Monday, October 15, 2012

Tandem trike rear stays

Shards of at least four bicycles

Saturday's progress on the main frame slowed as soon as welding became critical, as progress always does. It took me all morning and a chunk of the after-morning, which is luckily what rainy Saturdays were ordained for, to make anything worth savouring. - Most of the time was spent hopping about the workshop arranging new swear-words, because for reasons unclear the axle wouldn't lie perpendicular to the frame of the blue bike. In the end I caught some eyes of newt and toes of frog and the odd lizard's leg and boiled 'em up and that did the trick.

The new seat stays were sliced from two donor bikes, inserted - they're tapered tubing - and welded. This sounds delightfully easy and of course it is, provided you can get the lengths identical, which I struggle to do because I belong to the Haphazard and Careless school of engineering.

The trike axle was assembled in the place I wanted it to go, and the new stays lashed in place with a strip of rubber from the ubiquitous inner tube, and then I fitted a chain. - Because I have some experience in chains, that's why. - Shut up and stop interrupting. - The chain told me I needed to do some bending, because it impinged on the new stays, or the new stays impinged on the chainline, whichever you prefer. So off with the stays and into the vice and a little brute force and they were cold-set in their new position. Cold setting is what we say when we don't want to admit to bending things. It sounds delightfully technical, and makes retired members of the legal profession think you know what you're doing. It is a hideous and cruel thing to do but it is entirely effective, and is the reason sensible folk opt for mild steel rather than carbon fibre or chromoly. Well, that and cost. Especially if people spend their lives giving you old bike frames. Which they do, I find, as soon as they discover you made that funny lie-down bike they saw you on last Thursday.

Anyway that was, I hoped, the critical weld and everything else should be easier. Otherwise I felt Sunday would be down to liver of blaspheming Jew, gall of goat and slips of yew, if memory serves aright. - I have some slips of yew, come to think of it, and gall of goat shouldn't be too hard to get hold of. It's the liver of blaspheming Jew* that's the problem, given that I don't know any of those citizens of the Middle East with a propensity to strap improvised explosive devices to themselves and blow unsuspecting bus queues up. - Ah - but how would one know the particular piece of liver was from a blaspheming Jew? What if it was from a Coptic Christian instead? Very difficult to determine someone's religious orthodoxy from their abdominal organs.

No Jewish persons were harmed in the welding of this item

*Macbeth IV.I, you ignorant cretins. 

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