Posts Tagged With: recycle

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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Lemons and Grapes – Rhonda’s new makeover bike

One of last year’s projects has spawned the latest effort from Village Cycleworks. In 2013, a pair of rather ordinary “mountain bikes” were refurbished and given a facelift. The result was the Jack & Jill Makeover. Well, Jack & Jill are finding a new home this spring – they have been purchased and will be travelling to southern Manitoba as Mother’s Day/Father’s day gifts. Soon they will be taking their new owners on country rides for coffee with the nearby neighbours. After picking up Jack & Jill from the Village Cycleworks shop, our customer called back with an inquiry – could we put together a bike for herself? She had some requests: she preferred the purple paint used on Jack and Jill; she also liked the fenders; and she would like a basket.

Well it happened that there was a suitable bike on hand that had the potential to fulfill those requirements. It was a “made in Canada” bike sold by the large tire-selling Canadian hardware chain.

Rhonda's bike - the before shot

As with many (most?) bikes that make their way to a landfill site, on the surface it did not look too promising, with deflated tires and bent wheels, rusty cables and cable housing, scratches and rust spots on the paint. It did have the important ingredient required for a successful make-over – a solid and true frame with bosses for mounting cantilever brakes.

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Paint scratches and peeling decals are really nothing to worry about – they are just surface blemishes.

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So the bike was dismantled and, after a bit of elbow grease, sent to the “paint booth”.

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A new paint job deserves a custom touch.

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After a few days to allow the paint to cure, it was time to re-assemble everything, making sure to grease and reset bearings and true up wheels. Serviceable components were salvaged from other donor bikes. A few new components were added, including, as requested, polycarbonate full wrap around fenders and an aluminum front rack with a wooden deck. Here, after 40 hours or so of work, is the result, proving the old adage “Never judge a book by it’s cover”, or in this application “Never judge a bike by its scratches and rust!”

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Categories: Rescued and returned to use | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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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Moustachio – potential for another transformation

A year ago, I rescued a bike that was destined to be collected, along with a lot of other discarded steel products, and then be melted down and recast into rebar, or some other useful but uninteresting product. Like many bikes that are being discarded, the cables were rusted and non-operative and tires were flat. Brake pads were worn out, and one wheel was badly bent. The bike wasn’t very attractive – someone had done a very poor spray paint job over much of the bike in green, followed by an equally poor brush job done in an unappealing grey. It was barely possible to make out that the bike was a NORCO product, a chrome-moly frame originally built as a mountain bike. It was clear that this bike had had a hard life and was going to need a lot of attention to make it into anything that anyone would want. It was set aside, until this year – I was introduced to moustache handlebars and this was the perfect bike on which to try them out.

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Here are some shots of the bike, after a partial disassembly and after most of the initial re-paint had been removed. By this point, the bike had been mostly disassembledIMG_8170

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Yes, not a pretty picture, but if you know what to look for, you can see the potential. Stay tuned – next post will offer some options and hope for better times.

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Transition – Mountaineer to Expediter

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It started with an idea, a challenge to be met Bicycles are great ways of getting ourselves around but often we have “stuff” that we want to take with us. The old wire baskets that many of us used to have on our bicycles are inadequate for many of the things that we would like to carry these days. What to do? The low bed cargo bike that I built has much more capacity than is often required when not going on  a serious shopping trip and yet I still wanted a way to carry some of my “stuff”.

Often the solutions that we come up are not original ideas but rather ones that we have “borrowed” from others, and that is what happened in this case. I have seen photos of light duty cargo bikes, carrying “stuff” on racks over the front wheel – this extends the cargo carrying capacity of a regular bicycle but keeps the bike compact enough to remain an “about-town” form of transportation. That is what I decided to build and thus began the transition. All I needed was a “donor” bike, and the one I found was an early model Norco mountain bike, named appropriately but without much originality “Mountaineer”.

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Even though the bike was saddle worn and a bit rough around the edges with chipped paint and rusty cables, missing wheels and brake pads, there were still lots of good miles waiting to be ridden – it was not time to put this horse out to pasture yet!!

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After all, not only did the bike come from the well-known Canadian bicycle manufacturer, Norco, but it had originally been sold by one of the landmark bike shops in Saskatoon, Joe’s Cycle. It had a pedigree and it also had some history.

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Hence the transition began, on a jig that I built to accommodate this and future cargo bike builds.IMG_8202

By using a smaller front wheel smaller and by pushing it forward, a place was made for carrying cargo.

All that remained was to join the front to the back… IMG_8209

Add the cargo bay…IMG_8223

Now to the paint booth. Throw on some primer…IMG_8227

Add some colour…IMG_8235

And a bit of bling…IMG_8241

Some cedar for the cargo deck…IMG_8255

A few recycled components…IMG_8253

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Now add to the mix some carefully selected new components:

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Swept back handlebars allowing an upright riding stance

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New Shimano  TX50 Tourney thumb shifters and ergonomic four finger Tektro brake levers

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Aluminum Wellgo CU-214 City Pedals with ball bearings and Cro-Mo machined spindles 

 

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Fenders, front and rear

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Kenda Pathfinder rear tire, low profile and selected for reduced rolling resistance

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IMG_8341Centre kickstand to allow easy loading

There you have it – the transition is complete – from Mountaineer to Expediter – a re-purposed bicycle ready to deliver rider and goods with style and pizzaz. Order yours today!!

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Categories: Cargo bikes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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