Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Post MS150

We did the MS 150 this weekend. It was a great time. Every year I say "This is the best organized ride ever!" and every year it gets better.

My sponsors raised over $2,000, my team raised raised over $80,000 and the ride overall has raised over $1.7mm. Not bad, but this is just the beginning of our fight against this devestating disease.

Day 1, I only did the 35 mile route. I had my old Burley Samba tandem with the kiddie cranks, and my twins (7 years old) took turns in the stoker seat. They did great and we all had a good time. At this age, they don't provide a lot of movtive power, but the course was fairly flat. The bike probably weighs 60+ pounds by the time its ready to ride, and with 50-60 pounds of stoker, it gave me a reasonable workout.

Day 2 started with rain - so Mom decided to take the kids home. I got out my Randonneur bike with fenders. BTW, one other person, with a Breezer, had fenders. As it turned out, the rain stopped before we began and the roads dried out. As long time readers know, this bike is built for comfort. With the rack, and a partially full bag (spares, tools, energy bars, rain cape, etc. I may be up to 30 pounds.

Getting the kids packed and off delayed my start, so I was the 2nd to last wave to leave (8:25am) . Within a mile of the start, I cut a sidewall on my front tire and the tube went out with a loud pop. I don't generally carry cuffing material. Unfortunately, with the late start, all the mechanical support had moved forward, so I needed a SAG to the first rest stop (which was only 8 miles up the road). On the other hand, Doug Pence (official sweeper) was cool to met - he does the moto-pacing at our local velodrome.

This is a well organized ride with 18 SAG vans operating, but because I was so far behind, it took forever to get a ride to the first stop. It took until 10:15 AM to get back on the road. Shortly before making the turn for the 75 mile route, a pair of young fellows passed, making me the Caboose. Part of my strategy with this bike is to spend less time in rest stops - and this strategy worked to good advantage here. I'd stop long enough to wipe my face with a wet towel, and then put it around my neck, refill my water bottles, eat 1-2 small snacks, drink a small bottle of water, and push off. In this way, along with steady pedalling, I was catching and passing people by the third stop. This continued throughout the rest of the ride, assuring a mid-pack finish.

Since then, work has begun on the track frame for Aram. The steerer and fork crown are attached, and the brake boss is removed from the crown to provide a more track-like look. The crown is a Long Shen with built in rake. It's a hollow sloping crown with triangular cutouts on the sides. Fitting things up in the jig, it looks like the fork will come out at 360mm in length. This is as planned, allowing a little extra room for an oversized (more than 22mm) tire. The fork will have 41mm rake giving 50mm trail. The trail is on the short side of stable - so it should be fine, but quick handling.

There's a little more polishing to do on Sarah's head tube, but its looking pretty good. It'll be done this week.

And that's about it from here.

The bike rode well. On the road, one doesn't feel its weight. Its a nimble handler, but steady enough that I'm comfortable putting my elbows on the brake hoods and clasping my hands together in front to tuck on the downhills at speeds in the mid-twenty miles per hour. Between the 28mm tires and the sprung saddle, I didn't have the usual day 2 sore butt.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


This coming weekend I'll be riding the MS150. Most of us know someone with MS, but many of us aren't aware that we do.

Your help can go a long way towards finding solutions for MS. If you can spare a few bucks, just link (on the right) to my MS site and sign up.


PS: the function that displays progress and donations seems to be corrupted on the MS site - don't pay attention to what it says. Alternately its showing only 2 donations, or combining all of this year's and last year's donations.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Never estimate something you've never done before. Sarah's bike hasn't made it to the painter yet.

There is progress. The plates on the the top of the seat-stays are now polished, and look pretty good. The edges of the plates aren't as sharp as on stays that I've done without polishing. It looks like there's something more to learn about polishing to the edges without rolling them.

The seat-tube is reamed and honed, and a seat post tested in it. The keyhole on the back is cut out too. Rather than use several hacksaw blades taped together, I cut the slot with a Dremel metal-cutting wheel. The wheel has sort of a bayonet mount on its shaft for quick changes. This also allows it to flex on it's shaft - so be careful and don't force it. Anyway, it produces a nice clean, quick cut. Recommended.

The head-tube is milled and faced. The bottom bracket is chased and faced. And, generally, everything is done but polishing the head-tube.

I started by trying to sand the larger surfaces of the tube using a palm sander, hoping that the random sanding pattern would avoid scratchs and make subsequent grits easier to do. Instead, the pattern left by the sander hid any blemishes in the surface of the tube.

Practice shows that parallel strokes leave a surface that's easier to read for blemishes. Working through a grit, I use several directions of sanding before finishing with strokes parallel to the axis of the tube.

Even with this trick, it can be hard to recognize deeper scratches in the surface until one gets to a level of grit that can in no way take it out. So, I've been starting with 120 grit and working my way through 220, 320, 400, 600, 1000 and 1500. Except everytime I go down 2-3 grits, I find a scratch that forces me to move backwards through the grit.

Having done that several times now, I tried buffing the surface using a Dremel mop in the flex-shaft tool. The problem is that the mop is too small and its possible for the chuck to touch the tube. Ouch! Back to the 120 grit.

So, my challenge now is to find a bigger mop and get the tube polished. And on to the next project.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sarah's Bike

OK, here are some pictures of Sarah's bike, pre-paint. It's mostly ready to go - the stainless still needs to be polished. Now that these are being posted, I see that only the short fork got photographed. There's a longer one as well to try different front end geometries.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quickie Update

Things have been slow on the framebuilding front.

Sarah's fork is now ready for paint. The return spring holes for the cantilevers were drilled last night. The brakes fit and look good. Overall, the finish looks fine.

Work on finishing the frame continues. Lug edges look good as do the filets and edges of most braze-ons. The exception is the stud for mounting the rear-brake cable pulley. There are a few file marks, scrapes and scratches that need cleaning up. Also, the stainless needs polishing.

The headtube is coming along, but there are a few deep scratches (source unclear) - but these are mostly cleared out now. Sanding near the lugs takes a bit of extra work. I don't mind if a little filler shows through here, as long as it appears to be flat with the surface of the tube.

It looks like another 4-5 hours of sanding and I can pack this off to Gordon. Then it's off to a track frame.

Oh, I did some photos last week, but they just weren't clear enough. I'll try again this week.