Posts in Category: brass cartridges

A perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle 

Friday, April 30, 2010 10:49:11 AM Categories: brass cartridges maintenance mountain bike
 TransportNZ has decided to maintain State Highway 60, not one lane at a time but the entire section. And to everyone's surprise they have taken it away. The whole highway. For the last month a mile of road between here and Motueka has had no tarmac at all and is a sandy muddy swamp and accordingly Mr Knight, who knows about these things, has instructed me to acquire a perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle. Nobody in their right mind builds such a thing but unf. I have a crippled neck and mountain bicycles suitable for perfectly good gentlemen have the handlebars about a mile too low and make my arm all numb and tingly. (Attentive doctors of medicine will immediately diagnose C7.)
Besides I already had the makings of a perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle. I had some Marzocchi forks. These cost but little because a previous owner - a moron, if we're being straightforward - had attended to the stem with a hacksaw. (I offer up to the world Middleton's Second Law, which is this: 'Things are seldom improved with a hacksaw.') Fortunately I am a genius and promptly extended the stem with a one-inch tube which inserts tightly and when plug-welded to another stem lies perfectly straight.

A plug-welded stem extension

Moreover 'arry, who ran the bike shop in Loughborough (no-one pronounced the 'H') once gave me the back of a bent GT LTS. - This is a GT LTS which had a bend in it, not a recumbent form of a GT LTS, which clarification I make because there are all too many philistines who following a very doubtful and frankly rebellious parish in our noble British colonies - America - erroneously fancy that 'bent' is an acceptable abbreviation of 'recumbent.'  Which it is not. Bent is a word with negative connotations into which I shall not go. Recumbents on the other hand are a glorious invention of magnificent god-like creatures, viz., us lot.

And having a vast Bike Heap I have decided to weld all this together and I can assure you that this will necessitate my using the *uck word quite a lot because it always does. I will also waste most time on the tiniest little bit, and the smaller and less significant it is, the more time and the more *ucks will be spent on it. In fact I just spent two and a quarter hours attaching one of those plastic cable-guiding thingies to the bottom of the BB shell of the donor frame, because a previous owner - a moron and probably the same one - had removed the original and it wasn't a standard size and to make another one fit I had to use a hammer a screwdriver a hacksaw a punch two rivets the small end of a .223 brass rifle cartridge a 7mm spanner a 13mm spanner the hacksaw again an 8mm tap and some meths to wash the reaming tapping and cutting fluid off my best trousers in which I had rather foolishly entered the workshop. As there may well be a vicar reading this I shan't tell you how many times I said *uck but it was fewer than this morning when I found that my bloody wife had constructed one of her amusing Art Installations with all the crockery on the draining rack. We have this rule - call it My Wife's Second Law - that when she cooks I wash up, and when I cook I wash up. And should I demand my yuman rights and go On Strike of an evening she punishes me by playing that bloody Jenga game with the plates and coffee mugs and glasses and carrot-grater and lemon squeezer and anything else possessed of an outlandish and unstackable shape, and behold! at 7.55 am there on the draining board is a reproduction of Mount Everest in bone china.

Cable housing connector 

Saturday, November 28, 2009 10:14:52 AM Categories: brass cartridges

Are you vain and stupid or is it just me? I am so vain that in spite of my munted neck (ha! Munted again. New Zealand's best word) I want to put drop handlebars back on my trike so I can pretend to be young and fit, and to match its skinny racing tyres. I am also stupid because I'm doing it myself in spite of knowing for a Very Big Fact that the cheapest and best way of changing handlebars is to nip to the bike shop and pay Josh, which offers the marked bonus that it doesn't involve my gashing the second finger of my left hand and stomping off to the first aid cabinet wondering - again - how to cut a plaster off the strip with one hand incapacitated. And while we're about it, why do wives keep the first aid box in the bathroom? Do they anticipate our gashing knuckles while taking the toothpaste cap off the tube or something?

Unf. my economic beliefs compel me to Not Buy a New Part when a similar part is to be found corroding quietly on some ditched piece of junk at the bottom of the Bike Heap. - I expect you have a Bike Heap too. All recumbent makers have a Bike Heap. As soon as people stop you at the whole food shop and get past the 'it looks awfully uncomfortable/ vulnerable/ d'you steer with your feet?' conversation, they remember they have an old bike festering in the back shed and before long a maroon estate car parks briefly outside your fence and you find yourself the owner of yet another Elswick 10-speed with a chain made out of rust. So you chuck it next to the greenhouse and before too long presto! a Bike Heap.

And the rotten thing is my economic beliefs compel me to undertake the work myself even though Josh's compensation package is affordably less than the $3,250,000 he'd get if he wore a suit and wrecked the planet for a living. (So why don't bankers get a salary? Why is it 'compensation'? Compensation for what? For making 6,999,999,999 people hate you or something?)

Which handlebar change involves cabling.

Oh god. I hate cabling.

I hate cabling because somewhere in the Bike Heap is (probably) a cable housing the right length and somewhere else is a cable the right length and every single one has to be checked for breaks and corrosion and fraying and if, absolutely the worst case scenario, I have to buy a new cable, I know I shall cut it an inch too short. I know it. I just know it. I would cut it an inch too short even if my economic beliefs permitted those Nokon ball thingies that Rob Hague espouses that you can't actually cut too short. I know it without trying because I'm stupider than the Nokon engineers ever anticipated.

However, because I happen to be a really clever stupid person, which I apprise you of sufficiently often for you almost to believe it, I have thought up a Cunning Scheme using .22 cartridges nicked from John's trench art supplies that he in turn nicked from the rifle range. - Swords into ploughshares. - You take two .22 cases and solder them back-to-back. - Well you don't, of course, because you live in Engerland where there isn't a deserted rifle range up the Rocky River Road and where you'd probably go to gaol for five years for possessing empty .22 cartridges and anyway where you're not allowed solder any more. But in New Zealand empty rifle shells are to be found everywhere, and the recumbent builder amasses a collection because it's in the nature of recumbent builders to pick up discarded brass cartridges just in case you can braze with them. (You can.) And in the middle of the joint, you drill a 3mm hole. Lo! a cable housing connector. It works, too.

Incidentally, is there a mandatory uniform for whole food shoppers that I haven't been told about? So why does everybody else have a ragged brown woolly cardigan and a stripy musette and long matted hair and ear-rings pinned through their eyebrows? Eyebrows? Strikes me you'd have to be pretty inept to mistake an ear lobe for an eyebrow. Also why can they never afford socks? And anyway why are they whole food shops? Are there also partial food shops? - Questions, so many questions, Grasshopper.
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