Friday, May 31, 2013

Preparing for a big ride

I'm scheduled to do the "Tour la Nuit" here in Montreal this evening. My bike and I haven't participated in anything serious, ride-wise  in over a year. This being a night ride with thousands of other cyclists, it is quite important to have proper lighting installed and for it to be fully functional.

Getting the tools out.

My lighting gear was starting to show its age, so I decided to fork the bucks for some new front and back lights. A trip to MEC provided the required equipment for less than $20 and the ride to and from the store gave me a chance to gauge myself and my bike. Not bad but the bike needed some tweaking.

Small but very effective white LED light. This sub $10 will give you proper lighting for an entire season on one battery. 

Very bright $8 rear LED light. I always set mine to blink in order to be more visible.
Installed the lights, checked and adjusted the brakes, checked tire pressure and prepared a tool kit. Tool kits should contain whatever you feel is necessary to keep Murphy at bay. The number of tools and the distance you are willing to walk home are relative to themselves.

My personal selection for the evening.
Talking about Murphy's Law, we might have a chance of rain tonight so I decided to install a rear fender. It probably won't rain now but I can guaranty you that it would have should I have decided to lazily avoid putting one on. 30 minutes well spent.

Always do a test ride prior to the big one.
If you're in Montreal, hope to see you there. If not, until next time ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Ultimate anti-theft bike set up!

These 2 shots were taken near the Montreal Mont-Royal Metro station which is notorious for bike theft. Montreal has a serious bike theft problem and not much is being done by the authorities.

Now this is a BIG lock!
At first I suspected it was a sculpture from a local artist and it turns out I was half right. The whole thing was put together in order to promote the City's Bixi bike program. The successful program has already been exported to other cities like New-York with it's unique design. Most of the parts being unique to this bike and not really worth stealing.

You just need to remember which key goes where...
However, I'm certain some bike thief out there would be crazy enough to take the challenge just for bragging rights!

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

CCM folder bike conversion to multi-speed

Sorry for skipping a week. The weather was bad (I'm outdoors you know.) and life was pretty busy. Didn't want to make a half ass post.
Beer can light Aluminium cranks or boat anchor heavy steel one piece crank? I think the choice is pretty obvious!

Step one in the build is to convert this once single speed bike to a multi-speed set-up. The first thing I wanted to do was to change the one piece crank to a 3 piece crank using a conversion kit. I got the kit from Pork Chop BMX some time ago for another project that never saw the light of day. The idea is to have a better selection of cranks and to shave off some weight.

Conversion axle and bearings with the dirty original CCM bearing cups.
The kit is pretty straight forward with an axle, bearings, cones and bearing cups. Simply install and put on your favourite crank arms. In my case I did hit a small snag where the bearing cups are a specific size to the CCM. I had to forgo the ones that came with the kit that are sized for conventional American BMXs.

Clean up must also involve the bottom bracket shell, loose dirt will get in the bearings. Here it also reveals the original mid 70's purple color of the bike.
The new bearings did fit in the older cups with no problem. Of course a clean up was in order and they were still in decent shape. I would suggest inspecting them has there is usually one side that is more used up than the other. depending on the rider being left handed or right handed, one side will see more usage than the other. Always put the better cup on the side that suits you, that way they will last a bit longer. In my case as a right handed guy, the better one went on the right side.
Cup and bearings packed with fresh grease. Don't forget to add a dab on the bearing cones as well on the axle. More is always better than not enough.
Completed conversion.
After the bottom bracket was installed, I put on the crank arms and lucky for me, they cleared, barely. I've faced such a situation before and let's just say that the solution wasn't pretty for the frame!

Check for clearance between the crank arm and frame. Also, check your picture for proper focus before publishing!  Aaaaaaargh :X   Notice also that tire clearance is not an issue.
Next I had to install the rear wheel and check for clearance in regards to the tire and frame. That's where I hit another little snag. The axle was a lot wider than what the frame would allow. I remedied the situation by spreading the frame a bit using a car jack.

Small discrepancy here!
Take note that you should never do what I did. Bending a frame is a last resort because you will ruin it or make it dangerously weak. I'm rolling the dice here doing this and only sharing it with you for information purposes. Yes, I'm an idiot, haters don't need to post it in the comments.

Do not ever do this, ever!

Final result.
I finished up by installing the derailleur and the chain. Everything works fine and nothing is rubbing the wrong way. I'm not planning for a front derailleur since the frame design won't allow it. No biggie, I have hands.  :)

This is how it sits for now.
In case you have any questions about the different steps taken in this post, here's a list of links to post I've done in the past that relates to the work done here today:

One piece crank
3 piece crank
Installing a chain

And of course the links to all the how-to articles here.

Until next week, ride safe and free.

Gerry  :)

Sunday, May 05, 2013

CCM Folder Cargo Bike Project

As promised earlier, here is this year's bike build project. Hopefully it won't fight me like last year's build that actually got a win over me. That bike will be revisited maybe in the coming years.

U-245 Hammerfish Bike, the starting point.

For now, a need has risen for a small cargo bike that can carry my 4X5 camera and tripod. That gear weighs over 20 pounds all together and I don't want to kill myself carrying it around the City. The folder bike is small so it can be stowed in the car on trips and the low centre of gravity means my camera stuff won't be falling from too high if I crash. Always plan for the worst!

One piece crank to 3 piece crank conversion kit.
The original bike was a coaster brake one speed CCM folder bike from 1976. Hills here in Montreal are not made for that set-up, so I'll be going for a multi speed hub with derailleur. I'll probably be replacing the one piece crank with a  3 piece bottom bracket using a conversion kit I bought some time ago. This and the aluminum rims I'll be using will help save some weight. The gear I will carry and the custom carriers I'll have to fabricate will be on the heavy side.

Aluminum rims and high pressure Maxxis Hookworms will be taking care of rolling duties.
The bike is entered in the annual bike build off contest at ratrodbikes.com and I intend to go with a U-Boat theme. However, since I'm modifying a lot of things, I need to proof concept the bike before I paint and start customizing. That means building it to ridable condition to make sure everything works right before I do all the fancy stuff.

1958 Brooks B66 saddle, still good and very comfortable.
First off, I have to dig thru my parts pile to find all the bits that were scaterred here and there when I took this bike apart some years ago. Keep posted.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles.

Until next week, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)