Friday, December 30, 2011

In Search of the Prez

Yes, it's that time of year again.
I started sort of late cause I was busy getting ready to contribute the economy and all, but now it's on!
The search for the President.
He's around here somewhere, I just gotta find him.
Every year, he takes his vacation right down the road and every year I manage to somehow miss him!
Like he's avoiding me or something!
Take yesterday.
I was sitting around, watching Law & Order while he was like a mile and half away eating some shave ice(that's a snow cone to you folks on the Continent) with his family and friends.
See, I was thinking of going out for a ride, but I was kinda tired from finishing up all that kadomatsu stuff, so I was just taking it easy on the couch.
I think they got Secret Service folks watching me, you know so that like when I'm at home, the President can go out about Kailua without me following him around.
He's at the same place:

If you squint yer eyeballs, you can see the tent where all them Secret Agents hang out.
I stopped at the corner last year, right there on the left and was told in no uncertain terms to keep moving along.
By some lady cop with a side arm!
They were going to like remove me by force!
Well I got the message and went on my merry way let me tell you.
Ever since then, I think I'm on some kind of list or something, cause I never seen the President or his convoy or any kind of sign that the dude even exists!
Somewhere, way out over there, is Obamaland:

The beach is actually closed off for like a hundred yards or so from where he's supposedly at. They probably got like Navy SEALs swimming around under the water over there, ready to confiscate your surfboard if you get too close.
Maybe I should paddle a surfboard over there just to check it out.
Okay, maybe not.
I'm telling you, sometimes I think the President is like still in Washington and all them pictures are like of him in front of some blue screen with images of Kailua added in afterwards.
On the other hand, maybe I'm just going too fast and I've passed him but it was just a blur.
I'm Super Sonic don't you know.
Anyways, I got like a couple of more days to try and catch of glimpse of the most powerful dude in the free world.
Tell you the truth, I don't know what I'm gonna do if I ever see him.
Maybe just wave, or give him the shaka sign(it's a local thing).
Maybe ask him for some free trade agreement with Italy.
Or something.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Oh my.
Here I go lying again.
Okay next year, I promise that I'm never going to lie to you, the reader, again.
Anyways, my latest prevarication involves the use of stainless steel as a frame material.
I said I didn't like it.
Well, now maybe I like it.
I'm not sure.
Thing is, the folks over at Pelizzoli World have unveiled their new inossidabile frame called the Aeta.
You can check it out on their flickr thingy here.
I gotta say, I'm impressed.
The more I think about how much I ride near the ocean, the more stainless appeals to me.
Mainly, I wouldn't have to worry about hosing my bicycle down so much.
Then again, I do it anyways, since some of my hardware has begun to show some rust and oxidation.
There is more to stainless than meets the eyeball though.
I mean finish is important, like in a satin/brushed finish or polished.
Then there's the whole lugged thing again.
I mean a lugged SS frame would be mondo cool, but not for the wallet.
If you know what I mean.
So now I've sort of been harboring the thought of going with SS, maybe just a little, but not really.
The thing is, will I want a SS frame sometime in the future?
If so, I should just jump on it now.
Personally, I don't really like how they look and from what I'm reading there's really no advantage other than the corrosion resistance.
The salt air around here is pretty much a killer though and you really can't argue the bling factor.
Not that I really want to go around looking like the Silver Surfer on two wheels.

Still, I have to consider it as an option.
I mean it's not like I'm going to order a frame everyday, so I guess I want to make sure I'm making the right decision.
Maybe I should just wait, and then go with something like this later:

That sure is pretty.
That sure is expensive.
That for sure means that I must be out of my mind.
More on that later.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Vacation From My Vacation

Which is what I need.
Seriously, I haven't worked this hard since well, the same time last year!
So far, since school let out, I think I've had only three days off, days where I could just kick back at home and watch Law & Order.
Mostly it's been mud and breathing in bamboo dust.
Which is has a sort of pleasant smell.
The bamboo dust I mean.
I think I'm going to get some small bamboo plants, you know for the lanai, so that I'll be able to hear the bamboo rustling in the wind.
Very zen.
Don't you know.
Anyways, all I know is that this had all better be worth it and that frame I'm a gonna order with the bamboo funds better be freakin spectacular!
Speaking of That Thing Which I Will No Longer Name(TTWIWNLN), I've got some late breaking news.
More on this later.
Well, I got like three more days of bamboolage then I can finally rest.
Maybe even get on my bicycle.
Three more days of this:

Oh the carnage!
Normally I'd feel sort of bad, about all the bamboo, but it sort of grows like a weed and it grows pretty darn fast.
Like a grass, which is what bamboo is.
Large grass sculpture:

Those are the ones that will go to some businesses or something, at this point I don't really care where they're going, as long as they're going.
Which they were:

All loaded up and going someplace.
I just have to remind myself of a simple equation: bamboo = new frame.
Boy, let me tell you, it's hard to keep remembering that.
Especially when I can be doing something else.
Like kicking it back and watching Law & Order.
If you know what I mean.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Brakes!

Oh yes you do!
That's what My Friend Kyle(MFK) said to his kid.
Who was trying to ride his BMX style bicycle sans braking action.
I packed up said bicycle and brought it in to the Flat Tire Skunkworks to see if I could work some stopping magic.
I gotta say, even when them brakes were working correctly, they were mighty strange:

I forgot to take before pictures cause once I got them side cutters in my hand, I just started right in!
Lemme tell you, cables and housing were a flying to and fro!
Remember, I am a professional, don't try this at home.
Anyways them ring thingys around the head set were where the cables were attached. Seems like each brake lever actuated both cables which them pulled up one of them rings, which in turn pulled on the two brakes.
The rings were so that you could spin the handle bars completely around without the cables getting wrapped around the head set.
Go figure.
I mean it was sort a neat set up, but not really practical.
Sort of like the rear brake:

You can see where the cross over cable runs around and then crosses behind the seat post.
I was going to undo it, but I just left like that.
After looking at it for a bit, I decided that maybe it was so that the cables wouldn't interfere with the chain ring, which was sort of close to the caliper arm.
Boy, check out them gold cable end crimps!
The front was interesting too:

The front brake cable went down into the quill part of the stem, out the bottom of the fork and back up to the upside down looking caliper.
I stared at that for a minute, trying to think of a possible reason it was done that way, and I decided it was a parts bin thing.
You know, that was what they had in the parts bin.
So anyways I changed out the cable splitters and put in some new housing and cables and now MFK's kid is good to go and stop.
It felt pretty good, making use of my Jedi Skilz on something other than my own bicycles.
Even if it was one of them bicycles I should have taken this to:

If you know what I mean.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

To the Market

So today we had a sort of half day off, just finishing up the present batch of them kadomatsu thingys.
If you've only been recently following along at home, you can go back to here to see what the hell I'm talking about.
Every year we make these things and peddle them around to make some extra cash.
Okay, we don't actually go and peddle them around, we take them to some other folks who peddle them around:

This is a place were veggies come and go.
Here in Hawaii, everything not locally grown is shipped in via boat or air distributed by folks like this.
Containers are constantly coming and going here, here being the most humungasoid refrigerated building I've ever seen.
Today, we dropped off two hundred of them bamboo thingys, right up to the loading dock:

From there, they somehow make it to other folks' doorsteps, so that they can have the right equipment for bringing in the new year.
The kadomatsu are place in front of the door for good luck, then discarded after a week or so.
We don't just make small ones:

These are going to some larger clients, corporate sized we call em.
We also do some for a restaurant in Waikiki.
This is how the bicycle bling treasury is made.
At least around these parts.
I'll be doing this for a couple of more days before and after Christmas.
Then I got some other plans:

More on this later.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Working Vacation

Is what this is.
I swear, I'd rather be back at work.
Cause lemme tell you, I'm working harder now that I'm off than when I'm actually on.
If you know what I mean.
You don't?
Well today for instance, I was up around the same time as when school is in, except that instead of heading for school, I was headed deep into the jungles of well, here.
Which normally would be all fine and dandy but it's been raining off and on for the last week or so and where I was it was mostly on.
Raining on me I mean.
The thing is, that's where the bamboo grows.
Deep in the jungle where there's like plenty of wetness.
So anyways, I was off at the crack of dawn, and I returned after darkness fell.
Boy am I bushed!
I didn't even have time to take any pictures!
Well okay, I got one picture:

If you squint yer eyeballs and look through the trees you can see the stream, where the water is all brown from the rain.
No flooding like the last time, but when the water gets brown, it usually means you should keep an eye peeled for flash flooding.
Anyways, all I got was that one pic and like I'm a picture taking fiend!
Busy I was harvesting the bamboo for the kadomatsu.
More on this later.
Now, I just want to lie down a bit, and well, lie down.
Vacation, smacation.
I swear I get more rest at work.
On the other hand, what I'm doing now is a major contributor to the Flat Tire Bicycle Blingness Fund(FTBBF), a fund that needs to be replentished yearly as there are no major contributors.
There are of course, major expenditures.
So it's Hi Ho Hi Ho!
Off to work I go!
Oh boy.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about That Thing Which I Will No Longer Name(TTWIWNLN).
So much so that it's been keeping me awake at night.
I mean who would've thought that choosing a color would be so difficult!
Well I decided I needed some help.
Some magical help.
So I present to you, the reader, The Flat Tire Magical Frame Graphic Designer Thingy!(TFTMFGDT!).
Basically what I did was I made an outline of a frame in Windows Paint then I moved it over to PS to clean it up.
Then I just started to add colors.
So far I like this one the best:

Black with red panels seems to work for me.
The thing I had to keep in mind was the chrome lugs and how the colors would contrast or blend with the chrome.
Still, that's sort of boring.
I thought about maybe a magenta:

Okay, maybe not.
I figured that I wanted it to be visible, but maybe that's too bright.
So I thought this might be better:

Some high visibility danger zone scheme.
Looks pretty safe to me.
I didn't want safe, you know, I was wanting something unique:

Now that looked cool!
Still, perhaps the whole cowness thing is bit over done.
Maybe some happy polka dots:

Or maybe not.
Since I was doing dots, and since I sort of like giraffes too, this might work:

Then I thought that's plain crazy!
I mean giraffes and bicycles have nothing in common!
Well unless you count tall bikes.
I guess I was having a bit too much fun.
So here's a chance for you to have some fun too!

All you gotta do is save the blank frame, then open it up in Windows Paint or PS and go to town!
By the way if you use Paint, don't forget to save it as a jpg and not a bitmap as them bmp files can get sort of large.
Actually, white may not be such a bad choice too.
Anyways, hopefully some magic will happen and I'll stumble upon some paint scheme that I like.
Before I go crazy that is.
Unless it already happened.
The crazy part I mean.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Final

Double Yikes!
More on this later.
So anyways, I went out today and took the Rockhopper on a short cruise.
Cruise is the word, for running them 1.95 inch tires is like plowing through the sand. I mean I put in like 60 lbs of pressure in them, but they still felt like they were flat!
The Rockhopper also has them oldfangled Biopace rings, the ones I have a hard time spinning with, so for the most part I was just pedaling along at about 30 rpms.
No really.
The good thing about them fat knobbies is that I can ride on the grass again without worrying about falling over.
Makes taking short cuts through the part a breeze.
So I stopped off for the obligatory winter picture:

You can't really tell from the picture, but the wind was blowing a bitter cold!
Blew my bicycle down like three times!
That's the first yikes!
I also forgot about my broken spoke.
I remembered when I heard it go ping!

That was the second yikes!
Luckily, this being an oldfangled bicycle, there were about 67 spokes left so the wheel was still ridable.
All that low rpm spinning was making the thirsty so off to the cream soda place I went:

I tell you, running around on a mountain bike feels strange now after all them miles on the a road bike.
I mean there's the low rpms and all the resistance coming from the tires. I tried to hit the gas a couple of times but all it did was propel me from slower to just slow.
I mean even when you're going sort of fast, it still feels slow.
If you know what I mean.
So anyways, some storm clouds were heading in my direction so off I went!
Time to head for home.
I stopped off at the LBS for some cables and a new spoke, but somehow I lost the broken one between there and there.
Luckily, I stopped off just in time: snow storm!
The melted snow in the road:

Maybe I need some studded tires or some tire chains or whatever it is you folks on the Continent use.
The nice thing about them knobbies is that they don't track too much water.
You know, like the in your face water.
There are a few things that need attention like them said knobbies. I guess they're so old, the sidewalls don't look too good. I'll need to take care of that before I go on any off road expeditions.
Hopefully I'll be able to get one in during the break, maybe after Christmas.
Stay tuned.

Sunday Early Edition

Back in the jungle!
In the rainy jungle.
Like in tropical downpour jungle with flash flood warnings.
No pictures, I was afraid for the camera.
You'll just have to take my word for it.
Anyways, it's that time of year.
The dreaded kadomatsu making time.
More on this later.
As I was busy all day yesterday, this morning I was able to put the Rockhopper on the stand:

Yay! the stand finally gets some usage!
The Topeak bottom bracket stand thingy for some reason would not lift the frame high enough off the floor. The rear wheel would catch as the stand thingy flexed so I was forced to break out The Crane.
I think maybe the bottom bracket of Rockhopper is like way off the ground.
Okay, let me just say right off the bat that I lied.
Boy, I'm sort of making this a habit.
Them button thingys on the canti brakes are like the best thing ever!
Makes adjusting the pull quick and easy.
I mean compared to them other cable hanger thingys.
Adjusting them brakes took me all of like five minutes.
I knew my old Ergon grips would come in handy:

I also got a better look at some of the rusty oxidized parts:

Not too sure what I'm going to do about them cranks as the oxidation is under the paint.
The paint is a problem too, as I revealed earlier, it's actually a really dark purple so I'm not sure I'll be able to touch up the rusty spots.
I'll have a run by the ole Manstore later to see if I can find some spray paint.
If not, maybe off to the car parts place and see if I there's some touch up available.
The good thing about this bicycle is that it doesn't appear to have been ridden much.
Which I guess is a bad thing too.
The tires show every little wear:

All the little nubbies are still there, even down the center.
Hopefully I'll be able to wear them down a bit.
It's been snowing here off and on as I'm writing this, but maybe I'll make it out on the road anyways.
You know, since I got me some knobby tires now.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coming Full Circle

Sort of.
The thing is, I've been keeping my eyeballs peeled for another mountain bike.
Preferably a steel mountain bike.
I mean I had a steel mountain bike, the Lanikai Express, which now resides in Kaneohe, and I sort of regretted giving it away.
So when this Rockhopper appeared on the eVilist, I just had to jump on it.
When I went to look at it, it was pretty much sold.
The bicycle was obviously stored indoors, not like most of the bicycles that come up for sale.
The frame was in good condition, despite some spots of rust and the wheels and hubs were mostly free of oxidation:

I don't know about you, but that's pretty good for a bicycle from the seven speed era!
At least for around these parts.
The bicycle was clean!
I test it rode for about thirty seconds, just to make sure the shifters and brakes worked.
So I sort of pointed out to the seller some stuff that was wrong with it; I guess it came out half hearted cause when I offered him, he stood pretty firm.
I did get him to come down a bit, but in the end I suppose I paid a bit too much.
It's okay though, for as I said, I've been looking for another clean steel mountain bike and was happy that this one was a Rockhopper.
So anyways, I spent most of yesterday slowly working it back to ridability.
I changed out all the cables and housings with some extra stuff I had sitting around.
It's got these buttons on the canti brakes that promise to make my life a brake adjusting hell:

The shifters also needed some fiddling around with as all the grease had dried up and they were sticking something bad.
I took off the covers and shot some Triflo in there and kept working them until they started working right:

Interesting in that you can see the different spacing for each shift.
I also like how the "fingers" walk the ratchet back down.
Now I just need to adjust the derailleurs and the brakes and I'll be on the road for a shake down cruise.
Insert Jay Ferguson music here.
Oh wait, I forgot, there's also a broken spoke I gotta replace first.
Anyways, it's sort of funny how I started off on a Rockhopper:

Now here I am back with another one.
Like eight bicycles later.
Oh, and despite what you think, it's not really black and nasty.
You Trevor are going to like this one as it's actually a really dark yeppers! purple!
I guess that means I'll be needing a furple jersey and some furple socks.
Or something.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Diary of a Mad Person

6:33 AM - Get up, still dark, go back to sleep. Dream of Molteni orange.
8:27 AM- Really get up, check emails, check blog, check other email, then brush my teeth. Okay, I did something else, but you, the reader, don't need to know about that.
8:41 AM - Give The Pooper two cookies, check the TV to see if Law & Order is on, it's not, check the news. Start thinking about what color to order my frame in.
8:43 AM - Check CL, which from now on will be know as the eVilist. See ad. Respond.
Look for car keys.
8:45 AM - En route.
8:50 AM - Despite better judgement, stop off at bank ATM. Feeling conflicted.
8:52 AM - Creating justifiable reasons out of thin air commences. Goes well. I am now on a mission.
8:59 AM - There's still time to turn around. I am compelled to drive on.
9:04 AM - Find house, see object of desire(OOD) in yard. I am no longer thinking rationally.
9:14 AM - Inspection of OOD begins. Great shape! This is not good.
9:20 AM - Test ride lasts twenty seconds. I half heartedly point out that I'll need to change certain items in order to get OOD in working condition. The comments go unnoticed.
9:22 AM - Haggling commences.
9:22:21 AM - Haggling ends.
9:24 AM - Although it's too late, still trying to justify my actions.
9:27 AM - Proceeding back to Flat Tire Central.
9:43 AM - Arrive at Flat Tire Central convinced I did the right thing.
Sort of:

9:55 AM - Becomes obvious to self that self needs counseling.
Or something.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

That Thing Which I Will No Longer Name Update(TTWIWNLNU)!

So I finally got a picture of the new frame the folks over at Pelizzoli are working on.
Well, not really working on since I got an image of an almost complete frame.
Unfortunately, I don't have permission to show anyone the frame and they haven't yet posted it up on their website so I feel kinda funny about showing the image.
Fortunately, it looks the same as their old frame, only without all the goodness of blingness like chrome lugs and such.
Italian Steel Goodness, in a plain jane kinda way.
The standard paint is going to be red with a white head tube and seat tube.
I'm telling you, I was looking at the frame, they call it the Curdomo(which doesn't seem to translate into anything), anyways I was looking at that frame all last night.
I'm still looking at it, thinking maybe I should just go with it.
I mean the price is right, and I don't have to think about the paint.
More on that later.
Well I got to thinking, that if I'm going through all this trouble to order a frame all the way from Italy, I better get what I want.
So I guess I'm going with the custom Spirit with chrome lugs.
Only now, because of the different in price, I'm going to hold off until January to order.
I find that I can't live without them chrome lugs!
The fork is also that double crown looking Masi type:

Though I gotta be honest, I've been thinking of a carbon fork, like from Columbus.
Yes I know, blasphemy.
The thing is, both my bicycles have carbon forks and I'm not sure how a steel fork will ride.
Actually, I doubt if I'll be able to feel the difference, but it's hard for me to accept something different.
Then there's that paint.
I've already asked and there's no upcharge if I want to go with two tone paint.
I was thinking some panels on the seat tube and down tube, or the same paint scheme as the new frame only in different colors.
Except now it's like what color?
I believe I can choose from this palette here.
If you look at the color chart, well there's like a GAGILLION colors there and I can't seem to make up my mind!
I mean it's not like it's "here's five colors, pick one."
That would be sort of easy.
Instead, I've been looking at that darn chart and trying to visualize what the frame would look like with the chrome lugs and I gotta say, my head is about to explode:

Lemme tell you, picking a color sounds easy, but it's not.
First of all, I gotta ride this thing and although I'm usually just a super sonic blur I do stop sometimes.
I'll have that bicycle parked in front of me in the living room where I can steal glances at it while I'm watching Law & Order so I better be happy with the paint.
Part of the problem is that I want this frame to be unique.
Okay, not Pegoretti unique, but classicalistic styling unique.
The thing is, since I've spent the best part of the year looking at all sorts of frames, all the paint jobs and color schemes I come with have already been done.
For instance I was thinking simple, like red with white panels on the seat tube and down tube, but that's what Colnago uses and it's pretty close to a De Rosa also.
Now I'm sort of leaning towards a solid color, and I'm about to break out the darts.
If you know what I mean.
Well I guess I got about a month to sort this out.
Choosing a custom frame is sort nerve wracking, not really what I expected.
I mean I thought it was going to be fun, but now it's sort of keeping me awake at night.
Sort of.

Late Breaking News!
Pelizzoli World has since posted up images of the Curdomo on their flickr page here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

For When the Cows Come Home

So my experiment with carrying all my riding crap around in my jersey continues.
If you've been following along at home you, the reader, knows that I gave up my trusty waist pack as I'm sure it was costing me precious speed in weight and aeroness and I've taken to carrying all my stuff in my jersey pocket.
My solution was to just stick everything in a zip lock bag and well, stick it back there.
Unfortunately, them zip lock bags are slippery creatures and I didn't really feel safe with all my safety stuff in there.
So I began my quest for a Bag o'Stuffs(QFBOS)!.
I admit I was inspired by a phone bag I recently saw on some bicycle site made by Capo Forma. It was a pouch designed to carry around all the stuff I was carrying, luckily fate prevented me from ordering it:

Besides, it looked like a slippery little devil and it was in black, something I figured would be difficult to find if it got lost on the side of the road.
So I says to myself, where can I find a cloth bag, something that won't slide around in my jersey, with some pattern that would be easily seen say, on the grass or on the pavement?
Well, since I sometimes sell my ware over on Etsy, I figured what better than to have a handmade bag whilst at the same time, stimulating the economy?
If you are a regular reader you know that I stimulate the economy quite often.
As often as I can actually.
So anyways, I found this:

That's right moo-moo fans!
A cow pattern phone bag!
Perfect size for the jersey pocket and guaranteed to be seen if misplaced.
Unless you happen to misplace it near some cows that is.
I don't know why, but I've had an acute affection for the black and white cowness of this type of pattern, I even thought about getting that Assos cow jersey:

Let me tell if I had a black or white bicycle, I would have been all over that!
I mean it's not like I'm embarrassed by my eccentricity, I already have a cow pattern denim jacket:

Perfect, you know just in case I get lost in the snow.
The last time I was up in Vegas, I went to all the cowboy stores looking for a real leather black and white cow pattern vest.
Apparently, real cowboys wouldn't be caught dead or drunk in something like that for my search was in vain.
Well at least I have my cow phone pouch and my cow jacket.
I'll be all ready to go when the cows fly home: