Friday, July 22, 2005

July 2005 archive


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Thu, 30 Jun 2005 10:09:00 -0400
Thu, 30 Jun 2005 10:09:00 -0400
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I’m heading south this weekend, going to the kind of place you really ought to be for July 4th. To the heart and soul of the country, where corn grows along with ughh… more corn I guess. That’s right, I’m going to Iowa!

No, I’m not trying to get back in touch with my farming roots, I don’t have any. My band is playing in a wedding down there. Ought to be an interesting weekend. There’s a 70’s theme for the diner Friday night, which we’re playing at, so I need to go rustle up some duds at ragstock tonight.

So last night I spent a couple of hours making preparations. We’ve got a fair amount of gear to get down there, and we’re not used to distances this big. Didn’t seem like our usual method of taking 4 cars filled to the roof with guitars was very practical. So I dusted off the trailer. In my dusting though, I found one of the taillights was broken. It’s not that it didn’t light up, it did, but it was dangling from the mount since the plastic housing had broke off. I looked over the rest of the trailer wiring, and while it worked, there were 4-5 splices in each wire, eventually it’s gonna be trouble. And since just buying one replacement light at Northern would have cost me $9 and the whole trailer light kit was only $18, I splurged. Both the running lights were broken as well, so I figured this was a good $18 investment in the future of the trailer I got for free….

So I spent an hour or two rewiring the whole trailer, then decided to give the other guys in the band a break and cleaned my car too. It was smelling a bit like damp cyclist in there since I had left my muddy bike in it for a week. Hopefully it’ll be a more pleasant 6 hour drive now. If you see what looks like a load of gypsy’s heading south tomorrow pulling a crappy little trailer stacked high with amps and speakers be sure to wave, but don’t follow too close, I’ll be amazed if the trailer makes it there and back in one piece.

After playing electrician I went back down where I belong, in the bike shop. I wanted to get the rear triangle on that tandem last night. Seemed like a reasonable goal, but somehow I never seem to work as fast as I think I do. This baby’s got 1.4mm wall thick 1” round chainstays and I needed to put some indents in them for more tire clearance. Well, lemme tell you stays that think take a lot of force to indent. I bend my usually 3/16” plate tool that I make indentations with, so I make a thicker, beefier one. It worked great, and I like the shape of the indentation better too. But making new tools takes time, time away from building bikes.

So I got the dropouts in and chainstays on, it’s looking good. I brazed the inverted tube scraps I use to make scallops in on the top of the seat-stays. Now I just need to file those down nice and I can finish up the rear end. But I don’t think I’ll make my goal of having it done before I leave town tomorrow at 10am. Bummer.

We had a little more exciting weather last night. I woke up about 10:30 from the rain, and then realized Beth wasn’t home from her friends house yet. So I got up to check the weather and see where she was at. The rain was pouring down hard, I’m willing to bet we got 2” in about 20 minutes. I called Beth to find out she was en-route back home, but then the power went out and cordless phone I was talking on cut out. So I fumble around in the dark for a while, thankfully it was lightening so much that I could find my way pretty easily. Finally found a light, then lit some candles. Beth made it home about 15 minutes later, as the rain was letting up. I went back to bed.

This morning I woke up to see all the plastic chairs on our deck scattered around, and a little bit of debris, nothing too bad. The standing water in our back yard was back, thankfully since it had nearly dried out from the last storm, and I’d hate for the mosquito’s to not have a place to breed.

Seriously, I’ve never had a year with so much rain since I bought the house. It’s getting out of hand. We need a good drought, then I won’t have to mow the lawn.

Well it’s time to go, I need to start my mental preparations for Buck hill tonight.

bbbb
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Thu, 07 Jul 2005 09:11:00 -0400
Thu, 07 Jul 2005 09:11:00 -0400
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LOL, great post Bob!! Sounds like you had a great & interesting time! -Me
large fella
Thu, 07 Jul 2005 10:17:00 -0400

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Re:
Great write-up. What a bonus that your one gig was outside! What's up with all those pastors? I can understand two but more than that just does not compute... Back in HS I was shift supervisor (shut up ;) at the local DQ. I remember one scorcher someone called me to the counter to complain that it was the worst Dairy Queen he'd ever been to. This was while there were still people lined up out the doors like every summer night, and this was not a small place (it was formery a Food Fair and had Green Mill and Chinese sections in addition to the DQ). I tried to keep my laughter to myself. I mean, I was sorry he had a bad experience there but it was obviously atypical. Peace.
nathan
Thu, 07 Jul 2005 22:03:00 -0400

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Nat- Maybe the guy thought Dairy Queen was about cross-dressing bovines and the actual experience left him well... cold? -Me
large fella
Thu, 07 Jul 2005 22:13:00 -0400



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Thu, 07 Jul 2005 09:29:00 -0400
Thu, 07 Jul 2005 09:29:00 -0400
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I've been having problems posting lately, I guess you get what you pay for with free services. Hence the reason that my weekend report was posted on a Thursday, I actually wrote it on Tuesday....

So you're gettin' two entries today. Don't worry I promise this one will be shorter than the last one, I know it's hard to keep your head propped up long enough to get through my usual drivel, much less 20 paragraphs of it.

I feel like I haven't slept in three days, at all. I have, but that won't stop me from whining. I spent most of the night of the 4th awake from my idiot neighbors shooting fireworks at my house. Got some of that on the 5th too, but worse a water main on our street broke, so we were without water all day. In an amazing display of work ethic for a city work crew, they worked to repair it until 1:30am that morning. But once they turned the water back on, it proceeded to hammer on the pipes for about an hour, wrecking a perfectly good nights sleep. The next day (yesterday) they had to go back in for more work, so we had another day without any water in the house.

But I'm sure my 2 day trip to Toledo will do wonders for this lack of sleep feeling. I gotta go jump on a plane in a few minutes.

I did get out for a ride, figured it might make me feel better. Nice road ride yesterday. I got to try out my new shoes and pedals. I moved up about 15 years in pedal technology and bought some speedplay's to go with the new sidi genuis's. What a huge improvement! My old pedals were alright, they were Ultegra spd road pedals, the original spd road pedals, not those new-fangled spd-r type things. I honestly can't remember when I got them, it's been that long. I suspect about 12 years ago though, and they still work fine (they'll be going on a commutting bike).

What I couldn't get over though was the low height of the shoes and pedals. My old carbon-soled addidas road shoes had pretty thick soles and the pedals were an average height. The Sidi's have thin soles and the pedals are very low. Combined, I had to lower my saddle about 5mm to get my leg extension right. That's a pretty big difference, basically adding 5mm of drop to the frame. Now I need to take out 5mm of headset spacer to keep everything kosher.

Anyone want a pair of 2 year old addidas carbon shoes? I'm not going back!

Finished up that pesky tandem too, it's ready for paint. I don't know why but every so often you get one of those frames that just keeps giving you grief, this was one of them. Nothing has goen smoothly on this thing, but last night I finally got it to the point that I'm satisfied with it having my name on it.

Well, I have to run to the airport now, so talk at you next week.

bbbb


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Re: This blog sucks, along with everything else.
You should try either Type Pad or Movable Type for your blog hosting... yes, they charge a fee but... it's a low fee and the features are very robust and intuitive. -Me
large fella
Thu, 07 Jul 2005 10:23:00 -0400



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Wed, 13 Jul 2005 14:09:00 -0400
Wed, 13 Jul 2005 14:09:00 -0400
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Monday night was the Kenwood Team Photo at the shoppe before the Kenwood Cyclery awning comes down. Sad to think about it not being there anymore, but that’s the reality.

After the photo we went out for a nice Monday night ride. It was nice because we managed to keep a small group for most of it consisting of myself, freeride, stone and tttt. Considering I hadn’t ridden my mtb for 9 days, I felt really good. Heck I hadn’t ridden any bike for 6 days, that makes it even more surprising. I led the first lap and the singletrack was just flowing great, I comfortably pulled off the front of the group, and this isn’t a group I can usually do that with. I think my slight position change on the bike can take partial credit. I swaped to a slightly longer stem and moved my saddle down a touch. It feels great. It’s unusual since I’ve been quite happy riding the same position for years on 26” bikes. I guess I’m still adapting to the 29’er. My arms keep changing where they’re happy too. Since my accident I’ve found that I need to alter my bar position and hand position a lot more than I used to. I also seem to like to be slightly more stretched out. hmmm.

The official countdown to real construction has begun. The Contractor let me know yesterday that he’ll be ready to demo next Friday. That leaves me little time to get the last few things finished up. I’ve got two frames I want to paint before then, and I still need to empty out the entire garage and find somewhere to store everything. Not to mention salvage the cedar I want to save off the eaves (before they tear it all down) and disconnect all the electrical and remove what I need to save. It’s gonna be a busy week/weekend.

I’m working like a mad-man down in the shop each night, trying to get these frames ready to paint. I’ve got the tandem all set to go, but the stainless bike is quite a bit more work. It’s really turning out nice though. I spent nearly 6 hours last night just making the seat-stay to seatlug joint. I had to braze in little stainless plates to form the scallop on the seatstay, then file the ends to meet up on the seat-lug perfectly. It has to be perfect because it’s going to be a polished stainless seatlug, and the scallops will be polished as well. That means the silver line between the stays and the lug will be visible, hence the reason to make it look perfect. If it’s just a fine line of silver, nobody will ever notice it. Here’s a pic of what it looked like before brazing.

The owner of this bike had a very particular seat-cluster in mind when he ordered the bike, I think I’ve done it justice. It’s a really neat way to make the cluster, very clean lines, and it’s very light. This bike has been a constant challenge, but a lot of fun because of it. I think it will really be a gem when it’s all said and done.

Tomorrow’s buck hill, once again it’s looking hot. Really hot. High of 92, with a fairly high air pollution index. Ought to make for a fun evening of lung-busting condition. I can’t wait.

bbbb
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Tue, 19 Jul 2005 10:39:00 -0400
Tue, 19 Jul 2005 10:39:00 -0400
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It seems like I do a lot of work in my shop, but rarely finish up a whole frame. I have so much repair work and the like that it's become a treat to have a full framebuild all wrapped up and ready to go. This weekend I finished up two frames, even better....

Both of them were big under takings, that's probably why it's been so long since I had a completed frame in my shop, I've been too busy working on these. Once is a fully lugged tandem. It was a frustrating build as the lugs weren't treating me well at times. In the end, I've quite happy with how it came out, and I think the owners will be thrilled when they get it this week. I've still got to finish hanging the components on it, but it's about halfway built up now. I'll probably finish that tonight.

The second one was a stainless steel lugged frame with a bunch of custom work. Yup, the one you've occasionally heard me grumbling about here. I take back my grumbing now, it came out sooooooooo good that I can't complain. The customer was looking for something very specific in this bike, and we did a tremendous amount of communication back and fourth during the build. He had a lot of really good ideas and I put in a lot of neat touches to make his ideas work out, together we came up with a mighty nice looking bike.

I haven't had time to take good photos of it yet, but I will before I ship it off to him. It's too nice to not have some pictures of it on my website. Here are a few crappy shots taken under the flourescent glare in my shop:

This seat-cluster is definetly the corner piece of the bike. It's clean, really clean. Polished stainless steel seatlugs are always difficult since it's tough to find a natural way to blend the painted seatstays into them. The customer really wanted this style of fastback arrangement, so this is how I made it work. I really like the look.

The polishing came out pretty nice on the lugs. They're long shen's that I thinned down quite a bit. On the point, they're about 1/3 the original thickness. The crown is a Hank crown, all polished up, again the points were thinned.

All the dropouts were polished stainless as well, along with the front derailuer boss. Again, all were thinned to match the lugs, then the windows were filled with gold paint to match the decals. The paint is House of Kolor sunset pearl. It's got a very nice orange pearl to it, especially in the sunlight.

As if that wasn't enough to fill up my weekend, Sunday we did the bulk of the garage emptying project. Our contractor is slated to start demo this week Friday, so we have to have everythign ready to go pronto. My folks came over to help move stuff (thanks!) and it went pretty quick, faster than I expected. So we've got a mostly empty garage now. I still need to dismantle my compressor and take down the garage door opener, but I'm holding off on those until the last minute. It was hotter than hell sunday (97 degrees) so we were all pretty cooked by about 1. I kept going for a few more hours, but I could feel my rate of progress slipping constantly....

We did pretty good on getting rid of stuff, I took a car load of cardboard in to recycle, and a trailer load of trash. I love getting rid of stuff, I feel so much better with less clutter in my life.

It finally cooled off yesterday, so I went for a ride. A great ride. It started off looking not so great when I showed up at the monday night ride and billy was the only kenwoodie there. There was a group of others, but I wasn't all that interested in joining in, so I headed out on my own. On the way out, I saw Deanwood heading to the shoppe, so I hooked up with him and billy and we rode. Deanwood is remarkable. They just had a fine set of new twins added to their family about a month ago, and he tells me his shift if from 4am to 8am, so you can imagine he might be a bit tired. He's back working full time already too, Def I don't know how you and Melissa do it.... Regardless of all that, and his lack of ride time, he kept right up, just happy to be out for a few hours on a nice night. Dont worry Def, you'll be pulling that full burley load around soon gettin' even stronger.

He pulled off after a full lap of Wirth, but Scotty-Rob showed up to fill his spot, so Billy and I did another lap with him. Next time Scotty pulled off, but Chris-Ritchey-Guy showed up (hadn't seen him in almost 2 years), so we did another one with him. So I got in 3 complete laps of Wirth, 2.5 hours of non-stop singletrack. nice.

Otree called while I was riding back letting me know he was at the mill with the Vitch. How could I say no, a great ride topped off with food at the mill with friends. Good night.

bbbb


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Wed, 20 Jul 2005 11:13:00 -0400
Wed, 20 Jul 2005 11:13:00 -0400
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When it comes to trying to figure out the bass-akwards wiring in my house, I’m almost always in the dark. When I remodeled the kitchen, I discovered just how insane the wiring was, but I never imagined how bad it could be just trying to disconnect the garage wiring for demolition.

First off the house is a genuine early 70’s home, that means aluminum wire everywhere. Yuk. But the routing they used to wire this place never ceases to amaze me. I ended up working till about 10:15 last night (and lemme tell ya, it's pretty dark in my garge at 10:15) trying to just find the wiring feeding the lights in the garage (they happen to be on the same circuit as half the kitchen, the front hall, two outlets in the living room and the outdoor lights. Don’t ask why there are two outlets on there, I have no idea, the whole house seems to have outlets intermixed with overhead lights on circuits. As near as I can tell, it’s all original wiring as well, so that means someone supposedly “qualified” designed this nightmare, as opposed to an unqualified person like myself that lays out circuits according to code...

So after 3 hours of tracing wires I finally located the feed line to the lights, but I only located it at the junction box at the far end of the garage (as in farthest away from the house). For some incredibly odd reason (maybe heat induced) I couldn’t seem to find it in the attic right above the box though, nor find where it runs to the house. That’s tonight’s mission. It has to be up there somewhere.

Tomorrow starts Demolition of the old garage, so I need to be sure there are no live wires left in there. Guess I’ve got my work cut out for me tonight since I still need to do a few other things as well.

I started building up the tandem last night too. It’s looking good. I really like the orange, It’s fun seeing a bike that big have such a bright color. It makes a big statement, but not a bad statement. I’ll post some pictures on here once it’s all assembled.

Well I’m going to keep this short today, as I have a lot of other work to do. Better get back up in that garage attic and start looking for wires!

bbbb
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Fri, 22 Jul 2005 10:42:00 -0400
Fri, 22 Jul 2005 10:42:00 -0400
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Lots happened yesterday, especially at our house. Demolition began and is going fast, but before I get into that, let’s start at the start.

Here’s the peaceful serene view of our front yard at about 8am yesterday morning. All is well, happy little forest animals frolic amongst the gardens in the fairytale land of the Brown house.

Then right about noon things change, it starts getting noisy; things start flying off the roof. The immediate area around the garage starts to look like a storm came through.

In a matter of hours, large sections of roof are missing and the dumpster in the driveway is starting to fill up. I’m amazed at how quickly Pat (my contractor) works. I know knocking stuff down goes fast, but he’s taking it part in pieces and working about as fast as a wrecking ball.

I had to leave for Buck hill a few hours before he was done for the day, but when I got back it was all down. No wall, no anything except a concrete slab and a big mess.

I suspect today he’ll get going on that concrete slab and maybe start on the driveway. There’s a lot of concrete to demo, and that’s a pile of work. I think the bobcat will help though, and all the natural cracks in the old driveway make things easier It looked funny sitting there in the middle of the garage slab missing two wheels. He had slow leaks in the tires, so he took them home to fix them tonight. Who knows what I’ll come home to tonight…

In other news, it was Thursday, so that means Buck hill. At least for one more week it does. Next week is the last Buck hill for the season (note tears in my eyes). I hate that buck hill ends so early, I kind of wish they would start later in the year and finish up later in the year. I’m just getting into my groove.

Last night the Swanson bro’s set up a sweet course, there was remarkably little climbing for buck. They managed to avoid all the big climbs, which usually hurts me more than it helps as I’m a climber. But last night was once again hot, and I was glad to not be climbing as much. The race went well, I had thorny in my sights the entire race, and I figured I ‘d get him on the last lap as I was gaining on him each time we hit the pavement climb. Well last lap I kept hearing odd creaking coming from my drivetrain, that’s never a good thing on a singlespeed. Just before hitting the paved climb the big snap occurred and I was doomed to running it in. My chain snapped, not the usual pin pulling out, but rather the middle of the sideplate actually broke. Must have been too much brute force (I’ll keep telling myself that anyways). I decided I had come this far and was having a really good race, why not finish the rest of the course. Freeride passed me as I was hoofing it up the paved climb, but I jumped in the woods behind him. The top of the pavement is the highest point in the race, so it was 90% downhill from there. I coasted down everything I could and ran the uphills. I ended up finishing not too far behind freeride, running it in to cross the line.

I’ve really had a rash of bad luck at Buck hill this year. I don’t know what’s going on, flats, breaking chains, crashing… just hasn’t been my best year. Oh well next year… as long as they don’t sell off all the singletrack to developers (which could happen soon, sucky.)

Well, I better finish up the tandem tonight, the new owners keep calling, I think they’re anxious to see it. I’ll get some pictures before it leaves. Odd thing came up on it yesterday. I installed the drivetrain and was adjusting the shifting when I discovered that it would not shift onto the granny gear. The chain would fall into the big gap between the granny and the middle ring. I’d seen this happen before on older 8 speed cranks and rings with a 9 speed chain, but this was all 9 speed stuff. So off came the cranks and out came the calipers. Oddly, it appears that Sugino missed the final machining of the osses for the granny ring. They were too tall, 2mm too tall! I’ve been specing these cranks for years on tandems as they’re really nice, reliable, attractive and inexpensive. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this. Luckily I have a mill in the shop, so it was just a few minutes of machining and they were in spec. and shifting great. Hopefully it was a fluke, Sugino is usually pretty good with quality control.

bbbb
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Re: day1
Looking good Brother! Just make sure Mr. Construction Guy knows which parts to LEAVE UP! That'd be a bitch right... come home and he's leveled the whole kit-n-kaboodle. [ouch!] So.... hmmmm, tandem's done... hmmmm? (we still on for that Sept. delivery date??). Oops, did I say that?!! 8-] -Me
large fella
Fri, 22 Jul 2005 14:30:00 -0400



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Mon, 25 Jul 2005 10:10:00 -0400
Mon, 25 Jul 2005 10:10:00 -0400
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It's not that last weekend was a long weekend, but rather that this will be a long update from the past weekend. A lot went on, not only on the house, but in general. There were good times and bad, I laughed, I cried, I have a big mess in my yard.

We're going to start with house stuff since that's where the bulk of the action was, but we'll throw a few other things in to keep the chronological order going.

Last Friday was a really good day as far as construction goes. I was at work, so didn't get to see all the action, but Pat really went to town with the demo and dirt moving. He started off by breaking up the whole driveway and garage slab with the jack-hammer on the skid-steer. That went remarkably fast largely due to his skill, but also due to the fact that my old driveway was junk. It was full of breaks aready and I discovered quickly that it only had thin re-mesh in it, no rebar at all. The mesh easily can be broken by hand, no wonder I had some many big cracks.

Once it was all broken up, he quickly cleared the concrete away with the bobcat and loaded it into dumpsters for removal. It was like a constant train of semi-trucks down our street picing up and dropping off concrete dumpsters for a while.

Thankfully most of this happened during the day while all the neighbors were at work. Between the jackhammering, and concrete chunks being dropped in a steel dumpster, it was louder than a Derailuer (the band) practice session.

Once he had most of the concrete out of the way, Pat began digging so that he could expose the footings of the garage.

He hadn't had the first dirt-hauling truck show up yet, so all that dirt got piled up down in the driveway area. Things were really starting to get crowded with piles of dirt all over, and a few piles of concrete too. Here's how things looked at the end of the day:

So in one day we went from having a driveway and garage slab to this. Not bad, especially considering the heat he was working in. I think it was about 97 degrees Friday.

Saturday wasn't such a good day. It started fine, Pat showed up early (about 7:30) to put a couple new tires on the bobcat, he had two slow leakers. Once he got that going, he loaded some dirt and concrete, but started having problems with the bobcat. The bucket wasn't lowering right, seemed to have something plugged in the hydraulics. He had really run it hard the day before and he feared he had melted something. He spent most of the morning working on that with his partner. About 11, they took off to get some parts, and he partners bobcat (so at least they could keep working). While he was gone, the weather took a bad turn. I was down in the shop when Beth said I might want to take a look outside. It was black, not like a little thumderstorm black, but like nighttime black. Pat had all kinds of tools in the yard and I had a huge pile of insulation out there that I needed to stay dry. So I madly start tarping things, as the rain starts, within 2 minuted I'm drenched and the wind kicks up to about 30 mph. The truckdriver helps me with the tarps and we pull as much of Pat's gear inside as possible. Then the deluge commenced. We got about 1.5" of rain in about half an hour, which made for a nice mud-hole out front (shown here through the front screen door, it was raining, who want's to take pictures in the rain!):

As you might imagine this scene isn't conducive to digging, but fortunately it's all sand, so it dried out pretty quick. Pat continued to work on his bobcat, and his partner filled up a couple loads of dirt with his bobcat, but progress really slowed down.

As if that having a huge mud-pit and a broken down bobcat in the front yard wasn't enough, the storm also took out a good chunk of one of our trees. It didn't hit the house, but landed partly on the neighbors fence and shed:

That was enough for one day.

Sunday was a slower day. It rained pretty hard for a short time in the morning, then turned into a steambath once the sun came out. I know 'cause I was out riding in it with To-mac and Stone. We got in an afton loop on really wet roads. We knew it was humid when none of us could sprint up the early hills since we were all panting like dogs. I felt like I needed gills to breath, but fortunately as we rode on the weather improved and things did dry out a bit.

Pat took the day off, and his partner showed up ince things dried out to dig out a couple truck loads of dirt. After riding, I chose to work on the tree. Beth had headed out to San Diego early this morning, so I was on my own. The main branch that split off was pretty big, and it was still dangling in the tree. The first step was to get it safely to the ground. Luckily I had to garage for it to fall on, so I had room to work with! I got a rope over the top part of it, then anchored another one to the house and connected them with a come-a-long. All it took was a little pulling and it fell nicely to the ground without anyone near it:

My chainsaw is the biggest pile of junk known to man, so I didn't even bother with it. Got out the sawzall and went to work cutting this part up and loading it on the trailer. There were a few other branches dangling, so those came down too. When it was packed up, I had one heck of a full trailer, even by my standards. I headed out to the county tree-waste disposal site to fine it more full than I've ever seen. Guess we weren't the only ones with tree problems. It was a pretty steady stream of cars heading in.

Got that done, then putzed in the shop a bit and it was time for band practice. Not too bad of a day, here's how the yard looked at the end:

It's starting to look like a driveway! but it's got to go down a couple more feet. At least that footing is exposed now, so Pat should be able to get at it with the jackhammer.

In other happenings, I delivered the tandem Friday night, they took it for a ride saturday and got caught in that storm, nothing like breaking in a new bike right! The bike came out well, the lugs look great:

Yes, the stoker is taller than the captain. That's custom baby...

I also finished up the stainless lugged bike as well, it's on the way to the customer this morning. I'll put some good pictures of it up on the website soon. I think I've uploaded enough pictures for one day on the blog, so I'll refrain for putting more here today. Maybe tomorrow....

bbbb


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Re: Long Weekend Update
Busy weekend for you Bob!! The garage is looking nicely... Gone! I keep looking at the pics and thinking, "Chloe would have a Field Day in all that dirt with her construction toys!!". That tandem is a beauty. I'm guessing the owners know of or already own a Riv Rambo(?) i.e. that orange paint... in any event, the paint is beautiful! How tall is the stoker anyway? Not everyday you see a tandem that has that kind of an arrangement!! Looking forward to seeing the stainless lugger... -Me
large fella
Mon, 25 Jul 2005 10:40:00 -0400



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Mon, 25 Jul 2005 19:54:00 -0400
Mon, 25 Jul 2005 19:54:00 -0400
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Hello world, we're coming to you live tonight. That's right a special bonus edition of the Bob Brown Cycles Blog. This isn't some pre-recorded update of things that happened in the last few days, this is the blow by blow as it happens.

Actually it's so bad outside right now that I felt a house update was in order. Looking at the weather radar, I see that I should be getting hit with the really bad weather any minute, that's not a good sign based on how it currently looks.

Here's a shot of my front yard right now:



Yeah, it's a little wet. Currently my contractor is running around the street with the bobcat trying to keep the storm drain from plugging. The road is flooded anyways, it would be even without our sand, but we're not helping.

It seemed like such a good day, I came home from work and all the concrete had been broken up and removed. They made huge progress today. I guess we're still making progress as dirt is leaving the site, but it's not in the manner we would want.

I think the driveway is about 6" deep now, I know the road was over my ankles when I was out there. I had to go out and empty the gutters in the rain as I didn't want a wet basement, so I figured since I was soaked I might as well see if i could help him with the drain.

Here's hoping it lets up soon, if not we'll have some issues....

out.

bbbb

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Re: check 1, 2, 3....
Man!! That pic looks like some kind of Mars expedition image... I'll listen for the, "Men, Women, Children... RUN FOR HIGHER GROUND!!" call so I know when to hit it. -Me
large fella
Mon, 25 Jul 2005 20:55:00 -0400

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Re: check 1, 2, 3....
"I guess we're still making progress as dirt is leaving the site, but it's not in the manner we would want." You're one funny guy, Bob Brown.
nathan
Tue, 26 Jul 2005 12:54:00 -0400



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Tue, 26 Jul 2005 09:35:00 -0400
Tue, 26 Jul 2005 09:35:00 -0400
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bobbrowncycles


Things have calmed down considerably since last night. The rain stopped, but not without breaking the single day rainfall record. That's right, I heard it on the way into work today, we broke the record yesterday with most of the metro area reporting about 2" of rain. What really makes it impressive is that record is for the entire 24 hour period, we got it all in about 1.5 hours.

That's not a good thing when you're doing a major excavation project. I suspect I'll spend some time today with a shovel out in the street cleaning up around the storm sewers, there's still a fair amount out there.

I didn't take any pictures this morning of the erosion, but it's not all that different from the picture I posted last night. There's still standing water in the hole, which surprizes me since it is still sloping towards the street. Oh well, at least it's cooled off now. It was 62 degrees when I walked outside this morning.

Since there's not much to update on the house this morning, I'll do as promised and post a few pictures of the stainless lugged bike.

I wish the pictures could do it justice, but they really don't. The orange has a really nice gold pearl in it, which goes well with the gold decals and accents.

The seat cluster shown above is really the highlight of the bike. I mentioned it before on here, while I was building it, but it came out so nice that I just have to show more pictures. The seatstays just flow smoothly out of the binder, and the seatlug flows nicely into the underside of the stays. I'm very pleased.

You can get a better view of the gold hue to the orange paint here (maybe, depending on your monitor). The lugs are all quite thin and shaped just right. My new polishing set-up really helped out when it came to finishing these baby's too.

In other news, since it poured rain and prevented the monday night ride last night, I did get in a little shop time. I did an S & S retrofit on a Ritchey break-away frame. That's right, you might want to re-read that statement, but yes, I did an S & S conversion on a bike that already came apart for travel. Why you ask? ok, 'cause the downtube joint on the break-away sucks, that's why. I really surprized how crummy it is. Tom hasn't exactly had a histor of putting his name on bad products, infact I can hardly think of a single Ritchey product that I haven't liked through the years. He really should have bitten the bullet and just sold these bikes with an S & S coupler on the downtube, it would have made for a much better frame.

Here's a shot of half the downtube joint and the "coupler" that holds it together:

Basically, it's just two flat flanges that rest against each other, then this little aluminum ring clamps around them. There is absolutely no provision to resist torsion in the downtube, and the resistance to bending isn't much better. I put the frame on my alignment table before I cut it up, just to measure the delfection. This frame had the most headtube deflection of any frame I've measured, almost double that of the next flexiest frame I've found. It's like the downtube isn't even there. To make matters worse, the owner says he has to have the clamp screwed down as tight as it can go, meaning the two ears of the clamp touch, and it's still come loose on him while riding. This is one product I'm more than a little disappointed in.

The good news is, it should be a great bike now with the S & S coupler in there. The downtube actually measures .9mm on the ends, so I presume it's a .9/.6/.9 tube, so it should be really stiff. Once I get it together I'll measure it on the table again to see how it changed.

Once plus for this bike, the finish is exceptionally well suited for a travel bike. It's a really thick, well applied powdercoat, which should hold up really well to traveling. It's also very primary colors which are easily touched up. I'm not sure if that was planned, but it's good.

bbbb


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Re: after the storm
Beautiful bike Bob... gotta love ss lugs. They are so pleasing to look at... like really pretty necklaces on an equally pretty neck but for a cycle instead. Someone's lucky to have that one! -Me
large fella
Thu, 28 Jul 2005 11:58:00 -0400



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Thu, 28 Jul 2005 11:44:00 -0400
Thu, 28 Jul 2005 11:44:00 -0400
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bobbrowncycles


I didn't have time to write an update yesterday, so we're skipping ahead to day 7. We're so much fartehr ahead of where I imagined we'd be right now. The rain has let off and the weather has really taken a turn for the better. It's been in the 60's and 70's all week, and dry. Perfect weather for home improvement, or even riding your bike for that matter!

Not too much exciting happened on day 6, hence the lack of pictures. The hole got deeper, otherwise no change. But day 7 was eventful. In a tide of good fortune, one of my neighbors runs a lawn/snow service and appearantly does some larger scale landscape type work too. He saw our excavation and came over to talk to Pat. Turns out he has a site about 1 mile away that needed fill, so he arranged for his dump truck to show up wednesday to start hauling fill. The arrangement seems to be working great, he gets tons of fill, and Pat get's rid of it for almost nothing. The Mercado Lawn service must be doing alright, he has one heck of a nice new sterling dumptruck:

I hadn't even met this neighbor before! He's a real nice guy. One thing I can say about a project like this is that it gets everyone around you curious. I've met more of my neighbors in the last week than I have in the last 5 years. I went into this expecting the worst, people complaining about noise of dirt everywhere, but they've all been very supportive. I appreaciate that tremendously. I think it helps that we're the smallest house on a block of pretty nice homes, they like seeing investment in the neighborhood.

I also have been doing my best to keep up good neighborhood relations. Trying to keep things as clean as possible and quite as possible when people are home. Tuesday night I spent 2 hours sweeping up the street near out lot. After that storm Monday night, the rain carried a lot of sand off the site, mostly into the street and partially into a neighbors driveway. I couldnt' really leave it all out there in good conscience, so I went out with my broom, shovel and wheelbarrel and cleanup up about 30 cubic feet of sand.

Ok, get back on track Bob, day 6... So Pat kept diffing all evening, filling up dumptrucks:

He's pretty much got the hole down to size now. It's at the correct rough elevation (except for the driveway, we'll get that dug down later) and size. It's a pretty big hole, you could fit over half our existing house into it!

After the digging was over, we decided to take down the rest of the tree that had lost the limb last week. It was in the way and would have died in a few years anyway (he had to dig up about half it's roots for the foundation). Pat thought he could just push it over with the bobcat, but I was fearful. The problem is the tree is only 2' away from the next door neighbors wood privacy fence, and it's growing half over said fence. The limb that had come down prior fell on the fence, but didn't do much damage, I didn't htink we'd be so lucky dropping the whole tree.

So I spent a few hours cutting off all the limbs I could get to, trying to reduce the odds of hitting anything. I made it up about 25' but that's where the main folliage of the tree was, and where the saddle of the trunk was (it was a pretty big tree!). I debated a few tactics for topping the tree, including donning my crampons, roping over the saddle and climbing it. I tested that out, and the toe points sunk in well, but I didn't feel secure doing it without a belayer, didn't trust my self belaying skills. I settled on climbing up to the saddle from the ladder, then tying off up there and hoping to be able to top it from there. Well, once I was up there, it looked like I would hit the roof of the house with the fall if I topped it. no go.

Pat was braver than I. He climbed up there, then went a bit further and had a longer bar on his chainsaw, so he could reach out further. He managed to top it off, including all the limbs that extended over the fence, without damaging the fence at all. Sure did make me nervous though, seeing him up there, literally out on a limb...

I don't have any good pictures of the felling process, as I was too busy helping out or cutting up wood, but here's the aftermath:

I've got about half the branches picked up here, so you're not seeing the whole thing. It was big, bigger than it looked standing up. Here's the other half of the branches, all strapped down:

Trust me, there's a lot of wood on that trailer right now. Bummer that I have to wait till tomorrow to get rid of it, the wood disposal site isn't open thurdays. I'll have a few trips to make, but I think I should be able to get it all off site Friday. I might have a co-worker to take the larger stuff for fire-wood. The trunk was good sized, about 16" diameter at the base.

Here's the scene now:

I've still got a bit of clearing to do before Pat get's here tonight, but I should be able to handle that this afternoon. I'll trim off the stump lower, then he should be able to dig it out from the bottom side tonight. As you can see, the pushing it over with the bobcat didn't work so well, we ended up felling it into the hole.

Today I'm just tired and sore. Between the hours of sweeping and shoveling Tuesday, then about 3 hours of cutting/dragging tree parts last night, I'm feeling it. I had planned on being on an all-day mtb ride today, culminating with racing at buck hill tonight, but I'm pretty glad we delayed it. I think I'll be sore enough from just buck tonight. Speaking of that, it's the last buck hill race of hte year tonight (insert teardrops). I'll sure miss it, here's hoping they don't sell off all the singletrack land in the next year to developers as is rumored for next year.

Well, that's it for now, time to get to work.

bbbb


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Re: day... ugh what day is this, 7 I think.
You know, that's really cool... your post reminds of how a whole neighborhood takes an interest in people "upgrading" their cribs. I remember vividly as a kid, when my folks did some major renovations to our house, the way people just seemed to gravitate toward our home as a sort of Town Square for talking, watching, hanging out and lending a hand from time to time. It's a great memory. I keep looking at the pics and thinking 2 thoughts... 1. That dirt must smell great... seriously. You NEVER get to smell fresh dirt living in the city, ever. 2. Chloe, would LOVE playing in all that dirt! Your renovations are looking good... our fingers are crossed for you and Beth! -Me
large fella
Thu, 28 Jul 2005 12:04:00 -0400

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Re: day... ugh what day is this, 7 I think.
I can't tell you how hard it is for me to miss all the excitement this week! I am out here in Sandy Eh-Go at this GIS conference (which is GREAT, don't get me wrong!), but I wish I were home to see the progress in person. I'm afraid that by the time I get home all the fun will be over. In the meantime, I'll continue to: 1) eat great food, 2) sip vodka gimlets, 3) watch the sun set over the Pacific from the terrace at the hotel! :) Keep up the good work babe! I'll be home soon! Beth
beth
Thu, 28 Jul 2005 12:50:00 -0400



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Fri, 29 Jul 2005 10:16:00 -0400
Fri, 29 Jul 2005 10:16:00 -0400
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bobbrowncycles


I don’t have any pictures today, sorry. I was too busy working yesterday to take pics, and it’s pretty tough to take pictures of yourself working!

Not a tremendous amount of house activity to talk about today. I spent yesterday afternoon dragging the remains of the tree out of the hole, then cutting it up and loading a bunch of it on the trailer. Three hours of playing lumberjack, combined with the half day of it on Wednesday, and I’m really starting to feel it. I was pretty wiped out yesterday afternoon, but then went down to Buck for the last race of the year, and lemme tell ya, now I’m really wiped out (more on that later).

Considering I’m pretty sure this ash tree was a scrub tree (not intentionally planted) it sure was bigger than I thought when viewing it from the ground. It’s going to be 2-3 trailer loads full to haul it off today, and we’re talking bbbb trailer-loads here. I have the first load on the trailer, and it’s over my head after being compressed down as far as I can go. I think it was about 12’ tall before I roped it down! I’ve also got a pretty healthy pile of nice fire-wood sized logs out front. Anyone need some wood? If so feel free to just take what you want. Should be great burning wood in a year or two.

Pat pulled the rest of the stump out yesterday too, it came pretty easily once we cut most of the roots, however for the second time now the utility company’s have let me down in marking things. The guys cut the phone line into the house when they were digging because Qwest completely botched the marking job. Missed it by about 10’. Now when we pulled up the stump, we were able to see a black poly line down under it a bit, which I can only assume is the gas line. It’s fine and intact, but I want to know how in the hell them miss located that one. I wasn’t too concerned about the phone line, that’s a minor thing to fix, but missing the gas line is a big deal. They had marked the gas coming up right at the property line, then showed it leaving the property. Not even close. In their disclaimer they warn you to hand dig 3’ either side of the marking, well we were a good 4’ off the mark and there’s the line, right under a tree. Guess that tree was definetly planted after the house was built.

I staked the location of the line, so we’d know to be careful, then pat filled it back over. Here’s hoping for no more surprises like that. We should be done with it since we’re almost done digging.

Buck Hill.

Well it was Thursday yesterday, and that means only one thing, buck. After spending the afternoon cutting and hauling wood, I wasn’t exactly primed up for racing my bike, but it was the last one of the year, so I had to go. Beautiful night, sunny and in the mid 70’s, just perfect. The Penn folks put out the call that they wanted to break the attendance record at this race, so they wanted like 170 people to show (which is huge for this racecourse). Well, they got more, 247 to be exact. If there’s only one thing I really know about bike racing, it’s that buck hill is not meant to have 247 people race on it in a short-lap race.

The vast majority of the riders would be in the Rec race, which is only 2 laps, and we do 4 laps, so I knew there was going to be a lot of passing involved tonight. The first lap went really well, but I knew I was going faster than I should be. I kept the Kenwood train in site the whole lap with Stone, Tomac, WW, and tttt all in a group. Second lap tttt wasn’t looking so good, so I passed him on the climb and kept yelling at him to stick on my wheel. I would glance back whenever I could to see where he was in the singletrack, and he faded a bit, but eventually came back up to my wheel. Third lap he and I exchanged roles, he came by me before the singletrack and I started feeling my tired legs and sore back (too much lumberjacking). I stuck with him as best I could, but my back was getting worked over pretty fast. The third lap also really made me give up on the notuion of racing this event, I spent far more time trying to just get around riders than trying to keep up with anyone. Lap 4 he really put it down and I lost him completely. He worked his way up a lot, and I worked my way back. I rode with a Penn guy most of the race and we took turns leading and passing all the rec riders. I’m guessing we passed about 100 people between the last two laps, most of which occured on climbs which is tough in singletrack with a singlespeed bike. You do a lot of near trackstanding and grinding up climbs really slowly. My back paid the price.

One the last lap, as I was doing the last of the singletrack decent, I heard some bozo riding like an idiot behind me. He was decending really fast, but I could also tell he was comepletely out of control as he was locking up both brakes at every corner. Once we hit the asphault I let him by as it was obvious he thought getting around me at a Thursday night buck hill race would make a life and death difference in his racing career. When he came around I saw that he was the exact stereotype person I was talking about in my Morc rant a few months back. If he had been holding a can of mountain dew the image would have been complete. Full suspension, completely out of control (I watched him skid almost 20’ in an effort to avoid going head on into a tree since he was incapable of holding his line) jersey that was too small, so his beer belly was hanging out. The worst part was, the course was drastically overcrowded and he was really being a menace. Literally ten feet in front of me, one the last small rise before the final open decent I saw him run right over a rec woman rider. Not slow down and try to pass, but full-on at top speed run into the back of her bike, knock her over (which really probably freaked her out) then yelled something at her and took off. When I came by and encouraged her as she was nearly done with the race, she fervently apologized for being in the way, which she wasn’t. I really felt bad for her and everyone else who had experiences like that last night. I mean this guy was a rec rider, he was finishing his second lap when I was finishing my 4th, there was absolutely nothing at stake here, yet he somehow felt justified plowing right through anyone in his way. Rock on dude, have another Dew…

That’s the inherent problem with simply trying to break attendance records, it seems like a good idea, but who you really attract are two groups. Those who want to try racing for the first time, so they’re feeling pretty timid to begin with. And the weekend warrior boneheads like the above guy, who don’t usually ride their bikes on a Thursday, so their biological clock is all thrown off, jacking up the testosterone, making them all out idiots.

Those two groups aren’t a good mix because the boneheads go and terrify all the first-timers, causing them to think this is how mountain biking really is, and they never come out and race again. Way to go. What we need is for the first-timers to somehow scare off the boneheads, we could all do with fewer boneheads.

bbbb
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Re: day 8
That's what always keeps me from riding Buck-- fear that it would just be overrun with yahoos. It looks like a fun place to ride, but I like to have space... And, having gone back and read the MORC post, I agree with pretty much every point you make back there. Right on.
KP
Fri, 29 Jul 2005 13:04:00 -0400

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Re: day 8
Don't fear WFBH. It's beautiful!
tttt
Fri, 29 Jul 2005 13:35:00 -0400


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