How did I make it this far into adulthood without bike camping? Well, it always seemed like too much work to figure out all the logistics. Yet somehow I have been getting influenced by the growing subculture of bikepackers here in Seattle. Maybe it’s all the photos I see of Bikeworks youth rides to the… Continue reading Easing into bikepacking
I’m riding the Cascade Training Series again, and have been pleased by all the differences this year: Less pain/numbness on the bike. I attribute this to several factors: I started getting weekly massage last year, which has helped immensely with my neck mobility. In addition, the clipless pedals have helped to get my body into better alignment, with less… Continue reading Long Distance Road Machine
I tried clipless pedals for the first time a few months ago. And I haven’t fallen yet. Is it hubris that I just said that aloud? Am I going to fall now? Here’s my story. After doing several hours’ worth of research on different clipless pedal systems, I felt frustrated. Because I wanted to be able… Continue reading I Hope I’m Not Jinxing Myself
I’ve always considered myself a recreational cyclist and bike commuter, but that changed this year. Various forces have conspired to turn me into an endurance cyclist, and I can say that after 6 months of training, I am like a new person. Before this year, the most I had ever ridden my bike in a day… Continue reading What I was Meant to Do?
You’d think that after 20 years of riding bikes in Seattle, I would have at least tried to develop a trackstand at some point. Nope! It just occurred to me last week that I lack this completely fundamental skill. For those unfamiliar with the term trackstand, it’s the method that people use to balance on… Continue reading Learning to Trackstand
After a ton of tinkering, the Bianchi Randonneur is Seattle road-ready. It went from a piece of junk to prized possession in just 8 weeks. Here’s what I did to customize it. Spreading the Rear Triangle When we initially measured the rear dropouts, it looked like 126mm, the standard spacing for road bikes from the 70s… Continue reading A Seattle Winter Bike
One of the thrilling aspects of volunteering in the Bikeworks warehouse is being among the first to spot new interesting bikes that come in. And when those bikes are your size…then it’s time to decide whether you should snap it up for your own fleet. When this blue Bianchi Randonneur came in, what caught my… Continue reading Blue Bianchi Randonneur
Last year as I was getting into bike repair, I recalled that my dad had an old 12-speed bike sitting in the garage completely unridden since moving here in the winter of ’89. I mentioned to him in passing that it might have some value, and asked if I could take it back to my… Continue reading Peugeot City Express (Yourself)
Just picked up this bike for a rock bottom price at the Bikeworks warehouse after it had been donated the day before to a Cleanscapes bin at the dump. It was in surprisingly good condition. The only disappointing thing was a dent on the top of the downtube, (possibly from being transported with other bikes… Continue reading A Vintage 700/24 Terry
Wheelbuilding may be something that only .001% of people do, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I think everyone who likes methodical, spatial tasks would enjoy it, and I am pleased with how my first pair turned out. I did learn many things in the process: You can find some nice old hubs… Continue reading My New Wheels
The Trek 420’s handlebars were wrapped in some thin, gummed up fabric tape that was not designed to wrap handlebars. I think it was gaffer’s tape. When I started the arduous process of removing the tape, I was hit with the putrid odor of OTHER PEOPLE’S SWEAT. It had soaked into the tape, which took… Continue reading Crud
Working on all those early 80s 12-speed road bikes, I was wondering what it would be like to start with a light steel road bike in my size that was actually designed for the way I ride. (Hills!) So when this 1989 Trek 420 (heh) showed up on Craigslist for seventy (are you kidding me?)… Continue reading I Couldn’t Resist
Building up this vintage Apollo DeeLite frame is just one series of successes, followed by failures, followed by successes, and so on. I am sure learning a lot! Here is a quick sequence of events thus far: 1. The whole reason I get the Apollo frame in the first place is as a consolation because… Continue reading Failing Faster
I was all excited about the Bikeworks BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) day today. I knew exactly what I wanted to work on: A vintage Novara Strada road bike that I had acquired on a whim as a companion to my Novara Trionfo. What attracted me to this bike was the more touring-oriented frame, and… Continue reading Always check your downtubes
Christa and I used to ride our mountain bikes around the city while we were attending UW in the mid 90s. For some reason, she stopped riding her bike, and starting storing it on her damp Seattle balcony. After 17 years of ownership, Christa was about ready to donate this thing to Bikeworks, because she… Continue reading Christa’s Giant Iguana
After my troubles with my vintage Novara Trionfo’s Toba fenders that rattled alarmingly from their inadequate clearance, I consulted with Tom of Pie Cycles. He was confident that he could set me up with fenders using his tried and true techniques. I purchased some SKS Chromoplastic fenders, and brought it all over for Tom to work… Continue reading Fenders for Tight Clearance Achieved
Last year when I signed up for Bikeworks’ ABC class, little did I know that my interest in bikes would snowball to such enthusiastic levels. It’s just that I finally found a hobby whose depth/breadth was matched by its accessibility. That surprised me. Somehow after riding bikes for 20 years in Seattle, I had the… Continue reading Learning Acceleration
For about 5 years, I’ve been taking the same route from West Seattle to downtown with my mountain bike. It involves riding up the ramp of a lovely footbridge that crosses over the end section of the West Seattle Freeway. You know the place. Where people hang signs like “Snape Kills Dumbledore” for all passing… Continue reading Why Can’t I Turn Right Uphill Sharply?
I couldn’t resist this $65 find on Craigslist: A 53cm 1980s steel lugged Nishiki Custom Sport, hardly ever ridden. Now, you may be wondering why I just acquired another 80s red steel road bike. Is this hoarding? Well, first of all, it might be hoarding, but I prefer to think that I just got another… Continue reading I um…had to get this new bike
A few weeks ago I took what I thought would be the final step in converting my Novara Trionfo road bike into a winter bike: Fenders. I knew that due to the racing geometry of this frame, tire clearance would be an issue for me. I located what I believe to be a pair of… Continue reading Do We Have Clearance, Clarence?
After trying to ride home from Downtown to West Seattle a few times, on the Novara, it was clear that I would have to take the long way around, avoiding the more direct route that I use with my mountain bike. This road bike’s gear ratio just didn’t allow for a low enough gear for… Continue reading From Double to Triple Crankset
Here’s what’s difficult about improving an old bike: You may have to slog through a few disappointing pieces of advice until you find one that works. Even after spending a tidy $um at Aaron’s Bike Repair to do the initial fixes, (new brake levers, handlebars, freewheel cluster, pedals) I still knew the brakes were too… Continue reading Area Woman Does Not Have Man Hands
I signed up for the Wheel Building class at Bikeworks, because it seemed like the perfect intersection of several hobbies of mine. It turns out that even the novice wheel builder can create a wheel every bit as worthy (and probably more so) than the average wheel created by factory machines. The first week of… Continue reading Wheelbuilding: Who Knew You Could Just Do It?
Had to go downtown for a meeting today and decided to give my refurbished bike a spin. First impression: I can go really really fast on this bike! Since the route from West Seattle to downtown consists of about 2 miles of mostly rolling and downhill, then 3 miles of utter flatness, the ride was… Continue reading First Commute on the New Bike
I got my bike back from the shop, and I’m thrilled to finally ride it. After a hectic evening spent installing the new tires (which I did myself in order to save $20), it was too dark to ride it anywhere. So I had to wait until the next day. Sandra and I rode to… Continue reading Novara Trionfo, Partially Refurbished
For a couple of years, I’ve been trying to find a new bike. My 1996 Gary Fisher Aquila was fine for about 14 years, until I realized just how my riding on flat ground was limited by my mountain gears. (“Whoa! Did *that* person really pass me?”) But I didn’t really know where to start.… Continue reading Stealth Bike
Brakes, Brakes, Brakes
All about bottom brackets.
We learned about headsets today, and it was so nice out, we had the class outside.