Wednesday, April 15, 2009


From what I hear in the media, we live in hard times. I do agree that some parts of the economy are having it rough, but a lot of it is artificially created by media hype. Seems that talking about bad news sells, what a shame!

For those of us fortunate enough to still have a job, it is imperative that we go out there and spend if we have to. I don't proclaim that we should over spend, but if you have the money and in need of something, well go out there and make some people work.

If your purchase involves any bike related items, then I strongly suggest supporting your local bike shop. Not any bike shop, one that will look after your best interest whatever it is you set out to buy. If they don't really care about helping you, then they don't deserve your business.

Buying bikes or related products at Wally World and such big places does cost less...in the short run. Actually in the very short run, I'm talking parking lot short! Don't believe me? Try taking that new bike for a ride in the parking lot right after buying it without fiddling with it. People I know have seen these bikes end up in bike shops merely hours after being bought and the money saved was spent on adjusting and fixing what was wrong with it.

You have to realize that very few of these big chain stores have qualified mechanics on staff and if they actually do it's by a fluke, not on purpose. Bikes are actually assembled by hired crews that are paid by the unit, so they have every reasons to go fast. Quality is not the main issue here. I play a game with my kids when we go at these stores to try and find the mistakes on the bikes while my wife is shopping for decoration stuff. Brakes and pedals assembled backwards are just the tip of the iceberg, I can just imagine how well the brakes and shifters are adjusted!

All these things will not happen at a bike shop and if they do, you can be sure that a qualified mechanic will take care of it right away. Your new bike should also come with a 6 month free adjustment package. Buying cheap tools is also a waste of your time and time is money.

Buying at a local professional bike shop is smart and economical. Buy the good stuff and pay only once. You'll also develop a relationship with the people there that will last for years.

That's my .02 on the economy.

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


It's not a little thing like a coronary that's going to keep me back from some R&D on my latest Sport Utility Bike project...all right it does make me go a bit slower I'll admit.

So once the frame extension is in place, I had to install the rear derailleur and chain. In this case about two chains and a half compared to a regular bike. All that chain and the places where it is supposed to run is an invitation to slapping around and grinding some frame paint! This is where chain management comes into play.

This is one of the first things you learn, by force of necessity, when building homebuilt recumbents. The chain is a lot longer and runs through a whole bunch of funky places, it needs to be guided along. In our case, it's a pretty simple case of slightly guiding the chain and giving it some extra tension. For that purpose I use hard plastic hose made for underground lawn sprinklers. It can be found at the local hardware super store and I bought mine at $10 a few years ago for a roll of 100 feet.

The hose will eventually need to be replaced after a few thousands miles. Despite the looks, this set up is surprisingly quiet. You can use something a bit better looking than black tape to keep the hose in place, but it does the job quite well.

Next step will be to put together the big rack. I have some steel for the framing and I'm thinking about using some left over flooring wood for the main top body.

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)