Archive for the ‘Fixed gear’ Category


Been drooling over the Xtracycle kit some more, now that I’ve got three frames at home that are in no shape to ride and need to be taken to the co-op to be worked on. Only one has both wheels, but I threw out one tire because of dry rot and I’m suspicious of the other; another frame has a rear wheel, one has none…all three are missing other vital parts also.

The blue Raleigh will be my mate’s road bike once I fix it up a bit. I rebuilt the wheels in the co-op’s wheelbuilding class after cleaning all the parts, so they’re nice and shiny now. The bike is missing a few other parts, but I can get those from the co-op. I just have to get it there.

The zebra-striped frame (my dad painted it years ago) will be my fixed-gear. That’s the one missing both wheels. I want to get the parts and build the wheels myself for more practice. I could probably get most of the parts through the co-op but I kinda want it all to be new >_> Might look kind of odd on an old repainted frame though — maybe I should just get the hub and hope the spokes work for it.

I’m not sure, yet, what to do with the orange Raleigh. I was thinking maybe I’d have it be an all-weather bike and put an Xtracycle on my hybrid, make that one a real cargo bike. I’d need good tires for the Raleigh and a front wheel (and a whole bunch of other parts), but I’d get those from the co-op for cheap

The question of getting them to the co-op is kind of moot, though, since friends of his family plan to sell their minivan to us shortly (we’re waiting on the bank loan). It’s not completely moot, because I almost always prefer to ride rather than drive, though it’d be a pain in the ass to get two bikes down from my third floor apartment.


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Holiday post

Man, it’s good to see family. In addition to seeing the usual family members, I got to see my cousin and aunt who live in Oregon; they’re in town for the holiday. I haven’t seen them in ages and can’t wait to visit them on our honeymoon in June — apparently that’s also the best time to visit Portland. We’ll have to train a fair bit to keep up on the hills out there.

I suppose I should explain in case anybody’s reading who doesn’t know this already: for our honeymoon, C and I are driving Route 66 all the way to Los Angeles and then going north along the west coast to visit family (and wine country, redwoods, Mt St Helens…). We’re taking our bikes since so much of the west coast is so bike-friendly and because, whenever I visit a city without a bike, all I can think about is what it’d be like to ride a bike around in it.

My dad was kind enough to offer three frames, two pretty little Raleighs and a repainted frame that I’d guess was a Schwinn if it weren’t so light. And by that, I mean in relative terms, because Dad’s also got a gorgeous old orange Falcon frame that’s so light you feel like you could play catch with it; that’s going to be his fixie and I’m building the wheels for it (at least the rear one, because the original rear wheel is bent beyond repair) in the co-op’s upcoming wheelbuilding class. That reminds me — I need to look at the websites for a few local (to Naperville, since I’m still there) bike shops to see if I should stop in and check their prices on parts.

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Pedals are slipping on the hybrid and it’s driving me BATSHIT CRAZY. It happens only when the bike gets cold, only when I’ve coasted for a bit, and only SOMETIMES.

[inarticulate sputtering rage] I can’t trust the damn bike. I haven’t sat right on it since the original seat was stolen; right now I have a fairly comfortable seat but it’s slippery so I keep sliding forward anyway (I asked for a frictiony seat cover for Christmas, and if I don’t get it I’ll go buy one), and now that the pedals are untrustworthy I have nowhere to reliably put my weight. As a result, most of it ends up on my hands.

I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t recreate the problem in the shop and I’m never looking down when it happens, so I can’t tell exactly what’s happening — is the chain slipping on the gears or is the freehub slipping on the wheel? If I can’t fix it I’ll turn the damn thing into a fixie, that’ll teach it. It’ll be a pain in the ass, though, because it has vertical dropouts (for non-cyclists: here’s why that’s significant), but I’ve seen devices that you can use to adjust chain tension on bikes like that, so it might work…

But I hear from fixed-gear riders that fixed gear is best in slippery conditions because it gives you a better feel for the road, since the back wheel is not just correlated (as on a geared bike) but completely locked with the pedals. So given that the hybrid is my all-weather bike, if I’m gonna try a fixie I might as well do it on that bike.

Then again…my dad has some old frames in his garage that I’m gonna take a look at when we go up for Christmas, so I’m not making any decisions until then. If I make a fixie out of a new frame I’ll see if I can’t get snow tires for it and it’ll be my snow bike till winter’s over.

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