blogs tagged "bicycles"

It was a good bike.

Fri Jan 14 2022 22:04:03 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

tags: bicycles bikes cycling pdx stories

In the fall of 2007 I was working at a job that took me out to the Portland suburbs. I sometimes commuted in a car with a coworker and sometimes I took public transit -- both seemed to take around 45-60 minutes each way, and neither was super pleasant. The trip on TriMet was fine (but slow) and I had to transfer twice which made the travel time less stable.

A colleague suggested that I should try commuting to save some time. I thought they were insane -- no way could riding a bike be faster than cars, busses, or trains, right? The idea was to ride from home to the Goose Hollow train stop and then take the train the rest of the way. I didn't own a bike at the time (and hadn't for more than 10 years!), but I was into experimenting with this commuting idea. I wasn't exactly a stranger to bike commuting (I rode a beach cruiser to the next town when I was in college in Texas), but this was going to be different. I found a viable old steel bike on Craigslist, paid $90 for it, and started bike commuting.

The bike was a mid 1970s Raleigh Record, 27" inch steel wheels, steel frame, original cotter-pin cranks, built in England. I was able to use the stamp on the bottom bracket shell to date it to 1975 (I think).

Even though I was not bike fit, I was able to make the 6.5 mile ride each way to the train station, and surprisingly, it did shave about 15 minutes in commute time each way. Mainly, it was a gazillion times more enjoyable!

It didn't take long to sink a few hundred dollars in upgrades (new cranks, ditched the steel wheels, cables, cassette) and start riding somewhat regularly. I stuck with the bike commuting and before long it was the main way I got to work most days. I think that bike helped me to get to 4 other jobs over the following years, and I also took it on quite a few group rides in the city.

Sadly, in the summer of 2016 (less than 10 years later), a strange creaking sound developed and it wasn't long before the steering started feeling funny. Somehow, and not suddenly, the front fork had fatigued and cracked. It's unknown if the fork failure helped cause it, but the downtube also had a noticeable (albeit slight) bend. The fork was destroyed and the frame was bent. I got a few opinions and the consensus was that it wasn't worth fixing....so it was time to let it go.

According to Strava, I clocked 3,462 miles on that bike. I suspect that the actual number was probably 50-60% higher.

I had already pulled most of the interesting parts off the bike, but last weekend I finished stripping the old bike down just to the frame. I chose to mount the frame on the ceiling of the workshop as some garbage decor and to remind myself of this classic bike that served me so well and got me back into bicycling.

It was a good bike!

20220114-raleigh_record_frame_1024.jpg

Covid summer of eternal biking

Sun Aug 01 2021 23:14:48 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: bicycles biking cycling bicycling riding pedalpalooza pdx bikes

Wow this long summer of 3 months of Pedalpalooza has really been fun and intense. I'm definitely more engaged and riding more, or at least it feels like it...but maybe it's just that things are spaced out more?

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On a ride today, as is common when meeting new friends on rides with strangers, talk turned to past pedalpalooza rides. I didn't realize until later that I have actually done quite a few this season, including:

  • Flanders ride - bunch of Ned Flanders cosplayers riding over the new bike overpass bridge on....FLANDERS street. Props to the project!
  • Rocky Butte - climb to Rocky Butte at sunset. Lots of people, friends and new friends, lots of fun.
  • Monster Ride - Lots of furry beasts and strange creatures. I took my demon son Jeffrey along for the trip. He frightened a few folks, and was welcomed by good company.
  • Goth Ride - (the above pic, in the cemetery, before the start) - Music. Eyeliner. Darkness. <3
  • Music for Airports - A bunch of awkward music geeks with unsynchronized versions of the seminal album playing on repeat while we circle the airport on bikes and try not to die.
  • PBP not a Brevet - That was today. A longer and smaller ride, but really fun and challenging. I locked up my front wheel when the (metal) fender folded on the single-track descent on Rocky Butte, but somehow didn't puncture and didn't crash and managed to hand-bend the shit back enough to keep riding. Not boring at all! What a forearm workout on these Paul canti brakes. :) Never riding a trail again on purpose with these fucking fenders, that's for sure...

I suppose I've done a ton of other riding as well, like to friends birthday parties and to play disc golf once and to test some personal limits/things... but yeah, pedalpalooza has been super fun this year! I wonder (and secretly hope) that the multi-month format will maintain past covid...

Most of a month remains. Looking forward to even more rides!

No Dogs

Fri Feb 08 2019 22:45:01 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

tags: dogs bicycles

That's a weird looking dog!

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Building a bicycle...

Sat Jun 25 2016 00:14:02 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: bike bicycles building

So my lovely 40+ year old Raleigh Record finally gave up and died a couple weeks ago. :(

raleigh_crack.jpg

The fork developed a crack and probably caused the bend in the down tube. Pretty unfixable. FAREWELL to my first commuter in Portland...that $90 investment served me well over the last decade or so.

And now comes the time to figure out a new ride. With the help of a friend, I've decided to do a custom build.

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It's quite far from done...but what strikes me most is just how much this process feels exactly like the first time I built a computer from components! Spending hours flipping thru parts guides, reading reviews, comparing specs, comparing vendor prices, trying to squeeze everything into some unrealistic/imaginary budget, stressing about forgetting some critical minutiae, discovering what parts are compatible with other parts (or not)...dreaming about what the finished thing will look like and fantasizing about how it may perform...

The process is so similar...and surprisingly rewarding.

I have lots to learn about the build itself, and it's exciting to be out of my element (and a little scary).