Monday, September 22, 2008

Re-installing the Bike Works sign

Over the years I've had the great fortune to work with lots of very creative people, but when you get a creative people together with a very small budget, you wind up with some really neat stuff. Here you see Rose, Tina and Joe re-installing the big Bike Works sign, which the kids and staff made from recycled bicycle reflectors.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pictures from Park(ing) Day

Friday, September 19th was Park(ing) Day, a one-day global event to celebrate parks and promote the need for more urban green space. Seattle had about 30 of these mini parks installed in places that are used to park cars the other 364 days of the year. Several of these parks were in the Columbia City and Hillman City neighborhoods of Seattle were within walking distance of Bike Works, so I took a little break from work to take these shots.

Recycled Spoke Key Ring

Donald, Bike Works Recycling and Reuse Coordinator, came to us from BICAS in Tucson, AZ. I recently noticed Donald's cool key ring, pictured above, made from an old bike spoke. "Yeah," Donald explained to me, "At BICAS we scrounged everything."

Using the picture I took of Donald's key ring as a guide, I made myself a couple of key rings this morning. A few twists with the pliers and a snip with the cutters and I had a pair of key rings ready to clip onto a belt loop or backpack and serve all my key-holding needs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bike Works Bicycle Caps

When people think of Bike Works they might think about our programs for kids, our bike recycling efforts, community outreach and the low, low prices at our shop. But that is not the entire story. At great personal risk, I managed to sneak these spy photos of the appalling conditions in the Bike Works sweatshop where the oppressed workers (Tina, Rose, Joe and Davey) toil at the silk screen machine on fine Italian-made 100% cotton caps making them into marketing propaganda for the corporate empire that is Bike Works.

If your conscience can live with knowing that these pour souls subsist on bread and water (OK, the bread might be light, flaky croissants from the Columbia City Bakery, while the water is heated and filtered through shade-grown organic coffee beans) you could buy one of these caps for $13. Actually these capitalists are so crafty that they managed to create this supply of caps on payday, so I wound up buying both a black cap and an orange one for myself. As of this writing we have a good stash of caps in at the shop but if history is any indicator, they'll sell out quickly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tweaking the Fuji

When I first got this Fuji League, one of the things I did was strip off the coasting bits and make it in to a fixed gear bike. A bit later, I traded my multi-geared mountain bike for fixed gear mountain bike. Having two fixies seems excessive and redundant, so I recently spent some time tweaking the Fuji into something different. Something that would let me coast and shift.

I figured if I was going to have multiple gears, I might as well have a bunch of them. I found a Sakae triple crankset in my parts pile. Matched up with the Fuji's original six-speed rear wheel, I get a very nice range of gear ratios that when plugged into Sheldon Brown's handy gear calculator looks like this:

5223.8 %4240.0 %30
15.4 %
13.3 %
11.8 %
15.8 %
18.2 %

A couple of old Shimano derailleurs are controlled by my all time favorite cheap shifters (friction only! work with anything! We sell a pair of 'em for $10 new including cables at Bike Works!)

While I didn't want to make the Fuji into a full-bore Xtracycle-style beast of burden, all my bikes wind up hauling groceries, tools, camping gear and so forth. A Jandd Frame Pack holds tools and snacks while larger loads can be carried in the rear basket. The basket is a Rubbermaid Dish Drainer that I modified by cutting and folding the dish holding ridges down flat. I also attached a couple of rear blinkies to the rear of the basket.

Over the years I've experimented with different handlebars, and concluded that Grant Petersen and I just disagree on this particular subject. Grant can find good things to say about Noodle Bars, Moustache Bars and North Road Bars but doesn't particularly care for the bars I favor, flat bars with bar ends. To each his own.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pictures from an UnPopulaire

Randoneuring is basically bicycling mixed with bookkeeping. My buddies with a greater tolerance for paperwork and a higher regard for the clock than I seem to possess these days ride their bikes all over the world, fill out complex little forms and wind up with a sock drawer full of medals to recognize their efforts. While this year has seen me spending more of my time in the bike shop or on some delightfully clock-free back road, I somehow once again got suckered into running the infamous Issaquah Alps UnPopulaire. I'd hoped to take the lazy way out and re-run last year's course, but road construction waylaid my plans so I not only pre-road the course, I had to spend too much time at the computer making up a new cue sheet in Bikely.

The road construction made a route that was already too long even longer so I scrapped the cruel final climb up Mountain Park Boulevard and decided to end the ride at the Issaquah Brew House. And while the ride is about as unsupported as it can be, with most of the control points being spots in the country where riders have to answer some trivial question, I did make sure the control in Carnation was Sandy's Espresso stand. I also made sure that each rider's packet contained not only a cue sheet and control card, but a pen and a couple of "not a nutritional role model" snacks. Mark Thomas and Matt Newlin both volunteered to work the early controls out on Cougar Mountain and then Mark took on the duty of spending several hours at the pub while Matt and I rode up to Carnation to greet the riders there and sign their control cards.

It seems a good time was had by all. The weather was great, the hills were long and steep, the bikes and riders were fast (faster than me anyway!), the coffee was good and the beer was cold.

Ride results are here.