This Space for Rent

Jan 29, 2013


It turns out that if someone is brazing rack struts and they plunge the finished item into the soaking bucket before the metal has had a chance to cool below red hot it works hardens like mad. One of the struts i’d just brazed together and plunged into the soak too early hardened to the point where I couldn’t file it anymore, and, worse yet, when I attempted to bend the mounting tab the metal simply shattered instead of bending.


And, of course, this was one of the struts for the midlifecrisismobile’s rack.

Oh well, I’ve cut a couple more rack tabs and slotted them into new struts, so tomorrow I’ll be able to braze ‘em up again (and this time hopefully not drop them into the soaking tank until they’re cool!)

1 comment

Jan 28, 2013


A tidy work surface

My workbench, in the middle of rackbuilding

Don’t look too closely


I brazed up the stays for the new rack for the midlifecrisismobile today, but I was in a bit of a hurry, so, alas, I didn’t get the brass to flow properly into half of the joint between the eyelet and the tubing. One of the stays actually has a void on one side of the tube, and the other one has a gappy area in the middle of one side where the brass didn’t completely fill between the mortise and tenon.

Oh well, I’ll just clean the joint and flow in some more brass tomorrow when I braze together the fork crown mount stays for Russell’s Kogswell. I also want to make up the stays for the rack on the Murray Baja Experience but I think I’ve pretty much run out of tubing and will need to get some more before I can make up the stays on that bicycle (either that or buy a new fork with mid-fork mount points, but that falls into the category of “making changes to the Murray Baja frame set” which I don’t want to do. (And I need to make up a smaller rack for Silas’s Shiromoto but, alas, that’s in the category of “not enough tubing right now”)

And I’ll bet I run out of oxygen before I get these stays finished and brazed onto their platforms, too. I’ll have to stop by the hardware store and stock up on some more hideously expensive tiny oxygen bottles. Ugh. I wish I’d gone out and bought a proper torch + tanks when I had the money :-(

At least the porteur bags I need to sew up for these puppies only need a stock of waterproof fabric, and I can run up to Rose City Fabrics and get that without having do resort to mail-order.

Jan 26, 2013

Nope, still can’t big-ring green mountain road

I went out and rode my first 200k of the year today, and despite it being over a month since my last 200 I managed to do almost all of it – slowly, thanks to cold, elevation, and out of practice – in the big ring.

Thr exception was Green Mountain Road, which is a lot harder when (a) I can see the climb, and (b) i’m not chasing someone up the ramp.

239km in 13h57. Ouch!


Jan 25, 2013

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Two rims one mite

Dust Mite examines a pair of rims for irregularities after I unlaced them (so I can build them up into a SON/Ultegra wheelset for the Murray Baja Experience! – I will probably have to actually buy spokes for that wheelset and spoil my “build up a wheelset from parts lying around the house” plan. Oh well, I think a SON28 will look nice mated to a Zac19 no matter whether the spokes are new or used.)

Cute baby picture of the day

Silas on the Springwater

Silas heads south on the Springwater Trail.

Jan 23, 2013

Super-persuasive spam letter of the day

~~~~ From Wed Jan 23 13:08:14 2013 Received: from ( by (TFMTKAYTFO) for your humble narrator (qid 000b25d); Wed, 23 Jan 2013 13:08:14 PST Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 66146224E97 for; Thu, 24 Jan 2013 05:41:53 +0900 (JST) Received: from (mv-osn-hcb008 []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id EDD4D57843E; Thu, 24 Jan 2013 05:41:12 +0900 (JST) Received: from User ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP; Thu, 24 Jan 2013 05:41:12 +0900 (JST) Reply-To: From: “FBI OFFICE” Subject: WARRANT TO ARREST YOU GET BACK TO US FOR YOUR OWN GOOD ~~~~

Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001 Website: <>

Attention, this is the final warning you are going to receive from me do you get me?

I hope youre understand how many times this message has been sent to you?.

We have warned you so many times and you have decided to ignore our e-mails or because you believe we have not been instructed to get you arrested, and today if you fail to respond back to us with the payment then, we would first send a letter to the mayor of the city where you reside and direct them to close your bank account until you have been jailed and all your properties will be confiscated by the fbi. We would also send a letter to the company/agency that you are working for so that they could get you fired until we are through with our investigations because a suspect is not suppose to be working for the government or any private organization.

Your id which we have in our database been sent to all the crimes agencies in America for them to inset you in their website as an internet fraudsters and to warn people from having any deals with you. This would have been solved all this while if you had gotten the certificate signed, endorsed and stamped as you where instructed in the e-mail below.this is the federal bureau of investigation (fbi) am writing in response to the e-mail you sent to us and am using this medium to inform you that there is no more time left to waste because you have been given from the 3rd of January. As stated earlier to have the document endorsed, signed and stamped without failure and you must adhere to this directives to avoid you blaming yourself at last when we must have arrested and jailed you for life and all your properties confiscated.

You failed to comply with our directives and that was the reason why we didn’t hear from you on the 3rd as our director has already been notified about you get the process completed yesterday and right now the warrant of arrest has been signed against you and it will be carried out in the next 48hours as strictly signed by the fbi director. We have investigated and found out that you didn’t have any idea when the fraudulent deal was committed with your information’s/identity and right now if

you id is placed on our website as a wanted person, i believe you know that it will be a shame to you and your entire family because after then it will be announce in all the local channels that you are wanted by the fbi. As a good Christian and a honest man, I decided to see how i could be of help to you because i would not be happy to see you end up in jail and all your properties confiscated all because your information’s was used to carry out a fraudulent transactions, i called the efcc and they directed me to a private attorney who could help you get the process done and he stated that he will endorse, sign and stamp the document at the sum of $98.00 usd only and i believe this process is cheaper for you.

You need to do everything possible within today and tomorrow to get this process done because our director has called to inform me that the warrant of arrest has been signed against you and once it has been approved, then the arrest will be carried out, and from our investigations we learnt that you were the person that forwarded your identity to one impostor/fraudsters in Nigeria when he had a deal with you about the transfer of some illegal funds into your bank account which is valued at the sum of $10.500,000.00 usd.

I pleaded on your behalf so that this agency could give you till 1/23/2013 so that you could get this process done because i learnt that you were sent several e-mail without getting a response from you, please bear it in mind that this is the only way that i can be able to help you at this moment or you would have to face the law and its consequences once it has befall on you. You would make the payment through western union money transfer with the below details.


Send the payment details to me which are senders name and address, mtcn number, text question and answer used and the amount sent. Make sure that you didn’t hesitate making the payment down to the agency by today so that they could have the certificate endorsed, signed and stamped immediately without any further delay. After all this process has been carried out, then we would have to proceed to the bank for the transfer of your compensation funds which is valued at the sum of $10.500,000.00 usd which was suppose to have been transferred to you all this while.

Note/ all the crimes agencies have been contacted on this regards and we shall trace and arrest you if you disregard this instructions. You are given a grace today to make the payment for the document after which your failure to do that will attract a maximum arrest and finally you will be appearing in court for act of terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking charges, so be warned not to try any thing funny because you are been watched.




Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division
Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001 Website: <>

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly quaking in my boots. Admittedly, it’s from laughter, but that’s not important given the seriousness of the situation.

Jan 22, 2013

The joy of home ownership

New dishwasher!

Our mechanical dishwasher decided that tonight would be a good night to stop washing dishes and graduate to just sitting there any making unhappy whirring noises forever (or until I open the door or pull the circuit breaker) and so we had to go back to using the Mark 1 Automatic Dishwasher until we can afford to repair or replace the stupid thing.

Ugh. At least now I can take the dirty dishes off the countertop and store them in this stainless steel dirty dishes shelf unit :-(

Jan 21, 2013

Two porteur bikes

The project bike and the Pereria porteur bike

I was riding the project bike over to QFC on a late-night errand when I realized that a parked bicycle I’d just gone by had cream hetres, shiny fenders, and a large bag. So I turned around to take a look and saw that it was a custom Pereira job with a nice porteur bag up front.

It was a nice bicycle, but I prefer the project bike, and not just because it has 7cm of saddle to bar drop. It’s nice to set up your own bicycle and not have to proxy your preferences through a third party.

Jan 20, 2013


three racks

Three racks in various stages of construction. The small one is for the midlifecrisismobile, and the two big ones are for Russell’s Kogswell and the Murray Baja Experience!

This is about 2 hours of work, spread out over about 3 months; 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, and a marathon 45 minute brazing session to get the slats and backstops in. You may notice the little Y-shaped thing that’s sitting by the small rack; that’s the fork crown mount for it. Yes, it’s not symmetric, and that was an accident, but it turned out to be a fortunate accident because it gives me more clearance around the Travel Agent that I’m using to get enough brake pull from the sti shifters on the mlcm.

The list of things to do is still somewhat daunting; I need to braze up light mounts for all of these racks, cut out rack mounts and braze the to the struts I have yet to cut out, braze in central crossbars for all three racks (the small rack only needs them to have a place to attach the fender to, the others need them to keep cargo from sagging into the front fender/wheel,) then backstops for the big racks, fork crown mounting brackets for the big racks, and a decaleur to go with the small rack (because I’ve put a 10cm stem onto the midlifecrisismobile and the old Velo Orange decaleur no longer clears the stem. I will probably also braze a couple of bolts into the deck of the small rack so I can tuck a minipump between my rando bag and the backstop – maybe I’ll scrounge a Lezyne or PDW pump to go there instead of the plastic Topeak I’m using right now – as well as some loops for wire routing (I do need to decide whether to drill a hole in the head tube, then fish wire back to the rear light and down to the dynohub – if I do that I can get rid of most of the forest of zipties that currently festoon the midlifecrisismobile) but those decisions are fairly trivial and can wait a while.


Jan 18, 2013

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Flavor-blasted Dust Mite

Dust Mite and two bags of Goldfish.

Jan 17, 2013

YAFYE picture of the day

A Yellow Menace wayfreight on the mainline alongside Killingsworth

A deceptively rural-looking scene just north of Killingsworth St/west of i205.

Idle hands are the devil’s playthings


After 650b'ing the Murray Baja Experience! it still felt like something was missing. After a while, I realized that what it was was that even though all of the other bicycles in the house use indexed shifting, this bicycle still had friction shifters.

Well, that just wouldn’t do. So I scrounged around for a while, and ended up with pair of 3×7 flat-bar shifters, an 12-28 7-speed cassette, and the appropriate spacer to make that cassette fit onto an 8-speed freehub. A bit of tweaking, and the spectre of friction shifting has been banished from Chateau Chaos, at least for a while.

Jan 14, 2013

Snow day

Snow-encrusted porteur bag

Precipitation on my porteur bag after riding back, in an indirect route that avoids the central east side, from my therapist in far east Portland. It snowed all the way home, but very little of the snow stuck and even that didn’t last when the clouds warmed up enough for the snow to turn into rain.


Jan 12, 2013

Trolley picture of the day

I wonder where this streetcar was built?

The United Streetcar Astra-clone car sits at the temporary OMSI terminal of the Broadway/Grand streetcar line.

Jan 11, 2013

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Purple-scarfed Pigu

Dust Mite has gone walkabout, so Pigu is taking over for the week. It’s cold outside, so that’s why the purple scarf.

650b purists should avert their eyes (2)

Just when you think I'd reached the limits of depravity, I found another thing to try

Grand Bois Hetres fit under the Murray Baja Experience! and there’s still room for fenders. I’ve also tweaked the saddle and handlebars to make the bicycle better fit the best again (instead of the jacked up saddle to mustache bars I’ve lowered the saddle to a more reasonable height and put on a pair of VO Postino (or Milan; it’s hard to tell from the fluffy advertising prose on the VO website) handlebars that I picked up at the Community Cycling Center.

This heavy horrible carbon steel frame still makes for a nice light and sprighty bicycle (because it isn’t laden down with fenders + rack + water bottles + rando/porteur bag? In any case once I pulled the steel 26" wheels and 2 tpi block rubber “tires” off the thing and replaced them with 700c last year the bike became a lovely rider, and I don’t think that 650b + Confréries and/or Hetres will make it ride any worse) and I’m afraid I’m going to have to put more good parts onto it and make it into an embarrassingly balleur department store/gaspipe bike.

Step one; pull the SON dynohub out of the worn-down Open Sport rim and lace it into a Synergy :-)

Jan 10, 2013

650b purists should avert their eyes

Horrible bicycle hack of the day
New rando bike?

I had a spare 650b wheelset lying around, and 4 Hutchinson Confrérie des 650b tires that haven’t been used yet. And the Murray Baja Experience! has been parked for a while, because now that it’s the rainy season it needs fenders to work properly.

Idle hands are the devil’s playthings :-)

Jan 09, 2013

Ridiculous feats of gaming, part one


Silly names -r- us

Jan 08, 2013

Progress (#2)

Three rack perimeters

Three rack perimeters brazed up. I need to clean up the brazes and decide whether to attempt to reflow bronze into the gaps in the lugs, then after that I set the slats in place and braze them in to all three of ‘em.

(update: I need to rebraze both of the big racks – I flexed the perimeter to check for solidity and could feel the tube going clunk against the walls of the lug. Oh well. Practice and learn, and maybe consider using something that’s not stainless steel for the lugs on the next rack I build (which will happen after I sew up a couple of porteur bags for the Kogswell and the Murray Baja Experience!))

Jan 05, 2013


Rack parts

The mlcm’s new rack deck, now ready for cleaning and brazing. Once this is done I can take the thing out and see how it handles with a low-trail fork.

Project for the year

My plan is to ride two permanent SRs this year (maybe 3, but it I did that I’d have to duplicate some routes):

(P)SR# Routes
1 One Big Hill (200k), Scio-Woodburn (300k, not submitted yet), Nestucca/Nestucca (400k, not submitted), Grawp! (700k)
2 P-R-P (200k), High Rock 300 (300k), Hot Springs-Covered Bridges (400k), Portland-Portland-Portland (600k) – this one includes three alpine loops, so it’s not going to happen until the passes clear (May? June?)

I can probably do #2 solo – none of those loops end up with an out-of-town overnight (and one of the hard things about Portland-Portland-Portland is that my overnight control is at my house, which will make it really hard to drag myself back onto the bicycle for the 240k loop up to Birkenfeld after however much time I’ve got free for a nap) – but will most likely need to rope some suckers in for #1 (at least the 400 and 700 parts of it.)

If I was going to do a third one, I think I’d do something like Sellwood-Birkenfeld-Sellwood, Sellwood to Hood & Back, Nestucca/Nestucca again, and maybe Kevin Brightbill’s threatened alpine 600k with 10km of climbing (I’ve routed one, too, but it’s 600k on alpine forest roads with /no/ services, so might not be a particularly good plan without a SPOT transmitter and an emergency support team on motorcycles (which would, of course, dnf me on the spot if I called for them, but in the grand scheme of things a brevet-aborting rescue mission is better than a brevet-aborting death)) or another run at Portland-Portland-Portland.

I’d like to ride a 1000/1200 this year, too, but I don’t know if it’s even slightly possible to carve out the 4 (for a Portland-based permanent loop, like the Olympic Peninsula Death March) or 6 (for basically anything else, assuming that I could get into a 1/1.2 Mm randonnée based on riding the fuck out of my bicycle on permanents) days necessary to do such a thing (yes, yes, if I could do 60-70% times on a 1200 it would only take me 2.5 days, but that’s not going to happen in this lifetime – maintaining a 21km/h brevet average for longer than two days seems, um, unlikely at this point in my life) so I’ll not even put it into consideration.

But it’d be lovely to ride Kevin’s Grawp! again, and lovelier still to ride it in the summer so that my forward progress would not be slowed by hail, sideways rain, and freezing downpours on 1500 foot descents.

Jan 04, 2013

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite shoe

Dust Mite infests my shoes.


Component tweaking

I didn’t like the way the mlcm looked with black Archetypes and a silver seatpost/stem, so I scrounged around in the basement until I found black ones, which are now helping to reduce the chaos on this bike.

Jan 03, 2013

New wheels, old bike

MLCM with Archetypes

I know I said that I’d put the Archetypes under the mlcm after the rims wore through on the existing wheel set, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to put them under it now to see what it would look like.

Oh my.

I’m going to have to set aside some time to braze up that front rack ASAP so I can get the midlifecrisismobile back into service again.

1 comment

Bicycle tweaks

A new (red!) dynohub for the Trek

I replaced the old dynowheel on the trek (it’s going to the project bike so that the project bike will have matched Open Sport rims for a while) and while I was at it I took the last Nashbar Duro tire out of service and replaced it with yet another Resist Nomad 700×28c tire. The rear wheel still has a Ruffy Tuffy on it, though, and I’m not sure whether I want a non-armo(u)red tire buried under the saddlebags, but when I get around to lacing up a new rear wheel for the Trek I’ll most likely put another Nomad onto it as well.

Jan 02, 2013

Fiets Lux!

Project bike taillight

The dynamo rear light on the project bike is gratifyingly bright, even when it’s on the standlight.

Jan 01, 2013

New years day bicycle hack

Invasion of the zip-ties

After a few weeks of going to the store at night, then forgetting to turn on the battery taillight on the return, I finally installed a dynamo taillight. This, of course, required the traditional forest of zip-ties to keep the wiring snuggled up next to the toptube and headtube.

Oh well, this will help convince me to do internal wiring when I build up the kit bike.

Railroad picture of the day

the ex-Utah RSD-5 on a cold January day

An Alco RSD-5 sits in the sun on a cold January afternoon.

Thank G-d, 2012 is over

2012 was not my best year. I’m so glad it’s over and maybe I can crawl out of the wreckage of my life now.