Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What to do about those pesky headbadges?

Advice for reinstalling riveted headbadges

The picture above says it all. Use crazy glue or the generic equivalent. Riveted headbadges, once removed, can be impossible to find screws or rivets for. That doesn't mean that they are junk by any means. There are very beautiful and valuable headbadges that once reattached to the bike can also add more value to that bicycle. Take for instance that red and silver Peugeot headbadge (top left of picture). That badge is so pretty you can put a wire through it on one side and sell it as an earring. But since I'm not in the jewelery business, I'll just stick that piece of bling back on the bicycle where it belongs.

Removing these headbadges requires the use of tiny drill bits, a slow drill setting, and a steady hand. As you drill the hole out of the rivet, use slightly larger bits until the rivet pops off. If there are any metal shavings left on the frame holes, these can come off with a Flathead screwdriver. Removing the headbadge is easy, the harder part is putting it back on.

The easiest and least headache inducing solution is using crazy glue. This is the one that I recommend, the solution over all others. Simply apply a thin layer of crazy glue on the backside of the headbadge. Line the holes on the headbadge to the holes on the frame, then press down hard and hold the badge in place for a few minutes. Make sure to stick the headbadge on a clean surface, hopefully a frame that has been powder coated. After that, you're done. The badge should stay one the frame for the remainder of it's life (or until you decide to pry it off with a crowbar, whichever one comes first).

There are other ways you can go about reinstalling a riveted headbadge if you are one of those anal-retentive types. Schwinn headbadges use 2mm x 4mm sheet metal screws. Double sided tape is another alternative I have heard even restoration services will use on their headbadges. And if you are one of those "purest" bicycle restorers, you could buy a rivet gun and even some 2mm rivets online. Crazy glue works just as well if not better than the aforementioned alternatives.

So there it is, how to remove and reinstall riveted headbadges. Here is just another tool to add to your arsenal of knowledge. Instead of selling those beauties on eBay or wearing them as earrings, you now can use them for what they were originally intended for. Bicycle emblems. Subscribe and stay tuned for more how to articles and restoration tips. Feel free to leave your questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Ye Olde Bike Shop

My New Workspace

This is actually organized for me.
A couple of weeks ago one of my neighbors was having a yard sale and selling all of his tools and workbenches. I snagged this nifty workbench from him for $30. Instead of having all my tools thrown about the place or having to dig around a tool bag to find a crank puller I now have a peg board where I can have all my tools on display when I need them. 

Ooh, Organized!

Henceforth, welcome to the new headquarters of A Bicycle's Point of View! It may be a small and humble office (for now, and this is about as close to an office as I'll ever get) but great innovations tend to come from small spaces. From now on I'll be like a Geppetto bicycle mechanic bringing old, neglected Pinocchio bicycles back to life! Stay tuned for more innovations from my humble workspace.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Back to the 80's- My "Maglia Rosa" Custom Road bike

Lately I have had 80's thoughts. "What are 80's thoughts?" One might ask. It's when you suddenly catch yourself listening to Duran Duran and liking  it. Or humming in your head Electric Blue by Icehouse. Or maybe you catch yourself on YouTube watching a rerun of a Lemond/Fignon duel in 89' where those guys blasted through wet cobblestone roads at 50mph without the benefit of helmets. It could also be looking up 80's color schemes on bicycles.

One could say all these things comprise 80's thoughts. Lately I have been inspired by the crazy neons, hot pinks, and Celeste greens that were on many of the top of the line bikes of back in the day. I was born in the middle of that decade, and have always thought what a cool decade that would have been to live in. It was the golden age for cycling, an era lugged frames were pushed to their technological maximum in the racing world. Then came carbon, clip-less pedals, and chamois Butt-r cream. As you know, the rest is history.

I took this era appropriate 1977 Takara 731 model as the source of my project. It had belonged to an older lady's brother and I was able to talk her down into letting me have it for $20. As with many of these projects, parts were seized by rust and there were times I feared I had reached a dead end. However, with a little torque and some WD-40, I was able to disassemble the bike, powdercoat the frame, acid bath the chrome parts, and voila! A 1980's themed custom road bike.

Some modifications that I did were actually ordering some new-old stock brakes and levers that were top of the line for back in their day.  These center pull brakes have quick release levers on them for accommodating knobbier and fattier 27" tires. Here's a couple of pictures of the new braking system for this bike.

Shimano 600 non aero brake levers were the best of their kind.

Dura Ace Center Pulls with quick release on top. I never knew quick release was ever an option on center pull brakes.

 I replaced the original wheels with some Weinmann alloys with quick release skewers. I overhauled the bottom bracket replacing the cup and cone with a sealed bearing bracket.  I swapped the original five speed freewheel with cleaner looking 6 speed, which fit without any modification to the frame.

The result was a slightly heavy but nimble frame made to flex and take the abuses of the road. This bike is a winner for any retro fan or modern day hipster. If you are man enough to ride pink, this bike is for you. After all, some of the manliest of men ride in the Giro D' Italia, and the leader wears the pink jersey. Hence the name of this custom is my "Maglia Rosa" bike, Italian for pink jersey. I have already featured my "maillot jaune" Schwinn bike, for those of you who are following my articles. Check out some of my other customs on my "transform your klunker" segment of my page. If you are interested in a custom restored bicycle, and live in Texas (sorry, I don't ship bicycles. That's what eBay is for) you can contact me for a quote on restoration or if  you would like to buy one of my customs on sale, you may also contact me. Subscribe and stay tuned for more on my latest bicycle restoration projects.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coming full Circle- Being a well rounded cyclist

My Cycling Journey- And why its important to be balanced.

All my life I have been riding my bike. Since I was fifteen, I have always found a special passion for riding my bike as far as I could pedal it. During the evolution of my cycling I have gone through several different types of bicycles and now mainly ride road bikes and adult mountain bikes. Sometimes I would ride out of choice, other times out of necessity. 

Since I was a junior in high school, I have made different attempts at commuting by bicycle. Even though I graduated high school early and I could barely say I commuted at all, it set the precedent for my personal outlook as a cyclist today. In my early 20's, I was practically car-less for almost a year. I commuted from my shared apartment to a pharmacy I worked at by either walking or for when I had to arrive early, by bicycle. I used the same bicycle I had in high school. I was a "ghost" cyclist back then, meaning (A) cheap department store mountain bike (B) used the sidewalk instead of the road. This lasted until one morning when someone stole my bicycle from in front of my apartment.

About a year later I bought my first road bike. This was a big jump in quality from the Mongoose DH 2.5 I had previously owned. For the first time I knew how it felt to go over 20mph on a bike. I tackled hills and challenged myself riding longer distances every time I rode. Pretty soon I was well acquainted with the area I lived in by bicycle. I learned how to ride on the roads and share the lane with cars. My weekend rides consisted of 30 mile loops which I mostly rode solo. While other roadies were subscribing to the local group rides and buying into all the carbon fiber and Lycra, I mashed my toe clip pedals against headwinds on my aluminum Raleigh. This has given me the endurance I have today, even though I will now sometimes ride my bike with clip-less shoes and dawn on my spandex. But that is not how I started riding, and I think for that I am a much better rider today.

There is the one constant that has seldom changed since my early days of cycling. The solitude. When I was younger my twin brother, Dad and I would go on long bicycle rides. I have always enjoyed having others around to share in my passion. The challenge of cycling is usually enough to keep my mind occupied and forget that its an activity that I have little or nothing in common with my peers, friends and family members. Sometimes I will put the baby seat on the back of my old Schwinn and pack the family for a  trail ride. These trips are fun and I do take a lot of joy out of them. Being as I am a more advanced cyclist, I have to keep pace with the family where I would normally let the throttle loose on the concrete paths. This is the compromise, the price to pay for having other people who will want to ride their bikes with me.

Which leads me to second guessing myself sometimes. Am I being excessive in my cycling or are others just not riding enough? Then I think to myself "Oh yeah, my brother's in the Navy, Dad lives an hour away (by car) and is in his mid 50's. Mom always has some new illness to contend with". How about my friends from childhood? Nowhere to be seen. My best friend passed away from an aggressive brain tumor a few years ago. With no reference of my formative years, with nothing familiar or close to home to hold on to, I am left to brave this new and hostile world called adulthood. Like a Don Quixote of cycling, except without a portly Sancho Panza to keep me company. Sometimes I long for that little, fat, man-servant domestique figure to say "Here I am! Let's do a ride this week, I need to lose weight!".

Life is about finding that sweet spot, that perfect center, that zen. When you've found it along with some peace of mind it's like a fountain of wisdom. You've become a sage. It's about learning how to finally let go of those artificial ambitions, like, "I'm going to get sponsored by a bike shop and become an amateur racer!" Or, "I  gotta get that $10,000 bike. That will get me to the Tour De France for sure!". A well rounded cyclist just rides. There is a lot he or she may or may not have to contend with, but the answer is always the same, just ride. Having others to ride with helps, but if no one is around then stop calling yourself a freak for wanting to ride. Just ride. If you can't afford a Guru triathlon bike but have that Schwinn 10 speed getting dust in your garage, take the beater out for a spin. I promise you will feel a lot better afterwards. Don't have a cycling computer? Just ride. You don't need numbers to gauge how well you exercised. That's what sweat and tears are for. 

Balance priorities, family being number one no matter what the circumstances. Ride your bike everywhere in between. Nothing wrong with that as long as you have your bases covered.

Just Ride.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review- My take on Bike Snob NYC

Afterthoughts on my latest Read: Bike Snob NYC

When not building or restoring bicycles, riding bicycles or ranting about any bicycle related topics, or when my toddler keeps me from venturing into the outdoors and I'm stuck at home with a case of severe cabin fever,  sometimes I read. Although not an active reader (the last book I read from cover to cover for purely recreational reasons was six years ago) I sometimes will indulge in this very fleeting and occasional hobby.

So let's discuss my latest read Bike Snob by self acclaimed bike snob, Eben Weiss.  This book is a must have and should be on every dedicated cyclist's bookshelf. It's a book that cyclists and non-cyclists alike can enjoy and take something out of. 

This book starts out with a timeline narrative of the introduction of cycling and it's rise to fame in the late 19th century. Eben Weiss attempts to follow a bike route recommended  by a newspaper from that era, only to find that the picturesque landscapes and finely paved country roads have been replaced by the hustle and bustle of a modern New York City. Weiss points out that even though the landscape has changed that New York still holds the frame of what it once was.

Bike Snob invites us to look inside ourselves as cyclists and characterizes the different groups of cyclists out there and why they like or distrust one another. For example, according to Bike Snob's classifications I'm somewhere between a righteous cyclist and a retro-grouch. That is to say that I care about the environment enough to ride my bike and like mostly vintage bicycles. Not that I take any extreme sides; I'm also a cross between a roadie, mountain biker and a lone wolf. Triathletes are triple agents who clandestinely go in and out the cycling world and ride their bikes without socks, seldom trusted in the cycling community, as Weiss cleverly points out. 

Bike Snob also relates his views on the way cycling is marketed and perceived by non-cyclists. Weiss shows the folly of upgrading your commuter bike just to have it stolen later. He recounts his own experience with bike theft, having his Cannondale road bike stolen as a bike messenger. He pimp slaps all those who obsessive compulsively clean every detail of their precious bicycles while neglecting their ride time, or being too afraid to ride their bikes in harsh environments (Still, I'll take riding my bike in the winter time in NYC than a hot 105 degree afternoon in Texas).

I found this book very informational and a useful tool to explain to others why I'm such a bike-obsessed freak. Rather than rationalizing with others about my views on cycling, I can just pull out this book and let them borrow it for a week as reference material (provided they return it and not peel off the bumper stickers on the back page). 

Stay tuned for more book reviews as I follow up with The Enlightened Cyclist, the sequel of Bike Snob and other cycling books.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Visit to Mellow Johnny's

 Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop
Austin, Texas

It's no secret that I am a big fan of Lance Armstrong. I had an opportunity to drop by his bike shop yesterday while passing through Austin. This bike shop is more than just a bike shop; it's a monument to cycling. In fact, it should probably be considered one of the seven cycling wonders of the world, if there was such a thing. 
Bike shop, museum, cafe and training center, what doesn't this bike shop have? Along the walls and ceilings of the shop you can see bikes that were used in the Tour De France as well as pictures of the man himself, Lance Armstrong. There are also many vintage wonders that will have you geeking out as you walk around this bike shop. Here's a couple of pictures I took while on my visit.
Lance is everywhere you look around this bike shop.

A new old-school creation. This style is starting to have a huge following.

A 1970's concept that featured wooden wheels. Crazy huh?

Something cool to send vintage bike collectors into sensory overload
 I saw bikes in this shop that I haven't even heard of yet. Some of the cool urban style utilitarian bikes that I saw were made by CVLN and Public Bicycles. They also had a broad selection of many high end bicycle manufacturers, such as Santa Cruz and of course, Trek.

In conclusion I believe every fan of cycling should make the pilgrimage out to Austin and pay a visit of Mellow Johnny's. My visit only consisted of a few minutes, but I will definitely have to come back to Austin and see what this city is about. On a Sunday afternoon I saw more cyclists on the roads in Austin than in any other bike friendly destination I have been to date. There is something about Austin that is really worth coming back to.Stay tuned as I explore more destinations for the bicycle enthusiast.