Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Digitized Catalogues at the National Cycle Library (UK)

WARNING: Clicking on the links below will almost certainly lead to sleeplessness, extreme feelings of envy and/or desire, and potential loss of marriage.

Doing some research on Phillips today, I found myself checking in with the website of the British National Cycling Collection. It has been a while since I visited, and to my great surprise and delight, I found that they've digitized much more of their library than they had previously. Of particular note are the scanned catalogues, which provide an excellent reference for period restorations of many British-built bicycles.

Although it doesn't add much to my knowledge of my Raleigh-built 1955 Huffy, the image below of the "genuine" Raleigh equivalent (the Sports Light Roadster) is kind of neat to have as a reference. Now, if only we could still order from these catalogues...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Photos of My Workshop

Really, it's more of a cave that sort of passes for a garage. We rent a small cottage on a lot with two other houses, a fairly common situation in Southern California. The property is on a hill and the garages for all three places were added as an afterthought sometime in about the 1930s or 1940s. They were sort of carved out from beneath the property and have never been finished or had electricity run to them, so they're pretty primitive. This space is exactly big enough for one car, but I've got five assembled bikes (and three disassembled, presently) in there. I've been working on bikes down there for about a year and finally this summer got around to organizing a workshop of sorts. I cleaned it up yesterday after finishing dismantling the hub donor bike, and though it looked about as good as it was ever likely to, so I took some photos.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Salvaging a Hub, Part II

The final cleanup on the salvaged Sturmey-Archer TCW III was accomplished by scraping the remaining rust off with a razor blade, then several rounds of polishing with rubbing compound and Brasso. Some areas of the chrome have been cosmetically damaged by the rust, but not the scraping. There has been no structural damage to any of the exterior pieces of this hub. In fact, all cleaned up, many of the bits are in better shape than those on the Huffeigh. I don't post this to gloat (okay, maybe a little), but to demonstrate that even a hub that looks as bad as this one did may be worth a try to salvage and make useable again. Don't give up on bike or on salvage parts just because they look a little rough!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sweet Ride: The Bicycle Art of Christopher Koelle

I have a pretty hard and fast policy on not doing commercial posts of any kind, but I also really like to promote the work of independent artists doing interesting work. I mentioned Kara Ginther's hand-carved Brooks saddles briefly in another post recently, so I wanted to give a little blog time to Christopher Koelle, too, especially since his work may be of particular interest to readers of this blog. From his Etsy profile:

My name is Christopher Koelle and I love drawing people with bicycles, especially from the early days of cycling.

The original Sweet Ride art zine sparked in me an ongoing fascination with the history of travel and roads, from the Good Roads Movement of Horatio Earle to the epic, sprawling interstate highways we love and hate today. Sweet Ride is now just the beginning of a progressively larger ongoing body of work about these histories.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Salvaging a Hub

I know I have lots of updates to give on various projects, which I will hopefully get to this week, but in the meantime, here are some photos of my latest project, which is really just a side project for the Phillips roadster.

My friend Mauricio tipped me off to a cheap junker bike at a local estate sale. I picked up what's left of this 1964 Huffy Sportsman for $10, and I'll probably be able to salvage a few things, but the main thing was the rear hub. It's a Sturmey-Archer TCW III, a three-speed coaster brake hub. Sheldon Brown says the TCW series is unreliable as a coaster hub, citing possible failure of the brake if the cable is not properly adjusted, but for the money, I'm willing to give it a try.

My wife has hinted that perhaps she would like to ride the Phillips when it's finished and she really liked the idea of a coaster brake. I, however, wanted to put a three-speed hub on it, so here's the compromise, which suits all parties. True, it's not period-correct for the Phillips, but the correct K Series Sturmey-Archer hubs seem to be hard to come by and somewhat expensive, and not available in a coaster brake model. We'll have the rod brakes, too, just in case there's a problem with the coaster brake.

Here's a little photo series on my efforts to salvage the hub:

The before photos:

I had to cut the spokes with a pair of aviation snips because the nipples were too corroded to turn and the spokes too rotten to reuse.

Below, the top layer of gunk and rust has been scraped off:

Below, rust removal continues with fine steel wool, penetrating oil, rubbing compound, and even very carefully applied sandpaper over the worst rust spots, never used directly on the chrome.

The external cleanup on this hub is probably about half-finished. I'm hoping for near-pristine by the time I'm done, but it's going to take a lot more elbow grease to get there. I took a peek at the internals, and everything is surprisingly clean in there, so maybe I can get away with not dismantling it entirely.

Mobile Museum of Material Culture


Artist Kara Ginther has been on the Interwebs a lot lately. You might have seen her hand-carving on leather saddles at To Be, Inspired, or BoingBoing, or Chic Cyclists. While her leatherwork has been getting most of the attention (and rightfully so), I'd also like to mention that Kara has a very neat side project going called the Mobile Museum of Material Culture, which as you can see from the photo above, is powered by an old tandem.

Kara and the MMMC are touring about the Madison, Wisconsin area this fall, so if you're in the area, check out their schedule, and if you're not, see her Flickr set.