Sunday, September 24, 2017


Started working on the motorbike in earnest in spite of the record setting heat. As long as it's going to be hot, might as well be record hot - 94 again on Friday.

I got the sprocket mounted up to the back wheel. It would probably be a little easier on any thing other than the wheels I'm working with. With the number of spokes on mine, the distance between them near the flange is very narrow so the bolts wouldn't go through. The sprocket has slotted holes so it would bolt up if the bolts were in the outer most end of the slots. However, there are two pieces of rubber that get sandwiched together on both sides of the spokes that aren't slotted. Likewise the metal back-up pieces that go inside the wheel.

The rubber pieces are heavy-duty cord reinforced like a tire. Rather than trying to slot those I just cut into the holes from the outer edge so the slots extended all the way out. I took the die grinder to the back up strips and slotted those to fit as well. It was still kind of tough getting everything bolted together with the narrow spoke spacing. I couldn't get my fingers in there to put the washers and nuts on the bolts very easily while trying to keep the bolts from falling out. Made it though. I put the wheel back in the frame and spun it around to get the sprocket trued up. It's got a little bit of hop to it but it runs real true side to side. I think it's going to line up well with the sprocket on the engine as it sits but I'll have to finish the engine installation to be sure. I'm going to have to modify the coaster brake lever to clear the bolt heads on the rear sprocket also. I'll wait on that until I've got the chain alignment dialed in.

I had to modify the rear of the frame a bit to get the rear wheel mounted properly. It was wedged in the frame pretty tightly. I warmed up the rear frame rails on both sides and set the clearance as it should be. I also cleaned up some of the chrome.

Next up is the engine mounting. That shouldn't be too much of a hassle. I get that in there and then I can see where to mount the chain tensioner and chain guard. The coil has a couple of clamps to fasten it to the frame. When I get the motor in there I can see where the best place for that is and then maybe weld a couple of studs to the frame or tap some threads to eliminate the clamps.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Reviews

I just finished reading a couple more books - puts the total to 43 for the year so far. I picked up this book by Louis Zamperini at the bookstore in Terre Haute when we were there last weekend - bought it Saturday morning and had it finished Sunday afternoon on the way home. Louis Zamperini is the guy from the book and movie Unbroken. I haven't seen the movie but the book is dynamite. This one I just finished is a collection of stories and advice on how to live your life from Zamperini. He's got some great stories and advice as you would expect from a man who went through what he did in the war and later in life as well. One of the things I found most interesting is his recommending schools requiring a survival course for everyone. In light of what's been happening with the hurricanes and earthquakes, sounds like a real good idea.

The Whole Foods Diet is by the owner of the Whole Foods grocery chain along with a couple of others in the know about what to eat. This one is from the library but if I could find a cheap copy, I'd buy it. It lays out a diet plan, not so much to lose weight, but to eat in a way that is good for your health and longevity. Basically, the plan in a nutshell is eat at least 90% whole foods that are plant based. Pretty simple. The thing I like most about the book is that the authors draw from experts in heart health and other fields and bring them all together in one spot. After I had my heart attack, I had to look all over to find a lot of the information and then sort out the good from the bad on my own. Here, all you have to do is read and practice it. There is a collection of recipes and a 28 day plan that will ease the decision making process if you decide to give it a try.

There's one chapter towards the end of the book that deals with the ethical aspects of a vegan diet. I became a half-assed vegan after the heart attack, not from any ethical or philosophical reason, but to optimize my odds of avoiding another heart attack. However, I have to agree with much of what was said about the ethical reasons to avoid eating meat and my thinking is becoming more in line with avoiding meat for the sake of the animals with the health benefits as a tremendous bonus. I'll still grab a breaded tenderloin when at the racetrack, however. I don't think I've ever seen a salad on the menu at the race track snack bar.

My diet now is pretty damn good compared to the majority of Americans. I exercise regularly, and I've removed much of the stress in my life. Blood pressure is good, resting pulse is down in the mid-fifties, A1-C number for the blood sugar is a bit high still but I'm making some changes that should help bring that down. Most importantly, I feel good. I'm starting to slow down a little but what the hell, I'm closing in on seventy. Not like I didn't know it was coming.

If you want to make some changes to improve your health, the Whole Foods Diet would be a good place to start. If you're not ready for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, remember that the authors are looking at a 90/10 plant based diet. That remaining 10% will allow for some bacon or a big juicy hamburger. Or in my case, that breaded pork tenderloin once in a while.

Shop Teacher Bob recommends reading both of these and then incorporating some of the advice into your lifestyle. You could become a tough, yet compassionate guy like Zamperini while subsisting on whole, plant based foods contributing to a healthier you and planet. Worth a try.

Friday, September 22, 2017


The kit for putting together the chopper motorbike came in. Cute little thing. With the oddball frame design looks like I'm going to have to modify the exhaust pipe/muffler to keep it from dragging the ground and I need to figure out a lower motor mount. Also the throttle cable doesn't have much room on the top frame tube. I think I can just drill a hole in the tube and then weld a short piece of smaller tube in the frame to create a tunnel for the cable to run through. There's some extra parts to solve the motor mount issue that came with the kit. I don't know if I can use any of that - I haven't gotten too far into the project yet. Mostly all I've done is what you see in the photo and looked through the instruction manual.

We've had record setting heat here. 94 degrees yesterday according to the official Chicago temp. I looked at my thermometer at 4:00 in the afternoon and it was 93.9. So it was definitely hot. I was out running errands earlier in the day and noticed the gloves on the front seat of the car. I needed them about two weeks ago because it was in the 40's when I left for work in the morning. This global weirding keeps getting more and more interesting. Supposed to be hot for a few more days. About the time I get used to the hot temps again, it'll cool off. Regardless, I'm planning on forging ahead on the motorbike job. I bought the kit to finish the bike, not to prolong the project.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Vintage racers on display before the Terre Haute event - they ran them on the track also.

Cuzzin Ricky and I went to the sprint car races last weekend. Terre Haute on Friday night and Haubstadt on Saturday. Great racing as always. Those sprint and champ cars on the dirt are definitely my favorite. That was supposed to be the last event of the season for us but Terre Haute is having another race in October as a rain date for a May event. I've already got something in the works for that but I'm waiting to here back from someone else before deciding. I should probably cancel out both events and just stay home. I've still got plenty to do around here. Like drag home a farm truck.

We took the long way home to check out the truck. There was no-one around when we got there since it was Sunday, but I like it. It's pretty much just what I've been looking for. The cab is in good shape. Just a quick glance but I didn't see any rust. It's got a V-8 with a 4 speed trans and a 2 speed axle. I need to call the place and see about a few details - maybe take another run down there and see about making a deal. Then see about getting it home. Cuzzin Rick says he'll haul it for me on his car hauler. Might have to get a few measurements to make sure it'll clear the fenders on his trailer.

I don't really need another project at the present time, but the truck's what I've been wanting and the price is reasonable. I get out from under the teaching job and get back into a regular routine again and I'll be OK.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Jeep Truck

Photo From Here
Howz-a-bout this for a Jeep truck? If you got rid of the back seats, this thing would be perfect. Don't know that I need the big bead lock rims and the lift kit, but this is way cool. With a snow plow and a trailer hitch, this would be it. From what I've been able to glean from the internet, the release date of the new Jeep truck is late 2019.

Photo From Here
Something like the old Jeepster would do me fine, however. A little longer bed would be nice, but not necessarily as long as the old Commando pickup. With a rig like this I could just buy/build a small trailer for trips to the lumber yard or hauling a motorcycle around. The short wheelbase like on this one makes backing a trailer up a breeze. And the more I look at it, the more I'm liking it. Ford's supposed to be bringing back the Bronco for a similar rig but that will be an even longer wait. I'm just in love with a Jeepster.

Looking at a farm truck right now. Saw one advertised that just might make the cut. It's located a pretty good drive from the shack, but I think I'll take a run down and see about it this week.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Doing The Bicycle Thing Still

When I soldered the reflector bracket back on the rack on the city bike, I didn't notice that there were a couple of other spots that were also cracked. Surly pointed that out to me the other day when he was down. I took the rack off and got those taken care of and re-did the reflector bracket. I had soldered it while it was on the bike and didn't do the very best job. Everything looks pretty good now.

My new cork handgrips came in for the bike. They're exactly like the ones that were on there before, so I'm pleased with that. I do need to glue them on. They're just a bit loose. I need to decide if I want to shellac them. As dirty as my hands usually are, it would probably keep the grips looking nicer. I think I have some around here. If not, Surly will have some I can mooch.

This is a photo of the chopper bicycle we started making at the high school years ago. It was on the agenda to get finished before I retired along with my little boat but that didn't happen. I'm thinking it should get done and with a motor on it. I'm planning on putting one of the cheap Chinese two-stroke bike motors on it. Shouldn't take too much to knock it out. If I get this thing done, I'll have all the bicycle projects done except a little bit I have left on the rail bike. I should probably have thrown both of them on Cuzzin Ricky's scrap trailer when he was here the other day but I'm thinking the grandkids will like the motor bike. I'm thinking it could be a lot of fun for me as well. It'd be just the thing to ride down to the tavern down the road and park it out front with all the big Harleys, but the tavern went out of business a couple of weeks ago.  That's what happens when you're a world class procrastinator.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


I fixed up the handshield on the right so the Missus could watch the eclipse last month. I put some fresh electrical tape over the cracks but I was thinking at the time that this old dog had pretty much run it's course. I'm thinking I inherited that thing when I first started teaching back in '76. The guy who I replaced had been around a while - in fact he was training welders for the war effort back in the 40's. That would make it about 75 years old. It's marked Air Reduction Sales Company - Patented.

Airco used to make all types of welding equipment - torches, regulators, power sources, etc. I've got a set of regulators and an Airco MIG machine with an Airco spool gun on it. I don't know what's up with the company now. I did a search and I saw a couple of new things with the Air Reduction Sales Company name but as far as I know they aren't making welding equipment any longer. I came across an outfit selling a copy of the spool gun at a welding show a few years back, which is nice since I can still get parts for mine that way.

Regardless of what, if anything is going on with Airco these days, the old handshield is no more. It went out with the trash this week and has been replaced with the one on the left in the photo. I had a junk helmet that someone gave me because they lost the pieces for the headgear. I cut a piece of PVC pipe, warmed it up with the heat gun to squeeze it flat and put an angle bend on it, riveted it to the helmet and then gave it a quick coat of flat black. I'm thinking I might wrap the handle with hockey tape. Not necessary, but I've got a roll of it, so why not?

I got a phone call from the local library the other day. They said I won a prize in the drawing they had to promote summer reading or some such. I went over to pick it up and I had my choice of several items. I picked the bag chair. Nice prize and it's got a little advertisement on the seat back, which is good. Everyone needs to read and take advantage of their local lending library. Now that fall is here, maybe I'll set the chair up under a tree somewhere and settle in with a book for a couple of hours. After I get a few more chores done, of course.