Saturday, October 21, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Got this bike as a frame and forks from a member of the Classicrendezvous list a couple of years ago. Turns out that the company that made it were still in business back in Southampton, England (they have since closed). So, I call them up, and it took them about one minute to tell me that the bike had been made in February 1951, and that it must be one of the very first of its type, as they only actually started making them in January of that year.
It's in pretty good shape, especially for its age. An obvious repaint, I had to get the rear dropouts filled in with filler-weld as someone had over-zealously tightened the rear wheel too many times. It has that classic English look to it: reasonably ornate lugwork, lots of cutouts in the lugs too, really small diameter rear stays, and a nice spindly, well-raked fork. Mmmm...
Sorry I have been writing so little in the blog lately. Went to San Francisco for 2 weeks, found the best Dim Sum restaurant in Chinatown, which happened to be close to where my friend lives, so got down there pretty frequently as the picture shows ;-)
Back in Nh now. Fall has been truly spectacular this year, that river road to Henniker is just beautiful!!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The Atascadero Escape Bike
One of the many highlights of the show is a bike built by an inmate at the Atascadero State Correctional Facility in the late 50's. Utilized as his escape vehicle, he fabricated the bike from materials found in the maintenance facility, it is speculated that the prisoner initially discovered the fenders and the rear wheel hub shell, motivating him to complete a bike.
The only true manufactured bicycle parts are the fenders and rear hub. The frame, wheels, and componentry were crafted from available scrap. The inmate's resourcefulness and remarkable ingenuity are exemplified by his inclusion of a suspension fork and saddle; hand hammered bent bars, and wheelset. The tires are made from a garden hose. According to local folklore, the fugitive fled the prison by riding the bike to San Jose. It is unknown why the escapee ended his trek at Faber's Cyclery of San Jose, either he needed parts to continue his escape, or was showing off his handy-work. The authorities soon discovered the whereabouts of the fugitive and a gun battle ensued in the backyard of Faber's Cyclery in San Jose amongst a large pile of bicycles. The police apprehended the escapee, leaving the escape bike abandoned in the pile. The history of this bicycle is still under investigation.
When I see bicycles that have belonged to their owners a while, that have been modified to fit in with particular needs, have had fashion pecadillos thrust upon them, then it becomes easier to see that "that" bike must belong to "that" person.
Well, in this case, I am not sure if this was Elvis' personal steed, but at least it was inspired by him. And when you look at it, it really couldn't have belonged to anyone else, could it? "Course, in his latter years, I don't think Elvis did much biking.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Click on the pics for very high resolution images.
Decided to let a local powdercoater blast and finish my '85 Goat Candy-apple 2-stage finish. VERY happy with the results of the paint, also with all the work I put into buffing, cleaning and polishing all the parts. I just completed the rebuild, you know how it is when you can't wait to get something finished because it promises to be SO good.
So, the frame and forks are Candy-apple translucent, the bar, stem, barends, bottle cages are "Chrome" translucent. I hand polished the cranks and did my business on the thumbies (Wood and copper piping!!). All pics taken in our back yard immediately after finishing the build. Decals are repro's that I had a sign shop make for me. Wheels are a pair of WTB's that I scored on Ebay a few years ago, never used them till this build. All in all it's been a supremely satisfying experience.