woooaaaaa  aaaaahhhhhhh

like all my bikes, the more I worked on this one the fancier it became.  Not so much a rough and tumble farm bike anymore it has morphed into one of the fanciest “mountain bikes” I have ever seen.  The handlebars, saddle and front rack disguise it’s origins but it’s geometry, tires, brakes and, gears still scream late 80’s steel mountain bike from Nashbar.  Instead of the farm and field I find my self using the bike more for rough gravel roads.  Being able to comfortably explore places that would be to far to take a true mountain bike but to rough to ride on a road frame.  No bike of mine is ever truly finished but this one is close enough to call complete.

holding up the irrigation pipe

my portebale lawn chair

and yet another pose


8884 feetStarting out at 4:30 in the morning with a small map that a neighbor made,  I began riding/carrying/pushing my bike across fields and up old logging roads towards the summit of ruby peak.  The nearly 9’000 ft peak is the most prominent feature that one can see from the farm, so naturally I have been plotting to climb it since we arrived.  Crossing private land and following unused logging roads I was able to leave my bike at about 6,000 ft for a speedy decent.  I only had to push my way through a half mile of windfall choked forest before the open meadows started, visibility was only about 100 yards on the way up because of thick clouds clinging to the mountain (so most of these pics were taken on the way back down).

alpine meadow

With my compass in hand the open ridge was easy to follow and brought me to the cliff under the summit surprisingly quick.  After a  hundred or so feet later of 5.4 and 5.5 rock with plenty of small ledges, the clouds broke and I was on top.  After being concealed in the clouds for most of the climb the sun was blinding and I of course I had forgotten  my sunscreen. So I am now the recipient of a nice burn on my nose and neck.  I was eating my lunch and waiting for the clouds to part so I could see the farm from above, when I noticed a lady bug then another and another.  I lost count of how many but dozens and dozens of clumps were collected around and amongst the rocks.

ladybug orgy

Once the clouds parted I called the farm and they took out the spotting scope and watched me jump up and down on the summit.  The clouds moved back in and I started climbing down.  Once I got back to the bike It took me only  about 30 minutes to get back down to the valley floor although my hand was plenty sore from gripping the brakes like a mad man.  Awesome climb and great views once the clouds cleared made this a memorable hike.trusty stead

stick a fork in it

May 4, 2009

cat shaped fork holder

The fork is done, filed, sanded, primed, and painted.

shaped canti base

The shape of the canti tab base is more for a functional reason than an aesthetic one.  I refuse to buy things for my bikes, relying more on reusing what I have.  Instead of spending the two bucks on canti tabs,  I cut them out of a wrecked frame that was laying around.  I did this once before and the hardest part was getting the tabs straight with the rest of the fork.  The star shape gave me a place to clamp the tab to the fork and made it that much easier to get them straight.  It also looks quite nice if I do say so myself.


so many tubes

April 30, 2009

coming along

The second top tube went on with nary a hiccup.  Like any brazing job 80% of it was filing over and over to get the smooth transition between joints. I will now stop adding tubes before it becomes the bicycle equivalent of this.  While the bike is never going to be a Bombadil replica (I’m using 26 inch instead of 650 wheels) I would like to fit the general aesthetics of Rivendell’s bikes. That means the fork has got to be lugged.  At first i was at a loss because a lugged fork for a 26 inch wheel is impossible to get short of having one custom made ($$$$$).  As I was swimming through my junk pile like that monster from the Deathstar’s trash compactor, it came to me and I broke the surface gasping for air and clutching a fork for a 27 inch wheel. Surprisinglysceptical arn't you the measurements for both forks are almost identical right down the rake. The differences are; the fork blades aren’t round, there are no cantilever brake tabs, and the crown/blades are narrower.  Since I can only use 1.5 inch tall tires (because of height issues with the frame) the narrow crown won’t effect clearance. The canti tabs will be a little bit of work but not insurmountable. The only thing that slightly worries me is the blade design, those big round tubes on the original fork are supper stiff and can take a lot of side to side forces while the 27 inch road fork was designed for mostly front to back loads. If any failure happens I won’t be going very fast anyway given that the farm doesn’t have hills, but it is still something to keep my eye on. Really though the fork should be the least of my worries on this bike.  Now for more brazing (filing) putting on the canti tabs.


April 27, 2009

This is the direction that I want the farm bike build to go in.  The double top tube is going to solve several problems. Namely that the top and down tubes are both slightly deformed  just behind the head tube. This didn’t even have to be from a very serious collision, the geometry of a frame so large makes that area  susceptible to  damage. The extra top tube will make a smaller/ stronger front triangle, allow me places to mount things like a shovel or tool holder, and make my bike  look really similar to one that cost more than all of my bikes combined. A old bike building proverb says that “three bent tubes are better than two straight ones


April 24, 2009

ya ya yah

It is not the most beautiful solution but the easiest, and probably the strongest. The “patch” came from seat tube of a crashed Bianchi.  The thinner walled tubing was easy to shape and blended nicely with the down tube.  Now on to the braze-on.  I committed a sin and stole the 3 hole cable guide from a perfectly good frame, I needed it and I don’t have the time to wait for one to come in the mail. The patch on the chainstay went super smooth.

and how

now to throw parts at it

farm bike build

April 19, 2009


I have a really hard time passing up free bikes, at first glance this one seemed like a gem. A large sized cromolly steel  mtb frame with a sealed bottom bracket, friction shifters and a triple chain ring.  I got the bike home and realized there were a few things wrong, namely two ridiculous holes cut in the frame for no real reason.oh that kinda sucks

this was kinda a bummer, there was a hole in the frame strategically placed where the braze on was.  I could probably fix this with a sleeve cut from another bike including the braze-on. Then I saw this………

holy mother of god

I’m not afraid of a challenge, so why not give it the old college try, with a approach similar to the fix for the rear of the bike. It might look hideous but how pretty does it really need to be?