This Space for Rent

Feb 28, 2012

Project of the lunchhour

3/4ths view

After a considerable period of sitting idle in the basement at a stage of 99% complete, I finally did the last 1% of work on the project bike to make it into a usable bike – I dragged it out to the garage, fired up my torch, and (poorly) brazed on the struts for the front rack.

No lights yet, so I can’t take it out on a R200 for a little while, but I’ve got the guts out of an old B&M Ixon that I need to fit into a new housing, and I’ll most likely be using that to provide forward visibility at night.

And now I’ve got a rack that’s suitably sized for testing out porteur bags, as well as a suitably ridiculous test bicycle to play around with narrow saddles, shallow drop handlebars, and fat tires (though these days my narrowist tired bicycle is the trek with 26 & 27mm tires; the mlcm has a pair of 28mm Clement tires, and the project bike has 45mm Resist Nomads.) I wonder how suited it is to reasonably long rides?


Feb 25, 2012

Oh, right, it is winter in the northern hemisphere

It's a lovely day to ride up to Ripplebrook!

Despite increasingly pessimistic weather reports, I’d decided that this would be a good day to ride Portland-Ripplebrook-Portland. Despite appearances in Portland, it is winter, and once we got about about 600 feet the snow appeared and made the ride just a little more interesting than it would normally be.

I did discover that once you’ve changed the battery in a Garmin 205, it becomes somewhat less resistant to water; my 205 lasted until we were almost to Estacada on the return, then bluescreened and died. It is now taken apart and lying on my desk where it will hopefully dry out to the point where I can use it again.

Oh, and thanks to lengthy stops at controls, the loop took 11h35, which was rather more than I was expecting before I reached the first band of snow!

Feb 24, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite lurks in the corner

Dust Mite has not forgotten what day it is.

Feb 21, 2012


After a couple of years of riding them until they basically disintegrated, I have finally gone through all of my 26×700c Nashbar Duro tires. After the rear tire started going flat every 10 miles (and when I pulled it from the rim it was tissue thin on the puncture surface) and the front tire followed in quick succession (also tissue thin, but loaded with shards of glass) I scrounged through my tire bin and retrieved the last two Duro tires that are roadworthy (for suitably relaxed definitions of “roadworthy” – the one on the back has been booted after getting a huge tear in the puncture surface, and the one is the front is gashed into oblivion, plus is worn dangerously close to tissue thin.)

And, of course, Nashbar doesn’t make them anymore, because 26mm tires are apparently balloon tires now and no respectable roadie would be found dead using tires that won’t cause deep gashes in your hands if you pick your bicycle up by the wheels. So I have to look for other tires (I do have a pair of Parigi-Roubaix tires sitting in the basement, but I’m waiting for summertime before I use them because they are, um, somewhat flat-prone and I’d rather be fixing a flat when it’s not pouring down icy rain) that will do the job for me.

It would be lovely if I could get the wear that I got out of the Duros – the last pair lasted somewhat over 5000 miles, including about 300 miles of gravel and otherwise non-improved surfaces – but I’ll be happy to get my price/100 miles down to under $1 so it won’t feel like my regular routine of riding is throwing money at a bicycle-shaped hole in the sky.


Trolley picture of the day

Red-yellow on Grand Ave

After a brief delay of ~66 years, trolleys are once again running down Grand Avenue in Portland.

Feb 19, 2012

A little bit of wear and tear

One of these is a chainring, the other one is scrap aluminum.

The Truvativ 34t chainring that used to be on the mlcm is perhaps a little too worn to be useful for anything other than scrap metal. It wore out fairly quickly, too; I would be surprised if I’d put more than ~4500 miles onto the bike since I installed the crankset that used to hold this ring.

The 50t big ring that came with this was not quite as worn as this one, but it was still worn enough for me to want to recycle it as well.


Feb 17, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite & Buckeley have a chat

A serious cat-mite discussion.

1 comment

Feb 16, 2012

Railroad picture of the day

OPR 1202 crosses 17th Ave

I ran down to the Mill End Store this morning to pick up some webbing, fasteners, and burgundy fabric, and when I reached 17th & Ochoco I looked off to the east and saw the 1202 running up the ramp towards 17th.

My stop was probably not gracefully done, but I did manage to get my gloves off and the camera powered on quickly enough to take a few pictures as the SW1500 crested the ramp and sailed off westward on its way to downtown Portland.


Paint the town red

Repaired xtracycle

It didn’t take 4 hours – it took 3. And it’s still lacking a front derailer (I need to go back to the CCC and get a suitably nice one that fits on a steel seat-tube.) But aside from that it’s reached the state of kludgy functionality that it had a couple of months ago before the chainstay started to separate.

But now it is red, and that means it’s faster.

(someone else’s) domestic vermin photo of the day

The neighbor cat sits on our porch

New neighbors moved in next to us, and they have a cat. It’s an outdoor cat, and it’s been showing quite a bit of interest in the big yellow house with two other cats in it.

Possibly not the best use of my development time

Misuse of an ipad emulator

I’m building and running a variety of test programs on an ipad emulator while I try to feel my way around using Apple’s Xcode CDE in tandem with a terminal window and levee (I’m sure it would be lovely to use whatever integrated editor Apple supplies with Xcode, but levee is a better editor) and, after a round of watching how one of the tinned demo programs worked, I brought up Safari and went to take a look at tsfr.

Isn’t it a lovely, if pointless, waste of time?

Feb 15, 2012

Thank goodness for used frames

So the old trek cracked and needed to be replaced ASAP. “Maybe,” thought I, “I can find something at the Community Cycling Center and I’ll be able to put off the decision to buy a big honking torch and a fistful of tubes until later when I actually have time to do so.” So this afternoon, after retrieving the bears from school (and discovering that Russell had lost another lock key, which meant that I needed to buy him another lock again) I hopped on the mlcm and bolted up to NE Portland to take a look around.

Replacement parts for the xtracycle

And there, at the end of a line of aluminum and steel frames hanging from racks on the ceiling, was this shiny! red Trek 400, claiming to be 56×56 (which is allegedly the size of the now crippled Trek 1000.) It wasn’t as dirt cheap as some of the raggedy old mountain bike frames up there, but it was still really really cheap, and when I took it down and looked at it all of the tubes seemed straight, so it only took about 30 seconds of waffling to decide that it would be the perfect replacement frame. So I bought it (and a lock for Russell) and brought it back home, at which point it went down to the basement to wait for a 4-hour block of time for me to extract the old frame from the xtracycle and insert this one.

Hopefully I’ll be able to carve that block of time out before the end of the weekend, because I don’t want to carry a full load of groceries home in half a dozen trips on the mlcm.

Feb 14, 2012

“Oh, bother” said Pooh

"Oh, bother!" said Pooh

Trek 1000’s like mine are made of aluminum, but they aren’t welded together, but instead glued to internally lugged bottom brackets, seat clusters, and headtubes. This is good in that you don’t need to worry about welding stresses weakening the joints, but it’s bad in that it’s stuck together with epoxy.

A couple of months ago, the 9-speed brifter to 8-speed drivetrain (via a Shiftmate) started developing the habit of when I’d turn around a shift (shifting up a few gears, then shifting down a few) I’d need to double-shift to pick up the slack before it would actually shift. I wrote this off as an artifact of the really long drivetrain coupled to the shiftmate, and replacing the 9 speed brifter+shiftmate combination with an 8-speed brifter pair made it all better.

But then a few weeks ago my trek started making annoying creaking noises whenever I’d accelerate briskly or push it hard up a ramp (like the ramp to the east of the Chavez Blvd Trader Joes) and my usual round of walking the bike verifying that all of the bolted together parts were properly bolted together didn’t seem to actually fix that wagon. And when I’d stop the bicycle, lock the brakes, and lean on a pedal the frame would seem to plane flex a bit more than usual.

So today, after taking it out for a 14 mile loop last night (with the usual crop of annoying creaking whenever I pedalled) I took a careful look at all of the joints on the thing, where I discovered, to my intense dismay, this nice vertical crack in the paint right over the joint where the right chainstay inserts into the bottom bracket shell.


I wonder what the Community Cycling Center has in the department of used frames?

Feb 11, 2012

Score: Leif Erikson Drive 1, Velo Orange fender 0


I went for a loop in NE/N/NW Portland this afternoon, and my return was via Leif Erikson Drive in Forest Park. It’s not paved, and it’s kind of bumpy, and today I was moving fast enough to vibrate the chainstay bridge fender bolt right out of the chainstay bridge and onto the road.

It made the rest of the trip back home a little more interesting, because the bicycle kept making the most amusing clattery noises every time I went over a bump.


Feb 10, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Pretty as a picture?

You ought to be in pictures!

Feb 09, 2012


A little bit of rim wear

I finally got around to replacing the somewhat worn rear wheel on my trek and, as is traditional, I took a picture of the rim wear after I sawed the rim in half so I could stuff it into recycling.

It was kind of worn. The new rear wheel (a handbuilt wheel with a Shimano “Silent Clutch” 7-speed freehub, straight-gauge spokes, and an Alex DC19 rim) brakes amazingly well compared to the leisurely creep to a stop that the old rim was capable of – with the new rim, clamping down on the brake puts the rear wheel into a skid even on dry pavement, which makes me wonder why it took me so long to sit down and start wheelbuilding after I built a front wheel for the MLCM.

The trek is now spookily silent when I’m coasting, which makes up for the rear hub weighing approximately a ton.


Feb 05, 2012

That’s two

Ripplebrook MLCM

The mlcm (and I) pause for a breather at Ripplebrook Ranger Station (note the OPEN sign, in February. I’m glad the government’s stupid self-immolatory budget cutting hasn’t cut completely into staffing the ranger stations) after spending the last 6 hours riding into enthusiastic headwinds as I rode the first half of my Portland-Ripplebrook-Portland permanent.

The return trip was a bit faster (because of downhill + tailwinds; I even got to stop several times to take scenic pictures instead of taking them en passant,) even though I didn’t have much puff left in me; I finished the loop in 10h55, returning home only about 45 minutes after nightfall.

Feb 03, 2012

If you lived here, you’d be home(less) now

If you lived here, you'd be home(less) now

A house foundation along Leif Erikson Road just south of Springville Road. Does it date from when it was Hillside Road and people were trying to develop the steep landslidy face of Tualatin Mountain, or did people hang on and try to develop here after the Hillside Road landslide disaster?

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite & brifter parts

Dust Mite helps me clean off all of the tiny little parts inside my completely disassembled Shimano 105 9-speed STI brifter. The idea was to document taking apart the rachet unit, but, alas, that plan went astray when I turned the shifter upside down and the thing slid greasily off the mounting post and splatted onto my desk, falling apart into a dozen random pieces.

It will be an adventure to put it all back together. Alas, I’m going to have to do that by myself because Dust Mite doesn’t have opposable thumbs, let alone fingers.


Feb 02, 2012

YAFYE picture of the day

A Yellow Menace freight distracts me from my morning perambulations

A southbound freight approaches the crossings at 11th/12th/Clinton St.

Feb 01, 2012


You can also see the solidified grease that's clogging the shifter

The 9-speed brifters on my trek had developed the nasty habit of not downshifting, but instead just flapping uselessly in the wind whenever I hit a ramp and needed to downshift, so I decided that instead of throwing them out or firesaleing them on ebay I’d attempt to disassemble them to see what was making them not work.

In a nutshell, they weren’t working because the grease in them had turned into tar, and it was keeping the downshift rachet from engaging properly. So I spent about 45 minutes this evening disassembling the shifter and cleaning out the masses of solidified grease.

The shifter is now in 50 or so pieces on my workbench, slowly drying out after a couple of cycles of El Duke, then water, then WD-40 to drive the water away. I will probably nail it with a round of citrus degreaser tomorrow, then repack it with teflon-loaded grease when I try and put all of the pieces back together.

(The mechanism in these brifters is really pretty to look at, and I suspect I could actually modify them to do handlebar routing of the shift cable (like Campagnolo and Sram(?) brifters do) which would be nice because it would give me the pivoting brake lever mechanism that I’m now used to and a nice open space between the horns of the handlebars for wedging various handlebar bags. But for now I’ll just be happy to be able to put the whole shebang back together and have it work.