Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bike SOLD!

We had a busy but enjoyable Christmas. Now I am trying to catch up on missed sleep, just in time to get off schedule again due to New Years, but it's all good!

A friend came over last night and we were hanging out in the bike shop. He spotted the rebuilt Takara and offered to buy it right there. So I sold my first rebuild. WooHoo! Friend also has some other bikes he said he will pay me to tune-up and another friend wants his wife's bike tuned up. So it looks like I may have a few side jobs for minor stuff. It works for me.

Bike Kid's K2 Hardtail is all tuned-up, works as good as new. Now I'm disecting Capt'n Balance's 20 year old rigid Cannondale.

We had a difficult time getting the rear wheel off, the axle bolt on 1 side was seized. Fourtunately he never had a flat tire on any of our rides last summer, there would have been no way to get that tire off with a bike multi-tool. Not impossible to fix a flat with the tire on the bike, but more difficult.

I overhauled the hubs last night, good thing a few friends were over, there was NO WAY I was going to get the freewheel off. It took 2 guys, both well over 6 ft tall, much bigger than Capt'n Balance (although the Capt'n is very strong) and huge hands, as big a frying pan, straining to get that freewheel off. 20 years of tightening with each pedal stroke, you can imagine how tight it was.

Then flushed out the freewheel with lube, put it all back together and mounted the Ice Spikers. Way easier to get those tires on than the Nokian on my bike.

Today I will overhaul the roller-cam brakes, the rollers don't roll anymore. Replace the chain, lube up the cables, replace if necessary. I'm not going to get into the bottom bracket today, maybe in a few weeks. It rotates nice and smooth with no play, so I think it's fine for now.

Hopefully we will be up for a ride tomorrow. I don't plan on celebrating too much tonight, I don't like missing a day to recover.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Sorry guys, I'm not talking about you

I bought Capt'n Balance Schwalbe Ice Spiker studded tires.

They are damn studs should be

There is something about bad boys that attract girls, and these are some Bad Boy tires.

Now to all you guys, it's a known fact that bike guys are stud-ly, so puff out your chests, grab a beer, do some struttin and tell some lies, you are a STUD.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Shopping

We rented a hotel room in Anchorage Friday night so we could do our annual massive
Christmas shopping all in 1 trip.

I have only been able to suprise Capt'n Balance 1 time out of the 7 Christmas' we have been married, I THINK this might be year #2!!! This year, he told me about a good sale Lowes was having on a small circular saw/drill combo. I went and got it after work one evening and hid it away when I got home. About 2 days later, he asked me if I got the tools....I said no, like I could really tell him I did. So then he said he was going to head into town and buy it because it's a really good deal. Well, what could I do? I told him I did get it so don't go buy another. Sheesh.

He mentioned a while back that he also would like some power shears. He builds many metal building, such as my bike shop and all the other little outbuildings on the farm here. He used to professionally build metal pole barns, which is why it was relatively inexpensive to build my bike shop. I don't know what he has been using to cut the metal lately, but he said he needed another power shear. So I went back to Lowes the other day and purchased one and hid it away.

So yesterday, while we were still in Anchorage, he takes us to a pawn shop to look at power sheers. I'm thinking "S***" and decide I'm am NOT going to say anything. I will let him buy one and then he will have 2 or he can return the one I purchased. He ended up not purchasing one at the pawn shop, so whew. I think he will be suprised.

I purchased myself a cable stretcher tool from REI as well as 25 ft of cable and brake housing and some teflon coated cables. The REI salesman was asking if we needed any help, only he keeps looking at and talking to Capt'n Balance, ignoring me, although I'm the one holding the tool, cables and housing. Capt'n Balance told him to talk to me, not him, as I'm the one who in into bikes. I told him I had everything I needed, thanks anyway.

I was looking at truing stand, decided against it for now. I am going to start replacing all the cables on Bike Kid's hardtail and put on new chains on his hardtail and my road bike. Maybe I will then start on project bike #2, a Shwinn Super Sport. I was reading about this bike, it has a handbuilt frame with brass brazings or something like that. It's special due to the way it's built, according to the guy who wrote this website.

I took a nice, short ride last night in the falling snow, I love it!! I need to get the lights up on this new used winter bike so I don't get splattered.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What is this tool??

I got the brake cables on the Takara. There must be an easier way to pull the cables taut. I improvised and got them nice and tight but it took some work. I have come to realize I don't have much hand strength. I'm a wimp. I used to rock climb and my hands were much stronger. I have to start working on that.

I used a Dremel tool for the first time to get a clean cut on the cable housing. I have some housing cutters but have a hard time getting a clean cut due to pour hand strength, also the cutter handles spread too far apart, my hands are too small, they are too big. So I got out the dremel. Capt'n Balance fortunately warned me to expect sparks. It was a little scary a first, sparks flying, the sound and the smell. Then it go to be kinda fun. The housing came out nice and smooth, no burrs.

The other day I was using the air compressor to blow dry the bottom bracket bearing/cassette. I had it over my thumb with the bearings on my thumbnail. The air was making it spin really fast, which caused it to make a really cool whirring sound. I thought that was pretty neat so I was playing around with it a little. Then I see a bearing fly out and feel pain in my thumg. The edges of the bearing cassette are pretty thin and flexible. It snagged on my thumb after the bearing flew out. I was sure there would be some missing skin/blood, but no, just some pain. So now I know not to play that way anymore. Then I went to the bike shop and Bike Guy gave me a new bearing.

Anyway, I purchased a cheap box of generic tools a while back. I have this tool, and have NO IDEA what it is used for. Anyone know what it is?

I was also checking out the prices of tensiometers, holy ****. $$$!!!!!!!

It will have to wait a bit.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bike Shop Happenings

Been busy tinkering away in the SHOP in my spare time. I have been working on a project bike, a woman's Takara 6 speed. I got it free from a neighbor. It was pretty seized up, wheels didn't turn, steering locked, brakes frozen, bent rim and dry as a bone. So far I have overhauled the headset, bottom bracket, both hubs, de-seized the seatpost, new tires and tubes, trued the wheels, found the rear wheel was too bent to true, purchased new wheel, added a new freewheel and chain. Just need to replace the derailleur and brake cables, maybe one of the brake handles, and it should be good to go. It's pretty simplistic.

So once it is finished, I will have yet another bike. I'm not really in the need for another bike so I think I will give it to a lady at work, she tells me pretty often she really enjoyed riding her bike, she would like something better than the X-mart bike she has but she can't afford to get one. So if she wants it, it's hers. And guarenteed to work better than what she currently has. If she doesn't want it, I will hang on to it until I find someone who does.

Next on the agenda is to tune up Bike Boy's 1st bike, the K2 hardtail. It has mechanical disk brakes, I replaced the pads today, just that made a huge difference. I couldn't get the new pads in the rear caliper, so made some adjustment so I could slide it in. Then new cables and housing all around. May have to get one of the cogs replaced on the cassette or will have to get a new derailleur hanger. Either the cog is bent/worn or the derailler is not hanging straight. Also a new chain for that bike, my Santa Cruz and my roadie turned commuter. My road bike is overdue for a chain and I plan on replacing the chain on my Santa Cruz annually. Bike Guy will keep the Santa Cruz tuned up until I get more experience. I don't want to tinker on that bike.

While I was in the bike shop picking up the new wheel for the Takara, I was telling Bike Guy how I tried to true up the old one. He then handed me the spoke wrench and told me go true up the new wheel. Gulp - ok, I have about 10 minutes of experience, I was using the brake as the truing guide, I have to talk out loud to myself to remember counterclock-wise on the spoke which goes to the opposite side of the bend to tighten it, clockwise on this side to loosen, blah, blah, plus the fact that BIKE GUY is watching.

Talk about performance anxiety.

So I start twisting and talking, twisting and spinning a few times. Then I just bail out. I had him the wrench and he has it done perfectly in 3 minutes or less. I start kicking myself on the drive home, I should have taken better advantage of the situation and learned something about truing wheels. Darn.

The weather here is COLD and we have NO SNOW. What little we had blew away.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's DONE - The SHOP!

Just needs a few more things: light fixtures, pegboards, hooks to hang tires and the hooks to hang the bikes on the walls. Raise up the desk to work bench height. Walls are painted, stuff is moved in - almost all of it. Furnace is installed and it's all nice and toasty.

Pictures are before the trim was all finished
1st things in are my Julianna and bike kid's K2 monster - it's a big bike. He's getting tall, almost 6 ft alreadys

Treadmill moved in, shelves up.

Views from the bike shop's windows.

What I really need - a CLOCK!

I came home really tired from work today, bike kid is riding around the driveway, ready to pull me into the shop as soon as I get out of the truck to start getting to work. I need some food, a drink - Tequila shot, ahhh.

Shoulders and wrists really sore. I don't know whats going on with my wrists but they aren't happy lately.

Shoulders really sore, both of them. The heat went out at work today, spent the day hunched up tight with coat and gloves on and still froze. It's no way to work. I am sure that is part of the reason I'm sore, from being tense all day.

The wind is whipping in Wasilla, the town in which I work. A homeless guy was standing in the double entryway of the japanese restaurant where I had ordered lunch. He was trying to warm up a bit, the windchill is way down there. He rides a bike, it was parked against the wall outside, loaded down with all his worldly possessions. I couldn't tell what kind of bike it was, it was soo loaded down. All I was able to see is a RockShox fork. His load made a pretty big sail for the wind. By the time I had picked up my order, he was gone, but whoo, the entryway was pretty rank smelling.

In the world of my work, guys like him are my clients. I'm glad he was able to warm up a bit, as the wind is painfully cold and frostbite is a real possibility. There are no shelters here in the valley for men. We have a growning homeless population out here, so we are behind the need. Bike guy has told me of a few stories of a few different homeless guys going through his trash, scavanging for parts or whatever. I gave a wheel to one of my homeless clients who's wheel was so rusted I thought it would turn to dust under him.

Thank God I am here in my cozy home, with my warm shop, my nice bikes, my normal life and family.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My New to Me Winter Bike

I picked up my used, cheap winter bike today. Bike guy sold it to me for $50. He replaced the cranks, gave it a semi-tune up, adjusted the brake handles so I could reach them better. Some guy sold it to him for $20 because the guy was in desperate need for gas $.

Since I sold my Cannondale I was left without a winter bike. I don't want to use my Juliana, just no need to put the wear and tear of winter biking on it.

Bike Guy put my Nokians on it. It should do what I want it to do for this winter. It's a Kona Hahanna

Bike Guy and I had a good conversation regarding the local politics - Governor election. He asked who I was going to vote for in the upcoming election. I don't usually share my political views in casual conversation as I get enough arguing from my clients, I don't need it in my leasure time. So I told him my secret. He was respectful, which was nice. I know who I am going to vote for and why I'm going to vote for them. No one will change my mind that except that particular individual.

Another worker walked off the job today. So what does that say about the conditions of my job?? They suck.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Left San Fran with it's temps of about 78. Came home to temps of 25, snow and darkness. Hmmm yeah....

It wasn't a great thing at 1st but now I'm hyped about winter. I am buying a cheap, used Kona from Bike Guy, not anything special at all but should work for winter just fine. He's putting on my Nokian's today, should be ready tomorrow.

I had a good time in San Francisco, I miss the sun and warmth. The bike scene there is CRAZY! I am standing on the Golden Gate Bridge, gawking at all the cyclists. I've got to say, bike guys make nice scenery :) no harm in looking, right? Beautiful bikes, nice muscles. Talking bikes also makes for good conversation. I was longing to ride, but my daughter just isn't a bike girl.

Not much progress on my bike shop since I have been gone, but I have a nice new stairway in the house, which is great! Now back to the bike shop. It's almost totally sheeted inside, then needs paint and get the propane heater installed and I'm good to GO!!

Work is **** since I've been back. 3 people walked off the job in 3 weeks. The welfare lines don't get smaller, my caseload is larger than it has ever been. I'm worn out by the time I get home so haven't done any riding in a couple weeks. My muscles are shrinking. I've got to get back into it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lights, Insulation and San Francisco!

Electric all hooked up, ceiling and walls all insulated! Now interior sheeting, furnace installation, some painting and it will be ready for my bikes to MOVE IN!!! I keep trying to upload a picutre, but Blogger won't cooperate.

I'm am going to San Francisco next week, my daughter and I will be having a 3 day fun trip, just the 2 of us. She works for Alaska Airlines, so we get free flights and good deals on hotels/cars/tourist stuff. She is barely 18 yrs old, so she still needs Mom, who has a credit card, to reserve hotels and whatever. We decided against renting a car, doesn't sound like it will be necessary with the public transportation and the close locality of all the places we want to go.

I tried talking her into renting some bikes and checking out the local mountain biking scene. She is not into biking so that is not something she wants to do. She's sort of an indoor girl, I don't know how THAT happened. Maybe I accidentally traumatized her at some point in her young life by dragging her into the wilderness with no way to plug in her curling iron, calling it "fun". :)

We are going to have a good time though, 1 full day of shopping at Union Square, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, trolleys, etc. The architecture is always pretty cool also, Alaska seems to favor box style building = ugly.

There is a Critical Mass going on the night I leave, I sure wish I could ride in it, that would really be cool, I think. I don't know if there has ever been a Critical Mass in Alaska...So, who wants to start organizing one?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Toyo heater! It's cold already, winter is almost here. This will keep me toasty! The cold temperatures is causing my shoulder to really act up, stiff and sore.  Posted by Picasa

Side view Posted by Picasa

Ramp instead of stairs, porch roof on, temp poles holding it up Posted by Picasa

Bike Shop: Milling the lumber earlier this summer Posted by Picasa

I'm done commuting. It's too dark and the bike path is full of rocks again, my light isn't bright enough to see very well. I have been looking into the TurboCat lights.  Posted by Picasa

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Saturday, September 30, 2006


Bike Boy #1 has a loud click noise when his Rock Shox Tora 302 Solo Air fork is heavily compressed. I have searched, I can't find anything on it. I wonder if it is a blow off valve or a real problem?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lookin' GOOOD!

Bike Shop all shelled in! Bikes will go along the back walls, lots of windows in the front. Now the interior work begins!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quote of the Day

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.”

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Sunday, September 17, 2006

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Go Joe! Posted by Picasa

Joe Bender

I went to Anchorage yesterday, to kill some time. I figured I would check out REI and some other stores for a mid-weight coat, maybe the North Face Denali coat. So I looked and looked, decided the Denali wasn't really what I was looking for as it doesn't seem to be as wind resistance as I am looking for.

So after wasting gas and fighting crazy Anchorage traffic, This is what I came home with:

Mountain Biking Joe Bender and cinnamon bread from the Great Harvest Bread Co. REALLY GOOD! That's all I've eat today...i'm so naughty!

So now I don't feel like riding, just gorging on the bread and lattes. I should include some real food and water in there somewhere.

Bike shop has a roof, most walls and windows! Post another pic soon.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Here's my bike shop! Getting the metal roofing/siding tonight! WooHoo! Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 11, 2006

Always Remember

As I was riding my bike home from work today, the weather was just spectacular, just like 5 years ago.

And I remembered.

9/11, a clear sunny day, just like today.

Here is a memorial quilt I made, I keep it up all year-round.

The 4 "propellers" represent the 4 jets
The 2 rows of triangles represent the 2 towers
The overall Flag design represents the Pentagon
The white fabric has tiny stars on them, representing the number of lives lost.

It's hurts to remember,
but I will never forget

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Another one goes down.  Posted by Picasa

Cycling Road Rage

I flipped a guy off the other day on my ride to work. I don't normally do that sort of thing and I feel bad about it.

I find I'm getting angry during my commute.

I have to cross an intersection where I wait alongside vehicles going the same direction as me, waiting at the red light to turn right. I am waiting for the green to go straight across. I have almost been hit a few times by these right turning drivers.

It's not because they don't see me. I look like a frickin' irradiated carrot, lit up for Christmas.

I have my blinky lights blinking, my dayglo orange reflective vest reflecting, my headlight shining and I also stand a bit further UP than the vehicle I'm next to.

The light turns green, I go, the vehicle goes into the turn also.

The brakes squeal as they hit them so they don't hit me.

I point to the green light, I point to the "walk" crosswalk indicator, I point to myself and then point straight ahead of me. Hopefully the driver understands this simple sign language and is aware that next time the light is green, I am going to GO as I have the RIGHT OF WAY, just like a pedestrian.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

I looked it up in the state laws. It's not legal to ride IN the roads here, either have to be on the bike path, on the shoulder of the road or as far to the right as possible if there is no shoulder.

I am riding on a bike path that leads up to the intersection and is then shared with pedestrians as it joins up with the sidewalk.

Also, bratty teens who block the bike path and will not move over also pisses me off. At this point I am supposed to yield to the pedestrians but those little shits deserve to be run over.

Good thing cycling burns off the negative energy. The rage is usually neutralized by the end of my ride. Besides, guns are too heavy to carry on my bike.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006