Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Working Its Magic

During the course of tonight's bike hang, the power of the wheelie trainer was unleashed upon the masses.  For some, skills improvement was marked, yet at the same time marginal.  If that makes sense.  In other cases, wheelie rock stars were born.

No animals were harmed.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Cabled up, but not without some challenges. This loop wants to butt up against the wheelie tube, so I had to fashion this quite inelegant solution.

I had to turn to some anon internet friends to figure out this crazy rear brake cable routing around the seat tube. Holy hell.

But at the end of the day, it's generally ready for service. Yep, there's a bunch of adjustment and shakedown that needs to occur, but it's rideable. After all this time. Rah!


Whereas at this time last night I was pretty dejected and resigned regarding actual success, I am cautiously optimistic at this time this night.  As of now, I think there's at least a 50/50 chance the wheeliebike could still roll in November.

One of the big obstacles as of last night was how to deal with what I thought was a pretty messed up der hanger.  It was not only the alignment, but I believed the threads were all messed up.

I told you previously that I didn't see any way of getting this bike on the road without some help from my friends and the friend that came to my rescue today was Glen.  He loaned my this tap . . .

. . . and this other awesome alignment tool.

The way it works is that you screw it into the der hanger and then rotate it around the tire and just compare the clearance.  When you want to do some adjustment, the tool is your lever.  Holy living hell, who owns shit like this?

Glen, that's who.

Damnit, Glen, you got me off dead center and moving forward.  Thanks, man.

I can't see any need for a front der on this flatlander.  It would only add weight on the wrong side of the rotational axis.  If I need a different chainring I can always do a manual adjustment.

I "repaired" the saddle during the GU game tonight.

The lion's share of today's effort had to do with the stupid-ass combo brake/shifter gizmo.  It wasn't doing what I thought it should be and I made the mistake of taking it apart and there were a million pieces that didn't want to go back together and there was this epic struggle and in the end, I think I persevered, but OTOH, I wouldn't be surprised if the bastard continues to screw with me.

It is my opinion that a front brake is totally unnecessary.  For generally the same reason that the front der is not.

Wheelie dreams still continue to invade my conscious and subconscious mind, obviously.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

WheelieBike Resurrect Attempt

The planned November BikeEVENTure was the completion and subsequent utilization of the wheelie trainer bike that I had envisioned and begun to enact, lo these many months ago.  Which was a wildly ambitious plan, much moreso than the Oregon coast trip, actually, given my shortage of time and how sad and slow are my bike construction skilz.

Which is no reason to give up, though.  Hope against hope, was the theme of the night, as Patty was off to some theater event with friends, IN HER CAR, leaving an extravagant working space in the garop.  I fired up the dusty propane heater and raised the temp in there from 41 to 50, by the time I was done.  It was a pretty special treat to just hang out and futz with bike stuff tonight.

What I was able to achieve, by the end, was to actually get the rolling chassis put together.

 I will carve out a little time tomorrow to unleash a roll of gorilla tape on this mess:

 The balance point feedback mechanism:

I have been worried, in the back of my mind, that the geometry of this contraption might be kid-like.  Those fears were put to bed tonight.  It's a definite big boy toy.  The other thing that became evident was how ass-heavy it was, when I lifted it up.  Per the plan.

I get lost really quickly in discussions about things like low trail, and I have zero sophistication in terms of my recognition of chic frames, components, etc.  Just not me.

What I do believe, tho, is that I have put together a few bikes that are somewhat unique, in my own way.  Some have been a total fail.  Others have been partially successful.

One major win has been the dogbike.  It rides like shit, but it is so incredibly functional.

I think the wheelie trainer has the potential to be at least as awesome.  But only time will tell.

I have very little hope of finishing this on my own.  If I get by, it will be with a little help from my friends.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Oregon Dunes: BIG SAND!

Saturday would turn out to be payday - 4 hours of riding that made 4 days of travel, and spending, and major hassle all worthwhile.  It sure didn't feel that way at the start of the day, though.  Rain that was supposed to have tapered off Friday evening, well,  didn't.  It rained through the night and into the morning.  Dampened skies led to dampened spirits, but based on the weather reports, we were still expecting the rain to stop.  At some point.  Finally, late in the morning, the skies and our spirits began to lighten and eventually, the first small patch of blue appeared.  It was ON.

The plan we had formulated overnight for maximizing our time in the dunes was to load our bikes in the truck and drive down to the ORV parking area, and start from there.  This would put us a lot closer to the dunes, requiring only about a 3 mile ride down the beach and into the dunes.  The plan was duly executed, and the result was a fantastical day of riding big boy dunes.  It was a totally new cycling, as well as life, experience for me.  I will try to just shut my pie hole now, for the most part, and largely let the photos tell the story of our ride.

Q: Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do?
A: Pull off the dunes and into the parking lot, when your wife needs to pee.
Potty training.  As in you.  Nobody said it was glamorous.
But if you wanna keep your toy, you'd better get with the program.
(Photo: Ward)

More and more blue sky was breaking through as we started down the beach.

This is a good shot of the dense green belt between the shoreline and the dunes.
From here, the dunes go up and up to the far edge.  (Photo: Ward)

And up.

  (Photo: Ward)

Ward in his natural element.  Pretty sure he has sand flowing in his veins.

Harumphg!!!  (Photo: Ward)

Ward, picking his way through the scrub brush.  Which is really fun, actually.

  Nothing's flat, in the dunes.  You're either going up, or down.  (Photo: Ward)

In this shot, I'm going uphill, as in, away from the beach.  But we'd eventually be turning around and heading for that certain point on the horizon behind me.  The navigation crossword puzzle about how to most efficiently move about through the dunes without dropping into those shit holes where the trees are growing and then having to bust your ass hiking back out is a super fun game.  You win some and you lose some.  (Photo: Ward)

Gourmet Spam sandwich (made with Miracle Whip, as is right and just) lunch break. Pow.

My new-ish computer was lost in a crash, unbeknownst to me, at the time.
It lives in the Davy Jones Dunes Locker now.
(It was a disappointing computer, to be honest, so I shed not a tear.)

Highest point of the day.  Yep, that's the ocean out there.

  (Photo: Ward)

  (Photo: Ward)

Super badass me on a ridge. Obviously.  (Photo: Ward)

These guys were all over, in the middle of the big sandy areas, with no vegetation around at all.
Not sure what they eat.  Sand, I guess.

First tracks!
Those runner tracks to the right had us pretty much in awe and maybe even a little spooked.
Just look at the stride.  That's amazon jungle shit.  (Photo: Ward)

One of two lakes at the upper edge of the dunes.  The sand drops sharply from here down to a small section of beach at the lake.  Ward says this is one of the places where cutting edge dudes and chicas sandboard.

Ward, traversing.

Super badass me, riding the piss out of the dunes.  Obviously.  (Photo: Ward)

The sand man.  Killing it.

One of the cornering techniques Ward has developed over years of riding sand.  There's not much lateral grip when riding on sand, so keeping the bike more upright is a way to carry more speed through the corners.

  (Photo: Ward)

Ten Mile Creek.

Return trip.  (Photo: Ward)

Selfie fail.

Ward.  Future sand riding hall of fame inductee.

The "haves".

  And just across the road, the "have nots".  What has become of the middle class?  (Photo: Ward)
 We didn't have time to hang out at the beach and take in what promised to be a rad sunset, so in lieu of that we walked across the road to take some pictures in the lovely falling light.
Jonathan?  Possibly.

Winchester Bay, in all its glory.  (Photo: Ward)

The other side of the floating seafood restaurant.  That's the kitchen, far right, and the main dining room just behind it.
The slightly tilted structure on the left is the satellite dining room.  Word, word, WORD.  (Photo: Ward)

While we were out taking pictures, which was no more than 15 minutes, these photo-elusive little bastards, which I finally managed to capture on film, raided our camp.

We'd been guarding our food pretty diligently ever since becoming aware on our first night there that we were squatting in this weird primal Bermuda-Oregon triangle, locking it in the back of the truck whenever we weren't around camp.  This time, we let our guard down, leaving our cooler, with plastic lid snapped shut, may I note, on the ground just below the truck's tailgate.

Those little suckers somehow opened our cooler (I shit you not), and got into this package of sausage.  Devils.

Had they gotten into the rib-eyes, which had now been marinating for three days, outright war would have ensued, and devil cats would have met the worst of what humanity has to offer, and blood would have been shed, on one side or the other.  Luckily, for me, obviously, they didn't, and Ward and I feasted on cat-clean steak in celebration of the day's/trip's success.

More drama ensued that evening and into the night, as the white trash family from hell arrived in our campground and set up camp a few doors away.  Screamed profanity, out-of-control drunkeness, and full-on relationship disfunctionality were the order of the night.  I chose to put earplugs in and go to bed.  Ward stayed up, unable to take his eyes off the the car wreck.

We were up at five the next morning, packing our sopping wet gear in the dark, and were on the road shortly after six.  More drama ensued, when at the first gas stop, some dumbass realized his wallet was missing.  I won't mention his name, but his initials are Pat S.  After some frantic searching through the likely places it could be hiding in his gear and coming up empty, it was presumed that it had fallen out during the previous day's ride and was therefore lost in the dunes forever.  It wasn't until some 12 hours later that he would find that it had been irresponsibly left in his food bag.  What a supreme dork.

Two exhausted guys somehow made their way home, sometimes tracking anything but a straight line on the interstate, as the driver's eyelids got heavy, and it became apparent that it was time to trade responsibilities.  Through it all, we were both trying desperately to process the images that had been burned into our brains on that previous day, as if there was somehow a way to make sense of it all, when I'm not sure there was/is.

And in a way that we couldn't quite verbalize, but that was already starting to gnaw on us, we began to experience the very kid-like emotion of scheming about how/when to make our next excursion to the dunes  . . .