Larp Season is Upon Us

Dancing_Elves_-_August_MalmstromEach year since 2009, I’ve written and/or co-written a larp (or two) for Intercon. Intercon O’s larp is The Tattered Veil. Come play with me! On the menu up top, you’ll see The Tattered Veil. See it! Cool! Click there for more information.


Back on the Chain Gang

derailleur and crankSo I have handlebars, brakes, shifters, and chain installed! But…


I Call Her Big Red


Lots of progress this past month. I applied Frame Saver, rebuilt the wheels, and put most of the components on. I ordered a set of Nitto randonneur handlebars which hopefully will be here this week. I have a set of red brake and derailleur cables waiting to be connected. More

Back in Our Minds Again


Happy Spring! I’ve come out of hibernation and am back to playing with bike parts, putting together the beautiful Fuji I picked up last summer, and getting back on the saddle.


Misty Mountain Hop

Saturday morning I drove to Pittsfield and picked up a 1977 Fuji Dynamic 12 in excellent condition. It has a few minor scratches and nary a speck of rust. It’s been kept in a barn for the past 25 years and was cared for before it went into storage.

Busted Bike

We went to three local bike shops today: Laughing Dog in Amherst, MA, Hampshire Bicycle Exchange in Amherst, and Bicycles Unlimited in Greenfield, MA, and we got some handy bike tools and some bad news. Yesterday I took the Miyata apart as much as the rust would allow, which means I got everything off except the stem and the crankset. So we took it to Laughing Dog to see if they could remove those last bits, and to check whether the frame was safe to ride. As I took the bike apart I uncovered lovely components (not including the not so pretty broken front dérailleur), and lots of rust on the frame. Well, the prognosis was not good: the seat stay was cracked in two places and the crank case was pretty much rusted through. The frame is dead. Long live the  frame. But all is not lost! As I said, many of the components are 1980’s vintage and in great shape.

Quick inventory:
Suntour bar end shifters, friction
Dia-compe non aero brake levers (pn-161)
Sugino TGT crankset with 52x44x28 teeth
The bottom bracket is practically new
Laprade SR fluted seatpost
Suntour Mountech-GTL rear dérailleur

The pedals are nice, too. The handlebars are in good shape, but very scuffed up from our attempts to remove them from the stem. So I think I’m going to put the shifters, crankset, bottom bracket, and maybe the rear dérailleur on my Giant. I’ll have to get a new stem and handlebars, which is fine with me, even though I just replaced the original handlebars with trekking bars in June. The trekking bars are nice and all, but I’m just not feeling them. I want to try some road bars, which I wanted to try in the first place, but my husband had kindly put some brand new shifters that were not compatible with road bars, and didn’t want to spend more money on yet more new shifters. The crankset, with that teeny chain ring, was the thing I liked most about the Miyata, hill wuss that I am. It will replace my Shimano Biopace cranks. I work just eight miles from home, but it’s a very hilly eight miles. I’d be more inclined to ride to my office with a hill-killing crank. That’s my hypothesis, at least.

Sadly, while the seat post is very nice, it’s not long enough for me. The Giant is a little small for me (I am long-legged and tall), so I need an extra tall seat. I might sell it or keep it with the hope that I’ll find a frame that I could use with it.

I’ll hang on to the pedals for now, too. Maybe I’ll remove the toe clips and put the Miyata pedals on my Raleigh (the winter bike). I just put new clipless pedals on the Giant so I could get the hang of using bike shoes. So far, I like going clipless. I bought a pair of cheap, comfortable, attractive bike shoes that don’t make me sound like a tap dancer when I walk around. But I also like to hop on my bike and ride without having to wear special clothes. I plan to get some dual platform pedals so I have the option of wearing street shoes and bike shoes. More on my pedal adventures in another post, once I’ve put enough miles on them to give a more informed opinion.

Tomorrow I’ll clean and polish the salvaged components, and figure out if I need a new chain when I swap out the bottom bracket and crankset. I’ll a little sad about the dead frame, but given the great vintage components I was able to salvage, I still got a good deal.

Immigrant Song

My husband sent me an email to tell me that there was a cool bike on Cragislist for sale for $25. I’d been looking for a new bike. More accurately, I’d been casually looking for a new bike project into which I might funnel some of my ADHD energy and hyper-attention, but this week I did not look at Craigslist. I’d moved on to other things. I actually have two minor bike projects in progress, and I’m not really a bike project person. I’m curious more than anything. My husband rebuilt a bike a couple of years ago, and it’s a beautiful thing. This spring he replace the failing shifters and brakes on a Giant Innova I bought for $50 in 2005, but never rode much. In the past couple of months I’ve added trekking bars (to make it more comfortable to ride), fenders, saddle and a bell. I also have a Raleigh comfort bike, which I’d like to make the “winter bike,” but I haven’t done much on it.

I’m a very casual and inconsistent rider. I use my bike to get me around town, go grocery shopping, run errands, etc. Occasionally I’ll go on a long ride with my husband. I’m trying to ride more, because I really love riding, and it’s something the whole family, with our diverse interests, could do together. So I’m making more time for biking. When I make more time for an activity, I explore every facet of that activity (see the above paragraph about ADHD. It’s a thing).

So anyway, while I’d been looking for a new bike, I had not looked at Craigslist yet. I had other things to think about, so I told the husband to call the owner and we’d check it out. $25? Sure, why not. I’d been looking at slightly more expensive bikes with the intention of maybe fixing something up and selling the Giant. In reality, my bike project aspirations had waned in recent days. At the end of the month I’m having surgery, which will take me off bikes for a few weeks anyway. On Tuesday, as I waited to have an EKG, I got a text from the husband. He needed an answer. Did I want to get the bike or not? It was mine for the $25 if I wanted it. Okay, fine, I texted back.

We picked up the bike later that evening. One owner. It came with the manual. It’s not in ridable condition. It’s got some rust, the rear wheel is warped, and the front derailleur is cracked. That’s a first glance diagnosis by my casual rider/not a bike mechanic eye. This is not a little refurb project like the Giant. This is a rebuild project. That’s fine with me. I like projects. Perhaps I’ll eat my words in a year, but today, this week, I’m excited to rebuild this bike, slowly, as time and money allow.

Wednesday (yesterday), I tried to scrape some of the rust off to see how bad it is, and took a ton of pictures. My younger daughter and I rode up to Aubuchon for rust removal stuff (Naval Jelly, gloves, a wire brush, and candy), then Bicycle World for a light for me and a bell for her; and then to Green Fields Market for a free apple courtesy of my Bicycle Benefits sticker.  When we got home, Ingrid did a little re-rusting of her Electra cruiser, and I cleaned up the handlebars on my Raleigh. Wednesday night I rode across town and played a really intense session of Monsterhearts.

So let’s take a look at what we have, shall we? Click on any picture to start the slide show.