sure that dorkiness is something I'm worried about.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (dork)
Well, I ended up buying the bike in Soquel, which was a Tour Easy from about 15 years ago... it was in excellent shape, fully equipped, and it was a steal at $600. Even if it didn't work out for me, I figured, it was a good investment, since I could probably sell it at a modest profit.

After a few wobbly trips, though, I think I'm getting the hang of it quickly. It fits me well, and it flexes my knee only to the limit of its comfortable range... if I can keep a 100-degree flex in my knee, I'll be fine. I'll start out by taking it between the parking garage and Hutchison, and maybe across campus... then into town a bit later, to ensure I'm ok with traffic and the streets... and after I've built up some stamina, I'll try the trip out to FPS and back.

It's been a while since I've been in the saddle, and this bike requires so much more of the thigh muscles (all of them, nearly) than an upright bike. I used to feel it in my calves on the cruiser, but not with this one. It'll take working up to long trips, definitely. I'm getting flashbacks of using the recumbent exercycles at the gym. :)

It's such a cool bike, though. Black, with a nice solid vinyl seat that provides a full back. And it flies when it's in the right gear. Wow, I love it. It even fits into my car without a fuss, after removing both quick-release wheels. The sole hassle there is that the back brakes aren't quick-release as well, but when they're properly adjusted, it's easy to get the tire past them anyway. After a bit of practice, it shouldn't take me more than five minutes to pull it out and assemble it at the train station. Though getting it on the train may require removing the wheels again to reduce the 7' length...

It came with a cupholder on the front, and a good luggage rack, and even a cat's-eye headlight. I may want to change the handlebars for a wider version -- one where my hands are a little further apart than shoulder-width for better control -- but otherwise it's perfect. I need to change out the tubes as a precaution, and I've already adjusted the back brake which was too tight; after that it's road-ready. Oh, and I should get a flag for visibility. I have a D-lock (my spare) and a cable lock my dad lent me, though I ought to buy another so I can give his back soon.

Future project: a removable rain-canopy made from flexible plastic rods and light waterproof material. :)

Now I just have to figure out what to name it.

Edit: The more I think about it, the more I like "Lunokhod". If for no other reason than the multiple people who thought I was loony to buy a recumbent at all. :)
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
My knee is really swollen... I was on it too much yesterday (as I am every Thursday), and today didn't help. I'm very frustrated by the stalemate going on. It's healing quite well, but my doctors admit that I am indeed using it too much.

To that end, tomorrow I'll be driving to Mountain View and Soquel to look at a couple of recumbent bicycles listed on Craigslist. The prices are reasonable -- about $500-600 -- and they look like nice bikes. We'll see whether a recumbent in general suits me, and whether these in specific fit me.*

My logic: )

We'll see how I like it once I get into the saddle. Hybrid trikes are more stable and pretty nice for flat riding, but they start at $2,500 even on Craigslist... I want to be damned sure that's what I want before paying that sort of cash. I figure that even if the bike takes a little getting used to before I can start and stop reliably, I'm closer to the ground to start with, right? ;)

* Yes, I have tried to think of every other possible option to spare my knee. Others have brainstormed in an effort to find something else I could do. This is, essentially, my best hope for getting healed up, if it works.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (deadish)
It's been a tiring week.

Monday )

Tuesday )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
While I was driving out to the bike shop today, I was playing "spot the B box". These are the ubiquitous large metal cabinets next to the street, which are painted unassuming colors of grey, beige, or green, and which blend into their surroundings so well that they're functionally invisible. There's one every few blocks to serve the local area's telephone distribution needs... I managed to find almost all of the ones along my route across town, but with a couple of them I suddenly realized that the reason I couldn't see it was that I was staring directly at it. Thus, the game to spot the invisible.

Bicycle chatter )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
Events conspired this morning such that I didn't take my usual morning train. After a bit of contemplation, I drove up instead.

Juggling bicycles )

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Torquill

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