Saturday, April 27, 2013

Secret Project Revealed!

For the past week and a half Husband and I have been working on a secret project. Today is his mom's birthday and we wanted to do something special for her.
Whenever I would talk about my rides on Lucy she would comment on how she wished her old bike was ride able. It's a 1961 Schwinn Debutante that her father had given her.
Several years ago she asked her husband to have the bike fixed so she could ride it. Instead he came home with a new bike for her. It was a nice surprise, but not what she wanted and she barely rode it, then she left it behind the carport.

It doesn't look too bad, does it?
Her husband was going to put her old bike out with the bulk pick-up to be taken out with the trash because she now had a nice new bike to ride. So Husband and I took it to our house for safe keeping.
It was left behind our shed for several years, but at least it was safe. I had all but forgotten about it. Getting fenders was just the reminder I needed. I had always told her I was going to steal hers.

Not comfortable to sit on I'd bet.
Since I've been riding again my interest in fixing bikes has also been awakened and I said "Let's fix your mom's bike up for her."  Husband agreed and we pulled it inside.The road to hell and all that.
I figured it would only cost $100 and a couple of days work to get it into rideable shape. A new chain, seat, tires and a pot of grease should be all it would take. He He He. I'm so silly sometimes.
What should have been a lovely weekend project turned into a full on battle that took a week.
At first everything was going great, we spent a bit more at the shop than planned because I wanted her to have a nice seat. When we got home we started disassembly.

Nice fenders though.

These had to be replaced!

Everything was going along great until we tried to remove the handlebars and stem to grease the head set. It wouldn't budge at all. It was well and truly stuck. We let spray grease soak in over night and it wouldn't move. We tapped and pounded it with a leather mallet to break up the rust in there and it wouldn't move. We heated it carefully with a torch to expand the metal and it wouldn't move. We twisted and pulled until we were exhausted but they were fused together from years of neglect.
Finally we cut the top off the stem so we could free the fork from the rest of the frame and then we got freaky on it. We added more spray grease and let that soak in overnight. Then we heated it up until greasy rust started to bubble out of the faint gap, once that happened we dunked it in ice to cool it as fast as we could. We had to do it a couple of times before there was even hope.

The poor decapitated and mangled stem.

Finally we got out the biggest wrench we had and I stood full on the poor fork while Husband twisted for all he was worth. The force needed lifted me up and I had to hold on to the table for balance. Slowly it loosened up, and with a pop the darn thing came free. The fork was fine, they don't make them like that any more. It took us five days to get the darn stem out!

This is supposed to be three pieces, not one.

Now we were over budget already and had to find a new stem and grips that matched fast. We took the remains of the old on and the fork with us to make sure it would fit. It had to look as original as possible or she might hate it. We ended up at Bicas, my new favorite place for old bike parts. They had exactly the stem we needed and it was super cheap. All we had to do was dig through crates of them to find the one that would work. That was a Ton of fun and I found dynamos I'm going back for later. Sadly they didn't have grips though. We had to make do with some black ones we got at Ordinary Bikes.
 We hurried home to put it together and couldn't get the old rubber grips off.  I really wanted to save them if we could because I didn't like the new ones, but they wouldn't budge.They were probably glued or something. I ended up cutting them off with my Dremel, hot melting rubber burns through your shirt. I don't suggest this method at all, but it was fast.
The tires we got were the right size, but they refused to seat on the rims properly at the suggested air pressure. We tried pulling and pushing and nothing worked. Finally we took them in to Ajo Bikes and the nice man there struggled with them for an hour while we watched.  After using a huge pair of pliers to try to force them to seat he soaped the rims and over inflated them. The rubber had needed stretching because the tires are made for new style rims and not these ancient ones. It was fun to watch him work though.

It's alive!

Finally on Thursday we had the bike fully greased and put together. It looked much better than when we started, then I spun the wheels. The tires were out of true and we were out of money. I got to true the tires myself. It took awhile, but was the best part of the whole redo.

A nice straight wheel.

A comfy seat to invite her on board.

Every bike needs a bell.

It's fully functional and if she rides it we'll be happy to pretty it up. We could even redo the paint for her. We tried to keep it as original as possible so she can tell it's her bike and not a replica.
This was a great experience and a lot of frustrating fun. I want to do it again!
I got a new skill and Husband's mom got a functional bike. 
She was happy to be reunited with her bike and says she'll ride it. Yay!

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Trued a Wheel!

I love working on my bike, but there was one skill I never acquired. In service to a project Husband and I have been working on I had to learn how. I had to true a wheel.My heart leapt and my stomach clenched at the thought, but there was no one else who could do it. Unforeseen issues had already made this far more expensive than budgeted for and I hate taking thing to the shop.
 After watching tons of YouTube videos and sweating about it for a couple of days I bit the bullet and did it. It only took a couple of hours to do both tires.
I used a marker to show me where it needed adjustment and had to be very careful so I didn't damage anything. There were no spare parts to fix any mistakes. At first my nerves were jangling and I could feel myself getting hotter. Then I remembered to breathe. It was slow going but I really enjoyed it. It was kind of meditative to sit there and gently turn the wrench and spin the wheel. Slowly it came into round and became usable again. When I was done there was barely any wobble and it spun great.
Now I'm going to have to true up Lucy's tires; the back one takes a bit of a beating and has a slight wobble.

Ginger and Princess got bored.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Before There Was Lucy, There Was Zipper

Before there was Lucy there was Zipper. Way back in 1998 I got a job at the hospital. It was great, but I didn't drive and my roller blades were wearing out fast on the 6 mile commute.
My brother and Husband who was then my boyfriend and I went to a bike store to look around. I didn't have the money to get a bike and was just shopping and dreaming. I found the perfect looking one, but it was too tall and the men steered me away from it's blue faded glory toward the shorter bikes.
In the corner I saw a nice green one that I could barely climb on. The slight slope to her top tube was the only reason it worked. They looked skeptical and the shop guy looked a bit worried, but it was the smallest they had and he must have needed a sale. My brother bought me the bike on the grounds that I actually use it. It is a Trek 800 Sport and her name is Zipper.
I rode that bike nearly every day to and from work and at work she had a locker to wait for me in. Most days I loved her and the only trouble I ran into was getting on or off and stopping. I adapted to her large size and I covered her in stickers that I collect; life was good.

I kind of miss the stickers.

One day Husband was painting a motorcycle and I decided I wanted to paint Zipper. We took her apart and carefully taped up where we didn't want paint to go. There was sanding involved and I shed a few tears over the loss of the stickers, but it was worth it. She came out perfect in black with rainbow sparkle over the top. She is so beautiful. I even got her a black front basket to match.
She was the best looking bike at the hospital and I felt safe storing her in her locker so I didn't worry about it. I never rode anywhere but to work and home so I never had to lock her up outside.

A sparkly ninja bike.

Then I went to work for Sears part time. It was brief and early morning, but I had to park her in a room with other bikes. It was fine for a couple of months then one day my seat was gone. It had a quick release and even though I knew to lock both tires and the frame I had never thought to lock my seat. I was shocked that someone had messed with my bike.
I screamed and yelled and cried. I went and got security and made a huge fuss. I was like a toddler who's favorite toy was taken. There was even foot stomping and I carried on for a while. Few things are more terrifying than a 200 lb, 5'1" Betty screaming bloody murder at the world. I think they were afraid I'd hurt myself. I was so small then. I'm bigger and scarier now. Still 5'1" though.
Luckily one of the guards found my seat wedged behind a pillar, scuffed but intact. I was lucky and it was a warning shot I heeded.
I installed a bolt instead of the QR and shortly after I quit Sears and went back to the hospital full time. All was good again for a few years.

Close up of the sparkle on Zipper.

Then I decided to go to cosmetology school and quit my job. There was no way I was parking Zipper outside. She had become too precious and I was paranoid of loosing her, so I mostly caught rides to and fro. Tried the bus and that sucked and even walked it once. It was about 5 miles and that sucked.
Husband and I went to Play it Again Sports to see about getting a beater to ride. It was a lucky day because they actually had one that fit me. Still a bit tall, but not like Zipper and I could dismount easier and safer. It was a Specialized Hard Rock WSD from 1993. Blue with neon pink decals it was perfect for my needs. The man at the store even threw in a rear rack to get us out of there so he could close.
Now Zipper is in storage and rarely comes out except to have a quick wash and lube to keep her in running form. I feel a little guilty about it, and will use her inside on a trainer someday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lucy's New Swag

The other day on my ride I came across another cyclist who was walking his bike. He was all tricked out in full Lycra and clicky shoes but couldn't ride because he had a flat tire and no way to fix it.
I felt bad for him, but I didn't have any way to fix his tire. Fortunately he had a ride coming to get him at the park so he didn't have far to walk.
That got me thinking I needed a patch kit of my own. When I go for my rides there's no one who can save me if I get into trouble and I do sometimes get into trouble. As I venture further out I really don't want to walk back. I'm up to over 3 miles now and still going strong.
The tires I have on Lucy are reinforced knobbies with a goo strip and extra thick tubes so it's unlikely I'll get a flat unless I roll over something extreme like a huge nail, but it could happen. I was also worried about possible mechanical failure. It sucks when it happens.
Husband reminded me that I already had a small box patch kit, but it wasn't comfortable in my pocket and I always left my mini-pump at home. I also had a mini-tool so all I needed was a bag.
We found the perfect saddle bag and we also got new patches. Mine were very old. Did you know they shouldn't crack when you bend them? I now carry a bike and people patch kit.

Perfect sized bag, patch kit, duck tape on a pencil, mini-tool, mini-pump with Co2 cartridges. Band aids, neosporin, and alcohol wipes in a plastic baggie.

It fits nice and tightly between her rear rack and fenders. It also took care of the rattle I was hearing from there. Bonus!

It's almost invisible so I won't have to worry about leaving it on when I go places.

Lucy also has a new cable on her seat. I was reading up on how to securely lock her because I'm super excited to go to the store in about 2 weeks and use her for shopping. I will definitely be going on Saturday the 4th and I want her secure. I found this great web page and the videos were very informative. Plus Hal made me laugh. I had already been doing everything except the seat lock. I don't have quick release, but that's not enough. Now she has a beautiful homemade seat cable. As an added bonus if my chain breaks I can take pieces off it and fix it with the mini-tool.

I love the tie-dyed duck tape. The hardest part was finding a pattern I liked. 
Add a bottle of water and we're ready for anything now!

Ginger cat approves.

Monday, April 22, 2013

We Went To The Races

Spent Saturday evening at Tucson International Raceway. It was loud and fun. My Brother gave us extra tickets he had and we met him there. The noise was incredible and the dirt track made for a ton of dust in the air, but nobody cared. The roar of the engines and the speed they go at really gets your heart pumping.
It had been years since Husband and I had gone to see races and I'm glad we did. Nothing like spending time with the family.

Inside it's an add fest with all the sponsors names on the back of the stands. 
They had giveaways going for free tickets to the next races and a bmx bike.The grill smelled great and next time we'll have to bring money for food.

Even my stick had fun! It kept falling over from the vibrations and my nephew kept getting it for me.

He's excited!

These are going faster than they look. It sounded like rush hour on steroids. I think they do something to the muffler so it doesn't muffle.

Em's favorite car. It was driven by a teenage girl. I was impressed that she didn't crash.
Every time the pink car would come out my niece Em would scream go, go, go and bounce around. I had to get in on the fun so I shouted with her and we both bounced around. The adults with us just ignored us. 
Before I knew it Em and I were picking cars and screaming for all the heats. We were a sight and strangers laughed at our unbridled shrieking. Sometimes we were louder than the cars.

My favorite was the green and black car.

It's like crazy rush hour with sliding involved!

Go cars, Go!

I liked it when they slid and so did my nephews.
The cars threw up so much dirt and mud we soon found out why no one sits in the closer seats. It was a very dirty affair.

I liked the midget cars. A lot of them look like antiques, but their new. A lot of them broke down really fast and in the end only 4 were left to race.

Here they are starting out.
It was a tone of fun and we stayed until the intermission. No one had gotten hurt by the time we left and that's a good thing. The kids were tired and it was past bed time. There's nothing like screaming till you drop.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Good Morning

Once again I got up before the sun, I seem to do that when Husband is out of town. I decided to soak Jane before I left. I wanted to ride my bike so I had to be patient. She was a bit cranky at being woken up so early, but a plate of pumpkin and vegis cheered her up.

Jane getting her daily bath. She's a sulcatta tortoise.

Breakfast is served.

I still can't find my lights, I'm afraid they may be in my junk drawer of doom.
We all have one and mine is actually a desk with 3 drawers of random things I have no idea what to do with. That's the next couple of Thursdays project.
I just went for three miles in my neighborhood because I'm trying to figure out where to put padding on my fenders so they don't rattle as much. I went over every bump and pothole I could find and I think I have it figured out.
It was a great ride though and I'm really starting to crave going out on Lucy. It's my time to go where ever I can and its like I'm flying free.
I'm getting to go places I can't reach on foot and I'm seeing thing in a whole new way.
Today I smelled people's breakfasts cooking and the flowers that were blooming. Someone was making cinnamon rolls and I was tempted to meet my neighbor. I was good though and just rode by twice sniffing the air like crazy. It was a great ride

I wonder what these are.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursdays Are For Housework

I'm still working out a schedule to get everything done that needs doing, but I've settled on two solid days of the week.
I've found that being my own boss is harder than it looks! Plus there's no days off because there's always something to work on.
Making a schedule helps me be semi productive and keeps me on track. Writing as always comes first, but since it's not paying the bills yet I have to schedule when I do things that do. It's a work in progress to say the least.
Mondays I work on my etsy shop. Making things, taking photos, and posting items if the photos come out ok. It seems to be working so I'm putting it in my calendar.
Thursdays are now for housework. It's when I wipe the walls and wash the windows. I've also started picking a spot and deep cleaning it like a crazy person.
So far it's working and I've found a lot of things I no longer need to donate. I figure if I'd forgotten I had it I don't need it.
This week it's cleaning and organizing my painting closet. I won't be tossing anything, but it should still be a challenge to fit it all in.
I picked Thursdays because Friday is trash day and it cuts down on waffling if it's gone before I get up the next morning.
Should be fun.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Went For a Walk

Today I got up before the sun and because I still haven't found my bike lights I went for a walk. It was a bit chilly, but it felt good to stretch my legs. My knee hardly bothers me at all since I started riding and I was able to walk further than before.
I saw a lot of beautiful "weeds" growing that I had missed while riding and my stick was happy to get out of the house. I'll have to walk more to see what I've been missing. It was peaceful and very few people were out yet so I had the streets to myself.
I wonder how many people looked out there front windows and wondered about the woman taking pictures of the sidewalk. I probably stopped every ten or so steps. Here's my favorites from today's ramble.

The sun overslept.

Pretty yellow flowers right by the sidewalk.

The puff balls are very soft and it smells kind of like rain.

Taking a break at the bench. I'm glad the city put it in, it's a great place to pause.

I was tempted to dig this poppy up and take it home, but left it where I found it.

Someones daisies have escaped the yard!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Love Spring

As the days grow longer the plants get stronger. He he that rhymes! I love this time of year. Hope and promise shimmer in the very air itself and I breathe it in with gusto.
I hope everyone is well and enjoying fine weather. Remember to smile today for no reason!

Purple Prickly Pear

My love rose almost reaches the roof!

My tortoise loves to eat these mini roses

Velvet mesquite leaves are shockingly green

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lucy Has Fenders!

For some reason I've always wanted a bike with fenders. I just love the way they look, but in Tucson they aren't really a priority. They were actually the last thing on my list of changes I was going to make.
All that changed today at the GABA Bike Swap Meet. That place was packed, but I found these great Wald fenders for less than I've ever seen them.
It was too good to pass up, especially when the seller threw in a silver Specialized bottle cage to go with them.
Lucy is a Specialized Hard Rock so it was fate!
Husband did most of the install for me. They needed small wedges cut out for the fork and seat stays and a little bending in for the brake cables, but that was all the modifying they needed. It took about an hour to install and they look perfect! Now she is ready for just about anything!

Don't they look nice! 
I think they make her look both larger and friendlier. They don't add much weight even though they are steel, which is nice.

I like how the chrome brings out her flowers and helps them shine.

They really break up all the black in the back. 
I've already tried them and they don't affect handling at all. The rear one rattles on hard bumps so I'll try to tighten them down more tomorrow. 
My only complaint is that they have to mount to the wheel skewers. It's going to make it a bit harder to change a tire, but that's OK. We may get different brackets for them later, or shorten these ones.
Now if it would only rain! I can't wait for the monsoons this year!

GABA Bike Swap Meet

Today Husband and I went to the GABA Bike Swap Meet and it was fun! There were a ton of people there so it was hard for me to take pics, but Husband got some nice ones and you can see more on his blog.

The whole place was crowded like this!
I don't usually like crowds, but the people here were very friendly. This Raleigh was in really good condition and of course way to big for me. Also too pricey. It's still beautiful though. It's my favorite bike I saw there.

I wonder what the silver thing is? I think it's the pump.

These are the coolest looking accessories I've seen yet. The flowers have an led light in the center to help you be seen. They're from . They are handmade in Scottsdale, Az and this is one on the creator's personal bike. It looks great and made me smile. So fun and cheerful! They are tempting and very reasonably priced. 

I love how friendly the flowers and the creator are!

This tiki head comes from an old miniature golf place that closed down. It now stand guard at a nightclub. It's a childhood memory re-purposed. It was good to see it again as we were leaving.

I love this tiki head!
I stayed strong in the face of much temptation today and came out the winner! I got a present for Lucy! I found Wald 962 fenders in shiny chrome for cheap. I've looked all over town for them, but no one carries them here, and I was leery of online ordering due to high shipping for over sized packages. 
A nice man from out of Phoenix had them and he threw in a silver bottle cage to seal the deal. Sadly, he didn't have a card so I can't shop with him again.
I almost talked myself out of getting them because they look huge in person and I was worried they wouldn't fit. Husband convinced me and I'm so happy I got them. They'll be more for dust protection than rain, but I don't have to worry about them getting sun rot like the plastic ones. 
Yay! We have fenders!

New Fenders!!!!!!