Sunday, October 28, 2012


The stats from the blog says that there have been 5,000 views on this blog.  Wow, that happened way faster than I could have anticipated!  Thanks to all of you readers!  I'll do my best to try to continue improving my posts and keep this blog interesting and helpful.

BICAS Build-A-Bike Workshop

Earlier this month I took a Build-A-Bike workshop at BICAS where you take a donated bicycle and re-condition it with new grease and parts and adjust everything for optimal operation.  The class was divided into 5 days that ran about 4 hours each day.  The following topics were covered:

Day 1: Fixing flats and re-conditioning hubs
Day 2. Headsets and bottom brackets
Day 3. Brakes & wheel truing
Day 4. Drivetrain: Chains & derailleurs.
Day 5. Final details and test drive.

Our instructors Ash & Kristen were very knowledgable and patient with us while we struggled with adjusting just so, which was the most difficult part.  The class was helpful in helping us learn what each part is called and also how to determine and use the appropriate tool for each job.

My "lab partner" Jan and I worked on a Trek Multi-Sport 720, and if I remember correctly it was 62 cm, which is WAY too tall for me.  The Trek was very abused, so we didn't have to make too many adjustments to it.  There were other very different bikes that the other people in the class were working on, which was nice since we could get exposure to all the nuances of different parts (i.e. sealed bottom brackets)

Overall, I really enjoyed the class and highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in gaining knowledge of the inner workings of bicycles and the tool required to work on them.  The class was $80, but you will receive $40 in shop credit that can be used toward shop time, used parts or bikes.

Entrance to BICAS

The class workshop

My lab specimen

Cross-section of a headset

Ash teaching us about headsets

My lab partner Jan

Lupe, one of the many mascots at BICAS

Ash demonstrating wheel truing.

Wheel truer, AKA field goal posts.

Learning about drivetrains.

Jan getting the most important finger stuck in the handlebar.

Jan putting the bike through its paces.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chain Tensioner Pics for Chandra

These pics are for Chandra (iBrompton) and I guess anyone else who needs a reference as to what the chain length should be when replacing with a new one (I haven't messed with my chain yet, other than just cleaning and lubing it).

The distance from the bottom edge of the chainstay to the center of the bottom chain tensioner pulley was approximately 2.8 inches and to the center of the chain itself was approximately 3.4 inches.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bike Ride with Gary Fisher and...other Bromptons!

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to join a bike ride with mountain biking legend Gary Fisher.  Mr. Fisher basically created the genre, and nowadays is going around the country to promote utilitarian biking.  This ride was sponsored by Trek of Tucson and Borderlands Brewing to benefit the Living Streeets Alliance.
Mr. Fisher was quite cheery and generous with his time, signing a bunch of autographs and posing for tons of photos.  I think some 200 cyclists turned out for the ride.  One of these cyclists rode up in his wife's orange Brompton.  Instant camaraderie!

The ride itself was a little annoying due to the start and stop nature of trying to move 200 cyclists through major traffic, but it all worked out due to the efforts of El Grupo volunteers dictating traffic.  

As we rode, Mr. Orange and I spot another Brompton!  And this one was the one I posted about last weekend.  Just like magnets, we clung together throughout the ride, and hung out together once we reached Borderlands (where we met up with Mrs. Orange).  We discussed lots of topics regarding Brompton ownership and we all had the same kind of commuting habits and dreams of touring long distances (inspired by the Path Less Pedaled).  I think we're on the path to something good here!  We exchanged emails and hopefully we'll get something organized soon, like maybe some kind of club or meetup group.  Definitely exciting times this week!

The Trek Store
Me & The Man.
The crowd gathers.
Mr. Orange and his (wife's) orange Brompton.  And Rosa's (in the background) is delicious.
En route.
The second Brompton waiting at a stop.
Since I forgot my lock, the second Brompton owner was kind enough to lock mine with his.
Party at Borderlands Brewery
Bromptons of Tucson

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ride a Brompton, get a free beer.

Usually when I roll into my friendly bar with the Brompton, I fold it down outside and try to discreetly roll in with it and tuck it into a corner where I can keep an eye on it.

However, earlier this week I had about 5 people who wanted to check out the bike and having me fold and unfold it.  Other Brompton owners have stated the bike draws a lot of attention, and it really is true.  I'm still trying to deal with it, considering that I'm not really one to actively seek attention.  However, if a free drink is offered, who am I to refuse!
Cheers "Coconut" Joe!

Sunday, October 14, 2012