Monday, December 31, 2012

It is the last day of the year in which the world didn't end after all, and in order to maintain the fiction that I'm a diligent blogger here are some assembled scraps.

1. My recumbent, the famous Duplo Bike, has been going rather slower of late, and one evening when the sun was low I perceived that my shadow was bouncing up and down a good deal. On returning home I removed the suspension unit, which is three strips of inner tube lightly bound, and found a great many short lengths doing nothing. Hence the bouncing. The bouncing is wasted energy, hence the low speed. It was the work of a moment to rebind it with new rubber - no it wasn't, it was the work of three quarters of a tedious hour - but then I had firm suspension again and was once more able to accomplish my daily ride in under, rather than over, the hour.

Shards of innertube prior to complete replacement

2. After some good-natured nagging from my son, I have finished his High Racer. Mr. Knight is miffed that I did so before he finished his Geared Facile, but there was not the slightest chance he would ever finish first because he does the job properly whereas I Just Get On With It. Except I don't. Mostly I that p-word. Plagiarise. Polygamy. Proceleusmatic. Procrastinate - that's it - mostly I procrastinate. (What does proceleusmatic mean anyway?) But when I stop procrastinating things happen very quickly because I don't mess about with precision - I weld stuff together and then chop it apart and weld it back together properly because it hardly ever works the first time.

First I had to rebuild a wheel, which through zealous spoke tightening had burst a rim.

When only replacing the rim I have a Cunning Trick which is to tie the spokes together in twos. This saves a remarkable amount of swearwords, which otherwise power all my attempts to lace a wheel correctly. I have managed to lace a wheel in less than eleven attempts, but I haven't managed it partic'ly often.
The boy wanted overhead handlebars, which were provided by welding a stalk to a handlebar stem, and to thicken the stalk and prevent burn-through, I cut a slice out of another bit of tube and squeezing it down so it'd fit, pushed it into the stalk and with one or two plug-welds, stiffened the base. A warning not to pull on the handlebars was issued because it won't do 'im no good.

A stem (above) and its 'reinforcement' (below)
He has of course been riding it, declining SPDs in favour of Not Falling Off, and some foolish men overtook him on common carbon-fibre bicycles, whereupon he tucked into their slipstream and irritated them a good deal before they finally asked him if he wanted a race to the next junction, which he did and won comprehensively, they gasping and panting and dropping off into the background somewhere. John's daily ride is the same as mine. He is younger and fitter than me and whereas the fastest I can do it on a common bicycle is over an hour, he can do it in under 52 minutes.

3. Which reminds me, someone passed me yesterday while I was stopped at the side of the road, and didn't say Hello let alone ask if I needed help, so I hopped back on and (I hope) to his dismay, closed the gap between us, and I knew he was pedalling hard to get away because he kept glancing over his shoulder. If it was You, I will now give you a small tip. Do not pass recumbents without saying Hello. - Not into a headwind. - And not anywhere near the brow of a hill.

4. Reverting to his High Racer, he has collected five hares on his daily rides. It seems to be the Hare Suicide Season. - Roadkill. - A good many folk turn their noses up at roadkill, but a slow cooker does wonders, and you can eat it among all your vegetarian friends with a clear conscience. He is now finishing a Cardboard Box to go on the back of the seat, because hares go inside boxes easier than they attach to recumbent bicycle frames with a strip of inner-tube.

5. And the only thing to add is that I bogged up, as usual, welding cable stops half a millimetre too close to the brake stubs, which I cunningly got round by putting an extra bit of cable housing in.

A rubbish picture taken into the sun this afternoon

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