Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rusty chain squeaks loudest

Here's the obligatory self portrait. I took several, but this is as good as it gets, sorry. The pained look is from the all the squeaks my bike made tonight.

Egad! What a mess. This began Thursday when I rode in the aftermath of light snow - salt and sand on the roads again. I rode the bike hard and put it away wet - a no-no. I should have rinsed it at least with warm water. Note the rust on the chain. It squeaked like a mess of mice tonight on my ride. In between squeaks I noticed a rumbling from the bottom bracket. I think I have dirt in the bottom bracket bearing races. I'll tackle that tomorrow, but better clean the chain tonight.

I used to use gasoline to clean my chain, but have been using Simple Green for the past couple years. It says on the container it's non-toxic, plus it doesn't stink, and I don't have to worry about flames.

I gently wiped with a paper towel then draped over the back of a chair.

Well, it's not perfect, but it's as clean as I can get it. I'll use dry chain lube tomorrow when I put it back on the bike.

I use Simple Green on the cogs also, making sure to get as much grit and grease from between the attached cogs as I can. Then I rinse with warm water and let dry before I reinstall.

Shiny again, and ready to roll!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One day closer to spring

Cloudy today, but 54 degrees! Great day for a bike ride. More rain, snow, wind and freezing temps ahead, but one day closer to spring.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Moved the handlebars up and scabbed a brake lever from my wife's old Raleigh. I feel like a kid again riding this bike. I bought some tan bar tape to match the sidewalls, but I like the silver. I think I'll look for some hand grips.

The bars are high - I'm going to catch a lot of wind with this setup. I don't think I took very much off of the bike (freewheel, front & rear derailleurs, plus put aluminum rims on) but it feels really light. Someday maybe I'll run across an old brown Brooks saddle. Anyway, old Schwinn's back on the road!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Big Oak's New Fixie!

Well, my first fixed gear bike is done. I think it's going to take a little while for me to get used to riding it, but aside from a fall on the ice, it's pretty cool. This will be my disc golf transporter. I need to do something with the handle bars - they bent downward with my weight, just before I fell. Fortunately no damage to the bike or me. I'll need to reverse them, I think. I ordered mustache bars from my LBS, but they ordered the wrong bars. Anyway, I can pull them back up and ride them like my old Schwinn Collegiate.

Check out the crank. It's a Shimano 600 I bought in 1979. I had to reverse the chain rings to get a straight line on the chain. Someday I may get a different crank that fits this, but right now I'm excited to have a fixed gear.

It took some long overdue cleaning, but aside from the paint chips and road tar, it's mechanically tip-top again. This bike has been a great bike for me and I'm happy to be able to make it fully functional again as a machine that I can have fun on.

Thank you Jon from Two Wheels blog for inspiration and Thom from Old Bike Blog for your cleaning tips. Both of you guys have a passion for reusing old bikes and I've caught the bug.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yes, that's me, or at least my shadow. That means sunshine! Great to see it again. Nice to see the ground again. All of our snow melted in last week's heat wave and heavy rain. The salt and much of the sand has washed off of the roads now, so no excuse for me to get out and ride, except it's supposed to snow tomorrow with high winds. Anyway, it was a nice night to ride tonight.

Most of the ice is gone from the Cedarville Reservoir now, too. Supposed to get cold for the next week, so there may still be some ice fishing left this year.

Schwartz Road has a buggy lane for our large Amish population which also makes a good bike lane. This is where I usually ride on short rides (10 miles or less).

Just in case my boss is checking up on me, this is the time I posted this entry, not the time it says below. For some reason it says it is much earlier than it is.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I rigged up this little gadget to help me make the wheel round and to dish the wheel. It mounts on the chain stays. I can slide it close to the rim to get the wheel round, and then use the measurments to help me true. I stick my thumbs on each side of the rim to help me feel exactly where the rim needs adjustment.

After I trued the wheel I actually remembered to put the rim tape on. I've forgotten to do that before and ended up with a flat.

Here's a squirrel's eye view of the hub that the fixed gear goes on. Getting a little closer to getting this baby ready to ride. I still need to take the brakes off and clean them off, take out the bottom bracket, and stem and clean and re-grease.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Laced a new bike wheel for my fixed gear Schwinn conversion. Used Jobst Brandt's book, "The Bicycle Wheel", 3rd edition, published by Avocet, Inc.

I'll dish it and true it tomorrow.

Before starting, it's important to get the spokes, nipples, spoke wrench, oil, rim, and hub organized. Dog is optional. I built my first wheel twenty some years ago, but never built a good wheel until after I got Jobst Brandt's book. I've built several since then, and haven't had any broken spokes since, and the wheels hardly ever go out of true.
If you want to buy a well built wheel, try this web site: I've never bought a wheel from him, but his web site is impressive, and I believe his guarantee. Of course, you should always check first with your LBS, because they will probably have somebody that can build a dandy tire, and they are there ready to replace a spoke and retrue the wheel just in case they didn't get it exactly right.

As I built this wheel tonight, we watched "Across The Universe". What a great movie. The 60's were a really crappy time, but by God, we got through them.

Anyway, looking forward to riding my new fixed gear bike. I got a Formula flip flop hub, so I can use my new single gear freewheel, or my fixed gear.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Got to ride outside again tonight after work. Nice to have the snow all gone from recent major warmup, but supposed to be cold again for quite a while. I have been able to ride outside 6 times this year already, I should be able to get quite a bit of more riding in between snow events.

I plan to begin commuting to work again soon by bike.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Other Bikes

This is my oldest bike. I bought this in 1978 or 79. It's been a great bike, but I don't ride it very often. I'm going to convert this to a fixed gear bike. Planning to keep the paint all original for now. I'm going to build new wheels using a Formula flip flop hub and silver Weinmann rims. Will look for some other handlebars when I get the dough - thinking about moustache bars or upright bars. Would also like to get a brown Brooks saddle for this. I've never ridden a fixed gear bike before, but I'm looking forward to it. Will try to keep photos up to date as progress moves forward.

My other bike is a 1985 Trek 500. Used it a lot when I used to do triathlons, but those days are long gone. Fixed it up this winter (new cables, bar tape, rebuilt axles & bb). Rebuilt rear wheel also. Only have been able to ride it 10 miles so far. Waiting for salt and snow to go away before I take it back on the roads.

This bike has a Cro-moly frame and is pretty comfortable. I like the geometry. I think it would make a pretty hot fixed gear bike, but am not ready to do that yet.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lock on the Wabash & Erie Canal

Much of the Wabash & Erie canal has been filled in and essentially erased from the landscape. There are, however, a few structures remaining that show just a small part of how immense was the effort of building the canal. Here's a photo of Kerr Lock (Lock # 14 in Lagro, Indiana). Thomas E. Castaldi in his series of notebooks about the W & E Canal, published by Parrot Printing Inc., Fort Wayne, details the people and the work that went into building the canal. His notebooks are very detailed and meticulously referenced and interesting to read.

According to Mr. Castaldi, Lagro is a bastardization of the french "Le Gros", or "big body" which french fur traders called Chief O-sah-la-monee, a Miami.

I cheated here by not traveling to Lagro on my bike, but in my truck. Some day I'd like to ride the entire route from Toledo, Ohio, to Evansville, Indiana. I have mapped a route on roads that I think are relatively safe from Toledo to Delphi, Indiana, a distance somewhere around 200 miles. I plan to do some of this in June, 2009.

A blog I just found is Two Wheels - a blog about fixed wheel bikes. I have a Schwinn LeTour III I am thinking about making into a fixie as a result of Jon Grinder's blog This blog has opened a whole new world of biking to me. I like the simplicity.