Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Seasons Market Bike Fair

Monday, May 27, 2013

Homebuilt Bikes Stolen. Oh, man....

After coming home from Sunday's Human Powered Vehicle Races, we discovered that Saturday during the night someone had climbed the fence in our backyard and taken two homebuilt recumbents from our patio in the Portland, OR area.  Either one would be pretty easy to recognize if you ever see them for sale or at a group ride.

The first is a red underseat steered short wheelbase.
Rear Wheel: 650, Steel rim (heavy), Schwalbe Marathon
Front Wheel: 16" alum rim, Kenda Kwest
Cranks: 3 piece, 3 speed, w mtn bike pedals
Shifters: ratcheting friction levers
Brakes: Rear Shimano v-Brake, front caliper brake
The rest is either homebuilt or a mix of oddball components. 
The front end has some extra welds due to several repairs and modifications.
It had fenders, rear rack, water bottle cage on stem, skate wheel idler.

The second is a greent tadpole trike with reflective shark stickers.
Rear wheel: 26", painted black with green spokes, off road tread
Front Wheels: 20", painted black, with 36 green spokes, custom hubs and steering knuckles, off road tread
Cranks: 3 piece, 3 speed, with green bash guard
Brakes: Front disc brakes
The rest is either homebuilt or a mix of oddball components. 
It had 3 fenders, rear rack, water bottle cage mounted on the frame, red skate wheel idler.
If you ever see them, please email

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Salem Monster Cookie Metric Century

Sunday,  did my first Metric Century! I remember when I first started riding my red recumbent two years ago, and I couldn't go around the block twice without wheezing and coughing. I'm proud of my improvement, even though I know that for many other riders, it's not a big deal. For those who've done 200k and 300k brevets, I'm sure my accomplishments seem silly, but for me, it's all about personal bests, and improvement. I'm looking forward to working my way up to a 100 mile ride, and maybe farther. Then I'll work on being able to do them on consecutive days, until I can actually ride my bike anywhere I want without trepidation. But for now, I'll ride my bike to work a couple of times a week, and take long rides on the weekends when I can. There's no timeline for me. Only a "fun" line, and according to that one, I'm right on schedule.



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Recumbent Retreat

In August, my friend Michael and I camped out at Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton, Oregon. It was beautiful weather, and the park has miles and miles of paved trails that just cry out for bike riding. That's exactly what we did as part of the 13th Annual Recumbent Retreat. The Recumbent Retreat is a weekend long bike fest filled with rides and activities for all of the of it's 130 or so participants. Each year, the organizers reserve two complete "circles" of campsites as well as a "group site". The group site is where the evening fireside story swapping takes place, and where the Saturday morning rides depart. Social activities include a Saturday evening potluck, treasure hunt, and endless opportunities to compare stories and ride bikes together.

The high point of the weekend, for many, is the Lighted Bike Parade (see above picture of "Tweety"). Riders decorate their bikes with amazing displays of lights. Then, after dark, ride in a parade line through the entire campground to the cheers and encouragement of families lining the roadway. There are some campers who plan their camping trip each year just to be at Fort Stevens for the lighted bike parade.

If you are on the west coast, then planning an annual trip to the Recumbent Retreat should be an essential part of your summer ride plans. There are a few pictures on my Flickr page.


Thursday, August 11, 2011


Well, my rims arrived from They were laying inside a plastic bag inside a box that was too large for them. There were only a few scratches. 2 weeks + bad packaging = no repeat customer here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Parts Shopping

Hmmmm, I've been using a lot of parts from scrap bikes on my projects. Partly because I like the idea of recycling, but also because I'm just not rich (ok, I'm cheap). I've welded nuts inside of old sockets to make stand-offs for mounting things. I've used old pieces of chain for hinges. I even used an old road bike to make a hitch-mounted bike carrier for my recumbent.

But there are somethings I decided to order new for the current trike I'm building. Instead of cleaning up scrapped bottom bracket shells and trying to find two that match to use as head tubes, I decided to order some from Nova Cycle Supply. While I was at it, I ordered one more to use as, get this, a bottom bracket shell! Nova has lots of braze-on items too, so a few cable stops were added to the order, since those are kind of difficult to cut off an old frame and mig weld onto a new one.

From, I ordered new cartridge bottom brackets (Shimano UN-26) to use as king pins. It's the same setup I used on the first trike, which seems to be holding up well. I like Jenson; their shipping is not too expensive, and they deliver within a week. Sometimes they have pretty good sales, too. Like the Pedro's rim tapes I added for $.59 each, or the Presta adapters for $.63. I ordered them on the 8th, and they were delivered today, on the 15th, right on time.

Also on the 8th, I ordered a pair of inexpensive Weinnman 406x19mm rims from I wanted this particular size, since I won Schwalbe Durano tires and tubes as door prizes, and buying these rims to match was cheaper than buying new tires to match the other rims I had on hand. I told you already that I'm cheap. Their shipping is cheap enough - $8 compared to $22 at other sources websites. My total order came to $43, which is just over the cost of the next cheapest single rim I could find. I don't have great expectations for the cheap rims - reviews on them are mixed, but for what my application I think they'll be fine (non-drive wheels, no brakes, rather wide hubs).

Anyway, today I got an email that they have finally shipped my order today. A whole week to process my order? They must be one of those internet retailers that doesn't actually stock the parts they say they have in stock. They order them when you order them. That explains why they billed my credit card a week before they filled my order. That just irritates me.

Now, I know that Nova takes a little over a week to deliver, because I'm cheap and choose the cheapest ground shipping possible. Jenson takes 1 week to deliver, even on their cheapest shipping. After 8 orders, I'm really happy with them. They've become one of my two favorite places to go for parts and accessories shopping. The other favorite is Universal Cycles, mostly because they're - you guessed it - cheap, and because they have a store here in Portland with free shipping to the store. I like their website, too, because for each item of their huge inventory, they tell you how many are in stock, where, and how long it will take to bring them to the local store. I love Universal Cycles and Jenson for ordering parts and gear. I go straight to Nova Cycle Supply for frame parts.

Bike Parts USA? I don't know............


Sunday, July 10, 2011


This summer, 50 velomobiles from Europe, Canada and the United States will be rolling (or riding or driving, I'm not sure what to call it) across America. Leaving from Portland, Oregon on July 28th, they will pedal an aggressive 200km average per day to reach Washington, DC on August 26th. I will be there to cheer at their departure, though I'm really hoping to be involved in at least some token way, so I can say, "I was there and I helped make it happen." My club, Oregon Human Power Vehicles, will be volunteering in the background to help make the delegation's Portland experience a good one.

The official ROAM (Roll Over America) website has links to several blogs that riders will be using to post their stories and pictures as this never-before epic event unfolds. I will be following their trip and wishing I could be apart of it, while I ride my bike to and from work. Take some time and read over the information on their website - I think you'll start to appreciate just what a tremendous undertaking this is. The Trans-Am bike trip has been made plenty of times before, but seldom on such a short itinerary, and rarely with such a large group. Never, has it been done with a 50 velomobile team.

I think this marks an important milestone in bicycling history. While we complain about gas prices, rising costs of medical care and crowded city streets, a tsumani of solutions will be quietly rolling across the country, proving the viability of pedal powered transportation.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trike Done! Part 2

I mounted a water bottle cage on top of the main tube using t-nuts intended for wood working. I cut off the tangs, then set them into a hole drilled in the frame and welded around the edge. I actually found metric t-nuts at Ace Hardware where I seemed to go twice a week to pickup nuts and bolts.
Here's the boom clamp I made. I but a section of the 2" tube, then slit it and spread it out slightly. I cut a threaded nipple used for tensioning fence gates in half and welded the pieces onto one side for nuts. Then I welded on two bushings to hold the bolts. It turned out pretty nice.
Here's the rear deraileur - it came from the bike I snagged at Community Cycling Center.
Finally, we could start painting, and wouldn't you know we got a 70 degree day for it.
I was able to paint the entire bike all in one day since I could use the back yard and driveway.
Reassembly went pretty quick. This time, I replaced the temporary nuts with nylon self-locking nuts wherever I could, especially in the steering linkage. To adjust the steering, I first loaded the trike with 150 pounds of sandbags to simulate a rider.
Then I centered the middle link and adjusted in one wheel to match it.
Then I used a yard stick cut into two pieces to make a slide ruler. Two rings of inner tube hold the pieces together. I brought the other wheel in line adding .1" of toe-in. It tracks very nicely, so I'm happy with that.
I made a mount for the speedo sensor out of a prop rod from an old wire rack. I drilled a hole in the brake mount for a place to attach it. I wanted to put the wireless sensor on the rear wheel to minimize error, but the wireless wouldn't reach that far. It works here without any problems.
These are the steering bumpers - just a piece of old tire wrapped around the handle bar. The tire protects the seat frame.
I made a seat cover out of Pfifer Tex, an outdoor furniture material I bought at Fabric Depot. I hemmed all the edges 1" and popped in brass grommets then laced the seats on with 1/8" cord. I put on 2 and a half chains from Bad Monkey, and adjusted everything. Here are a few pictures of a really happy kid riding his new trike. We both rode in the Human Power Challenge this weekend. It's a great group, with a large contingent of homebuilders, and some of the fastest and most capable riders around here. He took home a medal, and I got some positive comments on both of the bikes. Good times.