Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sticks and Stones

Can hurt my bones but you...
Gee, I guess sticks and stones are sort of dangerous to carbon fibre too.
So why carbon fibre?
After I have been singing about the virtues of steel and tradition and all that good stuff?
Go ahead, make fun of me.
I can take it.
Sort of.
I mean you should have seen it coming:

Oh yeah, you, the reader, should have seen this one coming a mile away!
There were little subtle hints, little slips, suggestions.
I could have changed out my carbon levers for alloy, but noooooooo, I kept them woven beauties!
Light, strong, resistant to temperatures, let's face it, carbon fibre is here to stay!
Can you dig it?

That's right suckas, I'm all over the carbon goodness!
Actually, it came down the this: I wanted something different.
I wanted to play weight weenie.
Park Tools scale, here I come.
Titanium rules!
Rules my wallet I mean.
No really, I got to thinking about a steel frame and while I was excited, I wasn't excited.
I mean I already got a steel frame, two of em in fact, and while a custom lugged frame would be nice, I found that it just wasn't floating my boat.
So to speak.
It all came to me when I found myself looking at an aluminium frame, you know, just for fun, and I started to think that something different would be well, different.
Variety they say, is the spice of life.
Chili peppers ain't too bad either.
So anyways, I changed directions and found myself more excited about carbon than I was about lugged steel
Go figure.
Then there's some other mitigating factors.
More on that later.
Besides, it ain't over till it's over and I still got a week or so to hand wring and agonize over my options.
So go ahead and make fun and laugh.
While I'm making the most important decision ever!
A decision that could effect the entire free world as we know it!
Okay, not really.
About the free world part.
Anyways, I'll be laughing all the way to the...
Well, I'll be laughing.

Monday, January 30, 2012

This Better End Soon

Cause as much as I'm getting tired of thinking about it, I'll bet you, the readers, are getting tired of reading about it.
You know what I'm talking about.
Well, it will end soon.
I promise.
Sort of.
I mean it's getting down to the nitty gritty.
Besides my previously mentioned option, I have two(three) more.
Basically it comes down to this:

Painted and lugged or:

Monocoque and nekkid.
Okay, I said I wasn't going monocoqued, but hey, I lied.
There's also a couple of other things like integrated or regular seatposts, and external and internal cables, mostly small stuff.
Both frames are older models on close out, probably the only way I'd be able to afford them.
I'm actually sort of hoping one or the other gets sold so I'm only left with one choice.
I also haven't totally eliminated some carbon Celesteness, though I admit steel celeste has a greater appeal.
Option three?
Who said anything about option three?
I did?
Ah, the secret third option does not yet have the Tup Seal of Approval(TSOA). In fact it's sort of a desperation option.
Actually it's not desperation at all for I can always go back and consider some lugged steel.
Speaking of options, the fact that there are so many of them is really driving me crazy.
I mean it's pretty much the only thing I've been thinking about these past few months and I'll really be glad when it's over.
Getting a new frame is a personal thing with many variables involved, many that I didn't think of when I first started.
My problem with all these choices is magnified when you throw in my obsessive nature and the way I tend to focus on and target things indiscriminately.
Lemme tell you, I've spent some sleepless nights and days sorting it all out.
Well, not so much the days.
Being sleepless I mean.
So anyways, I'm getting ready to pull the cork so to speak.
Just waiting on a few emails to come back, then more hang wringing up until the Final Decision(FD).
Seriously, the quicker this gets done, the better.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Final

It was that kind of day.
Well not the whole day, just the riding part of the day.
It was bad.
Like really bad.
Think of your worstest day on the bike and double it and that's the kind of ride I had.
My poor legs.
At least I think they are my legs.
The way they performed today, I'm not too sure.
Could they be someone else's legs?
Sort of look like my legs.
Except that they were loudly complaining as the miles added up.
Screaming at me they were.
Stop! Stop!
I tried the Jens Voigt thing and told them to quiet down, but no, they weren't listening to me.
This was like the most agonizing ride ever!
Well okay, when I first started riding it was pretty darn agonizing too, so maybe it wasn't the most.
Pretty darn close though.
For the last three months or so I've been taking it easy, riding only on the weekends.
I guess now it's all caught up to me.
Time to pay the whomever.
The Lactic Acid God(LAG).
Oh yes, the LAG has reared his ugly head and made my bicycling time pure misery.
I swear I was only going like ten miles an hour!
Ten grueling, painful, burning, torturous miles per hour.
I sort of knew it was going to be bad as soon as I left the house.
The pedals just felt heavy and I found myself checking to see if maybe I was in a small gear.
So it was small legs for nineteen miles.
I got fatigued fast, and recovery took like what seemed forever!
A huffing and a puffing all the way home.
Sometimes I get like this and oh, after about ten miles or so the legs come back and all is well.
Not today.
I feel so weak, so small, so unworthy.
I was sure folks on the side of the road were pointing at me, making fun of my slowness.
Look at that dude! He's hardly moving!
Yeah, but look at his bike!
I'm so ashamed.
Today, I couldn't even be a poseur.
I was a wannabee poseur.
I've sunk pretty far.
Not for long.
It's time to get off the couch and hit the road and get back into shape!
Time to lay some rubber on the asphalt and put some fear into women and small children!
Time to lose these extra ten pounds I've been carrying around!
Time to call NORAD cause I'm going Super Sonic!
I'm sure the carbon fibre will help.

Sunday Early Edition

The life of a bicycle.
As went through the parts bins over at Kvibe, the free wheel bin in particular, I began to think about the life of a bicycle.
It occurred to me that for the most part, a lot of those free wheels looked brand new.
Despite the rust I mean.
Oh there were some where the teeth were shark toothed to death, but there were some that still carried a hard edge, almost no signs of use.
That made me sad.
Images of a brand new bicycle, ridden only once or twice, then let by the side of house to rust away in the Hawaiian salt air came to mind.
Folks that bought a bicycle for some reason or another, no doubt with good intentions, then for some reason or another, let those good intentions slip away.
Then there are the bicycles that get ridden, and ridden hard.
Bicycles that were perhaps ridden to their limits, like that Vitus I got sitting in front of me.
Ridden till the wheels fell off.
That made me happy.
At the Old Bicycles Home, I wonder what they, the bicycles, talk about?

If they could talk I mean.
In other news, I received a package the other week from a land far, far, away.
From the other side of the world if you will:

I sort of left it unopened until now for I knew what it was.
Lemme tell you, it's something good.
Is it bigger than a bread box?

A while back, in my travels through Bloggerland, I came across something that made my ears perk up.
No, it wasn't on Chicks and Bikes though my ears perk up quite a lot while poking around there too.
It was on Aura of Past Shadows, our friend Trevor's photography site.
One image captured my fancy(that's my British accent), so much so that I requested, pleaded and begged Trevor for a print.
He very kindly complied:

Signed of course, and according to Trevor, one print of ten.
Pure black and white awesomeness!
Now of course I must find a frame.
A big mahalo(that's my Hawaiian accent) to Trevor for granting me a wish!
I'll try and send some sunshine over in your direction.
Today, we got more than enought sunshine to go around.
If you know what I mean.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What Tup Dragged Home

Well not exactly dragged.
Loaded in the car is more precise.
Today, I spent a few hours doing my cleaning thing over at Kvibe.
Slowly but surely, we are getting rid of the bad and keeping the good, though I'm not sure they'll ever use the spare parts they got:

Parts up the yin yangs!
I swear I must have tossed like twenty free wheels today.
If you squint yer eyeballs, you can see that there's still a lot more stuff to go through.
What I'm trying to do is make some room so that folks can work on their bicycles without stuff hanging off the shelves and poking them in the back.
The bicycle stands were full today:

A repair and a build underway.
So anyways, today as I was cleaning out more wheels, like tons of wheels, I came across something that caught my eyeballs.
Well me being me, I offered to take it home and try and fix it up:

The Vitus 979 was almost full Dura Ace, just the down tube shifters were mismatched.
The only problem was this:

The down tube has separated from the bottom bracket.
I was naive enough to think that some JB Weld would fix that right up.
Frame is toast.
According to those that know about these things.
So instead I guess I'm stripping it down and taking the parts back where they can be of some use to someone else.
Pics later when I break it down.
The frame really is beautiful and nice to look at.
Lemme tell you though, I could feel the tension in the room.
You know, the Italians and the Frenchy.
Still, they should learn to get along.
This may have been a sign of things to come.


That's my new handle.
Call me Tup!
Hey Tup!
Mr. Flat "Tup" Tire.
Yep, that's me.
The Ultimate Poseur.
I was up last night, thinking about my next bicycling related acquisition, and it dawned on me.
Like a revelation, a thunderbolt from the heavens it struck me down.
Okay, not really.
I was already lying down on the couch.
It did bruise and singe my already fragile ego though.
The thunderbolt I mean.
Anyways, I realized that I don't really deserve the bicycle frame that I am contemplating purchasing.
WTF am I thinking?
What makes me think I even remotely qualify to own such a bicycle?
The designers of this bicycle frame did not have me in mind!
Hell, I don't even deserve the bicycles I got now!
I mean they don't really represent the cyclist I am.
For one thing, I'm a pretty lazy dude.
If they made a lazy bicycle I'd be all over it.
Okay, I guess they make recumbents, but I'm not ready to be reclining and riding around just yet.
Electric bicycles sound kinda cool, but that's just shattering the image.
You know what's coming next, say it with me: image is everything.
Which is what my bicycles are to me, an image.
An image I've created, a fantasy if you will, conjured up by an over active imagination and sleepless nights.
I should stop watching le Tour.
All them fancy smancy bicycles and team kits flying around the French country side, that my friends is image!
Realistically, I should be on some cruiser bike with the foamy things on the handlebars, riding around the beach with a cooler in tow.
No spandex, no clipless pedals, just some shorts, a tee shirt and some slippers.
That's flip flops to you folks on the Continent.
Instead I dress up in uncomplimentary form fitted clothing and ride around in a peloton of one pretending I'm going somewhere fast.
At least I can admit it.
I mean once I realized it, I sort of came to terms with it.
All the world's a stage(race) non?
The thing is, in my convoluted mind, The Ultimate Poseur deserves The Ultimate Poseur Bicycle!
Something crazy expensive and unique, a mobile billboard proclaiming my Ultimate Poseurness.
Unfortunately I'm not crazy rich so I'll have to settle for Middle Class Poseur with Ultimate Poseur aspirations.
Look! There goes Tup!
What a poseur.
Yeah, but check out his bike!

Me and Reality.
We're not real close.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting The Message Across, Your Chance!

Getting the message across is not an easy thing.
Especially when dealing with teens that today have all sorts of media at their disposal.
What I mean is that it becomes difficult to keep their attention.
No longer is it just about the book.
It sort of has to be a show.
If you know what I mean.
Science has always been one of my favorite subjects; I like to know why and how and things like that.
Not all of it is applicable in everyday life, in fact most of it isn't, so extreme measures must be taken to get the message across.
Okay, not really.
About the extreme part.
Today in chemistry class, the students got a lesson in well, I don't know what it was all about.
Combining stuff to make another stuff I guess.
Vinegar was added to a couple of small pieces of magnesium:

To show that something was actually happening, it was put in a large syringe and the students could see the volume increase.
Then the stuff was put into a test tube:

Most of then had to do this part twice as they it took a while to get the procedure correct.
Then the instructor came around, and:

What do you think happened?
Well, you will just have to try this yourself cause I ain't saying.
Okay, not really.
I'll tell.
I know how you all dislike suspense.
If you remember the Hindenburg, you know what happened.
Apparently, vinegar and magnesium together produce hydrogen and when the match was applied, well:

The hydrogen ignited, just not in that scale.
Though it would have been pretty spectacular.
The kids were impressed even thought he explosion was more like a small pop.
The message here being clear: don't drip vinegar based sauces around your magnesium framed bicycle.
Things could get sort of hot.
So anyways, one of the other classes I got is this:

I gotta say that kids, in this case juniors, are pretty dumb.
When it comes to driving around in a car I mean.
Most of them have no clue what is going on, how to operate a vehicle, or what makes a vehicle actually move.
Scary stuff.
Well, I present to you, the reader, this chance to make kids less dumb!
I have received permission to present a short thingy on bicycles, sort of a safety on the road thing, so that these kids know how to deal with bicyclists once they hit the road.
Here's your chance to get a message across!
What I need is your suggestions, scenarios, safety thingys, that will help these kids navigate the streets along with you, the bicyclist.
My lesson for instance, is that bicycles have the same right of way on the road, and that they are to be afforded all the same rights and courtesies.
Think of it as sort of road test for drivers, only involving folks on bicycles.
Sort of a here's the scenario, what would you do? kind of thing.
Steve A, are you listening?
If I get enough suggestions, maybe some pictures to illustrate, I can put together a Power Point(if I still remember how) to present to the class.
If it's good enough, maybe the Drivers Ed instructor can make it a permanent addition to the lessons and that would be a good thing.
A chance to send the next generation of drivers out with a positive message about folks on bicycles.
I hope.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Kewlade

Drink up.
You know it's good.
Don't worry.
I got more.

So says the advertising.
Wading through all the carbon fibre bicycle frames out there is like drowning in a pool of Kewlade.
It's all kewl.
Proprietary this, proprietary that.
Follow me!

This is like the bestest!
High modulus!
This puppy is like the mostest stiffest lightest frame ever!
Gulp, gulp, gulp.
Heimlich please?
Thank you.
I think I got it out of my system.
Custom carbon!
Oh my!
Sell the kids!
Custom carbon is like Ferrari is like Unobtainium.
It exists, just not in the same space as I.
Is that the down tube or are you just happy to see me?
My down tube is bigger, and bigger is better.
Yes, but can you slice through the air with the greatest of ease?
Wind tunnel tested am I.
UCI legal I am not.
Add some ballast.
You mean like this thing around my stomach?
No, not that much!
Well at least the frame is light.
The nano-nano Mork like stuff.
Mindy would approve.
Laterally stiff!
Yet vertically compliant.
Like a pogo stick.
Can carbon boing?
No, but it can explode.
So I heard.
Did I say it's light?
No, you said expensive.
It's all in the weave.
Drink up and believe.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Mayor's Limo

Which is what we affectionately call the bus.
Or it's what I call the bus.
More appropriately, TheBus.
I forget exactly why I and other folks of my generation call it the Mayor's Limo, but I think it had to do with a former mayor, the one who started up TheBus, and his taking TheBus to work.
I don't know how long he actually rode TheBus, but ever since then, when we wanted to go someplace, we rode the Mayor's Limo:

That is until we all got cars.
Then the Mayor's Limo got sort of a bad rap:
"Eh, you can gimme one ride?"
"Brah, take da Mayor's Limo!"

"Man, my car stay broke."
"How you goin work?"
"I guess I gotta take da Mayor's Limo."

As time went by and we got older and spoiled, TheBus sort of lost its glamour.
If you know what I mean.
Well now, times a changing and the TheBus is cooler now.
Besides the air conditioning I mean:
"Eh, check out my bus pass!"
"Ho boy, you goin save plenny money on gas!"

Which is my motivation for revisiting TheBus.
My round trip to work is around 30 miles, which means I burn about two gallons of gas per day.
Not very economical, especially when you have other thing besides gas to pay for.
It would be difficult for me to ride TheBus on my dialysis days, since when I leave I'm in no condition to walk any long distance, so that leaves three days a week when I could conceivably ride TheBus to work and into town on Saturdays.
I could save $30 dollars a week or $120 dollars a month on gas.
A bus pass costs like $60.
Net savings, $60 a month.
Now sixty bucks is sixty bucks and now I'm really thinking about it.
'Cept I ain't got no 'muter bike.
I could put a rack on the Ciocc:

I would need a rack for I carry a lot o'crap with me to work, plus I found out they got a shower there so I could change my clothes and be all zestfully clean for the rest of the day.
Well, I don't really want to do the drop bar thing in traffic, so maybe I can convert it to a flat bar:

Anyways, I've been looking at all the possibilities.
The thing is, I need to ride at least two times a week to make it worth my while so to speak, and to be honest, I'm sort of afraid to take the plunge.
Habit and all that.
Part of the reason is that Tuesdays and Thursdays would be the riding days, and I get out early on those days, early enough so that when I get home, I got pleny of time to get a ride in.
Something I wouldn't be able to do if I did TheBus thing.
There's some pros and cons I'm still working out, but I'd like to try it at least once, you know, to see how it goes.
So besides that other thing, I'm going to try and outfit one of the bicycles around here for work.
We'll see how that goes.
Or doesn't go.
Or something.
"Eh, how you came work?"
"I wen ride my bike."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The State of the Flat Tire Address

Is this thing on?
My fellow Flats, the time has come to discuss the present and the future.
In the present, everything seems okay.
Sort of.
Since our incorporation and the forming of the Republic, way back in 1972, The Flat Tire has grown epically, empirically, and estatically.
Our number one goal has been to inform and entertain.
Not anymore!
We here at The Flat Tire will not sleep until he have achieved complete global domination!

(insert applause)

We shall take the world house by house, street by street, municipality by municiplality, hamlet by hamlet, village by village, City to City(Gerry Rafferty album), state by state, country by country, continent by continent, well, you get my drift.
We will march on, spreading and assimilating, converting, by forced labor if necessary, the word and the will of Flat Tireness!

(insert wild cheering)

Now my friends, the time has come to talk about the economy.
We need you, the reader, to do your part!
To stimulate!
To revive!
To jump start!
The economy I mean.

(insert murmurs)

You need to get out today, and buy something!
Some potato chips!
A burrito!
A new bicycle frame!

(insert jeers)

Uh, okay.
Let's not talk about the economy!

(insert applause)

Let's talk about uh, World Domination!
Yes, World Domination

(insert wild applause)

Soon, and I mean soon, like very soon, the rest of the world will bow at your feet!
A virtual kow tow!
Ground kissing and all that!
The Republic of The Flat Tire will soon become synonomous with Power, Corruption, and Lies(New Order album)!

(insert wild cheering)

I mean Power, Consumption, and High Fives!

(insert crowd control)

High fives!

(insert crowd chanting)

High fives!

Okay, where's the buffet?

Monday, January 23, 2012


It's so embarrassing.
I'm just like a wahine.
You know, like at the cosmetics counter.
Or like shopping for a dress.
It's like the dress gotta match the bag and the shoes.
Or vice versa.
Well I sort of feel like I got the bag, all I need is the dress.
If the bag were the group set I mean.
Of course the wheels are the shoes.
I swear, I got all sorts of convoluted plans, it ain't funny.
Okay, it's sort of funny if you aren't me.
It's like I'm looking at this, looking at that, maybe the the color isn't right or maybe they don't match the shoes.
Or maybe I should wait until they go on sale.
The one thing I can't do is buy it, wear it with the tags still on and then return it later.
I never got how women can do that.
I mean I wear some pants, it's a done deal!
No way they're going back to the store.
So anyways, this is what started it all:

I been busy perusing some alternatives to my game plan and lo and behold back at the Holy Oracle of Our Mother of All Things Celesteness what should I stumble upon but some carbon fibre goodness!
Now I'm not really all into the carbon fibre thing, I prefer classic lines, but a nice Carbon Celeste Devil is not out of the question.
Well, since I had stooped so low as the even think about carbon fibre, I decided a little dose of decadence couldn't hurt.
Could it?
Well from celeste carbon goodness, it escalated to this:

Unobtainable Carbon Goodness(UCG).
One of those I could afford it, but only to hang on the wall goodness.
I also looked at everything in between.
Okay, I also admit that when I went to the LBS to get them spokes, I poked around for a bit, looking at the year end specials and such and well, the carbon bug sort of bit hard.
So smooth and shiny!
Unobtainable Lightness of Frameness!
So I started to brush up on my carbon fibre intellect.
Made in the Far East they are.
Most of them.
No Far East carbon for me.
It has to be special.
If you know what I mean.
Cookie cutter monocoque just doesn't cut it.
Get it? cookie cutter? cut it?
Well it seems that I have a new plan.
What? Boy Mr. Flat Tire, you are worse than a girl!
That's what I said.
I'm just like a wahine.
Every wahine needs that LBD, the Little Black Dress.
The dress that's appropriate for all occasions, still looks classy, and doesn't make you look fat.
You can add a bit o'nastiness to that too.
What color is carbon fibre?
Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Final

Womp! Womp! Womp!
Okay, not really.
More like:
Wiggly! Wiggly! Wiggly!

Well, that's not very Wiggly.
It was.
Wiggly I mean.
If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you know that I picked up this Rockhopper a while back and on its maiden voyage I broke a spoke.
As usual, it's taken me some time to get to it, seeing as how that was the first and last time I rode that bike.
So this morning, after my deep thoughts, I started in.
I took off a spoke and took it to the LBS.
Well, what happened was, a few of them spokes were of the galvanized type, so I took one of them off hoping to replace it with a SS spoke.
It turned out them old spokes were the wrong size and had been laced up wrong:

You can see that the spokes had been laced up incorrectly over the opposing spoke, as I found out later it was because they were shorter than the original spokes:

So off I went, back to the LBS with the correct spoke this time for five, since I had to replace the bad spokes.
Still following along?
So anyways, I replace the spokes and start truing up the wheel.
Sort of.
I mean I got it all side to side straight.
Then I spun it up and noticed it was not perfectly round.
So I started to try and take out the out or roundness.
Which made the side to side all goofy.
Which is what you see in the video above.
I'd like to say that I spent like ten minutes on them spokes, but I did not.
Take ten minutes.
The fact is, I don't exactly know how long I was fooling around with it, though I did notice that I started with the football game and was still messing around with it at half time.
So where did it get me?
Right back to where I started:

You can see the zip tie on the fork I used for the side to side thing, but the wheel is still sort of ovoid.
You catch my drift.
Anyways I gave up after a bit, my fingers were getting tired.
So while I was sitting there, turning them spokes, suddenly a vision appeared in my head.
Carbon fibre!
More on that later.

Sunday Early Edition

Soul searching.
That's what I've been doing.
Though I didn't really know it.
When I first started riding a bicycle, regularly I mean, I had no idea it would lead to this.
It all happened so fast, without even thinking about it, without any kind of plan.
One day, I woke up and suddenly bicycling was a large part of my life.
Sometimes I wonder what I would be doing know if it wasn't.
I'd still be carrying those extra pounds, out of shape, riding the couch.
Okay, I still spend an inordinate amount of time watching Law & Order.
Sometimes though, I do manage to pull myself away from the tv to get out and smell the flowers.
So to speak.
My living room wouldn't be crowded with all sorts of things bicycle and bicycle related, my book shelf would have a bit more space on it, and I'd probably be making more clay stuff.
I'm not quite sure what happened.
I look around me sometimes, and it's like I wonder who lives here, who owns all this stuff?
It's gotta be me; I don't see anyone else coming and going.
I'm not quite sure what to make of all this.
I also find myself in a sort of transitional period.
Admittedly, I'm not the same as when I first started riding.
I mean I'm not itching to get out like before, not as hardcore if you will.
I don't know, maybe I've hit a plateau.
Or maybe I've found a comfort zone.
Which may be a good or bad thing.
I feel like my enthusiasm for riding has waned.
I don't daydream about being out on the road, my yearly mileage has dropped and I do get lazy.
On the other hand, I feel more involved with bicycling than I have ever been.
At this point, I feel like it's not only important to do, it's also important to do something.
Maybe my enthusiasm is just going in another direction.
Priorities changing and all that.
I'm even rethinking the whole Quest for Frame(QFF) thing, maybe redirecting some of the funds to where it will do more good.
I mean I'm pretty much already good.
More gooder than most.
If you know what I mean.
No? You, the reader don't know?
Volunteering over at Kvibe the co-op place is responsible.
For the attitude change I mean.
Seeing these kids pop in, ready to work for a bicycle is enlightening.
I mean just getting a bicycle is a big deal, and we're not talking no carbon fibre Dura Ace fifteen pound wonder bike.
We're talking just a bicycle.
I've only been out there for three days and lemme tell you three is days is more than enough to shift the paradigm.
More on this later.
For now, lemme just see if I can hit the road today with my Campagnolo equipped bicycle and see if it makes me a better bicyclist.
I'm sort of hoping is does.
Then again, I think I know the answer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A New High

In more ways than one.
Or maybe it's a new low.
I'm not sure.
I mean for sure it's a new high, but it may also be a sign that something is very much wrong.
Or very much right.
I'm so confused.
See when I first got into this bicycle thing, I new I had to get me some tools.
I had a set of metric hex wrenches already, of the Snap On persuasion, so I thought I was pretty much set.
I even got a set of hex wrenches for a 3/8" drive ratchet.
Being for automotive type usage though, they were kinda on the bulky side to use and keep handy.
So I got me a multi-tool:

One of them Topeak Alien jobs with like every tool you'd ever need to work on your bike.
Which was a good thing for I got some use out of it, but it was kinda big and heavy to be carrying around with me.
So I looked for something more manageable.
Since by that time I had two bicycles, I got two of these:

I thought them Park I-Beams were great!
Only the essentials, fit right in the saddle bag.
One day, the Formerly Evil Hoku gave me this:

Topeak Mini-8.
Great for working on the bike and I could leave them other tools in the bags.
From there is sort of escalated.
Maybe exploded is a better description.
I guess it makes sense, for the bicycle thing sort of took off too as bicycle started to come and go.
Well I decided that I needed one of them three way Park tool thingys, and some Torx wrenches, and another Torx when I got all Campagnolo Crazy, and then it was a hassle to use a multi-tool so I needed some individual hex wrenches, and then you get some free hex wrenches when you buy stuff like Bicycle Mufflers, and then I needed a 10mm hex for them Ultra Torque cranks which I had but was too lazy to get for by this time, all the Snap On hex wrenches were back in the roll cab where they actually belonged.
Then for Christmas, I got another set:

I think.
All these tools may be indicative of some deep rooted psychological problem.
You know, like maybe I didn't have enough toys as a kid.
Or tools.
Which is crazy, for as long as I can remember, I've been surrounded by tools of all kinds.
I've also lost more tools than I can remember, which is part of the reason why I bought Snap On tools.
I mean you just don't lose Snap On tools!
They cost so much you tend to keep track of them like they were made of gold.
Which I think they are.
Made of gold I mean.
Anyways, back to my deep rooted psychological problems, which I don't want to burden you, the reader with, but what did I find myself doing tonight?
Looking for more hex wrenches!
I don't know where it came from, but suddenly, out of the blue, I decided that it would be way cool to have me some hex wrenches of the titanium variety.
Unfortunately for me, someone actually makes some.
Well I was able to stop myself from certain hex wrench doom by taking an impromptu inventory:

Still, them titanium hex wrenches would be pretty nice.
They won't rust and I could save me some weight in the ole saddle bag.
Then again, if I did that, I'd have to get me one of them compact chain tools.
Or two.
I mean at this point, a couple of more tools to the pile won't really make a difference.
If you know what I mean.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On Your Mark!

Like molasses in winter.
I swear it was agonizing watching the kids today working with circular saws.
As I said earlier, most of them have never worked with tools, much less power tools so I suppose some apprehension is in order.
They all lined up saws in hand:

What proceeded was the World Slowness Record in Cutting a Two by Four(WSRCTXF)!
I swear, some of them must have took like five minutes to cut through that wood!
Poor saws.
All wound up with no place to cut.
Push! I said.
I am, they said.
I shouldn't make fun, this was only their second time.
It was like a power saw ballet, in slow motion.
Difficult to watch.
In other news, today this came in:

Oh yeah baby!
The Holy Bible of the Adult Erector Set(HBAES)!
That 80/20 stuff is extruded aluminium that folks use to make homemade frame jigs out of.
As you can see, the catalog is fairly large, telephone book sized, with all kinds of alloy goodness inside.
So much so that I don't know quite where to start.
Fortunately, I got a parts list.
Sort of.
According to the 80/20 folks, anything is possible!
Like this:

Or if you are feeling really crafty, this:

I was thinking Trevor might have a go at that one.
All them cupcakes don't you know.
So anyways, once I figure out how to use that tome, I'll know what it's going to cost me to make a simple frame jig.
I think the parts will be fairly inexpensive, the shipping is thing that will kill me.
Being on an island in the middle of the ocean is not always a good thing.
Especially when ordering things that are really long.
Anyways, we'll see if this frame building thing is feasible or not.
If anything, that lizard cage looks pretty cool.
Don't touch that dial!

Monday, January 16, 2012

This Should Be Interesting

I mean I'm not really sure, as "this" is still in its infancy, but I think it will be.
From my point of view.
I think.
First of all, this all started off with an email asking me if I'd be willing to volunteer for some bicycle thing in Kailua.
Sure, I said.
Before I said sure, I thought about it.
There I go, thinking again.
Well I thought about it for a while and eventually the conclusion was: what harm could it be?
Very hesitant was I, especially since the volunteer part was vague.
Well today it started out here:

Here, if you, the reader, have been following along at home, is the state capitol.
Sort of a nice place to visit, sort of intimidating if you are there on business.
Still I thought allright! now we're playing with power!
Using the Secret Senator Key(SSK), up to the second floor we went:

Ahem, no bicycle parking downstairs.
So anyways, visiting the Kailua district Senator were we.
To talk about this thing, let's call it code word: This
So we spent a couple of hours discussing This, along with some folks with the Hawaii Bicycle League, eleven of us were there.
Lemme just say right here, it was way cool!
Though it was not my intention to get this deeply involved.
I imagined maybe standing out in the road, direct some traffic or something, but it appears that I will have a small, really small part in getting This off the ground.
So what is This?
This, starts off with an idea.
It seems that once you have an idea, you talk to some folks with similar ideas, and off you go!
Okay, not really.
To be honest, This sort of started off small, then grew big, then went back to small.
All things considered, those of us involved in This, still have no idea what This will be.
Not all the details anyways.
For now, This is about bicycling, and that's good enough for me.
Okay Mr. Flat Tire, why so secretive?
Good question.
Well, This is the first time I'm involved with something like well, This.
I'm not too sure what I'm allowed to post.
In other words, I expect that there will be some barriers, and I'm not sure if naming names is prudent.
I mean I haven't even learned the secret handshake yet!
Here are some things I learned today:

Bicycling is a small community. In the big picture, bicyclists carry a really little stick.
Except if it is an election year.

It helps to have folks in high places on board. Especially someone who knows how to navigate at various state and county levels.

You will probably have to consider interests other than your own. I see compromise in the future.

Volunteers are essential. Although it may seem small, there's a lot going on behind the scenes that get large pretty fast.

Which is what I hope to bring here.
The behind the scenes stuff.
If I'm allowed.
Need to get that Top Secret clearance don't you know.
Anyways, hopefully there'll be more in the coming weeks.
Actually, months.
Stay tuned.
This should be good.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Final

Looks can be deceiving.
Fooled today was I.
Oh it started off all fine and dandy, the Celeste Devil and I just cruising along.
During the few and far bewteen rides I've been doing, I've been on a bigger gear, Rocking the Big Ring even, and my average cadence has fallen some.
This worried me, for I was quite happy with where I had built my cadence up to.
It wasn't that long ago when I was happily turning 90 rpms with naught a worry in the world.
Now, 80 is more the norm.
So today, I decided to try and see how much of my aerobicness I had lost.
Not too much it turns out as I was seeing 90-100 quite often and with deceptive ease.
This was the first ten miles of my ride.
The weather lied to me as when I got to park I saw this:

Kailua Bay looked like a freakin lake!
Flat, flat, flat.
This dude looked like a duck, you could see his wake:

If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you know there's this thing where the wind turns and blows from the south, called Kona winds.
Well today, it was like that, the wind was all bass akwards with some fairly strong cross winds.
Actually felt like a wind tunnel.
Of course with the wind, I felt like I could go on forever, no need to hit the nitrous as super sonic speeds were achieved with ease!
Going the other way was a different story.
Oh the pain!
The fire in the thighs!
I swear I was trailing smoke!
Please oh please let it rain some liquid nitrogen!
All that and I was only going like 12 mph!
It was like one of them horror movies where every time I looked up, the end seemed further and further away.
I found myself in some kind of lactic acid hell where the road and wind never ends.
Someone please tell me who's idea this was!
I was so cooked, I ate a Snickers ice cream at the 7-11.
Then I was supposed to meet up with some fellows for a little ride around Kailua.
As I stood straddling the Celeste Devil, surveying the lay of the parking lot, the wind gusted and this fell not ten feet from me:

Okay, it wasn't a really large branch, but it was big enough.
I thought about Steve A, and how he was looking forward to a helmet impact test with coconuts, well he almost got his wish.
Sort of.
I took the falling branch as a sign and decided to head back to Flat Tire Central.
Not before I saw this:

Oh yeah baby!
A new burrito place!
Time to renew my Quest for Burritos(QFB).
Full report will follow.
As soon as the wind dies down.
Or I get some new legs.
Or something.

Sunday Early Edition

I think I'm done.
It's over.
Well, sort of over.
I have to admit, I don't spend all of my waking hours thinking about bicycles and riding anymore.
I don't sit around and dream about this or that or the other thing, this bicycle or that bicycle, this group set or that group set.
I sort of feel like I've reached the end.
The acquisition phase has run its course.
As far as the number of bicycles I need goes.
Yesterday, while I was sorting through all the junk parts over at Kvibe, some nice gentleman brought in a really nice Nishiki mountain bike.
My trained eyeballs immediately noticed it was something in my size with nice paint and a solid looking drive train.
Normally bells and whistles would have been going off in my brain.
Calculations would have begun immediately, the cogs and gears turning and an injection of delusional logic would have sent about a GAGILLION watts of power to the bicycle lust part of my brain.
Didn't happen.
Oh I looked and admired, but for the most part I found myself to be in a fairly passive state.
That caught me by surprise.
What was wrong with me?
I checked to see if I was feverish and I checked my pulse.
No, I wasn't dead.
Normally I would have been in Stage III Acquisition Mode(SIIIAM), but I looked at it, and went about my business.
Once I came home and thought about it, always dangerous, that thinking stuff, I realized I no longer have Bicycle Want(BW).
Or need(BN).
I mean I hardly find the time to ride the four bicycles I have now.
If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you know that four bicycles is needed for the you must have a back up to the back up to the back up.
I think I got that part covered.
Okay I lied.
I still have Bicycle Want, but I'm about to cover that part too.
So what's left?
Where do I go?
Where do I take this, this "hobby" that has consumed my life for the last three odd years?
I have to admit, somewhere along the line it feels as though a switch has been turned, not off, but to another terminal perhaps, as my feelings toward bicycling have changed.
I no longer spend hours and hours and hours on the eVilness or eVilist searching for some imagined grail.
Gone are all the Nashbars and Performance links from my favorites toolbar.
The fact is, my bicycle wish list is at an all time low!
Only three items left to go.
Okay, I'm not counting the tools, you know you can never have enough tools.
Now that one path reaches an end, what fork in the road do I take?
There are no road signs ahead, no guiding lights or maps.
The questions I ask myself are relevant, for I truly am looking in another direction, trying to find out where this road will lead.
I mean there are no dead ends in bicycling, you just turn around and go someplace else.
If you know what I mean.
So what's left?
I dunno.
I suppose I just follow the wise suggestions of the Great Sage JRA(GSJRA).
Time to get up and go ride.
When you really think about it, that's all there is to it.
This bicycling thing I mean.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It Could Be A Bicycle

Sort of.
I think.
Well this semester, I'm no longer in the metal shop, I'm now in the wood shop.
I mean it's kind of a wood shop, they got wood tools, but it's more like a construction shop, where you learn to hang studs and frame and hang doors and windows.
Oh and learn how to use power tools.
Again like last year, I'm really surprised how many of these kids haven't held a tool in their hands.
Power or not.
So anyways, the wood place is right next to the metal shop so I'm still poking my nose in there to see what's going on.
Apparently some good things, like this:

I guess you'd call that a tricycle.
I mean cause of the three wheels and all.
Not really your traditional tricycle, or even like a Big Wheel, cause of the innovative steering mechanism.
The rear axle pivots and is controlled by the two handles there with the yellow grips.
Really kinda cool!
They added a seat after this image was taken and a couple of students were riding that thing around campus.
Just goes to show that if you give these kids a chance, they can come up with some pretty neat stuff!
I'm gonna try and see if I can get them some more frame fodder to fool around with.
Over at Kvibe, there's a lot of stuff getting tossed as I'm helping to clean up some.
Most of the parts there are just junk, trashed brake levers and stuff missing brackets and stuff so I'm helping them sort through all of that and keeping the things that are well, worth keeping.
I must have dumped like four five gallon buckets worth of worthless parts.
Tons of derailleurs missing screws and kick stands without mounting brackets were all tossed and taken to the dump.
My pay for the day:

A sort of nice pair of Dura Ace aero levers.
You know, just in case.
There's a bicycle thing in Kailua that's in the planning stages.
Something wonderful.
I don't know what's gotten into me, but I volunteered to help out.
I'll know more about it on Monday.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Stuff

I feel so guilty.
I'm not even Catholic.
I was supposed to ride my bicycle today, but I wussed out.
Wussy, wussy, wussy.
Maybe I'm overwhelmed.
By bicycles I mean.
Surrounded I am.
No escape.
Well, except for the couch.
My bicycle sanctuary.
Oh yeah.
Anyways, to the stuff.
Traffic hazards:

Falling from coconut trees.
Not big ones.
Small ones:

Small coconuts + skinny tires = not good things
If you know what I mean.
At least they are not falling on my head:

If not coconuts, then Hawaiian pahvay:

Right in the middle of the street!
Do you know why?
No clue have I.
Surrounded by bicycles.
Out to get me they are.
Whispers in the dark of night.
I think I need to be exorcised.
I mean I need exercise.
Or something.
It's all in my coconut.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What I Found

So far.
I mean the journey is far from over.
Just getting started.
Sort of.
See the thing is, I've only been riding around on my bicycle for like three and a half years or so.
A neophyte compared to some of you, the readers, out there in Bloggerland.
If you you've been following along at home, you know that it's taken me a while, a lot of trial and error, to get to where I am today.
I mean I haven't bought any bicycle crap in a while; my eVilness watch list is pretty short.
At the moment.
I am for the most part, satisfied with the bicycles I have.
For the most part.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, I began to think (which at times may or may not be a good thing) about all things bicycle related and how or what it meant to me.
Okay, it's not just about going out for a ride anymore.
To be honest, I didn't/haven't embraced it as a lifestyle, despite all my poseur attempts to do so.
I mean you can ride a bicycle and not be a bicyclist.
Sort of like how you can drive a car, and not be a driver.
Let me put it another way.
Bicycling is like surfing.
It is a lifestyle.
A cult even.
A sort of temple where others may worship, but only you know for sure how devoted you are.
Some may surf, but they aren't about to go out and hit up Pipeline when the outer reef is breaking:

Okay, that may not be the best analogy.
Folks ride bicycles, but not many go out riding around for twenty miles just for fun.
If you can call it fun.
What I'm getting as is that it takes a certain amount of dedication, or maybe it's an understanding or appreciation for what bicycling is all about.
Some folks get it.
Some folks don't.
Well, I was thinking(this might be a good thing) that perhaps I standing on the cusp of this understanding.
On the threshold if you will.
I had the gear, I had the motivation(sort of) and I had the right attitude.
Or so I thought.
In this case it was all image.
In this case, image is not everything.
Oh boy, I can't believe I just said that.
So anyways, I found myself walking this line, this grey area where either you are or you aren't.
Do I just ride a bicycle or am I a bicyclist?
I was sort of stuck on that line, undecided or uncommitted about which side to stay on.
So I started to think long and hard about what bicycling means to me.
Why I do it and all that good stuff.
Let me just say right here that there are no bad reasons for riding a bicycle, at least none that come to mind at the moment.
I started to think about where I was going, where this bicycling thing was taking me and if I was just following along or blazing my own trail.
Cutting my own path.
Following my own lead.
Or something.
Anyways, it came down to what bicycling has done for me(besides lightening my wallet) and what I could to for bicycling.
I like doing ceramics so much, to tell you the truth, I would teach that stuff for free.
Okay, don't tell anyone I said that.
I need to make a living don't you know.
So it was like I dig riding my bicycle so much, I'd like to others folks to enjoy it as much as I do.
Okay, maybe not as much as I do, I mean it would help the economy and all, but really, not everyone needs like four bicycles in their living room.
I just thought that I'd try and share my enthusiasm.
Well, I'm not exactly a feely goody kind of dude.
I mean I don't have like rainbows shooting out of my, well let's just say I'm not a feely goody kind of guy.
So what I decided I did have was some time, and some resources to share.
A certain skill set if you will.
While riding my bicycle was a part of me, I wasn't part of bicycling.
Sort of the part that was missing.
Time to give bicycling a kiss on the lips and see where it goes.
Sort of.
I think.
Anyways, it's time to start a relationship with bicycling.
As we all know, a relationship is give and take.
Mostly give.
If you know what I mean.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Final

I've got to start training my eyeballs.
I mean you know, when you're riding around at like Super Sonic(SS) speeds, you gotta train your eyes to see things differently.
Most of it is all a blur.
A couple of weeks ago, I passed something in the park, but I went by so fast, I didn't really bother looking too closely.
Then about a week ago, I passed by it again, and like before, kept on going.
Well today, as I was Sub Sonic(SubS), I had a chance to slow down and see what the hell was going on:

Two weeks ago, there was something similar hanging there, between two coconut trees, but in all honesty, it looked to me like one of them reindeer made out of twigs.
You know, the ones with lights and there's one that nods.
Then last week, it looked like the reindeer was eating something as there were two thingys hanging there.
Well this lizard thingy today caught my eyeballs.
A dude named Storekeeper was working with found objects and making some sculptures.
I should have stopped earlier, but before those things were just hanging and there was no one around; today Store was busy working.
He wraps the plant material over wire:

As you can see, he uses different plant stuff to get different effects.
I sort of liked the use of the coconut fronds to make all them pokey things sticking out, and if you squint yer eyeballs, you can see some round looking leaves that look like scales.
Store said he plans to make a set of them and set them up sitting around a table.
I'd like to see it once he gets done:

Anyways, the weather here has been pretty nice, folks were out today taking advantage of the calm winds.
Funny, as I was riding around, the wind didn't feel so calm.
If you know what I mean.
It's sort of unusual as the winter winds are blustery and carry a chill.
Here's a couple of dudes taking doing their thing on the melted snow:

Sort of like water walking, except with some floaty thingys.