how bikes can save us

Biking and Health



mark and i haven't been able to get time in the shop as much this summer, as he is now managing an alterra, and i've spent the majority of my free time promoting a linear park called the artery at beintween.org, which includes a 'creational trail we've prototyped called matireal, and up to 20 acres of edible landscapes.

however, once in awhile, we still get the chance to wrench away in our small riverwest basement shop.  that once was this past weekend, where our friend jeff also assembled a bicycle.  i finished that motobecane in the stand for henry.  here is a panorama of our workshop.  

until we get that second floor space at king and north, we'll work with this spot.  we have just invested in a t5 high output flourescent fixture which puts out 8900 lumens, and will soon be installing this.  recent additions are a handful of tools donated from an estate sale, a classic park industrial stand, and new peg board space.  we'll snap another one after this round.  

upskirt for the bicycle pervert

i snap a ton of photos for every bike, hoping a few more will come out as sharp and as well composed/cropped as this one.  every once in a while, you get lucky.



the town of riverwest is not a secret.  its an amazing neighborhood, proof that diverse communities thrive.  its co-dependence + -operation are what we riverwesterners are so proud of.  we are also very proud of our summer classic, the community bicycle race, known as the Riverwest 24.

that day came and past this weekend, and once again, i feel so energized and connected.  i love riding my bicycle, and what better than doing it all night long, with all your neighbors.  its both competitive and cooperative, and the unison of forces is a really what our community is all about.

if you type in RW24 2012, you will soon find many more photographs.  here are the images from the lens of my smartphone:

the 7pm kickoff

beautifully finished frame with images collaged with modge podge and then clearcoated

 race begins - checkpoint #1, lap #1

the first bonus checkpoint with our district's alderman, nic kovac (left), learning how to breakdance.  each bonus checkpoint is worth 2 laps, or 9.2 miles of riding, engaging riders to participate in various activities.

my first lap heading west into the low western sun

my team and roommate mark's cannondale in the foreground, and my trek 1000 in the background

notice the truing stand on the end of the deck above the helmet of the rider on the left

this is checkpoint #2, where there are a lot of funny bikes.

here's the view of where i woke up from my afternoon siesta...

...to this band playing and a couple of girls dancing.

the finale....what a race.  we finished pretty strong with a total of 89 laps (by comparison the winningest team finished with 122 laps)

for more info visit: http://www.riverwest24.com/


bullet with butterfly wings

last week i had a moment, one where i got to play the role of the bike messenger.  with t minus time, i needed to get to city hall to get an RFP into the city.  it reminded me of being in copenhagen - oh to be a messenger in that city, on a real bullitt, what a rush that would be.  i received a couple nice remarks on my way as i flew down the curve after brady and down onto water.  

i walked out of city hall to my bicycle, which sat in storefront windows for several years.  quite a shame, because this white knight rides like a dream and is a better mobile billboard for what so many of us do here in the city.  we reCYCLE.  kids love this bike, and adults wonder what it is.  

its an american made trek, born in wisconsin sometime in the 80's.  i found it on craigslist some time back:  the frame was crashed and thus has a small bit of bend at the top tube and down tubes where it meets the head tube.  it had a few components that were worth the asking price, so i picked it up.  it sat around for sometime until one day i needed one more frame to get a deal on a batch of frames getting powdercoated.   at some point  i decided to bend the fork to match.  mark and i manuevered it under the front tires of a '99 oldsmobile intrigue a couple years back (after it has already been powdercoated) and got some pretty nice results.  we were going for a straight blade fork to raise the geometry on the front end of the bike since the rear wheel is 27" and the front is a 700c.  with the fork installed backwards, you get a nice result, and surprisingly, the powder was flexible enough not to crack.  thank goodness for lugged steel tubing.  

going with this white blanket asthetic, i painted the aerospoke white that i'd got for like $150 (which had seen many different paint jobs) and pas well.  to achieve the disc wheel look, i looked up a tutorial on line.  for this disc wheel i bought some thinner acrylic at home depot, followed a youtube tutorial, and created the pie shapes with the cut out for the hub.  i wanted a frosted look for a bit of contrast so i lightly dusted the inside of the acrylic with a sea foam spray paint.  to preserve a cleaner look than the common zip tie method, i installed industrial strange velcro on the inside of both discs, which still holds strong (surprisingly).  the vinyl decal was an obvious choice for a recyclery - i picked this up somewhere on ebay.

she's just a single speed, geared lightly at 42/16 for lots of spinning, as the wheels are incredibly sturdy, but not terribly light.  i have a radius lever tied to a radius caliper in the front which is strong enough to stop me. chopped steel bars with oury grips, and another amazing fizik saddle complete this restoration.  and at closer look, some butterfly who wants to test out the aerospoke.

this post is for my new friends in sweden that i met at pista malmo a few weeks ago.  we found ourselves in great company on a thursday night in sweden, racing with a pack of track nuts.  soon i will post images from our whole tour.  for the moment, i want to dedicate this next image as a sort of inside joke to our friend, baranya janos:

and in case the referenced subject is not ringing a bell, let billy corrigan do it for you, a native of the great Midwest:

The Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet with Butterfly... by TheSmashingPumpkins-Official


my turn to re-

wow.  hey, i'm back. took a slug to the chest for awhile, by virtue of enrolling in grad school.  i haven't written all that much in the two years, but i have built a select number of bikes with magic marker, aka mr. mark welch.  in the same time, he's become a barista at milwaukee's own alterra.  our shop is happy to see us, and our tools pleased to be of use.  at some point, i hope to add all the archived photos to the gallery, as i am sure those who've i've built bikes for would like to have this as a reference.  yea, that's right, i got a bikeith bike.  check on aisle 4,274,983 trillion of the triple double u.  soon to come...even if it means i have to learn flash myself.  before i go on with too many more words, let me just post some pictures.  

this one's a special one.  she fits inside my suitcase, so i can commute outside of milwaukee, when time doesn't allow for a tour.  thanks to rob zdanowski and matt maybe for letting me test my powder finger, mark for truing these 48 spoke wheels and the self-extracting crank bolts, and jeff for picking me up some MKE grips from ben's cycle, and allowing me to use his camera.  thanks to dan at wheel + sprocket for ordering in the parts; thanks to the uwm dumpster and the giant sitcase large enough to travel with this thing aboard aircraft safely.  thanks to brian at the die caster on holton for shaving a lil metal off the stem, ayton at truly spoken for his consultation, the color turquoise, and maise, for putting up with the hours my relationship gives over to this addiction for beautiful + functional things.

her first trip is this weekend for jeremy's wedding in denver, who i should also thank for setting up this website + blog.  be good to her frontier.  by the way, happy indepedence day.


spare chainge

amazing, right?