Friday, August 28, 2009

Freedom of choice...

Recently President Obama was spied riding a bike without a, gasp, helmet. While I won't debate the helmet issue, I'll post this:

(What's playing: Tom Waits concert from NPR's All Songs Considered live concert series podcast - and Devo's Freedom of Choice)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So many ideas, so little time...

I had a couple come into the shop this week while they were out on a ride. He commented that I had great hours: open at 11 am during the week and close at 5:30. Life's got to be good with a schedule like that, right? I said, that yes, that would be ideal, however, as part of my other job of consulting with various companies and individuals on bike projects, I get up at 6:00 a.m. to answer e-mails received overnight from Taiwan and work on the other projects. Sometimes, I get an hour or two to sneak out for a ride. Lately, though sneaking out for a ride hasn't been working out. Then at 10:00 I take my dog, Sport, out for his morning walk and then open the shop at 11 to begin my 6 1/2 hours of retail hours. At 5:30, I close and spend 15-20 minutes closing up and transferring my notepad of daily sales to my Quickbooks program. Then it's off for a walk or ride with Sport for about an hour. Back home at about 7:00 p.m., I'll answer e-mails that came in during the day, rustle up some dinner with a little Netflix movie and then back to the computer to answer new e-mails that may have come in from Taiwan. Because of the time difference between here and Taiwan, communicating later in the evening is crucial to speeding up the communication process and it essentially makes possible to get done in one day what would take several days if I was to only process this during a normal 8-5 work day. So, those 11:00-5:30 shop hours quickly turn into about a 12 hour "work" day.

With that, I've got some time and energy (maybe I should be riding) to write up a blog post with some pictures I've been collecting.

Here's a Time cross bike that came in with a strange sound from the Record cassette body. The first time it came in with the sound, he was on a ride and the sound was difficult to pin point. I thought it could just be some dirt and maybe the rear wheel QR wasn't sufficiently tight. He came back again with the bike and a more audible sound. This time, it was easy enough to figure out that the rear wheel was loose and the cassette body was a little loose and was being ground down by the pawls and the ratchet mechanism was digging into the body under load. A new body and making sure the the hub was properly adjusted and the locknut on the drive side was tight and I think it should be okay. The issue may be exacerbated by the fact that the owner rides this tricked out 11-speed Chorus/Record bike like one would ride a mountain bike - always in the dirt and all the hard uphills may be too much for a group designed for road riding. Time will tell. It is commendable that he likes to get his bike dirty.

You can see the damage the pawls and ratchet ring have inflicted on the cassette body.

This cassette body that was on another rider's bike shows similar damage by the ratchet ring. It too produced a grinding/creaking/groaning sound when pedaling under load.
Here was a good one. Bar tape that was installed without removing the strip that covers the double faced tape.

What's a Black Mountain Cycles blog post without a super cool vintage mountain bike. This one is a late 80s Ritchey Super Comp that is in for a complete overhaul. There are rags in the head tube and bb shell because the frame also got a treatment of Framesaver before being rebuilt.

A WTB Phoenix that was in for new tires and tubes this week. The Phoenix and Super Comp were in the stand at the same time. How cool is that having such classic bikes in for work at the same time.
This old Trek was in for a total cleaning and to be readied for the owner's daughter to take it to college. Pretty cool to see such a nice bike holding up well over the years and to continue serving it's new owner. I forgot to take a picture of the completed bike, but it turned out nice. When the original owner brought it in and told me her daughter was going to take it to college, my first thought, which I voiced to the owner, was that it would probably be promptly stolen without a good lock. A Krytonite New York lock will accompany the bike to college - fahgettabout stealing this bike.

Had an old shifter overhaul to free up the index mechanism on an old Fuji. Removing the shifter mechanisms from their perches promptly had three earwigs and two spiders scrambling for safety. One earwig up my hand which made me jump and scream like a little girl. Having something jump out and run up my arm freaks me out a little. You can see the spider here...
...and one of the earwigs here. What is it about shifters that bugs find attractive to set up house in?

(What's playing: Morning Thunder on KWMR)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Three days, three brands...

It's no huge secret that I spent a number of years designing bike frames and creating complete bike specifications. At one time, I was responsible for over 250 individual bills of materials and over 130 individual frame drawings. A lot to keep track of. The brands I worked with were national brands, but didn't get the same national recognition as the major three bike companies. In fact, the brands don't seem to be all that well known among current bicycle riders. Many times when folks come into the shop and we get to talking and if they ask what I did prior to opening the bike shop and I tell them, they reply that they've never heard of Masi or Haro, which I find very interesting because in the grand scheme of the bicycle industry, the Haro family of brands is probably in the top 10 or US unit sales.

So, I've just come to expect that folks who ask me what I did have never heard about the company I worked for. However, the first three days of this week brought three different folks into the shop and each had a bike that I brought to market. On Monday, a guy and his family came in (he was on leave and had to return to Iraq later in the week and was enjoying time with his family) and say my Masi road bike and mentioned he had one of those two, but his was white with red and green decals (a Gran Corsa). I told him I designed the frame and specified the parts for his bike. It's one of those things that's hard to believe that some guy in a bike shop out in the middle of here designed his bike and he had one of those head-back-eyes-pop-open moments and said something like wow, that's cool.

A day later on Tuesday, another guy and his family comes in. They're from Santa Cruz and he checks out this blog every so often so he knows I'm the guy who designed his Haro Mary, which he has set up with drop bars (cool - and if you read this, thanks again for coming up).

The third brand's products I managed was Del Sol. Del Sol was the beach cruiser brand that Haro created. On Wednesday, a woman came in with a flat on her Del Sol Shoreliner. I didn't, however, tell her of my involvement with the creation of her bike, though. Sometimes you know that that would simply be too much information.

Three days, three brands. It was pretty cool to see folks enjoying bikes I created.

(What's playing: KWMR radio)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seven gets you six...

"My gears aren't working very well. It slips a bit in some gears so I figured I'd bring it in for a tune-up." I had changed out the bars a while back to some that put the rider in a more upright position and at the time, I'm sure I would have checked to make sure it was working in all gears. And it was still working just okay in all gears, but in the smaller cogs, it took two "clicks" to get the derailleur to move one gear position. Something ain't right. Shifter is for seven speeds. Inspect the freewheel, one, two, three, four, five, six, seve... Oh, that could be a problem, six-speed freewheel with seven-speed shifter. A very easy fix and the entire job ended up being less than the cost of a whole tune-up (the brakes and everything else were fine).

It's interesting because the shifter is original, the wheel is original and matches the front, nothing has ever been changed or added except when I changed out the bars. However, there was the time her son borrowed the bike for a while and...

(What's playing: Dave Alvin & The Guilty Men Highway 99)

What time is it...

...time to clean the coffee cup. The headset keeps it bike related.

(What's playing: Merle Haggard Stop the World and Let Me Off)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Break the surface and breathe...

Whew! It's been a busy couple of weeks. Plenty to do at the shop and even more to do for my side business. So much going on that when I do finally get a time to post an update, I'd rather get on the bike.

Last week was also busy as my friend, Amanda, and I got ready for our radio show, Bakersfield and Beyond. Then I closed the shop for the weekend and we and our spouses descended on Bakersfield via train to take in Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women at Fishlips, a local bar - that was a great show, Dave Alvin is on fire with this band and makes me want to learn how to play guitar again (last time I was in 4th grade). We also caught Buddy Owens, Buck Owens' son at the Buck Owens Crystal Place, visited Trout's Blackboard - one of the last of the original Bakersfield honky-tonks and had a mid-afternoon beer. We also picked up some classic vinyl at Darkstar Records and Books run by Dan Robertson, a 37 year veteran of Buck Owens' KUZZ radio station. We even got a tour of one of Bakersfield's recording studios, American Sound Recording Studio, by the sound engineer and another local musician, Mike Cornett of Meestro. And last, but not least, we met Dr. BLT, the keeper of the flame for the Bakerfield Sound in Bakersfield and all-around prolific Facebook poster and song-writer.

And today is been Buck Owens' birthday. Gonna be playing some Buck and Bakerfield tunes in the shop today.

More bike stuff coming!

(What's playing: Merle Haggard Are The Good Times Really Over)