Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lego Crane

My brother got me a sweet lego set this Christmas this year. Here is the Adam approved way to build a lego set without losing parts or your mind! 

Look at the mighty box-o-parts 

Millions of parts bags, and 3 books of instructions!

Parts separated

I like to keep things separated, something my fiance' finds humor in. The parts are separated by bag into when you'll need them, so this makes things easier! 

All finished!

This model has a really neat wat of running the three functions of the boom: 1. raise and lower boom 2. extent boom 3. raise and lower the hook.  There is a engaging mechanism that allows you to run all three using the same input. So, you flip a simple switch and you an run them all with one knob! You crafty bitches at lego!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Daily WTF

I wonder if this was a series of small impacts, or one big one...?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Quick Build - Fiji Fixie

I laid my hands on this Fuji road bike a while back with the intention of building a fixed gear out of it. I was walking the dog and saw it in disrepair in some guy's yard, so I knocked on the door and asked if he wanted to sell it. $80 later, I was on my way!

Original Build

Some of the things I was looking for in this bike were:
- a 56cm -58cm frame size
- Aluminum rims
- Three piece crank with a European threaded bottom bracket
- A crank with removable chainrings
- No major rusting

Preparing the Rim for Dishing

As I was preparing the bike for disassembly, I sprayed the rear rim and spokes with WD-40. This was to loosen any tightness in the spoke nipples. When dishing a wheel, you end up turning the spokes, and one stripped spoke can be a real hassle! This will ensure they cooperate.


Here are all the parts removed:
- Front and rear derailleur
- Rear brake
- Brake levers
- All cables
- Pedals
- Shifters (were mounted on the stem)
- Kickstand
- Seat
- Tires
- Reflectors

Removing this stuff made the bike lighter and more simple.

Rim, dished

You can see here how the hub has been shifted toward the drive side, moving the freewheel/fixed cog into alignment with the front chainring. This is accomplished by removing the casette, pulling the axle out and flipping it over. Once this is complete, the rim needs to be shifted back to the center of the wheel by tightening/loosening the spokes. Diagram follows...

Steps to Dishing a Rim

1. The freewheel/fixed cog attaches close to the hub, and the chain is mis-aligned
2. After flipping the axle over, the chain is aligned properly, but the rim is now not centered in the frame
3. By tightening spokes on one side, and loosening them on the other, the rim shifts back to center (the actual 'dishing')

That was about it, I put on some new grips, a seat, handlebars and a brake lever I had laying around, a fixed cog and new tires and it was ready to go.

Final build!

Bike - $80
Seat - $20
Grips - $10
Tires - $30
Cog - $30
Chain - $20
Beer - $10
Bars, brake lever, pedals, Toe Clips - N/A
Total Cost: $200

Goes to show you that with a couple hundred dollars and some patience, you can set up a pretty decent bike!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Goodbye Rize

Bye bye...

Finally sold my Cannondale Rize this week. I ended up selling it on eBay, and I have a few tips:
- Be sure to spell check your listing!
- Over estimate shipping
- International shipping costs WAY more than domestic shipping

All packed up

Shipping pointers:
- I went to Bicycle village to get the box, and they do a cool program where you pay $5 for a bike box, and the money goes to a Tykes on Bikes program for kids.
- Packing was easy enough, be sure to protect areas like the axle and rear derailleur
- Shipping a bike is between $70 - $100 (this was $80)

Now that I have more room... time to buy more bikes!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Keep Your Mighty Steed Ridable this Winter

It's December in Boulder, and that means your bike is taking a beating from the elements!

Don't let this be you

There are some things that you can do to protect your bike from these nasty elements, as well as increase your enjoyment (or decrease your misery, depending on how you look at it).

Some easy and inexpensive changes:
Fenders - These will keep your bike and legs and back from getting splattered with water and road grime. They make a lot of different kinds, depending on how you want to mount them.
Lights - As it's getting darker earlier, lights are becoming a must! and if increasing your enjoyment involves not getting ran over by a car, light it up.
Degreaser / Lube - Squirt some good grease on your chain and it will be less likely to get gunked up with road grime.

More in depth changes:
Winter tires - Some knobby tires, or even tires with studs in them will really increase your traction in the snow and ice, if you don't mind changing tires.
Headset sleeve - This is a little neoprene sleeve that covers your headset, keeping dirt and road grime out. These can be purchased for ~$5 online.

Winter attire:
Balaclava - Cover your handsome face.
Coat - Often a coat with some zippers in the arm pits is nice because you can cool off fast.
Gloves - Toasty! the farther up your arm they go, the warmer.
ect - You know what... if you've made it this far in life without figuring out how to stay warm, biking in the winter is the least of your problems.

Keeping your bike clean is also very important. I try to at least knock off all the snow and slush after I ride in the elements. After several rides like this , it's a good idea to clean your bike off thoroughly. This can often be accomplished (to the chagrin of your room mates / fiance') by tossing your bike in the shower. Get it clean and wipe it down.

Rub a Dub

Notice the bike? I have been able to take the cross bike for a few rides! The wrap up posts are in the works, so stay tuned. Also, to be perfectly clear...


Wash all the gunk off, make sure it's COMPLETELY dry before freezing it again. Some things to try to focus on are the brake pads and surfaces, chain and mechanical parts. Once it's clean, it's very important to re-lubricate the moving parts. This will ensure that you don't get any rusty parts and the grease will repel more dirt form sticking.

Guest bike breakdown - Chie's Rock Hopper

Craig picked up a sweet Specialized Rock Hopper on Craigslist for Chie. It needed a little love, and some control upgrades, but was in pretty great shape for an older bike. Some things he looked for was an aluminum frame, a 1 - 1/8" headset, a serviceable fork and xs frame. This bike was a great find for a great price

Stock set up:
Specialized Rock Hopper aluminum frame
Rock Shox fork
Full XT 8 speed group

wider carbon bar with a little rise
shorter stem with more rise
Ergon grips
WTB saddle

All ready to go!

Here are the parts we replaced:

Original Stem and Handlebar

The stem was a long one even by a normal size bike standards, and on an extra small frame, it was the cause of some bizarre and borderline unsafe handling issues. It's a third the length of the handlebars! Bike companies now days outfit smaller frames with accordingly small components, often called women specific design (WSD). This bike was likely built just prior to this change in the industry.
The other thing is the handlebars, which were oddly narrow and flat. So we replaced them with something a little wider to give more control, and with about an 1 - 1/2" rise. Paired with a much shorter stem with a 2" rise, this resulted in high and easy to reach controls. Great for beginners and vets alike.

The bike in action!

Got a bike? Next time we're together let me grab some pics of it and get a parts rundown and we'll show it off!