This Space for Rent

May 30, 2016


Shopsacks (and clones) don't fit very well onto drop-bar machines with slammed stems

Rivendell Shopsacks seem to be a popular way of carrying around shopping (when combined with a Wald basket), but they don’t work very well with a machine set up the way I do. (The porteur bag I’d sewn for the GT started to fall apart yesterday evening, so it’s off the bike pending replacement. Fortunately I had a prototype from a Shopsack-clone bag I made for a local rider. Unfortunately it’s wider than the handlebars. Fortunately, though, I can set it on the GT’s front rack at 45° so it only slightly fouls the right handlebar, which isn’t as important on a fixie as it would be on a machine with a freewheel.)

But it is nicely green, which makes up for a host of other deficiencies.

May 29, 2016

Railroad picture of the day

A northbound P&W freight crosses my path

The P&W train I photographed yesterday heads north on Espee rails in Canby.

May 28, 2016

Railroad picture of the day

The lead engine of a southbound P&W freight at 17th & Pershing

A P&W freight went by while I was waiting for a trolley to cross the street at 17th & Pershing yesterday afternoon.

May 27, 2016

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Sin Mite

Dust Mite helps me load up some rando fud.

May 26, 2016

Flux flux baby

Magnetic flux

Magnetic field lines on the wooden clamp I’m using to hold a tube while I’m filing a miter into it.

May 25, 2016

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Cat (and distant kit bike)

Mavis naps while the kit bike (and a small heap of rando fud) lurks in the background

May 23, 2016


Mangled clavicle(2)

Unless I have surgery this clavicle will never glue itself back together. Sigh. I do seem to have full strength in that shoulder, I do have full range of motion (and don’t need physical therapy), and the annoying low-level ache isn’t severe enough to worry about, so the prospect of taking myself offline for a few months with surgery is even less appealing than it was right after I was hit, but it’s kind of annoying that I’m now stuck with two mangled – but still fully functional as long as I don’t try to sleep on my side – shoulders.

May 21, 2016

Aircraft photo of the day

An Alaska commuter plane approached PDX

An Alaska Airlines commuter turboprop, in the new paint scheme, approaches PDX as I ride by.

May 20, 2016

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Reincarnating my mistakes

Dust Mite helps me clean up my pile of rackbuilding mistakes.

May 18, 2016

Trolley picture of the day

The east end of a westbound interurban

Still in service after 30-odd years. I’m sure that Tri-Met would like to get rid of the last high-floor cars in their fleet, but it’s nice from a trainspotting view that the ridership is high enough not to justify taking them out of service.

May 16, 2016

Day of the Bagel

Bagel delivery fixie

The kit bike is still damp from sloshing up to Sandy yesterday, so I had to ride the sweet fixie for all of the errands today. (And while I was doing it I discovered the source of the annoying creaking that was happening when I pedalled; the chainring bolts were starting to work loose and the chainring was creaking back and forth. Ugh. Glad I caught it when I did – I don’t know if I can get another 386 crankset for the ridiculously cheap price I paid for this one.)

May 15, 2016

Damply sloshing up to Sandy, Oregon

A sodden kit bike @ Joe's

Pausing at Joe’s Donuts (but not to eat any donuts, ‘cuz vegan) in the middle of a populaire.

May 13, 2016

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

(Fabric) Sorting Mite

Dust Mite helps me sort out all of the xpac fabric pieces I’ve got lying around so I can use them to build a few stock rando bags.

May 12, 2016


horrible cordura practice bag from 2013, #6

I cleaned up some of my sewing mess today by taking a bunch of fabric I’d cut and partially assembled 3(4?) years ago and completing the rando bag it was meant to be. This is not my greatest achievement – the front pocket is offset to the right, and even if it wasn’t the bag is made from a water-resistant cordura that I’d since discovered was defective (I made a porteur bag from it and the waterproofing layer delaminated, leaving nothing but a loose mesh fabric) – but it made a nice practice bag that I could mess up without fretting about wasting good fabric.

May 09, 2016

Hot off the presses!

Hot off the presses

May 07, 2016

Out on the line

The kit bike and O-A #102 at Shay Park (better picture taken with an actual camera, not an iphone)

Stopping in Vernonia for lunch and a photo date with Oregon-American #102. Average speed from Portland to Vernonia (81 miles): 14.5mph; average speed from Vernonia to Portland (63 miles): 10mph, thanks to my legs giving up the ghost around MP 123, which unfortunately was about ¼th the way up Old Cornelius Pass Road. Ouch. Getting faster, getting more endurance, but still not back to the way I was last spring.

May 06, 2016

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite Selfie

Checking the pocket sizing on one of my shopsack clone bags.


I have been practicing!

I’m making a clone of the Rivendell Shopsack for someone in town, so to get the idea of how to assemble the top zipper (as well as fiddly other things like alignment of the inside and outside pockets + reflective trim) I’ve been grinding through my pile of cordura sewing prototype after prototype.

The prototypes are all okay; not great, but okay. I’ll probably fire-sale them on ebay because wide low sacks don’t work very well with cargobikes with low handlebars, but even if I didn’t they’d pay for themselves by being practice and working out some of the more horrific sewing mistakes I’m capable of doing.

May 03, 2016

The illusion of stability

bagel run antipanda

The kit bike is generally a very stable machine, but if I sit up and ride no-handed about half the time my pedalling resonates and makes the front end shimmy. It’s not a dangerous shimmy – I stop pedalling, the shimmy stops, and then I can pedal again – but it’s amusing how the light tubing × long TT propagates the flexing from the pedals up to the fork.

May 02, 2016

Out climbing

Elk Prairie Road is paved, Family Camp is not

According to signs, this is the southern end of Sawtell Road (at ~2.2k feet; I went right on Elk Prairie Rd and got up to about 2350 feet at the summit before I had to walk down ~1000 feet to the end of the western part of Butte Creek Road – Butte Creek Road connects to Elk Prairie Rd, but theres a 2 mile segment that used to be a quiet path down the side of the ravine containing Butte Creek but which is now a freshly gravelled haul road through a Brand! New! clearcut. Steep descents are fine. Steep descents on fist-sized gravel, even after it’s been compacted by countless logging trucks dragging freshly cut timber up to the ridgeline, are not. So I had a pleasant walk in the middle of my bike ride) even though online maps claim (and, really, who would doubt them just because every map provider shows different routes and names on forest roads) that Family Camp Road is actually Sawtell Road and that it continues south for another 20 miles before looping in a tangle of NF{numbered} roads that connect down to Elkhorn (and, after another 6 miles, to the Opal Creek ancient – and very crowded – wilderness.)

One of these days I need to rope someone into riding with me and then head further south on Family Camp Road, but before I do that I need to get back into shape so that the initial 4 miles of 6% grade at the north end of Sawtell Road is not quite as tiring as it was yesterday (Sawtell Road starts out as a secondary road, so it’s graded to a consistantly steep ramp there; as you get further south the importance of the road decreases and it becomes more of a “paint this road on the hillside”; that part dives into and out of little creek valleys so it’s littered with short sections of what felt like 10+% ramps. Which wouldn’t have been as noticeable if I’d not burned my legs out on that first long ramp!)

Bing maps has street view out this far on Sawtell Road, but what it shows is the Family Camp/Elk Prairie junction in the middle of a mature forest. This is Oregon, so you can guess what happened to that mature forest in the year or so since the Bing cameramobile rolled on through.

And, sadly, I will probably have to redo my Sawtell Road permanent to not drop down to Scotts Mills on Butte Creek Road (at least until I get some satellite imagery that postdates the clearcut along the gravelled part of Butte Creek Road) because even after looking at all of the maps I’ve got I’m still not exactly sure what the arrangement of roads is between 1800asl and 1200asl on that descent. There’s a triple junction in there somewhere that does not appear on the maps (and the lower junction of the two roads does not show up on Bing street view, which is a bit troubling), and I think that’s where Gibboney Road (not sure if an actual name! There’s a Gibboney Lumber Company that operates in that area, and it may just the a convenience name for their haul road) splits off from the not-on-the-maps-but-it-still-exists-because-I-walked-it section of Butte Creek Road. I’m happy to blow my brevet average with a long hike down a steep ramp, but I’m not sure if I can apply enough DANGER, THIS IS REALLY DANGEROUS IF YOU DO SOMETHING STUPID LIKE TRY TO MAKE UP TIME HERE notes to my cuesheet to stop someone from trying to make up that time if it’s the end of a month and they’re trying to keep their 200k run going. Oh well, returning to Maple Grove Road and crossing to Scotts Mills isn’t too much longer, and then people can have the option of sneaking offroute for rural scenic beauty if they ignore the YOU WILL DIE! cue I’ll put in to convince them not to.