Chicago Critical Mass June 2009
June 30, 2009, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


ccm 609

ccm 609

ccm 0609

ccm 0609

Well, the bike prep that I alluded to in the previous post was for the June 2009 edition of Chicago Critical Mass. The prepping of the Raleigh 20 was helpful, though towards the end of the ride some horrible sounds started issuing from the front hub. I tried to fix it myself, but alas, it is now in the hands of the LBS.

Above are some shots of the ride at the beginning, just a few minutes after leaving Delay Plaza. There was between 2-3,000 riders I think on this ride. The weather was perfect and it seemed like all had a good time.


Ride Prep
June 26, 2009, 6:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
loaded raleigh 20

loaded raleigh 20

Glancing at the handout, that I received from Metra, the local commuter rail line, there are no bikes allowed on trains… Since the Taste of Chicago is happening, there are no bikes or liquor allowed on the trains this weekend.

So my decision has been made for me. I will be taking a folding bike to the city. I just checked, my old Raleigh 20 fits in my Dahon Bolsa bag. Since I can bag my bike, I will be able to bring it on the train as a carry on.

That said, I did a little maintenance before taking tis bike to the city. As usual, I took the bike for a spin around the neighborhood, which includes a couple of hills – to test the brakes and gears, and a few sweeping turns.

The rear hub was not finding 3rd gear for some reason. So based on my learning courtesy of Sheldon Brown, I played with the tension on the index chain going into the hub.  After some fiddling, I was able to get complete slack in 3rd, and was able to fnd the other 2 gears as well. After that I put a drop of oil down the creaky brake and shifter cables. I also put a drop of oil in the front hub, and closed the protective cover. I also, put a little white lithium grease on the seat post as well as the stem. I then pumped up the Schwalbes to 70 PSI and put some Ice Wax on the chain. I also added a little halogen battery light to the bars. The bars are pretty small in diameter so I had to use a few layers of old inner tubes to shim the light to the bars. I should be good to go.

OT- New Rain Barrel Set Up
June 24, 2009, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

PIC-0050Above is a pic of one of my rain barrels that I installed over this past weekend. This is a bit off topic, but I think that it has something to interest folks that are interested in bikes.

Contrary to what my neighbor said, I did not install the barrels to be an “eco” dude. In reality, I wanted to start to control the drainage around my house, with the barrels, I can collect the water from either of the gutters from the back side of my house, and use it for whatever.

First, I pre ordered the food grade 55 gallon barrels from Lake County. When they came in, I borrowed a truck and then brought them home.

As for installation, I bought 6 cheap cinder blocks to act as the bases. (The barrels have spigots at the bottom and then need to be raised a bit to allow the water to flow.)

I needed to attach the barrels to the downspout, so I repurposed some accordianesque drain tubes that I had in the garage. I borrowed a Sawzall (from the neighbor that mocks my econess) and made some clean cuts in the downspouts about a foot above the tops of the elevated barrels.

I fashioned the drain tubes so that they will allow the water to flow from the gutter to the down spout, through the tube and into the screen covered top of the barrel.

I did some rummaging this morning and found an old Toro hose reel from the 70s that I will use to drain the barrel. It should work perfectly to irrigate an area of the yard that I recently seeded with shade grass seed.

Now, I just have to wait for some rain.

NYC Companies are using Bikes as a Marketing Vehicle
June 23, 2009, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This post from PSFK, gives a few examples of companies adopting the bike as a way to grow their brand awareness.

Having ridden a bike around Lower Manhattan, myself, I think that this is a great way to get the word out.


I Heart Old Innertubes
June 18, 2009, 1:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

PIC-0040I hardly ever ride my road bike anymore, but I still keep a couple of old inner tubes around as they seem to com in handy.

The pic above attempts to show a bracket for my Planet Bike headlamp. While the bracket itself has some rubber on it, it was not enough to hold the light firmly on the bars.

I took one of my old road tubes and cut off about an inch, and then cut a slice down the middle. I then stuck it around the bars and put the bracket over it and tightened the clamp.

The light no longer moves. While it is not that elegant to look at, it sure works well. I even repeated the procedure with the vintage German bell that I found at a houses ale.

Ride in the rain
June 17, 2009, 4:50 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I had a meeting in the city this evening, and  I paid attention to the weather, so I brought along my goretex coat and a wool baseball cap. I rode the Root Beer bike to the train, locked it up under the roof overhang, and boarded the inbound train.

The first cross town classic game was tonight, but I think it got postponed, as  it has been raining pretty steadily since about 4.

On the train ride home, I caught up on some reading and I didn’t really pay attention to the constant rain on the ride. The ride home soaked every bit of me that was not covered by the goretex coat. I did forget a headlamp, though, so the mist, rain and gloom was downright challenging to ride in. Having an old British bike to ride in this weather seems to make the most logical sense. The riding position, fenders, and internal hub are made for this!

Once agin, there has been an extremely odd weather pattern hanging over the area for months now. Where do I live?

Night ride on Root Beer Bike
June 13, 2009, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

PIC-0028It is not that often that I ride bikes at night. The other night, I met an old friend for dinner. I had planned to be home before dark, but I did bring a Planet Bike headlight and nead mounted lite just in case.

As I was flying down the bike path, I snapped the above shot with the phone cam. Whoa.