Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Carrying Strap

The leather carrying strap I fashioned out of an old belt has worn in beautifully. I treated it with leather saddle goop once, and it could probably use another coat soon. The leather has stretched it a very attractive way, nicely matching the contour of the chainring I think. The washers have kept the leather from tearing, despite some initial pinching which can been seen in the photos:

If the leather continues to stretch I may elect to flip the strap around and resize to fit more taughtly between the front and lower rear screws.

More Interesting Bikes


I think this has the nexus-8 redband

XTR baby!

Snapped in Marin - where else? Must be nice...

Curiously, I never actually checked out Sheldon's internal hub pages - but doing so after the fact, I have found them to be quite interesting. Take a look - some really nice conversions on older frames:

Sheldon Brown's Nexus 8 (Raleigh International)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The pletscher rack was great, but the mousetrap alone wasn't cutting it for everything I found myself wanting to carry on the bike, so I installed a basket:

M-Wave Wire Basket
This thing is made by M-Wave and at $15 bucks, you could do far, far worse. The basket is just the right size for me, it fits a full paper grocery bag, or a gym bag, or a care package from mom. I've carried all kinds of things in it, including some very, very tasty things:

Seriously, how much more Danish could this bike be?
As you can see in these photos, the basket's rim slants down at the back, allowing it to fit under handlebars. Combined with a bungie net, I can also carry things that don't exactly fit, but which can easily be lashed down:
A large Zachary's deep dish fit like the rig was designed for it.
I string the net across the middle of the basket, front to back as seen in the photo above, (but not overlaping the stem, that was a special condition to fit the pizza). This allows me to slide my helmet and gloves into the basket in my office lobby, then tip the bike up on its rear wheel to fit in the elevator with other people without my helmet etc. falling out. A small detail, but something I do every day, so I like not having to fuss with it each time.
Netting down the middle. Note the bike light in the basket - secured with a zip tie, it shines through the basket not problem.
This basket has two little hooks welded to the underside. These slide under the middle rung on the Pletscher rack and the whole thing is pinned against the rack, keeping these hooks in place, by the mousetrap.

Hooks hold the basket on the rack with the aid of the mousetrap
the hooks on the underside of the basket 
Mousetrap securing the basket to the Pletscher rack
I don't bother with it, but because it's only held in place by the mousetrap, you can remove the basket to take into shops or wherever you're going, which could be convenient. And despite the mousetrap being the only thing holding it in place, it's quite solid, thanks to the little hooks and the strength of the mousetrap spring.

Tires and Saddle Swaps

I should mention that I started out with the 28mm Michelins but had to step down to the 25mm Gatorskins because the 28s were rubbing on the inside of the fork at the steerer tube and on the rear cantilever brakes. Bummer because they really softened the ride, and I've gotten a number of flats with the Gatorskins - at least two from staples strangely, and from being forced into potholes or curbs by jerk-off drivers. Oh well...

The other thing I swapped out was the seat. The brooks was a nice touch on the bike, but for whatever reason, it gave me trouble. Personal trouble. Down under. Perhaps I just didn't ride it long enough, but I wasn't seeing any change in the leather and the springs weren't really activating, maybe because I wasn't heavy enough or sitting upright enough. I put on a $30 bontrager saddle that works beautifully (and is less than half the weight, which actually has made a difference in maneuvering the bike around my office/elevators/stairs). I transferred the brooks to my folding bike, on which the springs work wonders since I'm bolt-upright on that thing.

A saddle is an especially personal matter...

Monday, March 26, 2012

JPR Update - Fenders!

Thanks to cycliholic for the question about fenders - I need to update this thing! I did indeed add some fenders from Bay Area Bikes for the wet winter season - they are the SKS Raceblade model, which attach to the seat stays and forks, and don't require any clearance between the tires and under the brakes or fork, because they only cover part of the wheel. Granted, it's the part of each wheel most likely to make you wet and muddy. Click for a closer view:

With optional mud flap installed (I later removed it because it exacerbated the already troublesome issue of my toes overlapping the front wheel due to the Paramount's steep head tube and short fork rake)

First attempt at mounting. I ended up getting the arc to match the wheel much more closely (too closely, perhaps) on a second attempt.

I was pretty wary of these because of how they connect to the frame in only two locations and provide only partial coverage compared with typically full fenders that mount to eyelets on the frame/fork and behind the bottom bracket, but they are incredibly solid and work beautifully to keep me dry in damp conditions (or in combination with a pair of rain boots on really rainy days). Once you put the clear decal tape on the surface of your seat stays/forks and position the brackets, you can really wrap the rubber fasteners around to achieve a super secure and low(ish) profile. These ship with 8 of the band fasteners and additional zip ties but I only used 1 band per mounting point and a couple of zip ties for overkill.

There's a lot of control over how they fit your bike/wheels. You can slide the brackets that hold the actual fenders along the fender (and secure with a screw when you get them in the right place) and you are supposed to bend the metal arms to fine tune lateral positioning. I probably mounted them a little too close to the wheels, but I wanted them to look as streamlined as possible, so when I'm standing and really cranking, the tires rub the fender in back, but it's not too big a deal. I'd have given them another 1/4 inch clearance if I did it over again next season, we'll see if I even bother removing them this summer, they weigh practically nothing and don't create any other issues, save for making lock ups through the rear rim and seat stay with a small U-lock somewhat difficult, but not impossible - I can always finagle it into position with a standard bike rack or parking meter.