Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bike Park under the Freeway in the Middle of Seattle

Test your mountain-biking skills in this downtown Seattle park is about a park that we saw last summer, actually - I ran (OK jogged) past it several times. Even though I'm not a mountain bike type, this seems pretty cool.

United Bicycle Institute

The United Bicycle Institute offers classes on framebuilding, in particular Brazing Chromoly Frame Building class in either Portland or Ashland, Oregon.

One learns: Frame Geometry, Frame Fit, Frame Design, Tubing Selection, Shop Safety, Tool Selection & Use, Brazing, Equipment Setup, Jig Setup & Use, Tube Mitering, Tube Prep, and Finish Work.

Portland class schedules & Ashland class schedules.

Spaldings Official Bicycle Guide for 1899

Spalding's Official Bicycle Guide for 1899 was digitized at the Library of Congress and is available from the Internet Archive. The publication is at once a review of the top bicycle racers at the time and advice for the novice. There is rather amusing analysis of bike saddle design based on anatomical features, with skeletal bottoms pearched on various saddles.

The "advice" seems to find much wrong with the person receiving the advice, sight unseen. For example, on the subject of "Why Chains Often Break" we read:

The reasons for this trouble are various, but tradesmen hold to the
opinion that it is mostly the chains on cheap wheels which have been
neglected all winter that break in the spring. They are rusty and
worn, and consequently weaker than they were. When taken out on
the road without being cleaned or adjusted the dust gets in them and
tightens them up so that an extra strain is imposed, under which they
part. Another cause is the erratic pedalling of riders who have never
learned how to properly manipulate their feet on a bicycle. The top
stretch of the chain is allowed to slacken and is then tightened sud-
denly by a violent thrust. Then it snaps.

So if your chain breaks, it is because you bought a cheap bike and then didn't take good care of it as well, so it's all your fault.

1900 Columbia Bike (or Wheel . . . ) catalog

Columbia and Hartford Bicycles 1900 Bicycle catalog for Pope Manufacturing Company for the year. Interesting how little, in many respects, bicycles have changed.

Columbia Catalog 1900 cover

One thing that has changed is that at that time "chainless" drive was considered to be the new advanced approach (with a drive shaft, rather than chain). The bikes in this catalog with shaft drive cost significantly more, and although it wasn't apparently possible to discern this at the time readily, were less efficient, so perhaps it is not surprising that it never really caught on.

Columbia Catalog 1900

From time to time different companies try to revive "chainless" bikes with shaft drive, but as long as the main power source is the rider, it seems unlikely to catch on. (Perhaps when bikes with powered assist are more common it will do better.)

Wikipedia has a description of chainless bikes that covers the subject pretty well.

Page turner presenting full 1900 catalog of Columbia bikes

Bike commute home

Photos of a typical commute home on Flickr taken with a camera I attached to the handlebars of my bike. The results aren't fabulous but better than I expected for a Nikon CoolPix (and given the bouncy aspect of it all).

Riding a single speed
Following a rider using a carbon fiber leg, steel one-speed bike

The Paterek Manual for Bicycle Framebuilders

Tim Paterek is a retired framebuilder who published a detailed guide to how to build steel bicycle frames. There is lots of good information about sizing bicycles and how to understand aspects of bicycle design in addition to the "how to build" info. provides the ability to purchase the new third edition.

Paterek Manual is a PDF of the first edition, which he has made available apparently because Paterek was annoyed that a Russian pirate was offering it.

One of my favorite bits so far is the guidance for the distance from the front end of the saddle to the front of the stem is "one cubit" - which is the distance from the elbow to the end of the fingers (and specific to an individual, naturally).