Posts Tagged With: bicycles

Bicycle Gardening

Yes, what to do with the surplus of rusty and twisted bicycle wheels that no longer are able to serve the purpose for which they were made? If  you are like me, you just cannot bring yourself to send them out to pasture at the metal recycler’s – somehow that just doesn’t seem right.

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Well, I found some other uses for these wheels – in the garden. Check these out for starters:

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Towers for scarlet runner beans – add some EMT conduit to those rusty old rims, splash on some spray paint to cover the rust, and VOILA! in no time, scarlet runners will thank you for providing a place to climb, and you will thank them for adding their lovely scarlet red flowers to the beauty of your garden. The bees will thank you also!IMG_1601 2

As you can see, the towers are “geared” for the job. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.

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Beet cages. No, not to keep the beets in. Rather, to keep the hungry jack rabbits out. There is a very healthy population of rabbits in the city, and last year when I went to harvest the beets from my plot at the community garden, I discovered that the rabbits had “beet” me too it. (Sorry, I couldn’t help that one either) So this is a test run to see  if this will work.

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Broccoli protection. My green thumb partner grows the very best broccoli, starting the seeds inside while snow is still on the ground and then moving the plants into our wicking raised beds. We usually eat broccoli right up until the snow flies in the fall again. This year we are going to be selfish and not share with the cabbage butterflies who like to infest the plants. I wrapped crop cover around the frames, allowing sunshine and rain in and keeping the butterflies out.IMG_1605

There is a shot from further back with both frames covered. Oh, yes, and an excuse to show off the cargo e-bike that I built last year. That is my favoured ride when going to the community garden to check for those pesky rabbits!

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Grocery cargo…

Working CB

Winter has been with us for a while and my “new” cargo bike has been safely stowed away while waiting for  a return to spring. This one was built in early summer 2014 when unusually rainy weather made it unsuitable for sailing. As this year comes to a close it is time to post some photos before a newer “new” version replaces it, hopefully with some more improvements. Photos tell the story of this build better than words.

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The cro moly donor frame – with damaged forks and a badly rusted in seat post

 

 

 

 

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To make it easier to line up the various sections of the bike, I built some stands to hold them at the correct level.

 

 

 

 

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Solid central kickstands are essential on long john cargo bikes. When surfing the net one day I came across some photos of an approach that I liked. Unfortunately I have not been able to find that site again so that I could credit the builder!! I am certainly grateful to him for sharing – if he should ever happen upon this post, I want him to know my appreciation. These pictures show the bike upside down on the bench.

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After adding paint and some components, this was what came out of the workshop:

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The cargo area has been built to be used either as a flat bed, or with box sides sized to hold two grocery baskets.

 

 

There are some marvellous builders that are building cargo bikes. I would like to acknowledge one in particular, John Lucas, of Cycle Trucks based in West Sacramento, California. He makes some great cycles – check them out. I like his X-style step through frames – this is my attempt.

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This bike has been a lot of fun – folks often comment on it when I am out shopping. I added a lot of features to it, but of course, there are always ways of improving. With that in mind, could this be the donor frame for the next one?

Next donor?

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Moustachio – the transformation is complete

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Once the components were chosen, assembly could take place. Wheels were greased and trued. Duro Sierra tires were selected – puncture resistant, with reflective sidewalls. Derailleurs were installed – the front one original and the rear one new – a Shimano Alivio RD-M410. Cabling was configured for derailleurs and brakes.  Wrap-around fenders and a sturdy rear carrier were included in the mix, adding functionality and style. My Lion Bellworks bell was transferred from the Expediter light duty cargo bike to the new city bike.

Then for a new experience – wrapping the moustache handlebars. Before tackling the job, I went online and discovered that there are as many experts on the topic as there ways to wrap handlebars. By combining the ideas and approaches that seemed to make the most sense to me, the job was completed and the results very satisfying.

Next up – a test ride, followed by a photo shoot. The test ride proved exhilarating – the light frame and narrow tires coupled with the ability to “get down” on the moustache bars produces a fun ride that turns heads when you stop long enough for folks to appreciate it. Great fun.

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Moustachio – the ingredients for a transformation

Well, in the last post, it was clear that some there was still a lot of work to get that old Norco bicycle looking presentable. It required removing ALL of the paint, including the original very nice two tone job, and in addition, all of the decals and stickers. I will spare you the details – suffice it to say that it took time, elbow power and several sheets of sandpaper. Once the bike was “clean to the bone”, it was time for the “paint booth/bike shed” and the metallic Pearl Glow paint that had been selected. Here we are, just hanging around, waiting for paint to dry…

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Next? the fun part – after cleaning old components that were to be recycled, it was time to select and find the new ones that would make the transformation. You may recall that I mentioned something in the last post about moustache handlebars… Let me tell you the story of the origin of this style. It goes back to the 70’s in Japan when school children fell in love with the drop down handlebars of racing bikes. For some reason, school authorities felt that these bars were too, well, too riske!! and they banned the use of them by school children. But the kids found a way around that by modifying the original style. Perhaps it is the wanna-be-rebel side of me then that is drawn to this style of handlebar… :o)

So, lets have a look at those “rebels”. Here they are, resting nicely in a stem that I picked up a year ago, originally used on a lowrider bike that had been trashed. Yes, those bars may not look like much yet, but take time to wait for the outcome.

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I knew that the Shimano quick shift combination levers that were originally used on the Norco bike could not be used with these handlebars. Bar end shifters are in common use with moustache handlebars and it is easy to see why. However, I did not have these and I did not want to spend the money to buy them but there was an alternative that I was certain would work…

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Yes, something ‘old school’ – Shimano shifter levers from a road bike from the 70’s, attached to the stem. There were a collection of these shifter levers in a coffee tin in the “parts” department of my workshop  and by mixing and matching and searching through a pile of old road bikes that were destined for the recycle melting pot, I was able to put together a set that looked good and worked well.

Next – brake levers… My research had disclosed that non-aero brake levers were the best choice when using moustache bars and while going through that pile of old road bikes, I found a possible candidate set. I was not completely satisfied because the hoods on them were long gone. About the time that I found these, serendipity stepped in. An ad appeared on Kijiji for a “mint condition vintage drop bar shimano brake lever set”. The ad described them as coming from “a 1978 Miele road bike, the drop bar is a “Sakae Custom Road Champion”  in near perfect condition minus wear from original install…  The brake lever set is Shimano, both levers come with hoods which are in good shape”. I inquired to see if the levers could be purchased separately but was told that they would only go as a set. An hour later, the vendor messaged me back to tell me that someone wanted to buy the handlebars only, and so I quickly went to pick up the levers and hoods – here they are…

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As you know, it takes a bit more than handlebars, shift and brake levers to make a bicycle but in this instance, these were the most interesting components. With these now on hand and with the paint finally cured, check out the next post to see the final outcome of this transformation.

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The Jack and Jill makeover – the RESULTS

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These are the parts that go into a bicycle and this is the pile that was left after “Jill” was taken apart. Now lets see the results after  a manicure and some new “duds”. First the paint:

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Remember those rusty, rough looking bikes that we began with? Already looking different, right? Next its time for the nuts and bolts basics – cleaning and greasing and adjusting bearings, and running new cables to make sure that brakes work and gears change. All the important but boring stuff – it needs to get done to make the best out of any bicycle. After thats done, we can get to the fun part – let’s see what else we can do….

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Let’s start at the top, with new Velo anatomic comfort grips. Along with the grips, aluminum Tektro linear pull brake levers, designed for four finger ergonomics.

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New tires and tubes start us on the road with CST Commuter street tires – smooth rolling with a continuous central band lined by water runners and triangular shoulders to enhance traction. Braking is important on a bicycle and dual colour brake pads were installed. These pads are designed with channels to guide excess water and grime off of the braking surface. For those days when a rider might be caught by a sudden rain, full coverage fenders were added front and back, constructed of light weight but strong polycarbonate and installed using stainless steel hardware.

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KMC Rustbuster chains were installed to provide long lasting trouble free service. The LU-214 City Pedals from Wellgo were selected – they are made of one piece aluminum with a Kraton rubber gripping surface and Cro-Mo machined spindles. Light weight aluminum bottle cages as well as convenient kickstands were added.

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Classic alloy rear racks were also added to make it easier to carry “stuff”.  And to ensure a comfortable shock absorbing ride, a Rhyno Comfort Web Spring saddle was chosen, with thick foam top, coil springs at the rails and a web spring.

So how did we do when all comes together?

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There you have it – the Jack and Jill Makeover. Available for you at Village Cycleworks. Time to dig those bikes out of the garage, bring them on over, and get the NEW LOOK. Turn those dusty, rusty, trusty “mountain” bikes into modern, city loving, commuter friendly, exercise ready Prairie Cruisers!! Why buy something new when what you have is still very serviceable and only needs some new additions and improvements to bring it back to life? Give me a call and lets talk!!

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Jack and Jill – a make-over of matching bicycles – the BEFORE pictures

 

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In a few days, the paint will have cured on “Jack & Jill”, a pair of bikes that are getting a “make-over” in the Village Cycleworks shop. I picked these bikes up a few weeks ago – they were destined to be crushed, melted down and “recycled” into new metal products. I decided to use them as a sort of a test case. How much consumer interest is there in a different type of recycling? – one that requires human energy and effort rather than mechanical effort and petroleum based energy.

Here are the “before” pictures  of these “Made in Canada” bikes. They looked a bit rough around the edges with paint chips and scratches and surface rust on handlebars and wheels. The tires still held air but were showing their age with checks and cracks. Brake and derailleur cables were rusty and seized and no longer able to function. Seats were in decent shape and still as uncomfortable to ride on as they were when they were new. With all of this going against them, I wanted to see how they would look after they had been given a little TLC and few additional components to bring them into the 21st century. Stay tuned to see how they turn out.

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