Monday, January 30, 2012

Name those mail boxes...

Took a bit of a long lunch today and saw these for the first time this year: 

The view from the top!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The New Project - or - Stop buying BMX bikes

A while back, during a late night drunken conversation, I was regaling Natalie with stories of my days of 20" riding. After a bit more conversation, and a little encouragement, I decided to build up a dream bike of mine: a 22" top tube BMX bike.
   The top tube length is how BMX bikes are measured, and for a tall gent like me, the longer the better!

Not that long...

There are several bikes with a 22" top tube; two that are readily available (not custom builds). The  Avent Neo and a Macneil Deuce Deuce. 

Avent                                        Macneil

"But Adam, these bikes look exactly the same!" Yes, ALL BMX bikes look exactly the same. I guess there's no reason to change a solid design (see 'Redline introduces full carbon BMX frame' from a few weeks back).
   I decided to go with the Macneil because it's slightly cheaper, and more importantly, it's steel, and will hold up to some abuse on the trails. Shortly thereafter, the planets aligned and I found a sweet deal on a frame fork and headset on

Also available not blessed by Jesus

So, welcome to my new project! I was lucky that the seller included a fork and headset. It also has some fun new features like a 14mm dropout, meaning a 14mm axle will have to be used, and a Spanish bottom bracket. I've never built anything like this, but keep an eye out for updates as it comes together!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Single Speed: Flat bar back to a road bar

After riding the cross bike so much, road bars are starting to grow on me!  I decided last night to toss on a set of road drops and brakes that were laying around. 

The old set up

Man, taking grips off is about the worst thing ever. These grips are lock on, so it's just a simple matter of loosening a couple allen bolts and they slip right off, very slick! I would be hard pressed to put regular grips on any bike I thought I might have to ever change again. 
   A few considerations were cable housing length and cable end type. The flat bar brake levers used a mountain / BMX style cable, with a barrel on the end that was perpendicular to the cable. The new road levers use one that is parallel to the cable. The two are not interchangeable.

Two types of cable end

Additionally, the housing required was less for a flat bar. It pretty much went from the brake straight to the lever. With drops, the housing runs under the bar wrap and along the handlebar, and it needs to be about 12 inches longer. I bought new rear brake housing, and shortened the old rear housing for the front. 

New set up!

Decided to go with grey for bar tape - have to say, after double wrapping my bars for so long, a single layer of bar tape feels really thin! Probably have an update to this post about unwrapping the bars, adding another layer and re wrapping them! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Project Book Shelf: part 2

Today, the exciting conclusion to Project Bookshelf. We have all the pieces cut and ready for assembly.

The outer parts, ready for the shelves

Close up of the pocket screw connections

All the shelves in place!

Tangerine Orange

Then, disaster struck. I was minding my own business, brushing my teeth or something and and noticed that the heater took up more space than I'd measured for. This meant that the bookcase was too wide to fit the space! After a lot of planning and scheming, we decided to take the whole thing apart and move one side in 3 inches. This way, the shelf was still 100% functional. 

The change that had to be made

Taking this thing apart was a lot easier than putting it together. It took like 15 min to get it nearly entirely disassembled. The decision to rebuild it wasn't taken lightly, as it took another 2 days to get it back together. But, with a little more time, it came back together nicely! (Max cameo)

All fixed!

The last thing we did was fill the holes with wood putty, sanded it and gave the whole thing a second coat of paint. The paint went on really great, and the color really pops!

In place

In use

This was exactly what we had planned for the space! A nice tall work surface, spaces to fit the 6 boxes, and then some flexible space for various things. We talked a lot about buying something to fit this space versus making something,

Monday, January 23, 2012

(Awesome) WTF of the day

Saw this guy riding a super commuter earlier today. This, form his description, is a Chinese bike company that makes commuters based on British designs.

Fully enclosed drivetrain

The cool things on this bike were the pictured enclosed chain, an internal shifting hub and some very full coverage fenders. Very utility - exactly what I'd expect to see a lot of in a place like China where people often commute by bicycle. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First ride on the New Cross bike

I have been riding my project cross bike to work for the past few weeks, and it's working great! I finally put a front derailleur on and was able to take it for a real ride! I went up the Boulder Creek Path, up Canyon and then up 4 Mile, over Poorman and down Sunshine. Great day for a ride!

Snow on the Creek Path

The creek path was pretty icy and snow packed, but not terrible. Wouldn't be a cross ride without a little hike-a-bike. The rest of the ride was awesome! It's a little brisk, and a little windy, but go ride your bike!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Project Book Shelf: part 1

We have this funny little space in the second bedroom, previously filled with an ill fitting desk. After some planning, it was decided that the desk had to go! Soon, there will be a perfectly crafted book case to organize the many things about the room!

The space and the plan

These little fabric boxes we have will fit into most of the spaces in the bookshelf, and the top is going to be tall and large enough to be a good work station for various things. (read: costumes) 

To The Home Depot!!

This would be the first of 5 trips for this project (so far). The cashier said the daily record was 7, and I resolved to not come back that day and if I needed to I would just stop working and start drinking. I picked up this great tool so set pocket screws:

Pocket Screw Jig

The best way to connect the boards edge to edge is with a pocket screw connection. This sweet little tool helps you drill the perfect holes for this kind of connection. In action:

Practice piece

The arrows are where the screws went in. This was also the perfect reason to buy a new saw. This thing has a 12" capacity, a laser sight and the ability to cut a variety of angle cuts. I was so excited to use this thing I cut EVERYTHING with it. 

Look out Max!

The nice thing about this saw versus my circular saw or hand saw is that the cuts are at a perfect 90 degrees and consistent! Once set up, the cutting went pretty fast (sadly). Even Natalie got in on the action!

The top 

This is the top all screwed together. After that we sanded it to make it silky smooth. Not shown is the same process used on the legs. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of Adam and Natalie vs. the cluttered apartment!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Road Bike Handlebar Curtain Hooks

Recently, we put up some new curtains to replace the terrible vertical blinds that came in our apartment. Thee final product is great, makes it much nicer inside and keeps the cold out. When we want to open the curtains, however, we needed something to hang them on. After looking at some in the store, I suggested using road bike drop bars. 
Cutting them in two

First, I cut a perfectly good pair of handlebars into two pieces. These were some narrow, 1 inch bars that i had little use for. If you are in need of a narrow pair of 1" bars, let me know i have like 4 more that are just taking up space. 

Laying out the anchors

Next, I drilled out the bars for where the screws go in. I made the top hole larger to act as a countersink. 

*not to scale


I sent the screws in at an angle so the anchors were't necessary, as they went into the framing.

Final Product

All done! I finished out the ends of the bars with a plug, as well as the top where they were cut to give it a cleaner look. The whole process took about an hour in total, and didn't cost anything as we had all the stuff necessary to do it. Hopefully decorating with bike parts becomes a trend, and I can say, "I was on the cutting edge!"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Redline introduces full carbon BMX frame

Redline Bicycles recently came out with quite the innovation in BMX frames. Redline makes all kinds of bikes; a formidable cyclocross frame, the Conquest, and a solid entry level single speed mountain bike, the Monocog and Monocog 29er. It also has a has a long history in bicycle motocross. 

They recently rolled out a full carbon BMX frame called the Redline Project 79. This is a pretty big step for an industry that has a self described technology ceiling. If you can't improve on the simple yet very effective frame design, improve the materials. 

Redline Project 79

The weight is the amazing factor with this frame:  1 pound 1.3 oz 

Compare that with some other race frames:
Supercross Envy V2: 3 lbs 1.2 oz
GT Speed Series Race: 3 lbs 10.5 oz
Intense Podium Frame:  4 lbs

A couple noticeable features of this bike: Giant tube unions. These joints are over-sized to stiffen up the bike. A carbon frame without these considerations would have far more flex than desirable. With these over-sized connections, it's certainly expected to be stiff.

(All images used without permission)

Also, you may have noticed that the frame has closed dropouts. This means that you have to run a specific kind of hub and axle, called a 'thru axle'. This axle is 15mm, and works similar to a quick release, although much stiffer.

Thru axle on a fork

It's very exciting to see innovation from a company when BMX racing is not nearly as popular as single speeds, road or mountain. I'm stoked on Redline for stepping up and putting the r&d into something like this. Oh, and the name, Project 79? The 79th element of the Periodic chart: Gold. See you in London, Redline! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Daily WTF

Got some mountain bike parts, but ride a road bike? Feat not! you can mix those parts almost any way you can imagine! Just take this bike as an example:

Rapid fire on drops!

Alternative view

I put my hands on the bar, and it felt surprisingly comfortable. I guess if a stupid idea works, it's not so stupid.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Delicious mixed pack review: Boulevard Beer

This mixed pack review is for the Boulevard Brewing out of Kansas City. This is a pretty great pack, with (normally) a Pale, an IPA, an Amber and a dark beer. This pack also came with a seasonal beer called the Nut Cracker Ale, which is a predictable spicy, heavier ale.

The tasty outside

 The tastier inside

The Double Wide IPA is one of the better IPA's I have had, and makes the mixed pack worth it. It's not too hoppy and a little sweet. It reminds me of Avery duganA, except won't get you shit-wrecked in 3 beers. Anyway, it gets this mixed packs 'Best in the Box' award, followed by the pale, the amber and lastly the dark beer. 

"DRINK ME."  yes master....

I have been keeping an eye out for the Single wide in a 6 or a 12 pack, with no success, so if any of you out there see it, let me know please and I will buy and then I will drink it.

A nice thing about this is that it's usually about $12 for the pack, which is a fresh change from the $18 - $20 mixed packs out there. So go get your self a delicious pack today! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

First Friday @ Boulder Indoor Cycling

Last Friday the gang went to the Boulder Indoor Cycling velodrome to check out their First Friday goings on. They do a fun event where $10 gets you in and a beer (this week provided by Oscar Blues) and then a group of local pros duke it out for you. They were also down with BYOB, which made it way fun! They had some group races and a couple one on one races, it was very exciting stuff!

The Pros duking it out!

They had some impressive local talent, as well as several types of race which kept it very interesting and entertaining.

Panorama of the event!

The picture isn't distorted that much, the track really is that wildly shaped!

The entrants in the kids race

The kids race was just as much fun as the pro race to watch. The little guys and girls ran a lap around the track, then mounted up and rode another lap. The little guy in the front in the blue fell victim to a false start, and just ran a whole lap to intimidate the other kids. That was a risky move, but it paid off and he won his race. (I had $5 on him!)

Our group staking out a good spot on the corner.

They do this thing every month on the first Friday, expect to see us there again next month! 

Team Cannondale Tool Board!

I have been using this tool board since we moved in, and as you can see, it was a product of what was available. I'm happy to say that I put a new board in! Here's the old one...

a foot or so of unused space on the top and left...

The new, improved and better fitting tool board!

I decided to go with the Cannondale team colors, because they're awesome! I realized that when you're masking an uneven surface, the paint will seep under the masking tape. so some of the edges are a little sloppy, but hey, it's a tool board! sloppy-ness is a must!!!

Laying out the tools...

I wanted to make better use of space this time around, so I laid out all the tools an marked where I wanted the nails to hang them by. 

Board mounted...

Tools hung up!

I also got these small yellow bins for holding small parts. I'm hoping these really clean up the workbench by holding screws and stuff. With this new wall, I'm going to be working on bikes with a righteous fury!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Daily WTF

It will take all of our stoogley cunning to overcome this lock job...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012