Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's All The Hub-Bub,Bub?

I brought the VW home the other day. I had built a towbar for a buddy of mine years ago when he was drag racing his Camaro and I had a piece that I had made years ago for dragging my old Plymouth around with said towbar, so I borrowed the towbar and took both it and the Plymouth part over to school to see what I could do. As it worked out, no cutting or welding involved, just had to run home and get some longer bolts (thanks Dave for the suggestion) and sandwhich the Plymouth part between the nerf bar/bumper and the VW mounting brackets.

Once I got it tucked away at the house I decided to see what I had for parts and to get some idea of where to go next on this thing. Through a random selection process I pulled the turn signal kit out of the parts box and decided to work on the steering column and wheel. I've got a steering wheel that I bought years ago for my Plymouth but, of course, that project's been on the back burner for something like 30 years now. The wheel would look good in the VW but the adapter hub doesn't quite match up with the VW steering shaft. The splines are right but the inside diameter of the hub is a little small so it won't go on all the way. Next rainy day I'll chuck it up in the lathe and open up the bore. Once I've got that done I need to machine up a collar with a support bearing that will slip over the outside of the column and hide all the ugliness that was the stock ignition switch/steering lock. I get that taken care of then I can build the dashboard. It's never simple, is it?

In the meantime, I'm still debating what to do with the 900. Surly says he's got another post coming up at his site as to what I should build. I found the top photo at the Airtech website and that got me thinking back along the roadracing lines, rather than the dragbike lines. The seat is like the ones that were on the Team Hansen "Green Meanies". Kaw 750 two-stroke racers - think Gary Nixon (#9 above). The seat is about $130, the tank $600 and the fender $60. I can't see me doing $800 worth of plastic, but I sure like the looks of the bike. I think I'm good enough to make an aluminum tank like that but that would really set the project back. That looks like an old Yoshimura header on there. My brother John had one of those on his 900. Once you pulled the baffle out of it, not much more than a 3" diameter straight pipe. Always sounded good. I made an aluminum collector already that I was planning on putting a Supertrapp insert into but I like the look of the steel pipe in black. And the Nixon bike has the gold colored mags that Surly has been quacking about. If my rear mag was a WM6 instead of the skinny little WM3, I'd be sending them out to get powder coated gold tomorrow. I'll wait and see what Surly comes up with but I really need to pull the trigger on this thing. I'm going to be riding something next spring come hell or high water and it's way, way past time for me to be riding  something that I built.

Next up, however, is the front step project. I'll get some material and plan on working on that over the weekend. Looking like rain in the forecast but I should be able to work most of it in over the three days. But if it rains three days straight, there'll be a hub on the bug's steering column.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ain't What I Used To Be

36.5 Miles Per Hour
3100 Miles Traveled

When I went for the bike ride last week, I drug out the go-faster bike. I hadn't ridden it in quite a while so I figured it would be a good idea to get it out, air up the tires and blow the dust off it. I took it out for a little spin the other night as well and was trying to get the speedometer to work. Once I got that figured out, I toggled through all the readings and the top mph recorded is 36.5 and I've ridden 3100 miles - just on that one. I know one year I rode it almost exclusively and put over 1000 on. I can't see me putting all those miles on in the future or hitting much more than about 16 mph. Just glad that I'm healthy enough to ride again. 

There's a 25 miler coming up in a couple of weeks. I need to decide if I want to tackle that one. When I got back into cycling a few years ago I rode it on my mountain bike. That's when I decided I needed a road bike and I set my sights on a century ride. I've been riding the hell out of the bikes ever since, or at least until the chest/heart thing slowed me down. Now I need to set myself some type of limit so I won't be over-doing it again. 25 miles seems like a good number. 12-1/2 miles out, have a PB&J, turn around and come home, shower up, take a nap and call it a day. I put some new handlebar tape on the bike Saturday, so it's ready even if I'm not.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Joe College

Well I made it through my first week at the community college. I even had a couple of guys call me professor! I got them set straight, however. Yet, if it wasn't for the fact that college education is so damn expensive, I might consider going for a Phd. Dr. Shop Teacher Bob has a nice ring to it. I've got an older brother with one of those. He's certainly done well by it but a little late in the game for me now, I'm thinking. The point of all this is that I'm getting aclimated to the college and learning my way around and who's who and all that. It's a relatively new facility, which in the welding game means that they mostly have inverter power sources rather than transformer rectifiers. That means also that most of the machines are multi-process. That means they've got lots of buttons and switches on the front of them. That means yours truly might need to do a little learning of my own to figure these things out. Since I'm just teaching a couple of the lower level courses, I don't really need to master the machines just yet. Just figure out how to get them to run 6010 and 7018 for right now and everybody'll be happy. After all the years of attending a number of colleges and universities, it does feel a little strange to be part of the faculty rather than a student. The good kind of strange, though.

The photo shows the bookshelf I made for the barn. Nothing fancy here. A few pieces of dimensional lumber and a piece of 1/8" hardboard on the back (installed after the photo) to keep the junk from falling off the shelves and to prevent it from racking out of shape. When they put me in the woodshop last year, I subscribed to a couple of woodworking magzines. I can keep those as well as some manuals, small tools, etc., organized and off the floor. I worked assembling the thing last night and I had plenty of light and all the tools were right at hand. I won't have the room I had at school but at least I've got a dedicated spot to make sawdust now and I don't have to worry about the dust down the basement getting into the furnace or in my shop getting into the machine tools. Now that I'm pretty well set up, I need to make some new steps for the front of the house. Maybe measure that up this weekend and start on that project next week. Should go pretty quick once I get it measured up. Of course the weather's turned hot again. More 90 degree days over the weekend. At least with the new woodshop, I can do all my cutting of parts after the sun goes down in the new, nicely lit shop.

I'll be back on the motorcycle projects pretty soon. I've got a little more cleaning and fixing then I'll be back on the 900 and the Rapido. I thought I was going to have lots of time now but through a strange set of circumstances, in addition to teaching a couple of classes at the college, I'm also a Lab Logistics Technician. It's a little more work than I wanted but it'll keep me in chips for a while why I decide what I want to do about my Social Security. I am going to order the brake calipers for the 900 this upcoming week. I'll probably need to order a new blade for the bandsaw before I can cut much aluminum but a project like this is exactly what I need to get all my stuff up and running again. I haven't used the bandsaw since I moved here. I always had access to one at the school and throughout my career I've always prided myself on being able to do as much as possible on company time and while using their tools and equipment, I might add. They've got a nice little fab area at the college, by the way. I'll see about easing my way into that. You never want to tell me to make myself at home. First thing you know there's a pile of magazines by the big, comfy chair and then you're tripping over my shoes. I am good about putting the toilet seat back down, however.

Joe College says enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Surf's Up

Photo From Here - Just Because

From Here
The seal above is the brainchild of the Midwest Sustainable Cities Symposium. I came across it via the Tech Shop blog that I check out occasionally. I wrote a quick blurb about the Tech Shop once before. The link under the seal will take you there. I really dig the "official" seal of the Rust Belt and what the Symposium is promoting.

PET Scooter
There was a story in this weeks local paper about these little hand crank scooters. Personal Energy Transportation is a faith-based volunteer organization. They opened up a spot that's just a hop, skip and a jump from me recently. I was thinking about stopping by just to see what was going on - no need for that now. It's cool what they are doing. If you click on the link, you'll get the details and you can make a donation if you're feeling generous.

I saw this at Hendverker. I had seen a couple of shots of his Vee Dub at his blog before but I never noticed the front axle. No struts like my Super or torsion beam set-up either. Pure old-school hot rod with the dropped axle. Looks like a chopped top as well. The current issue of the Hot VW magazine has an article about "the first chopped Beetle".  As soon as things settle down around here a little and I get some type of regular schedule, I'm planning on putting the VW back in the rotation. Probably not go wild but at least hit a lick now and again.

Surly showed me some photos he took of an old Kaw like I'm fooling with. It belongs to a guy he works with and was built by his dad back in the day. Box section swingarm a little over stock length, struts, cut down seat. SOP back in the 70's. Take it to the track or ride it to work - as long as you live close by, that is. Nice looking bike. If he's like most guys who rode those things back when, the tach hits 10 grand at least once a day. I need to order my brake calipers this week. That's what I need to do. Maybe see about making that back wheel a little wider as well. The bikes only got a 4.00 x 18 tire on it now. I think I had a 140 x 18 underneath it when I had the dragbike rear wheel on it. That works out to about 5.6 inches wide - big then, tiny now. Bigger rubber in the back would be the stuff, no "bout a doubt it". I just need to pull the rag out and get after this thing. It doesn't look like it's going to happen this year but I'm planning on riding one of my motorcycles next Spring. I'm going to have more time and the new job should support my motorcycle habit. No reason for it not to happen.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


The little white doohickey on the right in the photo is for draining the oil in my mower. The factory cut a hole in the engine mounting plate right under the drain plug but since the plug is horizontal, if you remove it too quickly, the oil will shoot right past the hole in the plate and go all over. Also underneath the hole is the drive belt and a couple of wires. It only took me about five minutes to figure out what I needed and about five more to make it up. It's made out of a piece of aluminum flashing bent into a "U" shape with a couple of flanges on the top. You squeeze it together, shove it threw the hole from the bottom side and when you turn loose of it, the flanges hold it in place and the oil drains into the bucket just as pretty as you please. You still have to take it easy when you first loosen the plug but that's easy enough to do. 

The monstrosity on the left in the photo is one that I made for my old mower. The mower came with a little cheesy plastic thing that I deep sixed after about the second oil change. I made this gizmo up and used it a few times and then I just said the hell with it and bought some pipe fittings and plumbed the drain to clear the frame. One of my obvious character flaws is the fact that I haven't used the thing in about five years but yet it's still around. It's still here but at least it's in the scrap pile now.

I spent most of the day piddling around Saturday. Went to the feed store, cut the grass and changed the oil in the mower. Put a bunch of stuff away and organized some more things from the pile o' junk I brought home from school. I need some shelves in the top of the new barn. Next time I run to Menard's, I'll see what they've got and decide if it's worth building or just buying some. Since the store is only about a mile away from the community college, I'll be running up that way at least twice a week for the next 16 weeks.

I got my last paycheck from the school corp Friday. It was a nice check due to the payoff for my unused sick days but since they don't give you much per day, if I had thought about it, I would have looked into donating a couple to the sick day bank. They did give me a spiffy plaque and a nice letter from the school board recognizing my 18 years of faithful service while I was in there. Plus I got a few handshakes and smiles from the office personnel. Thanks to all. It was a good career but it was time to move on. 

I went on a bicycle ride Friday morning with a former colleague and Italy traveler. We rode 18 miles on a converted rail path. It's a nice, paved path and there were only a few other people on it. I didn't have any trouble doing the distance - legs were just a little tired when we finished. There's a 25 miler in September I was hoping to be in shape for. Shouldn't be any trouble as long as I get out and do a few 8-10 milers before then. It feels good to be able to do things again. I just need to remember to back it down a notch or two from what I used to do. We had a nice talk about things educational and travel related while we rode. It was a nice way to spend a beautiful summer morning.

Back to work for me this week. Only a couple of half days per week but I'm adjunct faculty now, baby. Probably aren't too many college "professors" who can Heli-Arc two beer cans together.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Photo From Here
I came across this photo the other day, strangely enough, right after stopping at a campground not too far from me to see about taking my teardrop out. It's been awhile since I've had it out and the weather the last few days has been ideal for camping. Nice during the day and into the high 50's at night.Now that the little darlin's are all going back to school, the campgrounds are pretty much empty during the week. I'm thinking maybe next week take a day or two and get away. Today, however, I'm off on a bike ride with a former co-worker. It'll be good to get caught up and maybe talk over the Italy trip, past and future.

I've been busy this week with some more paper work for the retirement and the new job. I received a phone call the other night from the community college and they want me to teach two classes now. Since these are lab classes, there shouldn't be much prep time for me. Mostly just show up and keep an eye on them while they practice their welding. Should be fun.

I bought a brake disc from eBay for the 900 project and it showed up the other day. I'm going to put double discs on the front with a couple of small Grimeca calipers, drag bike style, rather than big calipers, Superbike style. Surly's put up a few posts on his blog about building a replica Superbike but I'm still thinking more drag bike/hot rod for the street. I need to order in the calipers and a new front master cylinder and then I can fab up the brackets to mount the calipers to the fork legs. I'll get those ordered in the next few days so I can get back on that project.

I got some work done in the barn in between everything else that's been going on. I made up a small  workbench to put my little belt sander, tool box and coffee pot on. Other than getting my table saw and band saw up there, the upstairs woodshop is pretty close to being serviceable, if not done. As tvi pointed out the other day, you're never really done.The Missus got a new gas grill for her birthday that I managed to assemble while it was raining out the other day. And, since we have finally gotten some decent rain, I also had to mow again. In fact, I'll be mowing again this weekend. We sure needed the water, however.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Buon Ferragosto

Photo From Here
Today's an Italian public holiday. Good reason to take the day off  and reason enough to post a photo of Bettie Page.

It looks like my retirement is over. I've hired in at the local community college on a part time basis. I'll be teaching just one class this semester, Intro to Welding. The class covers oxy-acetylene cutting and welding, stick welding, and a little MIG along with welding safety. Next semester, it looks like maybe three classes. That would be great. The money's decent and all of the classes are one day per week for 4-5 hours at a time. I'm going to be paying a tidy sum of money for health insurance for a couple of years, so this will help with that. And, tying in with the picture, I'd like to get back to Europe again.

I'd like to get to Paris and also return to Italy to see the northwestern part. One of those motorcycle tours of the Alps would be great. You're looking at about 5 large for the motorcycle tour, so I need to start a little fund with my "professor" money to get back to Europe. I looked into taking an ocean liner across the Atlantic previously. It seems lots of the tour lines return to Europe once a year and you can book passage fairly cheap. That could be the way to go. Some freighters also take passengers. I'm figuring on working a couple of years, health permitting. That'll give me time to save a few bucks and get a few things tightened up a little more around here. Springtime in Paris and Lago di Como. That'd definitely be the capper for me.

No holiday here, though. Time to get busy. A piu tardi!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Doors

I got both of the garage doors hooked up yesterday. They both go up and down with just the push of a button. I'm a couple weeks shy of my 62nd birthday and this is the first time I've ever had an electric garage door opener. I was like some rube from the sticks yesterday, pushing the buttons, fascinated by the doors going up and down. Actually I wanted to see how far away I could go and still pick up the signal. The barn's a little ways from the house but the signal is strong enough you can trigger the door while in the house. That might be handy if you're bringing in an armload of groceries and it's raining out or something.

The electronics on these things is pretty cool. You push the limit button and then run the door up and down and the box remembers it - no mechanical limits to set. It also has a learn mode for the remote. Just push the learn button on the opener, then push the button on the remote you wish to use for that door and you're set. It will remember up to 20 codes. So the Missus, myself and our 18 children can all have a remote that functions. I don't know if it will remember all of these things when the power goes out or if there's a battery back up. Wouldn't hurt to check on that before it happens. The doors do have a release that makes it easy to open and close in the event of a power failure. Since that's a pretty regular occurrence around here, that was one of the points I made sure of prior to purchasing.

Today is the Missus' birthday. Birthday celebrations don't seem to be quite as important after you've had a bunch of them, but this year I'm especially glad to be around to share hers. We've known each other since we had English class together our sophomore year in high school. Since she just signed up for Social Security, you can do the math but it's getting close to 50 years that we've known each other and over 40 that we've been married. She's still my sweetie and always will be. Happy birthday, Baby!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Let There Be Light!

Lights in the Barn!

My buddy came down last evening and gave me a hand pulling the wire for the barn lights. It all went rather smoothly and before you could say Nikola Tesla, we had power. And to make it even better, everything worked, even the three-way switch for the lights upstairs. Now that we've got power, I'll try to get the garage doors hooked up today. That'll make things nice for the Missus. She's probably going to want some type of lighting by the service door but I've got the switch already wired and ready to go for that. I'll just let her go in and out a few times in the dark and see what she prefers. I've got a motion sensor light with a pair of flood bulbs I can put over the door. Maybe a post light would be better. We've got one out front with an electric eye. That seems to work well. Whatever she wants.

I did a little work the other day on the upstairs trying to get things organized and serviceable. Nothing big, just some odds and ends but I'll be able to do a little woodworking up there now. I still need to move my saws up there but no hurry on that right now. If you look at the back wall in the photo, you can see one of the fold down tables I built and the legs for it. Now that the miter saw is up and running, I'll cut the legs to length and get that job done today as well. I still need a few more things upstairs before that's complete and I need to replace a couple of the damaged roof sheets but with the electric being finished, I can just about call the barn done..

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Con-Duit, Can You?

I got the conduit in the hole and I'm ready to pull the wire for the barn electrification project. After all the time that has elapsed since this project got started, it's kind of like the old rural electrification days back in the 30's. I'll have lights, the garage doors will go up and down with the touch of a button, and I'll be able to use my miter saw (which I might add, I got mounted up the other day). It won't make any difference, night or day, I'll be able to go into the barn and do things without stringing out the extension cords. Me and the 600 million who lost power in India are really going to appreciate improvement in the electric power infrastructure. I've got a buddy coming down Saturday to give me a hand pulling the wire - should be golden on Sunday.

Not much else exciting going on this week. I had a visit from a former student, actually that was exciting. I hadn't seen him in several years. It was great to get caught back up a little. I got a few papers filled out for my insurance coverage through the school and finished the Real Food book.

Excellent book. Lots to digest here, pun intended. She did a pretty thorough job of covering the subject and her conclusions were supported by a review of a lot of studies and literature on the subject of What To Eat And Why, as stated in the sub-title. One of the more striking points she makes is how a lot of the studies and conclusions that doctors and lay people use to guide their health decisions are just plain bullshit. The one study that got everyone in an uproar over the cholesterol in eggs was done using powdered eggs, not even real eggs. Powdered eggs and powdered dairy products naturally under go changes in the process of changing them from wet things to dry things. If you were going to release a study that was going to have a huge effect on people and the entire poultry industry, wouldn't you run the study using eggs as they came from the chicken or at least put a huge asterisk at the end of study? That way everyone would know what the real story is. The bottom line here is like I stated the other day. Stay away from industrialized food. If it's been processed in a factory, it's probably not good for you. Stay away from hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup and most vegetable oils, especially corn oil. Eat grass fed meat, lots of vegetables and fruit, fish for the Omega-3's. It sounds almost too good to be true. That's probably why it is true. It eliminates all the big industrial agriculture and the resulting need for pharmaceuticals. Like most things, it's always about the money.

So now I've got more to think about with my diet decisions. Still can't justify cheap sandwich cookies anywhere in the diet plan. Desserts are about the only thing I miss eating. I did find  Vegan Pie in the Sky at the library the other day. There may still be hope.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Can You Dig It?

I did a little trenching yesterday. It looks like a long haul in the photo but it's really only about 50 - 60 feet. It was easy digging until I got to the tree roots. I chopped and dug until I had a good sweat built up and then called it a day. I'll do a little more today and see how it goes. I've got the pick out already for digging through the gravel drive. I'll get most of the digging done and then I'll tackle breaking out some of the old foundation. I got the conduit run from the panel inside the barn and through the wall already (if you look closely, you can see the pulling ell on the barn sidewall). Depending on the weather and a few other things that are going on, I'm hoping to have power in the barn this week. That'll be a big one to check off the list.

On a totally different subject, I read the Scott Jurek book Eat and Run. The guy's an amazing ultramarathon runner. He's also a vegan. The book relates his life as a runner and includes vegan recipes at the end of every chapter. Since the heart attack, I've been following a vegan diet myself. I make no political statement with this. I still wear leather shoes and I have no problem with other people eating meat/dairy. What I do have a problem with is trying to get a decent meal while on the road.

I took the toll road across Indiana and Ohio when I went to Belfast a week ago. We stopped both coming and going to grab something to eat and stretch a little bit at the plazas. On the way out the best I could come up with was a small garden salad at Hardees that I scraped most of the cheese off of. On the way back, we stopped and this time I tried the Manchurian Wok, seeing that they listed a vegetarian carton on the take out menu. Turns out however, that the only vegetables they had also had beef mixed in with them. I ended up getting a carton of fried rice, even though that had a little egg in it.

While at Belfast, the street festival had some food vendors but once again it was slim pickin's. The guy with the sausage, grilled peppers and onions fixed me up with some peppers and onions on a roll. Actually pretty tasty but didn't stick with me for long. After Pollywogg Holler, we all went out for a beer and a sandwich and the best I could do there was an order of sweet potato fries. Seems like there's no problem at a regular sit down restaurant, but fast food or a bar is going to present an issue. I had made some trail mix and packed a couple of Clif bars along but I need to figure out something better when I'm on the road. 

However, the book I'm reading now, Real Food by Nina Planck, says that veganism is uncalled for and the thing to eat is non-industrialized food. I've always maintained that there was a reason the people in the old days could eat plenty of red meat, eggs and dairy products without getting a heart attack or cancer. According to her, the answer is pretty simple. Just eat food that hasn't been screwed with by industrial agriculture. Of course, finding that along the toll road or at a street festival is going to be pretty damn hard to do. I'm a little more than half way through the book and what she's saying makes sense. Hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup have no business entering our bodies. Raw milk and raw milk cheese, grass fed livestock, fruits and veggies without all the drugs and chemicals are the way to go. Where's a guy going to find all that stuff at home, let alone on the road, however? If what she's saying is the truth, it would be worth pursuing. 

I've got some photos taken here on my place almost 100 years ago. One of them is of a guy milking a cow out back. One shows the house with a field of cabbage as the front yard and another one has a little kid holding up the biggest Canada goose I've ever seen. That was the lifestyle here way back when, farm and hunt. Between the the hard work and all the walking associated with that hard work and the wholesome food they consumed, people lived a good life, had a decent life span and when it was time to go, they went quickly and at home. I just wish I knew for sure who to believe and what path to follow. In the meantime I'll continue to stay away from the cheap sandwich cookies and anything with high fructose corn syrup in it.

Have a good week!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

900 Superbike

Here's Looking At You

Click On It

I got the turn signals and headlights taken care off. The bike looks close to being done at first glance. The more I look at the front end, the more I'm thinking Surly is right, dual discs. It would be nice to have a little wider rear wheel as well. I widened one of those mags way back when but I had access to a big lathe at the time. Kosman used to do the wheels and sold all kinds of drag and road racing stuff. Brakes, offset countershaft sprockets, swingarms, complete frames. You name it, he was the go to guy. I did the Internet search and it appears he has sold his business. He still does the wheel widening, it says on the website. It might be worth the phone call to see what it would cost to add an inch to the wheel width and see what he says about buying  an offset sprocket and brake parts. If I start going down that path I can see this project looking like a military  cost overrun but I could have a really cool scoot when it's all done. Still probably half what they're asking for the Sportster I was looking at.

While I'm kicking all of that around, I'm going to work on the clutch release plate. I need to make a couple of spacers and see about rounding up a couple of long metric Allen bolts. I need to see what I've got for tubing. If I'm going to bridge the swingarm, I'm going to need tubing. I'm also going to try and get a few more things done around the shack. I need to start digging the trench for the barn electricity. We've got sand here, so it digs easy. I will have to break out some concrete to get through the old foundation wall but I can handle that. Lots to do but lots of time to do it now. Finally standing right smack dab in the middle of Easy Street with a shovel in my hand.


Friday, August 3, 2012

She's Got Dimples

Since I already had the side panels made for the 900, that looked like a good place to start. The panels are held in place with Dzus or 1/4 turn fasteners. Installing them is easy enough if you have all the right tools. First thing is to rivet the springs to the mounting plates, locate the place you want them to go and tack them on. If you look at the mounting plate in the photo, you can see the transfer punch inside it. That makes the job real easy. You put the transfer punch into the tack welded mounting plate and then put your sheet metal in place and tap it lightly and you get a center punch mark where you need to drill your hole. I use a chassis punch to make the holes. That's it on the top right. Then you dimple the hole and the Dzus fastener fits nicely in place. Nothing to it.

I also tacked the chain guard on. Nothing too tricky here either. Layout the first bracket, clamp an angle to the swingarm and clamp the bracket to that. That keeps everything in place and at 90 degrees. Get the first one on and repeat the process for the second one.

And this is what you end up with: two side panels and a chain guard. Not bad at all. I do need to clean up the shop before I do too much more. It's been a long time since I did much fabricating at the house. A little clean and organize session would pay off some big dividends in the long run. A lot of the stuff I brought home from school just got thrown in a pile, basically, and I've still got a bucket of tools in the new barn that I need to put away. I'll get a little more work on the 900 and start the cleaning process. It's always so much easier when you can find the tools and the top of the work bench.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's Starting to Happen

Forgot the link on this one
Since I've started working on the 900, Surly has put up some ideas at his blog as to how I should proceed on this project. He rode to Kentucky in the sidecar with me when he was a pup so he's been down the road with the old 900. He's got a much better artistic eye than I have, I certainly value his opinion and I've wanted to collaborate on a bike project with him for a long time. That being said, I'm not so sure this is going to be the one. He's leaning more toward the old Superbike days and I was thinking a little more drag racing/street fighter look. I did a lot of drag bike work on the 900/1000s back in the day. Raked a ton of frames, made all kinds of parts and repaired lots of aluminum bits. However, Cycle magazine ran a feature story way back when about the bike in the photo and if I could find a copy, I'd think seriously about building a replica.

It's the Racecrafters Superbike from 1977 with Reg Pridmore aboard. In 1978, the bike had Vetter splashed across the tank. There are plenty of pictures of that bike all over the Internet (check Surly's site) and the later Harry Klinzmann ridden ELR version as well. The magazine article showed all the frame modifications, the big bridge fork brace and all the other things that made the bike successful. Cycle magazine went out of business quite a few years back. They were incorporated into Cycle World if I remember correctly. They might have the article. Regardless, I started working on the thing yesterday and I made some decent progress.

Surly is voting gold wheels like on the Vetter edition. If that's the case, we need to see about the rest of the paint scheme. Bright red like a Hailwood Replica Ducati would look good. I'm a long way from paint but what I really need to decide is how deep I want to go with this project. Double brake discs and calipers on the front would set me back a pretty penny. As it is, I'm only looking at a master cylinder and a brake line. Bridge under the swingarm? A little more work and ,maybe a tubing purchase. If I do go all in with the Superbike look, it's gotta be there, though. Since I'm building a street bike, lights and turn signals rather than a number plate are in order. I'm planning on tacking on the rear turn signal brackets and starting on the headlight mount today. When I get all the bits that I already had made up tacked on, I'll post some photos and then we'll all take a look.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Belfast Recap

Bitchin' Tattoo
I saw this young guy sportin' this thing last September when we were out there.

Jimmy and The Bleeder flanking the # 4 world heavyweight contender, Mariusz Wach.

Double Vision at Pollywogg Holler 
Chris Guzman from Guzman Gloves doing the vocals.

My Indian clubs and bib number
First 5K since the heart attack and a good "race" to make my comeback.
The proceeds of the race will be going to help older boxers in need. Livingstone Bramble and the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame are setting this up. I'm going to find out more about it and I'll let you know. You might want to make a contribution.

The new William Muldoon statue
The lady in the photo is a direct descendant of Muldoon. Muldoon trained John L. and also is credited with inventing the sweater, medicine ball and shower bath. He was also an undefeated Greco-Roman wrestler. The first fitness guru, he trained fighters and big shots like Teddy Roosevelt at his White Plains, New York location. I'll never have my own statue but I did get the Indian clubs. 

Small town America politics
There were several of these in the windows of a little building by the barns. Sign on the door gave the hours for the Tea Party meetings. I rarely agree with anyone's/any party's politics but grass root movements that get more people involved are good for America. My views are more strict Constitutionalist/Libertarian - the less government is the best government. Fix the roads, deliver the mail, regulate interstate commerce, if you must, then go home. Obviously, I find trillion dollar deficit spending a little upsetting.

Smokin' Joe robe at the auction
I would have liked to have the autographed robe. Just the thing for a newly retired shop teacher. Hef can lay around the mansion on the round bed in his smoking jacket but layin' around the shack in a Smokin' Joe jacket is something else all together.

Thanks Belfast. It was a fun weekend!