Thursday, August 30, 2012


Pretty much the only thing I like about days where I end up at work later than usual: No traffic.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Dear friendly driver on Santa Fe Trail Drive,

I saw you wave. I probably know you but just don't recognize you without your bike and helmet. Hi back at ya.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dark Side Ride: Once in a blue moon

Although "Blue Moon" has several definitions, the one that seems most popular is the coming of a second full moon within the same calendar month. Since we had a full moon on August 2nd, we're going to get in by the skin of our teeth on August 31st. The last time we had this kind of Blue Moon was in December of 2009.

With that, we're celebrating with yet another edition of the Dark Side Ride.

Where: Meet at the Wendy's parking lot just north of K-10 and Woodland Rd in Lenexa.
When: Friday, August 31, 2012. We roll out at 9:00 PM sharp. Be there early enough to roll at 9.
Route: It'll be a surprise! Expect 20-30 miles.

A few things to note:

  1. Usually, our DSR includes a stop by a convenience store for the emptying of bladders as well as the purchasing and consumption of beverages and snacks. I have a feeling this route will not include such accommodations.
  2. We ask everyone to use helmets, reflective/hi-vis gear and to bring along lighting that's good for up to 3.5 hours of darkness.
  3. I have a feeling that Blue Moon might be available after the ride. It would only be appropriate.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Maiden Voyage

Round trip: about 6 miles.
Average speed: Slow, but mostly on purpose. I really should throw a cyclometer on Frank.
Fun level: OFF THE CHART.
Lessons learned: That flimsy aluminum U-Channel bracket on my rear drop-out really needs to be replaced with steel U-Channel. Other than that, everything looks good.

Load included a 35 pound pail of cat litter, fresh veggies, a box of cookies, salad dressing and some other stuff.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I actually like my bikes, thanks.

In the past 3 days:

After the monthly KCPUG meeting half a mile from home: "Are you riding because your car is broken? I can give you a ride, man."

(in response to the trailer): "... or you could just drive your car."

Is there some new wave of anti-bicycling advertisement I'm missing?  In other news, my wife thinks my bike trailer looks like something a homeless bum would use. I think the blue bucket of doom just needs a camouflage paint job and/or a few (dozen) bumper stickers on it so it more closely resembles something designed for the zombie apocalypse.

Speaking of Zombie Apocalypse, I spotted this last week. It turns out I know the owner.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Raw materials:
I had these two specific un-used items in my hoarder stash that I knew would go into this project. The wheelchair was very used when I got it (for next to nothing) on craigslist years ago. The hard rubber tires are yellowed and weathered, but the frame was sturdy and the bearings are in good shape. Weighs about 30 pounds. Rated for 300 pounds. I also had a Coleman brand captain's chair with a ripped back. It served us well on a decade of camping and fishing trips. I had originally planned on trying to fix it, but we have enough of these already.

When I started, I didn't have a plan. The wheelchair was a pain to take all the way apart. I left the wheels attached to each side of the frame, but I took the seat back and cushion off, leaving the two halves connected by two bars forming an "X" between them. I got those apart and was left with a whole mess of parts.

It was clear that the two "X" pieces would be used to brace the frame, but in a different configuration. Out comes the cut-off wheel on the Dremel. You can see the cuts I made. I placed the un-altered cross-member in frame for comparison. The piece can swivel by a somewhat tight-fitting piece of tube that fit the inside diameter of the frame and cross-member. Pulling it out was a genuine pain in the butt.

The other cross-member got chopped up even worse. I cut each end's tubular frame piece in half. This was so I could drill through the frame near the handles, and attach bolts through it to give the frame extra stiffness.

It was about this time that I decided to turn the trailer into a "bucket hauler" so the next part was to build a platform for said bucket. This is where the captain's chair came in. I turned a few screws counter-clockwise,  drilled out a dozen or so rivets, and had broken the chair down into a neat stack of useful steel tubes and a pile of canvas, plastic feet and busted rivets.  I had to chop the tubing to length, so again out came the dremel.  I drove six screws through the bottom of the blue tub and into these horizontal tubes.

I held everything together with machine screws and nuts I had laying around, but I ran out of hardware here. I needed to pick up more of the same, but I also had to whip up a hitch for the bike, too. I spent a few bucks on screws, nuts and a clevis pin. I used a piece of the chair tubing with a bend in it to get the tow bar away from the bike, otherwise right turns would be almost impossible.

To allow the bike to lean while turning, I attached the trailer to the bike with two thicknesses of tubing, and cut a pair of slots in the outer one so that the screw driven between them can swivel.

Here it is hooked up to Frank. One of the front wheels is missing on the original wheelchair because it was getting in the way of the tow bar.

Unhooked, the tow bar doesn't touch the ground. Not that it matters too much. With one front wheel, it probably won't stay upright with a load in the bucket.

It pulls like a dream, but I haven't taken it on a grocery run yet.

Weekend project

I decided I really need a trailer, but I don't have any money. I sacrificed an old wheelchair for the frame and wheels, and a broken canvas captain's chair for its tubing to build extra support and the hitch. I'm ankle deep in metal shavings, broken dremel cutoff wheels, and drilled-out rivets.

The hitch arm will angle inward more than this, but you get the general idea.

More build photos to come.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Behaving Badly.

This badly behaving cyclist should be arrested for road rage. Yep.

The comments are worth it.

Tip o'th' hat to Fritz.

The story hits me as mostly a work of fiction, inspired by a few real-life events and an imagination run wild. At least that's what I hope it is.

Monday, August 06, 2012

No Excuses.

No excuses.

I finally got to bed at about 1:30 this morning, when CNN stopped talking about science and began their incessant droning on politics and hot button issues. I wasn't going to use Curiosity as an excuse to not ride. First morning of low-70's? Couldn't resist!


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