Steel frame and metal roof cover for store addition
Most of us have been there, three hours sleep, work projects, family waiting in line to use the shower and sprinkle it with a bit of bad weather to work in and it all made for a very nice week.
As a way of displaying my love and support of the Natural Living Country Store and knowing Lisa would have her very popular home made chocolate ready for the store's Friday market (which was on the same day as Valentine's), I wanted to get as much of the store addition ready as possible.
A steel frame carport with metal roofing material was delivered a day early on Monday rather than Tuesday which helped me to get started on the project sooner as we were expected to have cold temperatures, high winds and lots of rain during the week. That is probably why the guys delivered the stuff a day early without calling because they wanted to duck the weather, so it worked out very well.
Inclement weather has a way of slowing things down, whether driving, riding a bike or in this instance a small construction project. As most avid bicycle touring or bike commuting folks would agree, the best way to handle the situation is by taking one's time and work it out at a safe and steady pace.
Prepping store for Lattice and Screen Material
Steel frame material delivered a day early.
Steel frame and cover in place the same day!
Once the steel frame and roof were in place it was my task to add wood lattice and screen material. Our screen material is mildew and mold proof product from Easy Gardener
. We used it on a previous project and has stayed mildew and mold proof for three years in our very humid climate. When combined with treated lattice and cedar it provides a very sturdy rot resistant way of shielding our produce from heat, bugs, rain and other nuisances for our customers.
Although this was only a 220 square foot addition it has added a very pleasant atmosphere in which to prep our store's market. Better flow and simplified method of getting our organic products to our customers.
As soon as I started on the project the weather turned to wet, cold, windy and made it difficult to work as the wind was blowing the large pieces of lattice and screen as I tried to cut it.
Winds and rain were making work difficult
Discovering new trails for mountain biking.....fun.
Working on getting store ready for Valentine's Day
Lisa put her coat on and came to help hold the lattice so I could get some of the pieces in place and call it a night.
The next day I was able to finish our store project without too much hassle from the weather.
Checking the forecast I was able to work around most of the passing storms by waking up at five in the morning which provided the added benefit of getting some time on the bike to work out frustrations. Found some new trails to ride Lisa brought the camera along for some very nice photos. All in all we had a very nice Valentine's weekend. Cheers!
For more information on what Natural Living Country Store does for the community and other assorted organic products visit shopnaturalliving.com
for more information
For more information visit shopnaturalliving.com by clicking on photo.
Sweeping handle bars offer comfort and performance
Some preferred handlebars by bike commuters
There are many methods and techniques for creating a more comfortable riding position on any bike. But the most affordable and simplest way to accomplish this is by finding a proper handlebar that fits an individual's needs. Mountain Comfort handlebars with 30 degree sweep
Differences between road bikes and mountain bikes are obvious for many reasons so it makes sense that a bike for commuting would be a bit different from both. Mountain bikes are most typically designed to put the rider's weight a bit more forward thus adding some pressure to the front tire for more grip or traction. What has become termed a "more aggressive riding position" varies from bike to bike. These days we see fat bikes designed with a much more upright posture lending comfort and ease of expression to a fun relaxed ride that for all purposes does not lack performance.
This illustrates the point of finding a proper handle bar for bike commuting performance, pleasure and comfort. There are many variations on handlebars these days, sometimes difficult to keep up with all the latest designs and added features. However there are some tried and true handlebars that are simple in design that have been around for quite awhile with proven satisfaction, popular with many types of bike commuters and available in the most common stem mounting diameters of 25.4mm, 26.0mm and 31.8mm. Remember to choose the right diameter for your particular stem or if necessary consider replacing the stem to get your preferred handlebar.
Handlebars with a significant degree of sweep have been around for decades and although most associated with a beach cruiser type of bicycle, mountain comfort handlebars like the one pictured at left have become quite popular. Another example of the tried and true nature of a sweeping handlebar is what has been dubbed the "North Road Bar" and Nitto with their established reputation still provides such an option. Velo Orange Porteur
with 15 mm rise or drop by simply flipping the handlebar over and usually at a very reasonable price is another very good choice in an example of a sweeping handlebar.
Some of these types of handlebars are available in different widths to accommodate various shoulder widths in order provide a nice custom feel when added to a commuter bike. Other mountain style handlebars like the one pictured above provide options for cutting to width as well as typically being available in 31.8 mm clamp diameter.
The popular option provided by being able to simply flip the handlebar over, referred to as "flip flop" for higher or lower handlebar height like FSA - Metropolis Handlebar
. Although this type of handlebar is only available in a single width of 62cm the approximate 40 degrees of sweep and length can provide a couple nice hand position options with longer grips. Some bike commuters prefer the 31.8mm clamp diameter as the larger size seems to transfer for a more solid feel in overall handling.
For more information visit our article at Bike Answers
. Or shop the bicycle commuter handlebar links provided.
Afro Ngosha Adventure Tours in Tanzania
Africa is the kind of place most all folks associate with exploration and adventure with the word Safari being directly associated with wildlife tours and sightseeing.
Good news! Our friends at Afro Ngosha
are providing bicycle touring services in Tanzania, Africa. Folks interested in exploring one of the most beautiful and charming areas in the world can schedule their visits and have access to Afro Ngosha's knowledgeable and talented staff.
As rich in cultural heritage as it is in natural wonders including wildlife, famed Kilimanjaro, white sand beaches and a wealth of entertainment are just some of the things which attract people from all over the world to explore that particular region of Africa.
Due to the fact that Afro Ngosha Adventure
is best known for providing hiking tours, when I heard they were providing bicycle tours I thought I'd give it a "blog about" in helping promote their services as most folks may not realize they can schedule bike tours as well. Eco Africa Organization
at Afro Ngosha's site explains their unique approach to ecologically conscious tourism services the company offers. By scheduling your bicycle tour with such a diverse and interesting group of knowledgeable folks you're also supporting an organization which "seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity". That quote from the company's site gives you an idea of the type of folks who would providing your services, knowing you're in good hands while adventuring and exploring an area which includes three of Africa's seven natural wonders.
Eco Africa Tours Provides Educational KnowldegeEco Africa offers a variety of bicycle tours for all skill levels
Whether you are an advanced mountain bike rider or entry level bike commuter wanting to splurge on your first bicycle adventure, Afro Ngosha's Eco Africa tours
will provide you with the support, accommodations and knowledge customized to suit each and every individual's particular needs. Men, women and children as well are encouraged to visit the company's site as the company provides something for the entire family. With a multi-lingual staff knowledgeable in the flora and fauna as well as preservation concerns most folks visiting the Tanzania region by way of Eco Africa Tours leave with an expanded vision and knowledge that can help in educating and preserving a wonderful heritage for generations to come.
Eco Tourism as a sustainable means of providing adventurous as well as environmentally conscious exploration having become a vastly popular method of vacationing around the world. Implementing such a beautiful approach to their bicycle touring services is a unique way for folks to connect with one another while bike touring and something I have wanted to emphasize in this post for Eco Africa's efforts toward sharing their vision and company's mission as stated in the following quote.
“KARIBU” is Swahili for “welcome”, and is the first friendly word most visitors will hear on arriving in Tanzania for holidays and safaris. Our purpose is to educate the community, provide funds for ecological conservation, directly benefit the local communities and foster respect for different cultures. The concept of Eco tourism is known as the magic triangle because it benefits local people, environment and their culture. We aspire to support the cultural ethics of the community while simultaneously assisting the community to embrace change. Bicycle tourists enjoy the supportive organizational and knowledgeable staff of Eco Africa Tours.
I hope you have found some of these ideas provided by Eco Africa as something which can enhance and enrich your bicycle touring interests while exploring Africa or elsewhere. By visiting their site the information and current projects might help one's own outlook toward their own community and find a new appreciation for one's own personal as well as regional heritage. Visit Afro Ngosha's Eco Africa Tours
for more information whether you're looking to schedule a bicycle tour or not, their site and blog is full of good information regarding Tanzania, eco tourism and more.
Grant Petersen's very popular book "Just Ride" basically describes the difference between what we have come to know as a "cyclist" and someone who simply rides a bike. Differences being mostly about bicycle race marketing cliches and riding on'e bike in a more comfortable appreciative mode of identifying one's own ride whatever that might mean to you.
"Ride your own ride" I have enjoyed saying from time to time, knowing there are no absolutes and there are exceptions to every rule. If you have spent any time at all commuting where bike lanes are not prevalent or bicycle commuting just hasn't had its place in the area you live then you probably realized at some point that some rules are made to be broken anyway. That may contribute to the popularity of converting a mountain bike for bike commuting. Converting can be as simple as replacing heavy knobby tires with tires which provide less rolling resistance or something in between. Other additional changes to a mountain bike might be replacing the stem or handlebars to provide a more comfortable riding position or adding fenders and or racks.
Kindred Cargo Bikes for Bicycle Travel
Whereas a traditional touring bike is based on a fairly standard idea of frame geometry for comfort for extended time on the saddle, a commuter bike is mostly defined by the rider's commuting needs depending mostly upon road conditions and cargo needs. Some bike commuter folks may not find it necessary to install a front rack for panniers, while some find it convenient for their bike camping or other touring bike needs.
Sikania MTB Cycling Tours, Mountain Bike Touring ServicesAlessandro Ferrara of Sikania MTB Cycling Tours and the beautifully scenic charm of Sicily
Beautiful, scenic touring routes of Sicily.
New is good, change is good, so when we heard that experienced mountain bike tour leader Alessandro Ferrrara decided to provide tours from his home town of Palermo, Sicily we wanted to give it a "blog about".
Located in the beautiful town of Palermo a variety of mountain bike tours are provided granting access to the diverse and abundant riding opportunities that Sicily has to offer. Discover vast tracks of ocean front tours or ride the higher elevations for spectacular views of Mount Etna, either way Sikania MTB Cycling Tours
has you covered. Offering accommodations for lodging, bike and helmet rentals or van transport this bike touring company knows how to care for and look after their customers assuring a safe, adventurous and fun time whatever your mountain biking skill level might be.
Providing one, two, three and six day tour package options all offering different sights and trail riding terrain, Sikania MTB Cycling Tours can assure your particular mountain bike tour will be personally fulfilling as they are also offering Customized mountain bike tours upon customer request.
Dubbed "Sikania" referring to an ancient term referring to Sicily, eighteen year mountain biking veteran Alessandro Ferrara brings his riding expertise and experience as well as his knowledge of his home town of Palermo lending a knowledgeable and down home charm to the exquisite beauty that is Sicily.
For more information contact visit Sikania MTB Cycling Tours
to view their many unique bicycle touring features as well as to ask questions regarding your personal interests for visiting Sicily.
Visit Sikania MTB Cycling Tours for mountain bike touring packages or custom bicycle tours of Sicily. Click Photo for more information.
Exceptionally well made bike from Razesa
Found this beautifully crafted bike from Razesa complete with steel lugged frame, Campagnolo crank set, Nitto bars and stem at our local thrift store for $65. Razesa built with Campagnolo crank set
As I am a reasonable person I allowed the bike to sit at their listed price of $90 and felt that I would allow another person who needs a bike more than me (I have several) an opportunity to purchase the bike. I would routinely pass by and watch folks consider getting the bike and ultimately decide not to. After a week I went and haggled the price down to $65 as the bike was missing rear brake pads and the original down tube shifter.
For a bike like the Razesa I wanted to get the original Ultegra shifter and brake pads so the bike would be kept in its' original, standard component class. After finding the parts for less than twenty bucks on ebay, replacing cables and giving it a tune up this bike is a smooth, fast retro classic that simply feels good on the road.
Nitto stem and handlebars on Razesa Road bike
It is difficult to find much information about Razesa, a company perhaps best known for providing a bike for Miguel Indurain's first of his five consecutive Tour de France victories. Other than that the best information was provided by a guy in one of the forums
I found while researching this bike. Information he provided is given in the following quote.
"Hi, i have a razesa, from the 80´s and like razesas, i am from Spain. Razesa is a small company from the north of Spain, from Navarra. Navarra is near Pais Vasco, also in Spain, with a great tradition in cycling and steel making. From Pais Vasco are also the brands BH, Orbea y Zeus. BH is the most important, everybody here had a BH when we were kids :) Now Orbea is as important as BH. Zeus made bicycles and components, but its now closed.
In the 80´s with the great demand of road bikes, all brands colaborated, because they sell more bikes than they can make. So Zeus made components that were used by BH and Razesa, Razesa made frames for Zeus and i think also for BH because my Razesa is exactly as some BH i see.
In the 90´s with the mountain bike explosion, these brands were specialized in road bikes, so, it were bad times. BH and Orbea began to make mountain bikes and continue production, but Zeus and Razesa were in trouble. Zeus close and Razesa was almost in bankrupt. The owners sell the company to the workers and they continue making steel frames for track, and distribute carbon frames ( i think they imported them ) they also made taylor made steel frames".
Razesa won a tour de france with Banesto team and Miguel Indurain, so is part of the history of cycling. My razesa, from the late eigties is a fine bike, cromed and painted, with lugwork. Campagnolo, huret, cinelli and zeus components. Weight about 10 kgs.
This bike is a dream to ride with classic steel lugged Columbus tubing, Nitto handlebars and stem it's a very nice piece of cycling's history and I'm honored to have had the opportunity to repair such a quality bike as this Razesa.
For more information visit Cycle Exif's blog article
regarding the Razesa bike company and to view some very nice photos of Zeus components.
Bike discussed here is a 59cm frame with Mavic 27 x 1 1/4 wheels with Ultegra components and Campagnolo crank set.
Razesa with Campagnolo crank and Ultegra Derailleurs and chain. An original chain with little to no wear. A beautifully crafted classic road bike.
Lisa is such a good photographer and I appreciate her so much, here are some photos of recent touring bike build and front rack product review pics. Click on any image to view it or click on link to our flickr set
Lisa's photo of test riding new touring bike
Lisa's photo for product review of touring bike front rack.
Lisa's photo of our mountain touring bikes while trail riding.
Lisa's photo of test ride of touring bike with front rack.
Ornate Lugs of a Classic Steel Frame touring bike
One of the most difficult bike restoration projects is clear coating a steel frame as there are so many options on how to accomplish the task and of course not all of them work very well.
Last year when I found an old Puch Bergmeister in the back of a pickup truck headed for the scrap metal yard I looked it over to see if it was worth doing anything with as the rust had all but destroyed the frame. With chain rusted solid, paint deterioration and surface rust it looked as though the frame may had gotten too pitted to be salvaged.
For ten bucks, which is what the scrap metal yard was shelling out for scrap I decided to get the bike to the shop and take it from there.
There are several methods for removing paint from a frame but due to the paint deterioration and rust I employed the most commonly used wire brushes, wire wheels on a drill, sand paper and Boshield Rust Free rust remover. After removing the worst of the corrosion I decided to strip off the rest of the paint with Easy Off oven cleaner. That worked very well and is much less labor intensive than the other methods. After spraying the cleaner on and watching the effortlessly drip the paint off the frame I repeated three or four times to get all the paint and residual corrosion removed. Then came the hard work of wire bushing, sanding and polishing working the surface and prepping it for a clear coat.
After I felt the prep work of the exterior surface was complete and after initial inspection of interior of frame which determined the possibility of this bike restoration project, it was necessary to treat the interior of this bike frame to prevent future rust or corrosion. There are two choices of product for this application eitherJ.P. Weigels Bicycle Frame Saver Rust Inhibitor
or the newer less heard of Pro Gold Steel Frame Protector
. Pro Gold has been well reviewed as it is reported to be able treat several frames with one can but I haven't worked with that product.
The biggest question is what type of clear coating works best for applying to bare steel and cost relative to over all value of the bike. Powder coating with a clear coat was not necessary and other bike restoration guys were not entirely pleased with the results when compared to how much it cost. After much research and bouncing some ideas around we narrowed it down to two choices. Everbrite Protectaclear
or the newer Glisten PC
available from the trusted and highly reputable Por 15 Paint Poducts
which are used for automotive restoration and painting projects.
Because the Everbrite Product was a mere $19.95 I thought I would try that first and requires a specific surface preparation method as do all paint products but if you're going to use Protectaclear you have must use Maas Metal Polish
to clean and buff out the surface for proper adhesion.
New Bare Steel Clear Coat Product for Bike FramesEverbrite Protecta Clear on Steel Lugs looks nice
Photo at right and at top of page shows the nice look and finish after Maas Polish and Everbrite Protectaclear were applied. At the time we were completing this project the newer product mentioned earlier Glisten PC was not available. Although we like how the frame looks with the Everbrite product we have decided to consider a can of Glisten PC for $34.95 and see if it provides better protection from mild rusting. Here along the Texas Gulf Coast humidity and salt air are factors that contribute to rusting.
Our results after a year of storing the bike outside allowing rain and weather to test the Everbrite Coating we are relatively pleased with the results.
For average daily bike commuter use this product would be sufficient in maintaining a rust free frame with the bike being stored in doors when not being ridden. However, for a more durable coating and perhaps a more aesthetically pleasing look we are considering the new steel clear coat product Glisten PC.
This has been a popular topic in forums with folks asking lots of questions about clear coating a bare steel frame so thought I'd give it a "blog about". Visit the links listed below for more information regarding this topic. Forum Discussion Blog Article Opposed to Clear Coating Steel Frames Lovely Bicycle Blog Article Sheldon Brown Article for Steel Frame Prep and Paint Italian Frame Builder Who Clear Coats Frames
Catahoula is a fun breed for mountain biking.
I will start off by saying just about any breed of dog is good for bike enthusiasts and getting a dog from the pound is even better. I am a dog lover having grown up with dogs as a kid I learned at a young age how joy their company brings to a home and atmosphere. My new six month old mountain biking bud
I would love to find an old polaroid from the late '60's of our English Bulldog riding a tricycle for this article and as fun loving, docile and affectionate as our old Polly was she couldn't keep up with a lot of activities such as mountain biking. Years later in my early twenties I found myself living with a black Labrador Retriever that my stoned out brother simply couldn't find the energy to care for. Perhaps he should have put the bong down but that's another story, or not. My brother had named him Peter and would send me paw printed letters showing the dog's growth while I was in boot camp for the Coast Guard.
After being stationed in Neah Bay, Washington I found so many opportunities for mountain biking, quiet dirt roads offered casual scenic bike routes to bike on the wilderness beaches and a town with no traffic lights and only one stop sign is a mountain biking haven. It was an ideal environment to have a dog and our Captain at the time agreed to let Peter stay on as the station mascot making it so much easier to keep Peter from being cooped up in the barracks. A few years later Peter met another Black Lab mix while we were camping in the Lena Creek Wilderness area on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. She was a magnificently agile dog who after finding her starving in the woods pregnant at what the veterinarian approximated to be nine months old, she had to have her puppies aborted and lived a long healthy life with me and Pete.
After my two dogs had passed away and each of them had lived to be thirteen years old I wasn't sure about having another dog in my life. That was until I met my new best friend in the form of a Catahoula
puppy. I had never even heard of such a thing and had no idea that was his breed as I had found him at the dog pound and he seemed mellow enough compared to the other rowdy mutts, all of which would have made fun biking dogs. I was actually looking for a smaller dog that I could carry in my bike trailer and would let out once we arrived at the bike trails. That was my plan anyhow and Puppy just kept growing and growing. One day while at a petsmart store a woman in charge of "doggie day care" commented "that's a good looking Catahoula
you have there". What the what?
Yep, there's lots of information on the Catahoula Mountain Cur from Louisiana and sure sounds like a mountain biker's dog to me. When he was little he patiently allowed me to put him in a pet carrier, which I placed into a single wheeled bike trailer and after a block or two he didn't seem to like it much as I could feel him throwing a mild fit causing the trailer to do some fish tailing. We didn't try that again as he grew to just about sixty pounds and doesn't fit in a pet carrier for my bike trailer. As this type of dog needs to run a couple hours a day or so he's now a fun trail riding, bike camping buddy. We practiced this racing each other on the single track around the dome workshop and after several attempts by him to bite my shin I gave him a love tap with my front rack and he has settled down knowing not to bite me when I ride. This was a recent topic at MTBR Forums and thought I'd give my good buddy a "blog about".
Sometimes it's hard to tell who's happier to receive a shipment of new bike parts me or the Puppy.
Good boy, enjoying a couple beers after a ride.
Vintage Motobecane Touring and Commuter Bike
While I have been refurbishing some older classic touring bikes that find new homes with bike commuters I seem to always display some reluctance in letting them go. Lisa laughs about this and says "that's one of the things I love about you, you love bikes so much that they're all gems".
She's right about that, however it's not only the bike itself often it's the hard work and effort of putting a bike back in working order so that it rides as it was meant to ride. Today a gal is coming to look at this old gem of a touring bike in the form of a Motobecane Prestige. A very rare bike that is designed specifically for a bike commuter with keyed spoke lock, generator lights, original steel chrome rear rack and fenders. It's not that I rode it all that often but when I would it was fun riding at night with the generator efficiently whizzing along. Today's after market bottle generators are not of the same quality as the one on this bike made in Germany, doesn't get hot at high speeds, works very well even at very slow speeds and because it is an integrated model with braze on plate for the generator it never needs adjusting. I had replaced the stem after someone had over tightened the stem bolt breaking the expanding wedge inside the head tube, so that when I replaced the stem as necessary I created a more comfortable riding position. After adding Schwalbe Marathon 700c x 32 tires providing a durable tire for the generator I considered keeping this bike but at 58cm it is a bit tall for me.
It's times like this I need to remind myself why I want to sell a bike like this besides the fact it's a bit tall. I didn't want to replace the rear Mallard hub wheel and I don't like working on those things. I was barely able to get the wheel trued out enough radially for it to ride without a noticeable hop so that most of the original drive train is intact after replacing the cottered crankset with an inexpensive chrome steel chain guard model. I like the crankset for the ability to ride with any type of work pants without a pant leg getting frayed and oily. A very bike commuter friendly ride indeed. So, as I anticipate bidding that bike a fond farewell this afternoon here are some photos of this retro classic steel lugged frame beauty we like to call Eleanor. Some of these old classic bikes have a warmth and depth of simple elegance and longevity of performance that lends a comforting vibe to my atmosphere of "Bikeology". Out with old and in with the new I suppose, not that I need to learn how to let go and move forward but will nonetheless miss the presence of such a fun old touring bike. For awhile anyway, then I will just keep riding.
Original, made in Germany bottle generator and spoke lock. Notice brazing to frame for mounting plates on both the spoke lock and generator, Good design for bike commuter.
Original Sachs Huret Rear Derailleur still performs like new, solid quality components, sure do appreciate that kind of simple quality.
Very small brazing for generator light wire routing under down tube for hassle free performance. Not zip ties on that bike. Another quality design incorporated into this frame for bike commuter.