Tag Archive: “bike”

Vehicle Tweaks


Last night I noticed my truck’s taillights weren’t working. (Brakes and turn signals were fine.) I replaced the fuse, but it immediately blew again. So this morning, in search of the evident short circuit, I took apart the taillights. The bulbs were fine. The circuit still shorted out with the light assemblies unplugged, ruling out corroded sockets.

Turned out, the short was under the dash. An unused wire in the radio head unit wiring harness was making contact with the metal of the dash framework. It was the only wire missing any insulation – just a nick – and, of course, it also happened to be a hot wire that was making contact with ground at that spot. Taped it up and the gremlin is dead.

(It’s weird that the radio is on the same circuit as the taillights – but I got the idea to check from a few clues the web turned up for similar symptoms, so apparently it’s not too unusual.)

Untitled Bottom Bracket fine-tuning

In higher-mileage vehicle news, yesterday I recentered the bottom bracket on my main bike. Basically, I moved it starboard a millimeter or so. This evened out the clearance between the cranks and the chainstays; previously, the drive-side crank was pretty close to the chainstay. (The cranks are the arms the pedals are attached to; the chainstays are the parts of the frame parallel to the ground that flank the rear wheel.) The asymmetry was due to my inattentiveness when reassembling things after a previous teardown.

I make problems so I can fix them! But, that’s how you learn to get all you can out of a system.

Like the Millennium Falcon.

Posted on Saturday, September 29th, 2012.



Thanks to the generosity of a friend, I have acquired a set of clipless shoes and pedals. After a few stationary experiments, I installed the pedals on my bike and went for a short ride. I was happy to find I was able to disengage and dismount without tipping over! I’ll have to practice a lot more before it becomes instinctive, though.

I expect that I will continue to use platform pedals on a day-to-day basis, as the practical advantages of being able to ride with any footwear far outweigh the potential performance benefits of being clipped in to the bike, at least for my routine errand-oriented riding. I can imagine using these pedals if I ever get into racing, though, or for future bike tours where I expect to be in the saddle all day.

And yeah, it’s confusing that shoes which clip in to matching spring-loaded pedals are referred to as “clipless.” The name distinguishes the design from pedals with straps or toe cages that surround the foot.

Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2012.


Hit 3000 miles on the odometer today.

Hit 3000 miles on my main bike today. That’s 2800 miles since last May, soon after I built it.

Posted on Friday, September 7th, 2012.


So, here’s the most recent addition to my stable of misfit rides: a recumbent tadpole trike. It’s a Catrike C2000. A little TLC and perhaps a few new parts are in order before it’ll perform as reliably I’d like, but it’s already kind of fun to ride around. It’s comfortable, like a lawn chair you can pedal. Thanks to my friend Dan’s dad for the project!

Posted on Saturday, March 24th, 2012.

Bike Stripes and Badges

Hazard Rack with Matching LEGO Head Badge Rode down to the park by the river for lunch today. Here’s a riverside photo of the bike showcasing some of its latest cosmetic changes – notably, the yellow stripes and matching head badge design. I suppose there’s a visibility argument to made for the hazard stripes, but in truth they’re just intended to give the bike a more colorful personality (call it “constructionpunk”).

Here’s a closeup up of the LEGO head badge for those who haven’t seen it before:

Test fitting pieces on 4 × 6 headbadge

Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012.

Handlebar Gadgets Pop Quiz

Here’s an only-slightly-fuzzy photo of my handlebars:


Four accessory mounts are visible. Can you identify what they are?

Update: Congratulations to jaster on Flickr for correctly identifying the types of mounts! From left to right, they are: minor light mount, computer (speedometer/odometer/clock) mount, phone mount (on stem), and major light mount.

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012.

Bike Locks

New U-Lock

I’ve got a new bike lock. I upgraded from a combination cable lock to a U-lock with a key. It’s an OnGuard Bulldog and it is charged with the defense of the realm (the realm being my bicycle).

I derive an inordinate amount of pleasure from figuring out how to mount equipment on bikes. In this case, I’ve “holstered” the lock between the seat tube and the rear rack. It sits flush with the outermost tubing of the rack and inside the plane of the crank. It’s out of the way while pedaling but easy to access when needed.

I am uncertain how sturdy the plastic mounting clip will prove to be in the long run, but it’s a clever three-piece design that permits installation in nearly any orientation. The lock snaps into place with a reassuringly positive click, but releases smoothly when the yellow tab is pressed.

locksnipThe purchase of this lock was prompted by the mutinous dereliction of duty exhibited by its predecessor. After years of faithful service, one morning it refused to release my steed as ordered. (Actually, I suspect I must have accidentally reset the combination while fumbling with it in the dark the night before.) Having no choice but to dance with the dark side in order to free my own ride, I cut the lock.

It was alarmingly easy. I consider locks of any sort a deterrent to opportunistic theft only, but even so I decided a beefier lock was a worthwhile investment. A cable lock can be cut quickly with a pair of snips that fit in your pocket.

Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2012.

Eat the Rich

"Eat the Rich" Graffiti and Bike

Note: I do not officially condone graffiti or cannibalism. I just thought it was a fun photo-op.

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2012.

Abbreviated Action Update


Training continues. I’ve been at 35+ miles a week for two weeks now, and I’ve got a time trial on the track scheduled for this afternoon. Not sure exactly what we’ll be doing, but it will be interesting (and probably humbling) to put some numbers on my performance. Whether I stay at this mileage or bump it up again may depend on the time trial results too.

I recently read Once a Runner, a novel by John L. Parker, Jr. on loan from a friend. As promised, it delivers some amusing and inspiring passages about the experience of running: that peculiar mix of exertion, exhaustion, and exhilaration.


200 miles on the odometer

The new bike has been working great – I’ve been riding it exclusively since I finished putting it together. I tweaked the seat height and handlebar angle a few times, and now it’s set up quite nicely.

The only mechanical problem I’ve experienced is throwing the chain off the front derailleur, the risk of which can be minimized be adjusting the derailleur set screws. Right now, the derailleur moves over a larger range than is necessary to switch chainrings.

The bike is fast and I really like the brake setup.

Posted on Saturday, May 14th, 2011.

The Downhill Cut

My new bike has been getting a lot of attention around here recently, but my hooptie still has a few tricks up its sleeves. Here’s five minutes of footage from yesterday’s afternoon commute:

Pretty windy out. Spot the rabbit around 1:10! Here’s the handlebar setup:

Handlebar Mount

Produced on a telephone.

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2011.