The Foam Rival

Monday, May 18, 2009 12:57:42 AM Categories: Foam fairing
Now because Mr Knight is but a youth, a stripling, he has strength and vigour on his side. Accordingly my fairing has to be far better than his, and this is easily accomplished by dint of my exquisite craftsmanship. (I am not so foolish as to attempt the NZ Hour Record, however.)

My notebook claims this handsome khaki fairing sits on my fourteenth bike but I wouldn't be deceived by that because several of the marques were complete rebuilds of existing machines and some were but frames which got handed to distant cousins for completion. Anyway I think this was taken in 1997 and it shows the foam fairing made out of Pte Cruikshanks's ex-army foam carrymat which I bought for the sum of four pounds fifty pence from Anchor Surplus of Nottingham and since Pte Cruikshanks's was only of ordinary size, several other soldiers' sleeping mats as well but they didn't write their names as boldly or even at all so I don't know who they were.

This foam is 10mm thick and it glues readily with Evostick or whatever other contact adhesive you happen to patronise. My favourite was Thixofix. Sixothix. Fixothix. I never knew what it was called and only enjoyed it because my father-in-law spent his last years trying to pronounce it without any success whatever. (He was Hungarian.) You can obtain it for free by walking round the back of the Derby Road Gate of Wollaton Park in Nottingham and mugging one of the glue sniffers. Spherical curves are obtained by snipping bits of foam out and tugging the edges together and the contact adhesive sticks the bits to your fingers, mostly, and you have to do a whole bout of washing up to soak it off.

I imagine someone has Youtubed this technique but the children use up all our Internet access on pirated episodes of the Vicar of Dibley so I can't check. This particular fairing - I said it was handsomer than Paul Lowing's - was free-standing with the most minimal framework and though it allowed free tearing during a race (the pic was taken immediately after Curborough one year, and the square flappy bit is where I hadn't *quite* allowed for heel clearance), it was quite difficult to build without a mould.

Anyone with half a brain will consult John Tetz but fancying I could manage with framework rather than a mould, I consulted Bryce Day (that's his name) who made our kitchen and whose parents made all the coffins for Motueka and who had the Funeral Business and gave us and likely everyone else a fridge sticker with 'Have A Nice Day' on it. They really did.

Bryce erroneously thinks I'm a loony so he hurriedly gave me access to all the cedar offcuts in his skip to get rid of me, and as they're 2.2mm thick and 26mm wide, they bend very easily and all you need is a scrap of double-thickness corrugated card, such as is obtained from a bike box, as your gluing template. Bend and periodically introduce a spacer and bind the glued joint with a strip of rubber inner tube and you have extravagantly light-weight curved frames.

When all is done, glue them together and sit inside and pedal and see if there's toe clearance. It requires no plans at all, and is fun to do, provided you're addicted to glue, which may well be the case if you live near Wollaton Park.

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