Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Let them eat cake

Hello long time no see. Did you find the place alright? Would you like a refreshing beverage?

There has been some progress since last time dear reader. I have made a number of important parts and am well on the way.

The hub has been brazed and is ready for final machining. Here it is before it's refreshing drink of cola.

Now after with just some light rubbing.

Makes you wonder how good that stuff is for you eh?

After a refreshing beverage it's time for cake! How else do you cut cake in a workshop? With a hacksaw blade of course. Usually the hacksaw blade is meant to be cooked into the cake but woolies were out.

After the refreshing beverage and cake with metal filings it was time to bend the chromo handlebars.As it turns out that stuff is tough, tonka tough!

Considering the monumental effort it was to bend the handlebars that are only a couple of cms across the decision to outsource the bending of the backbone to a shop was a particularly easy one. Plus it improves our chances of a nicer result!

The rear forks are essentially complete apart from cutting off the steerer tube.
I've done the step but I don't have a picture of it, just imagine a step.

So things left to do.
- Make Steering yoke insert- cranks (like last year cut off cog)
- Get backbone bent
- Join rear forks and steering yoke after cutting to size.
- Clean up and shape steering yoke
- Cut handlebars and join
- Make brake lever
- Thread and cut spokes (plus make a few more)
- Build front wheel
- Add tyre to front and rear wheel
- General clean up of joints and parts
- Paint and beautify.
These photos are for Don of the joiner piece that joins the headset and handlebars. They are not finished being machined they don't fit mine fully. The machined part fits the holes. I don't think there is an exact science just thick enough and long enough to make a nice join.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Spicks and Specks

Welcome back after a hiatus my apologies to my loyal reader for this delay. The last few weeks have been a bit slow but interspersed with a myriad of little jobs keeping it going.

Now there has been some progress since the last time we spoke. I showed Brett the rim I joined and frankly he was under-whelmed. So it was time for plan V, so I spoke to my good friends at Velocity and got a nice aerohead wheel built on a nutted hub and radial spokes which I reckon looks pretty sweet. The challenge is always finding the right internal width to take the rubber.

I would have preferred black but beggars can't be choosers when it comes to finding a narrow diameter, narrow width wheel for a penny farthing. Brett informs me after I bought it and showed him that he found the joiner for the other rim he had that I could have used to build a wheel. As they say timing is everything!

So with that decided we could get to work on the rear forks. As I mentioned previously I had purchased some forks from Bicycle Revolution at West End. So it was time to remove the drop outs (fork ends) and cut it down. Interestingly the forks used brass to join the drop outs. Well not really interesting really to anyone with a life. But it did make it easy to get them out you just add heat!

Out they pop. They are still a little warm though. 

After that I cut off the end of the forks and we convinced it to widen to take the axle.(I will cut off the top etc but I left it on to have something to clamp onto)

After the convincing, Brett tacked them in place we checked to make sure it was straight. 

Brett will finish brazing them off during the week as we ran out of time. I also drilled and bent the hub flanges into shape and have tapered the holes so they won't break the spokes and they will sit nicely against the hub.

Now the more important part of any class is standing with your hands on your hips or crossed supervising watching Brett work. 

In the last class I also put the thread into the headset which was very hard until we found the cutting compound.

Other odd jobs included cutting out the part that you use to attach the bearing to the forks and bent and filed the handlebar grips/ends.

In other Betty related news Michell from last years class and I did the Brisbane to Ipswich Ride on the weekend. Although only 65kms or so it was a very tough ride. Close to 700m of climbing and a strong headwind along the undulations on the Centenary motorway close towards Ipswich. I only had to walk one little section of around 20m in Ipswich when I started cramping and the hill kicked up and it was all too much for this little black duck. Betty enjoyed her day out meeting new people and was a perfect lady with no broken spokes.

I give this weeks class 4 howling dogs out of 5.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Play School

There's a bear in there
And a chair as well
There are people with games
And stories to tell
Open wide
Come inside
It's Playschool

Hello boys and girls and welcome to this weeks episode of play school. In this weeks episode we'll have ever so much fun.

First lets look through the windows. Now my favourite window was the round window, I never really *felt* the square or arched window, as luck would have it that was the very window I was in search of tonight. The mission tonight was to sort out my rear wheel. The plan was to bend a rim off an old bike down to around a 20-24 spoke hole size and approximately 16-18 inch diameter (Commonly safety bicycle rims come in 28, 32, 36 spoke but they can be any number of holes) and find a hub that would match the right number of spokes.

I found a rim I liked the look of and had approximately the right number of holes to turn down to 24 holes.
 I cut out the joiner piece.

Then Brett showed how to get the joiner piece out. 

I then turned it down and cut to size unfortunately I miscounted and ended up with a 23 holes and around 17 inch. Oh well back to the drawing board. I went in search of another rim and a hub in here. The Aladdin's cave of old bike bits. 
After spending half the night trying to find another rim and being told I couldn't cut and bend a brand new Mavic Open Pro 4 light weight eyeleted road bike rim for my rear wheel (pity it would have been awesome) I went back and looked at the other pile again for about the 17th time that night. The biggest wheel in the picture below will be my front wheel 54 inch.

After looking at the options again I was about ready to throw a rock through the round window. I decided it was time for a nice soothing smoke to fix my conniptions.

Ah that's refreshing it was time to look for a hub again after a lot of searching I narrowed it down to around 10. I didn't have a rim to match the spoke count so my net was set rather wide. I decided to go to plan B which was use a rim that was turned last year and drill the right number of holes for the hub.The pro's of this choice was it could be drilled to any number of holes and would match my front wheel. The con's of this rim was it's a fraction larger than I was hoping (18inch) and there is a little warping of the rim as deep V rims aren't really designed to go down to 18 inch however to be frank it's not enough to stop me using it after a frustrating 3 hours of chasing circles.

So I still need to see if this rim will work as there has been a little warping of the joint and the joiner is proving a challenge to administer.

I knew I should have stuck with  the arch window.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Can we fix it?

Greetings from your illustrious blogger Bike Snob Brizvegas aka Tamedog Stone Device. I'm most certainly not plagiarising  Bike Snob NYC aka Wildcat Rock Machine not at all.

This week I was in fixit mode. I brought Betty in for a viewing and major wheel rebuild. There were a lot of oohs and aahs as they all admired the fine work that my classmates from last year did on my bike. I can't give them all the credit I did put the horn and seat bag on. Here she is in her birthing suite reliving the 6 months gestation period for her final emergence from her cocoon into a beautiful butterfly.

Now we were here on a mission to sort out the spoke issue. As I have mentioned previously I had this tendency to break the odd spoke or 5. So first step was to de construct the wheel. For those of weak dispositions or emotionally challenged please look away now. 

Now this was a painful experience especially when Brett found the cordless screwdriver after I spent over an hour or so pulling the wheel apart. That tool would have saved me say around an hour or so.. So Brett the Builder had a look at the rim and noticed when I drilled the holes I didn't offset some of them by the 1BTKB7DH (1 better than Kevin Bacon 7 degrees hole) which would have caused the spokes a lot of undue strain and pressure causing them to break so can he fix it?
I sure hope so! Brett redrilled the holes proving that I should have outsourced the drilling in the first place. Now the wheel is in for reconstruction and fingers crossed that will reduce my need for replacement spokes! Oh yeah other stuff happened in the class as well.

People stood around a table looking at stuff..

People stood around looking at me pretending to work.
People, who need people are the luckiest people in the world.
- Tamedog Stone Device
 Ps. There are no similarities between the legendary Bike Snob NYC and this blog. None what so ever he's funny, intelligent, observant and has a helper monkey where as I have a helper Gibbon. Completely different.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Action stations

Well gentle reader it's time again to put down your quill, stop beating your slaves and kick back and read this blog. Since the last post we've had a couple of classes and it's been all go.

Class before Easter
- Obtained replacement washer for the one I gumbily lost for the spoke header machine
- Headed a whole bunch of spokes.

In my spare time
I decided that I wanted a brass brake on this bike. I went to George Weston and Sons and got some 1 inch thick brass to turn into a brake shoe.

As it turns out when a bloke tells you that brass is soft and can be machined easily generally has BIIIIG machines to do this. This new shoe has gone onto Betty (there is more work to do on it making it prettier but it's getting closer) the old one will go onto Racing Rose as it's lighter.

I found a set of front forks that will be used for the rear wheel at Bicycle Revolution (the Aladdin's cave for old parts in Brisbane there are yet to be discovered tribes of bearded cyclists wandering around there I'm sure) that I stripped down and cleaned up ready for shortening and attaching to the backbone. I'm still working on what hub I'll use I need a 24 spoke hub.....

I then cut out the hub ready for Brett to machine into a perfect circle.

I also turned some grips but I'll talk about that later.

This weeks class
- I bent a whole bunch of spokes
- I made some cuts into the axle to make it easier for the mill machine to make a perfect cotter pin connection.

This for me is the biggest advance in this years class not having to do that fricken cotter pin thing I mentioned previously here and also here. I'm still having problems with Betty's cotter pin connection I've shimmed it (inserted small bits of metal to sit between the cotter pin and axle) to stop the movement (mostly). Even with the worlds most expensive and difficult to get British style cotter pin (slightly wider and shallower angle) it still moves.

- I outsourced setting up cutting, marking and drilling the handlebar ends that hold the wooden grip. (thanks Jonathan)
- I cut out the rough shape for the steering yoke
- I ate some mint chocolate biscuits

Here are some gratuitous working shots.  

Cutting the fork blades.

Good King Brett holding court with his loyal subjects.

Believe it or not things are coming together rather quickly. I'm trying to get as much of this bike done before our first child is due on 2 July.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Great Scott!

It's time to go back to the future!

Doc Richardson and Aaron McFly are back in a all new adventure.

Yes ladies and gentlemen roll up, roll up for the greatest show on earth again. Like Back to the Future II and it's cousin Back to the Future III I'm back baby for another year of p-far making madness!

Now how did this fantastic turn of events come about. Whilst riding Betty around Brisbane and down in Evandale she kept mentioning she'd like a sister. Not just any sister oh no that wouldn't do for Betty, she wanted the 6 Million Dollar Man version with greater technology enabling her to go further and faster. I looked into her dark eyes and how could I say no.

So it was decided I'd go back and build a penny using cromoly steel and stronger velocity rim. Which I'll talk about in future posts.

This weeks class was a great event meeting my fellow class mates, watching a video and then they got their hands dirty profiling a rim. You'll notice if you look carefully at the picture below there is always one in a class!

Whilst they were doing the rim I went off to show how to head the spokes. There was of course a couple of slight problems with that considering last time it was like asking Gomer Pyle how to clean a torpedo. Bound to go wrong. Which of course it did I couldn't find one of the spacer washers then after 15 minutes of searching found it, then moved the machine out of the way of the rim going through the doorway and lost the washer again essentially bring the spoke heads to a halt. Well can't say I didn't warn everyone! Got a bit of home work doing the cotter pin connection for the axle and looking for a set of rear forks I've got one set that will do but will continue to look to see if I can find something else.

Great Scott x13!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Big wheels in little Evandale

An All-Australian Bureaucrat got dragged into a centuries old mystical battle in Evandale, reminds me of the movie Big Trouble in Little China  . The big weekend was here Betty was psyched I've never seen her so excited and full of pip and vigour for her first road racing (i was also mildly looking forward to it). It was a beautiful fine day in Evandale predicted temperature hitting 32 degrees a nice dry heat. On Brett's advice I entered basically all the events except the biathlon my knees are so not up to that kind of torture it's why I ride and not run.

There were 68 competitors from across Australia and from NZ, Germany and Canada. I was number 66!

Event 1 The Slow Race 
The slow race rules are simple the slowest person across the line who continues to move forward wins over 25m. I got to the line nervous mounted and almost immediately was in trouble the camber of the side of the road caught me by surprise. I lost my footing turned, over corrected then my feet hit the wheel and I stalled (all at about 0.0001kmh) and I decided to jump off the back rather than fall off the side. FAIL. See it in it's glory below. Jeff has exceptional bike control as you'll see!

Event 2 The Slalom
Fastest around 10 cones I think over about 100m or so.
Lined up terrified my primal fear of this event was based on not wanting to hit a cone and crash. From my vantage point the cones looked about 5cms apart. I decided discretion was the better part of valour and to take it easy, really easy. I comfortably mounted and weaved my way through them in no danger of even coming close to the other competitor or the cones. As you can see below. The highlight for me was the commentator even knew Betty's name! Worth listening with the sound on.

Event 3 The Novice Race
Two laps around the course. As you can see below the course is chock full of corners, not just any corners rather sharp corners.
So approximately 10 of us lined up for what could be one of the most dangerous starts/races of the day a bunch of novice riders racing! Off we went without incident. I started at the back row and slowly worked my way forward towards the front half of the group over the first lap by honking it down Russell st. My cornering speed was slower than a disabled sloth but in the straights I tried to make it up. Heading into the final corner I was 4th and put my all into the final straight and managed to snare 3rd! THIRD. Hooray my first placing at Evandale I was super excited but mostly I was happy to have not crashed! 
Gokulan showing me how to corner with me in the distance behind him!

Event 4 The Launceston Airport Relay
4 laps one lap each. I didn't know I was entered this in fact it was a couple of other QLDers Sally and Peter who tracked me down and we made a QLD team. I was second off and with my participation we were in no real risk of a place in this event I have no idea where we came but it was a bit of fun.

Event 5 The Sprints
A straight out drag race over 200m first person over the line wins and goes to the final.
I was looking forward to this one as there were no corners. I took off and another person got ahead and I was in no real danger of catching but I forgot that it was first over the line only so I kept sprinting to the end and came second in my heat. Which frankly meant nothing but it was fun. Wee!

Event 6 the Obstacle Race
Run, Carry bike, Wheel bike and ride over about 200m in the straight.
Now I knew I was not going to do any good at this as I despise running with the white hot intensity of a million suns. I hatched a plan, a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a fox. Lining up I got down into the sprint position much to the amusement of everyone. It was part of my psychological plan to put the others off in the hope they would all quit. I took off and ran as fast as I could I was first to my bike and realised three things.
1. This was exactly as far as I could run
2. I forgot about the picking up the bike and didn't know how.
3. They didn't quit the race.  
I picked up the bike somehow put my elbow through a spoke and pottered back, pushed the bike back and rode it back I finished the race around last I'd imagine. I was known as 'the sprinter' after that little episode.

Technique was everything!

Event 7 National Championship Race
4 laps and first 2 into final. I was in heat 2 however I had to race back to Di and Michael's to fix my spoke. Sometimes I can take a minute to replace other times a lot longer. I was in a real rush. Guess which one it was? Yep with much swearing I changed the spoke I missed my heat but luckily Rachel organised me to be in a later one.
Lined up a bit puffed and stressed. I got on and to be honest the race was a blur I appear to have come 4th in my heat.

Event 8 Parade

Event 9 The Miss 'n out (b Grade)
Last 3 in the lap are out.
There were approximately 24 starters in this race so we needed to do around 8 laps. Having learnt from the Novice race I decided to try and start on the front row in this one. I got a nice position close to the corner and off we went to the sounds of crunching and grinding. We got a little down the road and were told to stop so we slowly rode around the lap for the restart (turns out someone fell mounting and someone ended up putting their foot through other wheel to catastrophic consequences to the wheel). I got off to a good start in the second start and was riding in the top 5/6 riders after a few laps I got up to around 3rd or 4th. At around 3 laps to go I thought I'd better make sure I was in the front . I accelerated in the straight to the front expecting the others to sit in behind but I got ahead. I continued on with as much pace as I could around the corners and extended my lead until I was comfortable and won the race. WINNAH!

Taking the corner at scary speed.

Phillippe, myself and Jeff

Event 10 The Handicap
4 lap race in the opposite direction with people starting on go, 10secs, 20secs and 30secs.
Now this was a mind game as I was finally getting used to the corners and now they throw my brain out by reversing the direction. I took off in the 10 second group. I have no idea where ended up I think it was OK somewhere in the top ten at a guess.

Event 11 The Celebrations
A great dinner in the hall reminiscing about times past some as long as 8 hours ago.

What a day! Got to meet and spend time with fantastic people in beautiful surrounds with Penny Farthings! I *heart* Evandale. Next post will be about the Clarendon Road Race.