July 2009


This week was the week of 2 stuck bottom brackets, and so a trip to the biggest vise in town, which you may remember from the misadventures in pedicab repair post?

The first one tackled was an old steel Trek 820, and after the good week of penetrating oil treatment it had gotten, it came out with nary a whimper or a broken sweat.  The other would not budge, however, even with three people drinking Coors pushing and pulling on it.  When it started twisting the jaws of this mighty tool we decided to stop and consult the owner.  It is a cool bike, an aluminum framed Raleigh commuter that he bought in Europe and so not easy to replace.  Or get a seized bottom bracket out of…

Tonight I (steve) rode a Bianchi home.  Not for keeps, just trying it out.  It is a Milano Citta and I must say it was fun to ride, and attractive, too.

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There is a lot going right with this bike, lightweight, full fendered, pre-racked and kickstanded, and it has a built in taillight, too.  We have just the one in stock, a 20″ diamond frame, and you should come test ride it.  I did!

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Mira knows her way around a rattle can.  There’s no other bike like this one, named Belladonna, with glittery paint job and the perfect cherry on top — the pink glitter stem cap.  That’s a handmade saddle cover with matching grips.  Ooh!  La la!!

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Most mornings I (steve) ride right to the shop from home.  It is about a mile and a half, and my route takes me through no traffic lights, past no gas stations, and through mostly little traffic.  I love it!  Some days, though, like yesterday, I like to take the long way.  I was pressed to fit a ride in, so I just rolled south of town on my Touring Townie for an extra hour of peace and maybe a bit of fitness, too.

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Out of town bike path along the Iowa River.

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The open road, the beans and the corn.

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Pretty wildflower filled ditches.

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North by Northwest?  Nope, due South, and my turnaround.

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About 5 miles down Sand Road I stopped by the new home of the Iowa City Animal Shelter.  It was relocated after last years floods and this is where the money from the July Your Change Can Make a Difference Can is heading.  It is up to around $25.00 now for the dogs and cats, with still a week to go.  Should help keep them in kibble for a day or two.

It was a great ride, keeping the pace mellow kept me cool and I got an effective workout in, on the way to work with no skin tight clothing, special shoes, etc.  If you have the time and inclination I highly recommend the long way to work.

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I (Cody) detect a recurring theme here: we get to see a lot of interesting bicycles here in our little bike shop.  If we can’t be this cool, then at least we get to meet people who are.  Owner Demetrius has named this sweet ride Peppermint, and it’s a work in progress.  The next step is to add a white banana seat with sissybar.  For the keen of eye, yes, those are glow-in-the-dark stars on the grips… ah, I love my job!

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Yesterday we happily finished overhauling/repairing the 2-speed hub on this swoopy Schwinn Speedster.  It took opening the hub three times, but on the last time I (Cody) replaced the index spring with one taken from an identical parts hub.  That did the trick, since a teeny tiny tab on the spring had broken off.  Unfortunately, we didn’t snap any photos during the process, but I swear, this bike looks happier now.  Maybe I’m happier now that it works.  Maybe both?

(A kickback hub shifts when the rider partially backpedals.  Fully backpedalling engages the coaster brake.  Smooth!)

Being in the bike shop biz we get to see lots of cool bikes.  Here are a few that have rolled through in the past week.

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This stunningly clean 3 speed Raleigh Twenty fold-em-up stopped by yesterday.  Its owner Aaron keeps a nice bit of online bike culture over at his blog, check it out – I’ll bet you’ll like it.

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Still hinged, green and Brooks, but harder to stuff in a suitcase, our first Niner sale!  Local storytelling super-person Steve McGuire built up this dream machine.  My Niner frame of choice should be in stock next month so I can join the club.

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Brooks saddle o’ rama continues with this, the seriously named Handsome Devil.  You may remember seeing this here when it was just a frame and hanging next to my Ira Ryan.  Well, my bike is still hanging, but Scott is now out riding across Iowa on his.  I imagine he is getting lots of complements on the obviously superb headtube facing…

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Check out the rainbow-like heat marks or whatever they are called on this steel handlebar.  Not sure how advisable this is, and I would never recommend it to anyone, but Mauro, our local Brazilian megatouring wunderkid, wanted a flared handlebar to ride across the state.  So he did this himself with just a fire, a few beers, and a big screwdriver.  He said he only caught his shoe on fire during the process and that just once.  Good work Mauro, and good luck!

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A little birdy told me to get back to work, so I will.  Sorry for the lack of regular postings, last week was a bit crazy with the pre bike ride across the state crush but I am looking forward to supplying you with the latest and greatest in bike shop minutia once again!

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Lately I (Cody) have been riding my Puch Marco Polo as my daily commuter as well as my light tourer (note previous post).  The Ira Ryan porteur rack totally rocks and was made even better when I added the large Wald basket.  I can carry so much stuff in that thing, it’s almost obscene.

A quick geekdown of what else this bike sports: ye olde Shimano 600 crankset and rear der, MKS platform pedals with deep steel toe clips, mismatched brakes — a Shimano 600 on the rear and a generic Shimano on the front due to rack design (phooey… but that’s really my only complaint about the rack).  The wheelset is a cheap-o alloy deal perfect for a townie machine.  I’m trying out Michelin Dynamic tires, amazing that they’re still made in France and are only 17 bucks a pop.  So far I like ’em just fine.  Painfully absent is a set of full fenders.  Right now I bide my time with an easy-on Zefal Flamingo as I await a pair of Planet Bike Cascadias.

The handlebar is one of my favorites, a Nitto Albatross, and the saddle is another favorite, a Terry Damselfly (the name is unfortunate but it’s the best saddle I’ve ever owned).

Barely visible are the little spoke reflectors from Cyclelogical that I’m trying out.  So far they seem worthwhile.  Super reflective from the side and they stay firmly in place, no dinking up and down the spoke as I roll.  We plan to have ’em available in the shop soon.

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