Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Car Stuff

Went by the high school the other day to check out the progress on the high mileage car. Dave mentioned brakes on the car and it just so happens I had a rear wheel equipped with a drum brake left over from when I was fooling around with that stuff. I dropped it off along with my Bicycling Science book - great book, by the way. Chock full of good stuff that applies to much more than just bicycles.

Here's the new frame they've built. The body shell is probably going to be scrapped. This stage of the construction was usually about the time I was both pleased and nervous. Good to see progress but not near enough knowing that the car had to be ready to roll come the end of April and all the help would turn stupid after spring break. Fortunately, when I was involved I had a couple of the other teachers I could rely on to help out with drawings, formulas, editing, etc. That eased the burden a bit.

Watched some of the Detroit Auto Show Sunday. Might have to go when it comes to Chicago - it's been a long, long time since I've been there.  It's about time I start thinking seriously about buying myself that sports car. It'd be nice to see them all under one roof for comparison sake. I went to check out a Subaru WRX and no one locally had one on the floor and the salesman said if I was to want one, it was going to take six months to get it. The closest Nissan dealer didn't have a 370Z in stock. Says they never keep one on the floor. The other car I've been thinking about is a new Mustang. The GT with the V8, 3.55 rear gear and the Recaro seats is about $36K. Not bad for what your getting. Cheaper than most pickups and comparable to the Nissan and the Subaru. Plus there's a dealer within bicycling distance of the shack. That alone might be the tie breaker. I won't be able to do anything for at least eight months - need to get out from under the health insurance payments first. Medicare might be the only good thing about growing old. Have to wait and see about that, however. 

In the meantime, howz about a car tune by an old rocker who just made Medicare age?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Being Evel, Being Prepared

The movie Being Evel had it's debut yesterday at the Sundance Film Festival. Coincidentally, I recently read the biography of Evel Kneivel by Leigh Montville.

I remember watching a lot of Evel's stunts on the Wide World of Sports and reading some things about him while he was at the top of his game, but I had no idea how screwed up his personal life was. He was a thief, a liar, womanizer, went through his money like salts through a goose but, yet, there was still something about him you had to admire. Don't know about the movie, but the book's a pretty good read. 

And as a bonus for all of you as paranoid concerned as I am about where the world is headed, the University of Pittsburgh is offering a free on-line course in disaster preparedness. Isn't the internet amazing? Might be a little late for those folks on the east coast that are looking at 24" of snow heading their way but for the rest of us, might be a worthwhile investment. I found it here.

Have a good week.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I Need to Get Out More

I was scrolling up the channels to see if there was a movie worth watching or maybe something interesting going on with the NHL All Star Weekend last evening and came across the 24 hour race at Daytona. Just as I was tuning in they were talking about the DeltaWing car that retired earlier due to some mechanical malfunction. I'd never heard of the DeltaWing before. I guess it's been around for a couple of years but I rarely watch car racing on TV anymore nor do I buy car magazines like Road & Track or Car & Driver.

Going along with that, I've got a guy in my welding class that has a really nice '69 Camaro that he showed me a couple of pictures of. He said he's got it set up for autocross. It's got the leaf springs under the rear now but he's planning on putting a four link system under it. I thought that set up was only for drag racing. In fact, I put several Camaros together with those set ups under them years ago. I was talking to my buddy with the '68 Camaro about it and he said there's all kinds of new and improved suspension stuff now for those old cars. Man, I need to get into the 21st century.

Or maybe not.

I got my new Motorcyclist magazine in the mail yesterday and they had an article about a BMW sidecar outfit. When I went to their website and typed in a search for sidecars hoping to link to the article, I found the above photo and a short blurb about vintage sidecar racing and how it has grown. When I was in AHRMA there weren't but a couple of rigs. Apparently that's not the case anymore. If I'm going to be stuck in the '70's, maybe I should head to Mid-Ohio for Vintage Days this year. Looks like I don't even know what's new with the old. Definitely need to get out more.

Today, however, we play two in honor of Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Photo From Here
Now, ain't that sweet! One fine looking Triton.

Photo From Here
And sweeter still, something to haul it in. A 1956 DKW something or other.

But sweetest of all, I actually got a little something done on the project front lately. The piece in the forground is part of the fixture for sharpening the wood lathe tools. It needs to be long so you can drop a gouge in there and get the right angle with the grinding wheel. However, there's also another attachment used when putting a "fingernail" grind on a tool. For that you need to push the long red gizmo most all the way in. In my case that would mean having to poke a hole in the wall, cut the long red gizmo off or make a short one. I choose the latter. I think I'm pretty well set now for lathe work. I imagine there'll be a few other things as I start to use it more - there's always something else you need.

The two pieces of angle in the rear of the photo are for my table saw to mount up a bigger table top. That will give me more work support on the sides and the out-feed area. I need to find a 4' x 4' piece of particle board or MDF, maybe 1" thick. Something with a laminate on top would be perfect. I'll need to cut a couple of grooves in it for the miter gauge, plus I'm planning on making a couple of sleds for the saw. They'll need grooves on the out-feed side as well. Getting the woodshop set up this year is fairly high on my list of priorities for the year. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Sidecar!

Photo From Here

Photo From Here

Bottom Photos From Here

The bottom photo is Frankie Flood's new outfit. It's a Ural, for those of you unfamiliar with factory sidecar rigs. I think Harley quit making sidecars in 2010, but don't quote me on that.

You used to be able to buy a BMW equipped with a Steib sidecar. But Steib is long gone. There are several sidecar manufactures around, however. Sidecars are a breed unto themselves. Originally they were purely functional - add room for another passenger or cargo. Since motorcycles got better mileage than most cars, they were more economical.

More like this here
Put a lid over them and you could drag the family around rain or shine, as in this Watsonian. Notice that this rig is from England, so the chair is on the left. Note also that Watsonian is still making outfits if you're in the market. Also, in spite of the fact that the handling characteristics are very different when turning left or right, before the advent of the snowmobiles nothing was faster on icy roads than a sidecar rig. If you're a brave laddie and want to ride a bike year round, this is the way to go.

I found a couple of slides of my old rig but I don't have a way to scan them. I did have a couple of photographs that were hanging on the wall of my garage before I moved to the country but they're long gone. I've got the negatives still. The slides are dated August '83 so that might help me narrow the search for the negatives. My 900 Kaw is the same frame as back then, so it still has the lugs on it. Someplace down the road, I'd like to build another sidecar for it. What I need is an engineer. I've got an idea for a torsion bar suspension that I think would work rather well but I'll never get around to getting that figured out. My old rig used an airshock suspension which worked pretty well. The heavier the load, the more air in the shock. Many of the older outfits had no suspension on the sidecar frame but suspended the chair on the frame instead. Some, no suspension at all.

I did a lot of research before building mine - relationship of the sidecar wheel fore and aft to the cycle wheels, toe-in, camber angle, etc. It was a fun project and Surly and I had a great time when we headed out on our big adventure. I never had the chance to ride mine when the roads were snow covered but it would slide nicely turning left on dusty pavement. It was also pretty cool when you banged second gear hard. The front wheel would come up off the pavement a little and the rig would veer right slightly, then straighten itself out after the front wheel came back down.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Places to Go

Photo From Here

Here's something I should mark down on the calender. Pretty much a straight shot down I-65 from my place. Surly and I were there for a bicycle swap meet a couple of years ago. We both unloaded some treasures and neither one of us drug anything much back home - mission accomplished. I'm not so sure that would happen with the motorcycle swap meet but it might be a fun way to kill a few hours.

I didn't realize when I joined the Amateur Radio Relay League in order to learn more about ham radio that there are things called "hamfests". There's a couple of those coming up on the calender as well. One in LaPorte and one in Brazil - that would be Brazil as in Indiana, not South America. The one in LaPorte is not too far away, plus there's a museum there I've never been to. There was an auto museum but apparently it has closed down but over thirty of the cars are now in the county museum which I believe took over the building. Even if the hamfest is a bust, I could salvage the day by stopping at the museum later. If gas stays below $2.00/gallon, the cost of driving over there and the admission fees together would still be under $20.00. Other than the library, hard to spend a whole day anywhere for less than a double sawbuck. 

And when I get the Sportster running later this year, I'm going to take a ride over to North Judson and check out Kersting's HD and museum. I've been there a couple of times but it's been a while. I can check out the Hoosier Valley Railroad while I'm there. I've been there lots of times but as long as I'm close, be a shame not to check out the trains. 

There's a nice bike path at the far end of the rail yard. The Traveling Pirate and I rode it a couple of years ago. It's nine miles long now but there are plans to extend it. Looking forward to getting out on the bicycle more this year. I was going to sign up for a 5K walk this spring that I've done several times but they've raised the price to $33.00. I can't see paying $11.00/mile to walk. Maybe sign up for the Tour de Max bike ride instead. It's been a few years since I rode that one. Don't know if I need to ride the 62 mile version like I used to but they've got a 25 mile route, if I remember correctly.

Enough of that. Time to get busy. The Missus has been in the hospital for the last few days so I need to do the laundry.

Have a good week.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Let's Hope So

Photo From Here

I got a chance to see the layout for the new machines that are going to be coming in to the lab at the college. Looks like there's going to be both manual and CNC lathes and milling machines along with a grinder, saw, etc. Much of the equipment that's currently in place is going to have to be shuffled around and the one resource room is going to become the office for the new full time lab czar and maybe the tool crib for the precision tools. Lots of work to do in the next couple of months. They're hoping to offer classes starting in March - probably why they kept me on. Some extra muscle as well as someone to keep up with the regular maintenance chores while the machining program is getting set up. The new guy seems to be pretty cool, by the way. Looks like he and I will be able to work together well.

Don't have anything to report on the project front. Between the weather and chauffeuring the Missus back and forth to the doctor/hospital, I haven't been able to get going on anything. It's supposed to be a bit warmer for the weekend. Hopefully I can get out a do a little something.