Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Greetings and sultana's my illustrious reader. It is a pleasure to welcome you back. This weeks class was not on due to another stupid school holiday. So I thought it would be a good time to address some very important questions I've had whilst building a p-far.

The top five questions asked when someone finds out I'm building a p-far.
  • Is that the bike with sorta the big wheel and small wheel? Yes
  • Why are you building a P-far? It seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • I'm sorry did you say you were building a penny farthing? Yes
  • Really why would you do that?  It seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • Are you mad? Yes
Now these questions are to be expected when you are awesome. Unlike Q&A on the ABC I don't have a Slovenian Philosopher debating with an Egyptian Born Democracy Activist it was just me, myself and I, but don't fear the debate was long and fierce. 

I thought I'd address in more detail the main question the why is it so? When I was first considering enrolling in the course I did a list of pros and cons I feel it's time to share that list.

  • Excellent for apple picking.
  • They are rad.
  • I finally get to buy a tweed outfit.
  • I can head-but magpies when they swoop.
  • I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles.
  • Incredible in the moment focus whilst riding. 
  • I can grow a beard/moustache.
  • The satisfaction of building your own bike.
  • Not so good in the McDonald's drive through when buying a hot apple pie.
  • They are rad, so you'll get stopped by everyone any time you go in public. 
  • Tweed itches. 
  • Low hanging branches.
  • I can see my whole life flash before me as I crash.
  • Incredible in the moment focus whilst crashing. 
  • I can't grow a beard/moustache so will be mocked by a whole new group of people.
  • The satisfaction of building your own bike, and being the only person who can repair it.

Today I was reflecting on what I've got left to do in the next 5 classes. I then spent 20 minutes in the foetal position breathing into a brown paper bag.

  • the bearing holder thingy to be brazed to forks
  • my handlebars ends/grips brazed to handlebar
  • headset bolts etc
  • rear forks brazed to frame
  • Backbone cut
  • steering yoke brazed (I haven't shaped this yet properly either)
  • foot step brazed
  • rubber put on wheels
  • front wheel trued
  • The seat mounted
  • Braze the plaque on 
  • Heaps more polishing and filing and sanding
  • Paint it
  • learn how to mount and ride the thing
  • Build/modify a rack to transport it
  • other stuff I've missed?

I asked Brett about all the things we needed to do. He indicated that it 'Should be heaps of time as long as you remain uninjured' so not to mince words I have no chance. 


This image was sent to me from an un-named class mate she felt it suited me for some reason so thanks Janine. Needless to say the next 5 weeks of class are going to be busy really busy so I'm going to need to prioritise my work flow and using JIT (Just in Time) principles will make it. So first things first I'm gonna grow a beard.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rusty hands

Greetings gentle reader. Recently I noticed that a lot of the things I made for the p-far were rusting faster than a mongoose on heat. Upon mentioning this to the 'hood' aka the 'p-fars'aka the 'bretheren' they mentioned I must have 'Rusty Hands'. This perplexed me as I'd never noticed my hands being made of metal before but they explained in very clear terms my hands were the cause of the rust. Guess which forks are mine...

Yep the ones on the right.

This perplexing phonomonononon explains a few things...
- my ability to turn a P76 into a pile of rust in a couple of hours (although some may argue that is the natural state of a P76)

- why post-apocalyptic Salad Fingers has been following me around asking about my spoons...

- why my friends in the class all keep their distance from me so I don't touch anything metal of theirs. Even to the point of locking themselves in a cage... It's good to have friends.
Look at them in there trying to ignore me, little do they know that my rusty hands will turn that galvanised metal into dust in mere seconds. Wmahahaha!

This week there was no class but I've been working hard to build a truing jig for my big wheel. Since Park Tools very short sighted business model means they don't make a truing stand for a 52.5 inch wheel I had to 'Brett one up'. It's not what you would call sophisimacated but with a bit more tinkering it should do the job. I've put an initial tension in and so far the wheel is looking pretty good.

Pity when I go to true it there will be nothing left of the wheel thanks to my rusty hands.

I know it's hard to get a real perspective just how big the wheel is. So I thought I'd use the international standard of measurement it's a smidgen taller than 1 WESYO (Wide Eyed Seven Year Old).
Considering my rusty hands I might make a heavier duty version bike next year that will last longer.
I bet no one's going to tell him he can't get rad

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Big wheel you are beautiful

Today's blog starts with a multi-guess question

Which class in 'Aaron's top 4 classes he's been looking forward to' did we do this week?
1. The first class
2. The class the bike is together
3. The class where we ride it for the first time.
4. Building the big wheel.

Have you worked it out yet? It's my most fiendishly cunning quiz to date, so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a fox. Don't mind me I'll wait while you think about it......... for those too thick to work it out the answer is at the bottom of the blog.

I was so excited about this class I couldn't get the smile off my face.
Thanks electro smile! The twitching is hardly noticeable, the convulsions on the floor however have been arousing suspicion, I've found since I'm smiling while frothing at the mouth people think I'm joking around...

Now it wouldn't be class without some silliness. This week was Rooke's turn with the mini-farthing I believe he's building for his mini-Rooke. *insert evil laugh*

I recently composed two poem's that may help answer the multi-guess question...
We're on a mission and we're wishin',
someone could cure our lonely condition,
Lookin for wheels in all the wrong places,
Not big wheels just 700c,

Some frustration first inclination,
Is to become a monk and leave the situation,
But every big wheel has a light of hope

If you are looking for the rythem to read it to your friends and family try this song for the timing Bust a Move

Whilst I was on a role in baring my soul here is another poem for those interested
I like big wheels and I can not lie,
You other brothers can't deny,
That when a bike rolls in with an itty bitty frame,
And a round thing in your face,
You get sprung.

Also able to be timed to a Sir Mix-alot song. It took hours of painstaking work I guess in all modesty they are so awesome they're multifaceted!

Since I've been playing with My Movie Maker lately this week is another montage. I know, I know, you don't have to tell me it's awesome (and not at all over done) but I hope you enjoy all 40.6 seconds of building the big wheel I've had to reduce the quality to post but enjoy.

So this is how big my wheel is 52.5inches without the rubber.

For those interested we used a 5 cross pattern for lacing the wheel pretty unusual but partly possible due to the nature of the wheel (meaning you go over 4 spokes on the same side then under a spoke on the other side creating 5 crosses I hope).

So the wheel is laced but needs to be trued now so I decided to take it home. One thing I failed to consider when doing this was fitting it into the car. I thought there would be heaps of room. Until I found it'd only just fit one way in the car. I think when I get the rubber on it won't actually fit in the back.(this photo is a bit deceptive the hole for the back door is smaller than the inside)
Oh well that will be future Aaron's problem.
Ps. The answer is number 4- building the big wheel.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Wheely good time

Welcome back friends it's always good to have you come to my little blog. Would you like a cup a tea, a bex and a relaxing time? Well you've come to the wrong place! This week was an action packed pun filled class. I hope you won't be two-tired by the end of it but us cyclists have heaps of wheel-power.

Now of course it wouldn't be a class without some weird stuff happening first. Janine got her handlebars back with brand new shapely pears (handles) and it appeared all her Christmases came at once! So she partook in some EWR (extreme wheel-less riding) around the workshop!

Then Daryl showed us a jig he made to attach the yoke/steering plate to the steering pin. It'll make attaching the two together much more accurate. Thanks Daryl.

Very importantly recently Shane did a fantastic diagram of the parts of our P-Far. Thanks Shane I'm sure my reader will be pleased to know the proper names for the parts instead of the thingy that attaches to the thingy. My copying is a bit rough but you get the idea.

We'd been in an uncomfortable holding pattern for the past couple of weeks, like a wobbly fixie rider track standing at lights in front of a line of traffic unsure when they could take off head first into traffic. But Spoke-Master Brett recognising this had us working together this week like a well oiled chain to build our small wheel. I was so super excited I got spinderella to cut it up one time!

Brett had kindly cut the spokes for the rear wheel to length and put the thread on them. Then it was up to us to build the wheel. Instead of photos with written commentary this week I've curated a photo montage to music. It's just how I roll.

Wow!... I heard you say in your head. But wait there's more! To improve on that I'm harnessing the awesome power of moving pictures here it is just after putting the spokes in.

As a special offer to our readers tonight it may seem like I've gone crazy but we'll even include the next video with music! This offer is only valid for the next 50 readers.
Taa Daa! After spending 2.5 hours going cross eyed over making the wheel true it is mostly there.The lump you might notice is a low spot from where the wheel was joined not much you can do about that.

Ps. If anyone suggests getting a camera that saves video in .MTS file type feel free to calmly take their suggestion then tell them to cram it with walnuts! Unless you enjoy doing the following...
- to play these videos from my Panasonic I had to download a MTS viewer to watch them as the Panasonic software didn't recognise the file type,
- then download an MTS converter to convert into a readable format for those occasions say, when you want to watch it on any other device in the world?
- editing in Windows Movie Maker.
Easy peasy. I think I'll take that bex now.