Friday, September 10, 2010

Old bike for an old man?

When I decided I would actually start cyclocross racing last year, I bought a bicycle specifically for cyclocross. For those of you who are not bike geeks, that means it's a lot like a road bike except it has more room around where the tires pass through the frame and forks to allow for slightly bigger knobby tires along with a few other small differences. Woo-hoo, I was all set! I raced it at the last race last year, worked great. This year I was good.

Then I discussed this project (raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project). Jovid said he'd join me. And because he's close to my size, well, I turned my bike (dubbed the "Green Machine" by Andy) over to him and starting wrenching away madly to cobble something together for myself. Basically I found a late 70's/early 80's road bike as the basis for my creation. Usually something like this will work. In this case, sort of. The fork is from something else, not sure of it's origin, but it works. Most of the parts I had for various reasons (didn't Thomas Edison say something about  "Inspiration can be found in a pile of junk."?)  Tires wouldn't exactly fit in the frame at the back. This was "corrected" by several applications of the metal persuading apparatus (hammer and C-clamp). The results are ugly, but it works. Then the wheels wouldn't work right. Something to do with bent axle, something out of round... wouldn't have anything to do with my previous abuse at all. No, no no. I did have some nice wheels that were originally slated for the Green Monster that I could use on this creation, but that's sort of like polishing a turd. The wheels cost more that everything else put together. However we were getting down to the wire and... hey, with a bit of filing of the frame they work! Sort of... under any heavy pedaling (climbing up hill, sprinting) the wheel pulls forward, jams the tire in the frame and forward progress is no more. Ugh.

OK, I'm sure I swore more than that. But you have imaginations. I ended up using a different quick release on the rear wheel and really torquing it down. Not a very quick-release to actually release the wheel, but it holds. Mostly.

Then there was shifting issues. The crank I bought for this project didn't quite fit right. Lots of experimenting, swapping of derailers and other bits, and, well, it too works... mostly.

Here it is, in all it's pieced-together glory

However, my manly pride at having created something is clashing with my desire to have something work correctly all the time. (Which could be done, I just need to spend a few more bucks here and there... AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I was trying to do this withouth spending any more money!)

I could just buy another bike for myself to race. We have the technology. We could build it lighter, faster, have a bionic eye. Make cool slow-motion sounds at times of super-human feats.  However I've said that at this level of racing it's more about the engine (self) and less about the equipment. I guess I better walk the talk. So for now, the old man will keep riding the old bike. 


  1. The kicker is, I've put together numerours bikes that work great. In this instance, I was just trying to use what was on hand and not buy more stuff. Sometimes, it seems, you need to get more/different parts

  2. It looks like you're going for the extra man-points! w00t w00t! Besides, it's got tires that have "RACING" written on them and red racing stripes. What more could you possibly need?

  3. All good points Cheryl! The only small niggle is... getting it to work right.