Monday, December 10, 2012

My kind of video - musical instruments made from recycled materials!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Homebuilt no-weld recumbent trike

A fellow dropped by the re-Cycles shop with an interesting machine. I've seen quite a few bent trikes in my time, but this is the first that was entirely bolted / clamped together AND it has full suspension! The guy (who's name I've forgotten) said he now laments the full suspension, as it added a lot of weight to the machine. (No kidding...) But one does have to admire the ingenuity in its creation and the patience required to find just the right part.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another (sort-of) DIY trailer

The re-Cycles shop has received a few trailers this year. One of them was an older Chariot model that had been modified in a very familiar way. This design would originally have the wheels outside the frame using single-sided hubs (like a wheelchair). For whatever reason the previous owner decided to use double-sided bike wheels, which meant added more framework to hold them. And it looks like he was possibly inspired by my trailer webpage or the DIY trailer posts on this blog.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"How a Bicycle is Made (1945)"

A cool vintage movie from Raleigh. The lack of protection for the workers is sobering (belt drives, along with buffing and grinding wheels are not enclosed and waiting to remove a finger or more), but the industrial processes are fascinating.

Monday, July 23, 2012

New trikeport

The shed / trikeport I had built years ago for the cargo trike had to be moved, as my ground-floor landlord was going to build a deck off the back of the triplex. The 'port was relocated to the back of the parking area against the rear fence, and was easily moved, as I had deliberately made it light and transportable in case it ever had to moved for building maintenance or whatever. But, the landlord had also requested that I rebuild the thing to look a little less, well, trailer park. Can't say as I blame him, but the old one looked as it did because it was fashioned, as many of my projects are, from found materials, and also in a bit of a hurry when I'd moved in.

As compensation for the hassle of rebuilding it, my landlord would pay for the finishing materials (covering boards and roof) so that it would match his deck and the adjacent dumpster enclosure. During demolition I was very glad I had constructed the old trikeport with screws instead of nails, as this meant for an easy take-apart and allowed me to re-use most of the wood and even most of the screws! Along with some wood from my stash plus a few boards from the old deck the landlord was demolishing I had nothing to purchase aside from a new pair of door hinges and a box of screws.

I forgot to take photos of the demolition, and even of the first aspects of (re-)construction. Below shows it all framed in, with some temporary thin plywood sheets on top to keep any rain off. The long bottom 2x6 was originally the top board for the old 'port, and the new top one is from the landlord's old deck. Stacked at left are the new siding boards. Also note that this new 'port has a floor, unlike the old one. This is to get it up off the ground for winter access, something I could not do with the old one because its door pretty much scraped the driveway as it opened.

You'll notice that this trikeport is a fair bit larger than the old one (which had to be kept low to stay under a window and still have a slope for water drainage). The old one was also made just wide enough for the trike itself. I don't have a full photo of it, but this should give a general idea. (Say Hi to Jett the cat while you're at it.)

This new one is higher mainly to let rain water drain over the rear fence, as having it drain to the left would just mean water seeping under the trikeport following the slope of the land. While the trike goes into hibernation once salts hits the roads in winter, this 'port was made wider to allow me to stuff the red trailer alongside (with the trike budged over a bit), which will save me having to drag the trailer in and out of the basement during winter use.

Leaning against the structure is one of the double doors being built. The big green tarp that acted as a roof cover and side cover for the old 'port was kept as a temporary roof and front cover during construction. (It has gotten a little worn out in spots after five years but I plan to cut it down into a useful smaller one.)

Adding the siding boards went quite quickly, and the whole thing went from ghetto to nice in short order, even though it was not yet complete. The metal pole in the ground is to mark for the left-side parking neighbour how much room I need to get the trike out, as the adjacent dumpster enclosure (just out of sight to the right) means a hard swing to pull the trike past it. This pole will soon be removed once the various bits of construction fun are over and he can move his car further away.

The roof consists of thin plywood over 2x4 framing. Instead of using the usual asphalt shingles the landlord and I agreed on roll roofing, which is essentially peel-and-stick sheets of asphalt designed for these sort of low-slope applications. I decided a drip guard over the door opening would be a good idea, and fashioned one from a piece of L-shaped metal trim I had lying around and stapled in place. A piece of wood moulding was set against it, and later the gap was caulked.

Along the wide top of the fence I laid down a strip of used coroplast (corrugated plastic) to keep any standing water from collecting, though the run-off should dump it right over. The roll roofing will just tuck over it.

Here's the roll of roofing stuff. It was very heavy...

I lucked out with the roof dimensions, as I had built the thing not knowing how wide this roll stuff was. The roll was 3'3" wide, and the roof was 6'3' wide (also happens to be my height!), so this meant only two lengths would have to be cut and I'd still have the correct amount of overlap between the sheets. Doing so was a bit tricky, as once the plastic was pulled from underneath the sheet stuck rather quick to the plywood. Once I figured out the technique it went fairly smoothly. Also, I had to be rather careful not to tumble off the low side, as the neighbour's yard on the fence side is two feet lower than our property, and falling would also mean crashing into his net of carefully planted squashes! That probably would not have hurt all that much, but would have been very embarrassing...

Once the roofing was on I added a length of the siding boards to cover the top edge of the higher side.

A pair of eye-bolts were inserted into the doors, and fitted through is a surplus bicycle U-lock for security. Also note wheel ramps made from pieces of the same boards used for the doors (door boards were 5-footers, same as side boards, but cut down to 4 feet).

Given that I don't build things like this very often I must say that it looks pretty good! And a shout-out of thanks to friends Rob and Paul for the loan of their respective power tools (circular saw and chop-saw).

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Wheel Art

Hey, where did I go? Sucked into Facebook land with my photos, mostly. And otherwise just busy. But time to get back to the blog!

I've always liked bicycle related art. A few months ago my sweetie and I noticed an upside down fork with front wheel in someone's yard, spinning in the wind due to some tape or plastic put between the spokes. I took that idea and ran (cycled?) with it.

As usual, the re-Cycles shop was the source for all the bike parts. I started with a road bike handlebar, with one fork/wheel in the usual position, then jammed a sawed-off straight bar into the top (well, bottom since it's upside down) of the stem to go into the ground as an anchor. I originally added a fork to each upturned end of the road bar but the wheels ended up too far apart. So I added some inboard mtn. bike stems and then used straight handlebars to extend the outboard forks. The wheels are each held in place with the usual axle nuts but I also added some old-school wingnuts (vintage quick-releases) for decoration.

There was then the usual fussing over angles and height (sort of like hanging a picture on a wall), but the general idea was for it to resemble a flower.

Nothing yet has been added to help catch the wind and make the wheels turn. We'll get to that eventually...

Monday, March 19, 2012

@#$%^& taggers

I've been told that graffiti taggers don't hit public art such as murals. Well, I guess the "good" ones don't and the stupid punks do. The re-Cycles shop had both its front door and volunteer-crafted mural (and the wall of our neighbour's house) hit last week.

Fortunately, they used white paint and not black, missed pretty much all of the front door's lettering, and hit mostly the blue background of the mural.  We had kept the mural's paint colours for touch-ups, and we were able to cover things up rather nicely! Thanks to volunteers Melinda, Carla and Matt for their hard work, and also for the weather for giving us a 20C day in the middle of March!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Internal gear hub tear-down

Winter bike #2, the one with the Sachs Spectro hub, made a cracking sound one night and then was reduced to about 3 gears. So I had to open it up to find out what went wrong. Fortunately RGB has overhauled these hubs before, and so we met up at the re-Cycles shop.

I only thought of videoing once he started showing me how the gearing-changing mechanism worked, and it's now on YouTube.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

New old winter bikes

My faithful old winter bike was getting pretty rusty after 8 seasons, and I was also getting rather tired of the mtn. bike frame geometry and wide tires. It was a very stable set-up, but with a studded front tire it was annoying to ride on those days of clear dry roads. Sure, I could have another wheel handy with smooth tire and swap it in, but I also felt the need for a second bike for back-up purposes, if nothing else.

So as an experiment last winter I took an old CCM skinny-tire bike, swapped in an aluminum front wheel (for decent braking) and used it as a "dry roads" bike. I ended up using it as often as the mtn. bike, and quite enjoyed how much faster and lighter it was, especially when towing one of the two trailers.

This year I wanted to go the full route and build up a pair of hybrid bike frames; one with smooth tires, another with winter tires (studded front, knobby out back). This way I would have my choice of bike for whatever road conditions, as well as a back-up in case one bike flatted or broke something right as I was heading out to a gig. So through the season at the re-Cycles shop I kept an eye out for suitable frames / bikes. Both bikes were to be built with very low gearing for trailer-towing in winter conditions, so top gear is usually the cruising gear, and everything else for uphill or towing. If I want to go fast downhill I'll happily just coast...
First up is called Winter Bike #1, only because it was the first one I put together (WB2 is further down). A late-80's Nishiki touring frame came in. It needed a fork, and the one from my deceased (hit by a taxi) hybrid bike luckily fit just right. The frame has some rust and even a small dent in one tube, which allowed me to not feel bad about using what was once a nice frame as a winter bike. This beast has smooth tires for those days when roads are clear and I have some distance to travel and don't want winter tires adding drag.

I ended up with very tight clearance for the 46-36 double chainring due to the cartridge bottom bracket I happened to have on hand, and should perhaps put in one with a longer axle. Yes, the rear shift cable just touches the underside of the front derailer cage.

Indispensable front "crap flap" was added to the bottom of fender to keep slushy salty spray from hitting (and sticking to) the frame.

Modern v-brakes added for excellent stopping power (remember that I often tow a loaded trailer in winter since the Mighty Cargo Trike goes into hibernation).

Yellow crate on rear rack adds both practicality and visibility. Seasonal Xmas led lights run off a small 12v battery w/inverter, though will be removed very soon.

Adjustable stem is great for getting the bike dialed in, but needs a little attention to keep from gradually wearing out and getting loose.

Simple non-indexed drivetrain, with nice wide-range 6-speed freewheel of 14T to 32T!

Lightweight aluminum handlebar, fat grips for winter mitts, and light and bell stuffed on there. Note stylish yellow cable housing.

Winter Bike #2. It was a complete Nakamura hybrid bike, showing some rust and so like WB1 no qualms of using it for winter. I kept the cantilever brakes but had to build new wheels (my 6th and 7th times ever doing so), since the front was getting a new generator hub and the rear a used internal-gear hub. (Yes, these Xmas lights are also coming off soon.)

 This is what a studded tire looks like. It does a nice job of grabbing in slippery conditions, and you know it's working when the non-studded rear end fishtails. Having the rear wheel wash out is usually recoverable, but having the front end do so usually means a wipe-out.  :P  On the old bike I did try riding both tires studded one year but the amount of drag was not worth it.

This bike gets an added treat - a Shimano generator hub! This little device will supply power to the not-yet-installed custom led lights RGB is putting together for me. No friction from this thing like from those old sidewall generators that leaned against the tire!

Shifter for the Sachs 7-speed hub. Now only available in twist-grip form (which I dislike, especially with big winter gloves) this thing is like gold, as the entire unit of shifter/cable/hub clickbox has to be replaced as one. 

If you've ever tried to mount a single chainring on a crank meant for three, you'll find the bolts are too long, because they are made to join the larger two. While short-stack spacers (used for BMX and fixies) can be purchased, the cheap solution is to take a worn out chainring and carve away just the areas around the mounting holes, leaving nice, if slightly irregular, spacers as shown here

Drive side of Sachs 7-speed hub. The click-box is where the indexing takes place, and it usually comes with a metal guard arm that clamps to the axle and projects out to protect the unit if the bike falls over. Since the rack-mounted crate sticks out even further I can leave the guard off, which means one less things to fiddle with during a wheel / tire change. Rear cog is a 23T from my old winter bike, while front ring is a 38T.

Left side of Sachs 7-speed hub, showing coaster-brake (back-pedal) arm and receiver for trailer hitch (WB1 has same receiver, so both bikes can tow either of the two trailers). Maybe I should paint over some of that rust...

Unlike WB1, this rear wheel did not get full close-fitting fender since that design often packs up with snow. So a plastic spray guard is attached under the rack. And like pretty well all my bike, the rack holds the handy crate.

I fastened this piece of platicized cardboard in place to keep snow churned by the rear wheel from dumping into my boots and also on the chain. Time will tell if it simply just packs up with snow...

Front mount for spray guard, with a twist of stiff wire to keep things in place.