Friday, September 23, 2005

The Bluebird's long-lost sister?

You meet the nicest people if keep a bike blog. This is from a man in Sydney, Australia who sells great bike trailers. Buy one if you can. You can get them in the U.S. as well. See his web site for details (just don't expect to find any els on his CTA). I don’t have one yet. But I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I will.

He also built a bike. I like the old parts, rear brake placement, and mixte (lady’s) frame. That’s the kind of frame that I was looking for for Zora’s Bluebird bike. But I couldn’t find one when I was looking. They’re easy to find everywhere in Amsterdam and around the world, but for some reason much harder to find in America. This style has two smaller parallel bars that make up the cross bar.

In fact, add fenders and this is pretty much exactly what I wanted when I started thinking about Bluebird. A wonderful simple light 6-speed lady's bike. But then, being a novice and being lazy (or at least as lazy as someone willing to build a bike can be) and feeling flush because I just started getting a regular paycheck, I went and bought a lot of new parts and put together a much more expensive bike than I originally planned.

I finally after months of house renovation have had time to get my wife's mixte back on the road. It is pretty much as bought except for the Brooks saddle, Sakae peddles, and a new stem. It went into serious disrepair during construction due to improper storage. So I waxed the frame and overhauled the bearings all around. I took the wheels apart, buffed up the chrome steel rims and hubs(old Shimano high flange steel) and rebuilt the wheels with the old steel spokes. That was fun. They came up really well.

So here is picture I took tonight while on a test ride -

It ride like a Cadillac. Very plush, great cruiser.

Thought you might like a picture.

Of course I like a picture. Thanks. And he even waxed the frame. I’ve never even thought of waxing a frame. I don’t do anything to my frame. Or care if it gets scratched. Maybe that’s because I think it’s less likely to get stolen. More likely it’s because I just don’t care. I like to think I look for inner beauty.

Burning Man Bikes (2)

Posts are getting kind of slow in the humidity of summer. Pictures still not uploaded. But the bikes were great. A necissity at Burning Man. It takes place on a large dried white power mudflat. Think dried cracked drought-looking mud. There is a big gypsum plant nearby. The damn dust is everywhere when the wind blows, which is pretty much all the time. Posts are getting of slow in the humidity of late summer New York. Pictures still not uploaded yet. But the bikes were great. A necessity at Burning Man. Burning Man takes place on a large dried white power mudflat in the middle of nowhere in Northwest Nevada. Think dried cracked drought-looking mud. There is a big gypsum plant nearby. The damn dust is everywhere when the wind blows, which is pretty much all the time.

35,000 people are camped around there. It takes about 20 minutes to bike from one side to the other God knows how long it would take to walk from one side to the other. I’m guessing an hour. And who wants to walk through a friggin’ desert?! And we were off in the “walk-in camp area” which is, as Zora put it, “like the Queens of Burning Man.” So the bikes were even more important. I would hate to be there without a bike.

The Sacramento bike pick-up went great. Before leaving, I even got to ride the bike with the weird “peddle system” posted below. You ride the bike like you're riding a Stairmaster machine. Just up and down; no round and round. Incredibly bizarre and perfect for somebody with a... a... no, I can't imagine how it could possibly be perfect for anybody. It makes no sense at all. But it was to ride around the block.

The only problem with the bike I did get for Burning Man was that the seat was from a old exercise bike. It looked wide and comfy. But it had very little padding and no springs. On hot dried earth, that was a real ass-breaker. Actually it was more of a lower-back breaker. But careful posture and slow riding made it bearable.

Zora’s bike was great in every way and kind of a shame we couldn’t take it back home with us.

There are lots of bikes a Burning Man. The “critical tits” bike ride went on for over half an hour. That’s a lot of naked women biking by. And right by our tent. There were so many women, that even I lost interest after about 20 minutes. And I don’t lose interest in topless bike riders very easily. But it gave a great clue as to the massive scale of the event and the incredible number of bikes. It’s hard to appreciate just how big Burning Man is until you see an endless stream of thousands of topless women bike by.

We ended up giving Zora’s bike away as we were packing up to leave and then dropped my bike off at an unmanned “bike drop-off” truck on the road back to civilization. I was hoping to drop the bikes back off to the man we bought them from in Sacramento. But without the bikes it saved us a stop and gave us a lot more room in the car.