Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Some things I would rather remember

Seeing as it's been one million years exactly since I last wrote on here... this is a collection of things that have happened since the dawn of complex multicellular life which I would like to remember. 

Thing #1: Lina's commuter got some chop-shop treatment thanks to a defunct old Norco frame which donated a seatstay to become the brace on this disk brake mount. The rear brake mount, and the one for the fork came from Paragon machine Works, who make lovely metal things for bikes. Though the welds are pretty horrific due to my lack of practice, I didn't blow any holes through anything and it hasn't broken yet. The rear disk mount is upside down and backwards to get it out of the way of the rack. The front one is on the wrong side and on the front, which I think Pace did first... and makes sense to me.

Thing #2: It did actually snow, then it stopped, and now it's snowing again. At Mt Baker one weekend I got to try out something I've been wanting to for ages namely "snow dog action cam" photography. My real plan is to strap my GoPro camera to the end of my ski-pole, and instead of holding it in the air and filming myself gurning through powder turns (examples of which consist of about 90% of the ski-related internet), I will film running dogs. Now that's entertainment. I fell foul of not actually having the GoPro with me, so I experimented with skiing past the action-dogs then attempting to turn and ski backwards in front of them whilst taking pictures. I managed to get one picture I like, and am inspired for a more concerted attempt... maybe soon!

Thing #3: We have clean windows. I've been meaning to do this for five years, and I still haven't, because Lina did it. Now we can see things like this, without the soft-focus (train soot). Hooray!

Thing #4: There has been a lot of bicycle riding of all kinds lately. It's been the best winter ever for mountain biking so all three of my knobbly-tired bikes have been seeing regular action. The real action is my daily commute though. Kermit has seen somewhere around 3500 km of commuting since August and so far nothing fell off or exploded. As a reward, I thought I would finally get the internal-gear hub that I had designed the frame for, rather than my spare-parts bin drivetrain (which had worked amazingly well). I found all the stuff I needed at the right price from a nice man in Ontario who had abandoned a project involving a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub. A bit of tinkering later, I had a wheel built around the thing and finally made Kermit what he was supposed to be.

Bike-dorks can rejoice in the neatness of this thing. I also managed to lose that bit of gear-cable housing at the back that usually gets full of road grit and stops your gears from working by routing the cable straight into the "cassette joint" as Shimano call it, or "shifting doofer" as I prefer.
So far I'm happy with the Alfine. I get slightly less gear range than my old drivetrain, but I set it up so I only lost maybe 2 gears at the big end. I probably didn't need to go down hills that fast anyway. For the record, here's a comparison of my old and new setup. Seeing as this bike will end up doing more annual kilometers than our car at the current rate, I figure putting its gears on the inside is only fair.