Monday, August 21

Worlds greatest pumptracker

Eric rocks the funky beat:

Sunday, August 20

Pump Track Rev. 1

With another day of work, the track is really beginning to take shape. The rain helped pack it down, and it is getting nice and smooth. And a few reconfigurations have made it quite rideable.

Now it is us that needs the work.
Eric displays mad skills:

Thursday, August 17

Pump Track Rev. 0

In a beautiful turn of events, my back yard was expropriated by some friends before I could get home from work for a pump track project. Before nightfall, we had a pretty decent first attempt.
The hip.

Sadly, there were some casualties...

Now, we just need to ride it smooth.

Wednesday, August 16

Vice/Puma article

I built an FM transmitter for a radio ride as part of Peter Sutherland's Pedal:Reloaded show in Seattle. The Vice magazine folks were stoked on it and added it to this City Riding 201 booklet thing. is my other site. It was cool to get up "in print" or whatever. Thanks Peter.

Props to Chris McNally for the illustrations. I was worried it would look cheezy because of the ass photos I sent them, but he made it look really good.

Obviously, if you click on one of these thumbnails you get something almost-readably-big.

Wednesday, August 9


I don't have my frame jig ready yet, and was jonesing to build something, so I brazed up a rack for the 2 speed kickback bike. The material is 3/8" and 5/16" brake line from my local auto parts conglomerate. This is also my first experience with the Gasflux C-04 brazing rod and accompanying paste flux that Henry James sells. Super neat stuff. Way better than the local welding shop stuff.


Neil over on the frameforum sent me some pics of a beautiful workbike he saw in Mallorca. Apparently it gets quite a few miles and makes some pretty serious climbs. Neil said he saw it all over the place while he was there. I don't know what would be worse, climbing hills on this thing loaded down, or descending with a big load and nothing but a couple pair of Tiagra cantis with rusted cables keeping things under control.

Tuesday, August 8

Don McClung

Don McClung is a framebuilder in Salida, CO who specializes in old school looking rigid single speed 29ers. And he fillet brazes. And uses plate crown forks. Basically his bikes are too cool fer school.

He also has a reputation for retro-grouchiness, which I also like :)

These are the only photos I have been able to find of a Don McClung bike. Please let me know if anyone has more.

Update: found another donbike photo:

I have it on good authority that this frame was built by Don during his early raised chainstay "shorty" years (photo from absolutebikes):

McClung sighting on mtbr:

retro-direct 2 speed

Tarik Saleh had some photos of a Chinese work bike (well, trike actually) with the funkiest drivetrain I have ever seen. 2 speeds, high and low. You get high gear when you pedal forward, low gear when you pedal backward! A creative blend of genius and insanity.

In perusing (scouring? consuming? imbibing?the Clockwork site, I happened across a photo of a bike with this mythic drivetrain that makes it clear (as mud) how exactly it works.

2 separate freewheels, big and small, across which the chain moves in opposite directions. One freewheels while the other is endaged. Forward gets the small cog, backward the big 'un.

The image above had Hirondelle in the name, so I googled for that and found that this gearing is called retro-direct, and has a bit of a cult following. The wikipedia entry suggests that it is the high gear that is engaged with backwards pedalling. That might make more sense, and it would certainly look cool to see someone fly past pedalling backwards!


I ran across the Clockwork Bikes website from some posts Joel made to the framebuilders list, and wow. He does some really amazing and creative work. Definitely thinks through a ton of little things when builkding a frame. Check out the cable routing and brazeon details on his frames. And there are some really great fillet brazing photos on there. And lots of bikes that you don't usually see from a custom builder - urban trials bikes, full suspension, etc. And a couple awesome 29ers.

Also tons of vintage bike posters, photos, etc. I seriously spent a solid couple hours last night visiting every single page.

Monday, August 7

BinBike update

I *heart* binbike.

It looks like it is dang near done. The rohloff hub is nice for this. And I thought the disc brakes seemed a little overkill, but then I imagined myself flying downhill with 120 pounds of kitty litter and decided maybe not :)

I was also wondering why not BMX handlebars instead of the super long head tube, but I guess it is to clear the front load. Duh.

Saturday, August 5

Rambling about third world bikes

Saw Tarik Saleh's talk/slideshow on Chinese work bikes. Super neat stuff. Definitely shows the bicycle in w completely different light that we are used to. Bikes are so often associated with racing and recreation, but in many parts of the world, they are an everyday tool. Transportation, cargo/delivery vehicle, as a vedor cart - just about anything you can think of.

The bike pictured above is a coal delivery bike. Those are coal pucks, which I guess is a common source of heating and cooking fuel in China. Tarik said some of these heavy load trikes have 2 gears - pedal forward for high gear and pedal *backwards* for low gear. He had a photo of the drivetrain. Opposing freewheels and a big loop of chain to an idler wheel.

And the bikes. They are all super clunky 40 pound piles of heavy steel and stamped sheet. The head and seat tube angles look like they are both about 60 degrees. The brakes don't work. The chainguard eventually rattles apart. The cranks bend and the head tube ovalizes. But they are everywhere.

What I would like is to figure out a way to take this pure workbike aesthetic, and execute it with modern dependable parts. These bikes are being replaced in China by a younger generation buying what we consider Wal Mart bikes. I wish there were a way to make a bike with as much soul, class, and dignity as one of these Chinese bikes, but make it as commonplace and accessible as this generation of Wal Mart bikes. Maybe I should check out Wal Mart and see what can be done. I bet there is something cool... I hope...

Wednesday, August 2

Random frame building thoughts

So I got the tubes and whatnots for my frame tonight, and, pardon my french, but, DAMN is this fun. I have most of the tubes mitered using my belt sander. I thought it was going to take some serious hand file artistry, or a complex tubing notching setup, but it is uper easy to freehand and clean up with a file. A belt sander can be used to make tube miters. Just sand each curve into the tube, adjusting the angle between the tube and the sander to adjust the radius. It's easy to get it close enough for brazed lugs. Tigging would be harder because the tolerances would have to be tighter.

It is cool to use the lugs because you can just slide the lug on the tube, square it up to the scale drawing, and trace the miter onto the tube.

I got a small second workbench set up with a belt/disc sander and a totally assy harbor freight vise. It's pretty cool. I added a bunch of unistrut diagonals to the table so that when you really hork on the vise, the whole table moves instead of flexing. Maybe one of these days I'll bolt that sumbitch to the floor! Next I want a bandsaw that will cut steel tubing. Any recommendations? Something benchtop would be ideal... Well I guess standup would be ideal, but pricey. For now I'm all about the 4" cutoff wheel.

Stay tuned for some unistrut frame jig thoughts...

Tuesday, August 1

Torpedo Duomatic

The Kogswell Blog has some really nifty pics of a Sachs Tornado Duomatic 2 speed kickback hub. I love the Bendix 2 speed I have, and these look even nicer. Too bad they are so dang hard to find. Shimano - please recreate one of these to add to your Nexus line. pleeeeeez!