Spring Bike Porn (SFW)

So I’ve spent the last couple weeks making some adjustments to my bike.  I’m pretty sure I’m done, at least until summer.  You can see the original build here.  After taking those pictures, I replaced the pedals with a set of MKS GR9s, which are decent, inexpensive platform pedals that accept toe clips.  They’re great with street shoes, and the profile is a little bit narrower than my original pedals.   I also added a set of half-clips from Velo Orange.

This spring I replaced the stock stem with a shorter one, also from Velo Orange.  Along with the shorter stem, I fine-tuned my fit, shortening my reach.  The result is much more comfortable.  I also replaced my 16t rear cog with a 17t Rennen cog, as my original gearing was a little too tall for the stop-and-go traffic on my usual commute.

I ditched the steel fork in favor of a cheap carbon/aluminum cross fork that I scrounged up last year.  A lot of people would argue that a carbon fork on a heavy steel bike is silly, but mostly I was interested in the disc brake tabs.  Snow-clogged cantilevers are no fun in the winter, and I think I’ll add a front disc break next year.  Dropping a pound of dead weight off the front isn’t a bad thing either, and I can’t discern any difference in the geometry with the new fork.

Most recently, I stitched some leftover leather onto the toe clips and added pair of VO alloy fenders.  It looks like Albany is pretty wet in the spring, and commuting in the rain without fenders is a special sort of hell.

Finally, I scraped off the gaudy Surly logos.  Personally, I think the end result is gorgeous.  Here are some pictures, although the color balance is pretty crummy.  I’ll try to get some outdoor shots tomorrow.

2 bicycles (+ 2 adults) in 1 studio apartment…

Erin and I have just moved into a very small apartment.  It’s only for a few months, and we only moved the essentials, but it’s still quite cramped.  Fortunately, I have experience storing bikes in kitchens.  Some may remember my original DIY bike rack.  That post got a lot of traffic, and many people complained about the crude construction.

Personally, I thought the original had a nice “beta-testing” feel to it.  But after looking at the pictures again, I’ll concede that it was probably an alpha release.

For the whiners who are into sandpaper and staining, I proudly present Bike Rack 0.2:

Construction is the same.  A 2×4 upright is held against a 2×4 plate, using a lag screw for tension.  Slip-on stud hooks are used to hold the bikes.  It’s still in beta, but I’ve added the following improvements:

This added nearly 15 minutes of labor, so in an emergency bicycle rack situation it may not be advisable.

Bicycle

While I was in Korea, I saved up a bit of money for a new bike.  I haven’t had a new new bike since 5th grade, so the whole thing has been pretty exciting.  I bought it in October from the Outpost of Manistee.  Kyle is a good friend and working with him is always a pleasure.

I looked at a number of options before going with a Surly Cross-Check.  I added lighting, a rack, and a good lock.  After a few months of riding, tweaking the fit, and swapping out a few parts, I’ve got a bike that I really enjoy.  Here are some pictures from our ride today:

The stock cyclocross tires have been swapped with a cheap pair of 28c tires from my LBS.  I replaced the saddle with a Brooks B17 Narrow, and stitched on some elk-hide bar covers from Velo Orange.  The brake levers have been swapped out with Cane Creek SCR-5s.  These are actually almost identical to the Tektro levers that came with the bike, but I wanted something brown to (sort of) match the bars.  They’re slightly narrower than the Tektro levers and much more comfortable for my hands.

Finally, I’ve added a computer and a bell.  I’ve never been a fan of bells, but it’s handy on sidewalks and bike trails.  Yelling “on the left” as I zip past always seems sort of rude.

For me, this is the perfect commuter.  It’s fast enough, handles well, and the steel frame is a blast to ride.  It’s nice, but not obscenely expensive.  And I love the way it looks.

Updated bike rack pics

I’ve updated the pictures the recent post about my bike rack. If you missed it before, check it out.  link

DIY Bike Rack

**UPDATE**

Check out the newest version of this rack:  Bike Rack 0.2

So for those that don’t know, I’ve moved into a new apartment. My old place was kind of a tiny hole, which was exacerbated by the pile of bikes that lived in my kitchen. We had 3 or 4 bikes leaned up against the wall, in various states of disrepair. I scribbled up some plans for a vertical rack with legs to support it, but never built anything.

A few months back, I saw this online, and figured I could build one cheaper.

Here are some pics of my version.


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