Friday, April 25, 2014

I couldn't have said it better

I couldn't have said it better... I had the extreme good fortune to run into Mary and Ed in DC on Wednesday morning enroute to work and the spontaneous pit stop conversation in the middle of the street was a spectacular way to kick off the day. It didn't hurt that I was steaming in a very unusual configuration... sailboat fueling vehicle!  The Agapanthus Saluki (known as Agatha) was front loaded w/ a 2 gallon can of 87 octane destined for my 26' Sailboat - 'Summer Breeze'.  Great conversation starter (as if a large man on a purple bike needs a conversation starter!)

If you aren't following Mary at Chasing Mailboxes you are MISSING OUT!

Astute eyes may notice the cockpit change to albatross bars on Agatha, I'm behind on some informational posts including a pretty awesome bike build helping my friend Joe get his UBI self-built frame on the road last night!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Original.... Coffee Outside

Having coffee outside is not original, but of late in the bicycling community it has been popularized by Rob Perks of Ocean Air Cycles in Ventura CA.  His images and descriptive blog posts have inspired many to try and get a little more out of their pre-work time.  I had the distinct pleasure of joining Rob for some coffee outside at Ocean Air Cycles home base, right on Ventura Beach in CA last Monday.  I've written about my excellent experiences with Rob and my Rambler test ride before so I'll just let the pictures do the talking here.... enjoy!

Does the Pacific Ocean at sunrise need any caption....

Yes he's using a flint striker to light his alcohol stove to brew coffee outside after bicycling to an ideal spot to enjoy the sunrise... :)

Obligatory Rambler #1 porn

Back to the Pacific Ocean

Back the Pelicans, I was transfixed by these guys as Rob brewed up the coffee. They were winging up and down the coast at wavetop height seeming to dip their wingtips in the crashing waves. Awesome!

My borrowed ride for coffee outside - more on the sweet 650B Trek later!

Pictures or it didn't happen...

The outdoor coffee brewer's panoply

West coast double brew technique

My while riding shots are a challenge given my manual focus lens but at least you can recoignize OAC #1 on Rambler #1

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How much do you want it... the stuck seatpost edition

The remains of an aluminum seatpost.
This post is over a month tardy but I had to get around to it... I think I'm only now emotionally ready to discuss it because the process of removing the horribly corroded aluminum seatpost from my steel 1993 Bridgestone XO-3 was way more complicated than it should have been.  I realized the post was stuck the day I bought it but figured that some elbow grease and maybe some lubrication would do the trick.  As it turned out I ended up bending the rails on the saddle and not budging the post after much grunting and swearing.  Next up was the fairly obnoxious use ammonia to try and dissolve the aluminum - steel corrosion. Of course to get it in there I had to remove the crank and bottom bracket, hang the bike upside down and fill the seat tube with ammonia.  I did that for 9 days!  The seatpost didn't even blink.  Next in the problem solving process I took the drastic step of hacksawing the seat post at 1" above the frame and attempted (hardheartedly) to use a hacksaw blade to saw through the now hollow tube enough to break it loose.  This may have worked if I'd given it much more time and effort. But even then I'm not sure as my eventual success would prove the corrosion was incredibly complete.

I threw in the towel on hard labor with the promise of good living through chemistry...

(not my video obviously)  The picture up at the top of the post shows the results, a couple notes about the process. I ended up using 4 lbs of lye (sodium hydroxide) purchased first through Amazon and then at the local hardware store when I blew through the first 2 lbs in no time.  The reaction, at least for me was way less catastrophic than I had anticipated. I ended up spending over 4 hours with the chemicals, it was a huge mess, I ended up with  minor skin irritation on my face (probably wiping my cheek w/ my gloved hands).  The frame was a mess, I thought I had ruined it to be honest but I just got fed up w/ the process and was sloppy towards the end.  The frame finish was already really rough so once I wiped it all down the next day it was really no worse the wear.  The truly disappointing part to me was that even with the application of so much time and chemicals I still had to use a hammer and screwdriver-chisel to remove the ribbons of seatpost painstakingly.  I was so rough with the frame I thought for sure I'd deformed the seat tube for good.

As it turns out the Bridgestone took that walloping, took the chemical burns and spat it out like nothing. The bike now has a completely adjustable seatpost as was intended and I'm glad the project is over with!  I'd be happy to answer any questions, the use of the lye is a tool in the tool box but I'll be attempting to never do it again.