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Later Just Happened: The Bike Is Painted

Last time ’round I said that I would stick to tradition and ride bike Number 5 for a while and paint it later.  Well, after a good solid shakedown period riding my latest creation to work, a couple of things happened.   First, it didn’t kill me, which is always Job #1.   Second, in addition to not killing me, it also didn’t fall apart, act weird, explode, catch fire, or bother the wildlife.

What it did do was start to rust which, being steel, you could expect.  You’d think that this would be a bad thing, but I’m quickly finding out that not all rust is equal, and that one person’s “rust ” can be another person’s “patina” in the right setting.

“Patina” is sort of the latest deal among hot rodders and car guys.  You can’t open an issue of Hot Rod Deluxe (cool magazine) or whatever without seeing some  vintage Ford roadster or ’60s Chevy Gasser with what looks like very old paint or, a lot of times, no paint at all.  And it goes beyond merely preserving an old, distressed paint job; there are folks who actually work to make a new paint job look like it has been baking in the sun for 60 years.  Not surprisingly, given this trend, there are products out there that you can use to, in essence, preserve a shitty old paint job and, yes, I had more than one person tell me that the “patina” that had popped up on my bike was really cool looking and I should find a way to keep it.

However, to conclude this part of the discussion in hot-roddding terms, I’m not into the “rat rod” look.  I like my rides “sanitary.”  As in sharp looking.  Think early ’60s custom or Indy racer.

Capturing that vibe, of course, required another visit to my friends at Roth Metalflake, purveyors of the bitchen-est custom paint on the planet. What makes Roth perfect for my home-brewed bikes is that (1) it is very high quality automotive paint, (2) the colors are killer, and (3) you can get it in a rattle can.  Yes, rattle cans.  I’ve got the compressor and spray guns and all the impedimenta necessary for painting cars, but the older that I get the more that I hate cleaning up.  With rattle cans you can just spray and toss.  Perfect.

Anyway, the colors that I picked were from a cool  (but sadly tragic) Indy-car from 1964: Eddie Sachs’ “American Red Ball Special” Halibrand Shrike.  Metalflake gold, white panels, red trim.  My bike has more gold than Eddie’s car, but the colors are pretty much off of the same palette.

Eddie and Dave MacDonald Died In A Lap 2 Crash

Eddie Sachs, Indy 1964

The color selection from Roth was “Custard Pie” flake over a white base.  I made up a set of decals – including the young lady – and then clear coated the whole shootin’ match with a two-part catalyzed clear.  I also picked out the “windows” on the lugs (fork legs, head lugs, etc.) with Roth pin-striping paint.

Take a look:

She is a


Mr. Bad Example

High -Flange Goodness

Overall, I am happy with the way that it turned out.   The paint really “pops” in the sun.  There are one or two spots where the clear got a little hazy, but I was able to buff most of that out.  It’s almost a shame to ride it to work and place it at the mercy of the Bike Rack Neanderthals who are a little hard on the paintwork when parking or retrieving their rides.


I’ll Paint It Later

Okay, so it has been a while.

As a peace offering to my usual audience, the spam bots and random folks who land on this page as a result of a really misdirected Google search, I offer pictures of my latest project.

Behold, Bike Number 5.  A lugged steel fixed gear frameset.

number5-12The Details:

Columbus Chromor tube set, oversize (Schwinn used to use this on some of its touring bikes).

Short point “bikini” lugs

Paragon Machine Works rear track drop outs

Steel, straight legged fork, aero cross section

Hidden rear brake cable (in the top tube)

Geometry – 55cm top and seat tubes, 74 degree head and seat tube, 39 degree offset fork.

More Details:


“Ass Harpoon” seat stay caps.


IRD “Defiant Crank Set – 144mm bolt circle, 1/8 inch pitch, 46 tooth ring

Paint: unpainted for now, but I already have the paint sitting in my garage.  Roth Metalflake “Custard Pie”.

So, how does it ride?

I put about 100 miles on it last week, riding back and forth to work.

One word: smooth.

Another word: fast.

This is a good one.




New Shimano Add-On For Di2? You Heard It Here First…

While I am not a normal source for breaking news from within the cycling industry, this one is too good not to pass on.


You can expect an announcement in the next few days from industry-leader Shimano regarding their new “Shimano High Intensity Telemetry” add-on for Di2. The new system is comprised of a series of sensors buried under the bar tape and saddle that measure various biometric parameters in real time via galvanic feedback from the skin on your hands and glutes. Quietly deployed in the pro peloton this year, the system provides the rider with feedback on heart rate, lactic acid levels, calculated V02 and, oddly, cholesterol and (on the women’s-specific model) predicted ovulation.

The units also have a GM “OnStar”-like concierge feature that streams rider data to a central location (believed to be a facility located inside the ShimanoLand theme park outside of Osaka, Japan) where it is monitored in real-time. Among the more intriguing services offered by this concierge service is what Shimano engineers are calling their “Bail Me Out” option: Shimano will hail an Uber driver for you if your biometric data reveals that you are too tired to continue. (This algorithm is based on your level of fitness as calculated from your age, number of miles this season, calculated BMI, and the proximity of a good coffee shop). The video feedback from the derailleur-mounted CM-1000 ShimanoVision “action cam” is directly compatible with Apple TV.


I Am Done With Complicated Coffee

I had an epiphany this morning, standing in line at the Starbucks across the street from my office. No profound observations about Man and God or insights into Beauty, Nature, and What It All Means. Nothing that deep. It was, after all, 7:30 in the morning.

No, it was something more basic. More practical.

My epiphany was this: I’m done with “complicated” coffee. 

Yes, I Did Make Some Double Espresso Cups WIth The Taylor Bike Logo. You Know That You Want One…

Stated more precisely, I’m done with other people standing in line ahead of me ordering “complicated” coffee while us regular folks just want to get our java and bolt.

We all know what “complicated’ coffee is. And if you don’t, all that you have to do to find out is show up at just about any Starbucks or other “premium” purveyor of coffee and watch what people order. It’s your mocha frappicino. It’s your iced soy chai in a personal cup. It’s your skim, no whip, triple pump pumpkin spice latte. It’s any foo-foo drink that you’d care to describe. It’s the need to make a statement about personal empowerment masquerading as a beverage purchase.

And from the perspective of all of us waiting here at the back of the line, it’s a drink that takes a long time to order, and an even longer time to make.

Me, I’m not picky. Obviously. I drink whatever is brewed. Drip coffee, thank you. Maybe a shot of espresso, if it isn’t too much trouble. And I don’t hold out for “Sumatra” or “Pike Place Bold” either. Just make it strong and black. No cream or sugar. Like God intended.

This set me to thinking that there has to be a coffee place for those who just want a cup of joe and not have to wade through a lot of nonsense. I would call it “Just F*cking Coffee.” And there would be rules.

The rules would be the best part.

  • Coffee, and only coffee. Don’t start with that macchiato or frappachino crap. If you can’t ladle it or pour it out of an urn, we won’t sell it.
  • No coffee accessories for sale. No cups, no coffee presses, no espresso machines. No music CDs. Go pimp that crap somewhere else.
  • No gift cards. No credit cards. Cash only. Exact change appreciated. And especially no prepaid cards. From what I have observed from my spot at the end of the line, all of those Starbucks prepaid cards must be based on complicated arbitrages of obscure foreign currencies or negotiable instruments that must be reported to the SEC. They must, given all the receipts, signatures, and counter-signatures that appear to be necessary to complete a single sale. Paying for a cup of coffee simply cannot take that long, unless you are attempting to pay for your soy chai or latte using Romainian bearer bonds tied to Argentine peso futures or the Brazilian real.
  • You will get your coffee thrown at you if you are yakking on the phone or plugged in to an iPod while placing an order or paying.
  • WiFi? You won’t be here that long. Trust me.
  • The sugar and milk are over there, by the napkins, on your way out the door.

Am I missing anything?


Some Pictures

I was hoping to have something nicer for you to look  at other than some crappy iPad pictures, but my buddy the photographer (who went ape over the bike when I first rolled it out) hasn’t showed up with his camera, so these will have to do.

“These” are pictures of my fourth bike, Miss Behaving. 



The Details: “MISS BEHAVING”

– Silver brazed lugged steel

– Richard Sachs “PegoRichie” tubes

– Richie-issimo Lugs and Bottom Bracket Shell

– Richie-issimo fork crown and Piccoli Gioielli Front/Rear Dropouts

– Internal rear brake routing

– Paint: Roth Metalflake BAD AZZ BLUE Pearl shot over a blue base 

– Decals and Headbadge by Taylor

– 74 degree head and seat tube, 39mm offset fork (56mm trail)

– 55cm top tube, 55cm (center top) seat tube, 40mm chain stays

– Campagnolo Athena 11, Old (2003) Chorus Hubs laced to Open Pro rims

– King head set

– Brooks Cambium saddle

– Nitto Two Bolt post (NICE)

– Nitto Bar & Stem
How does it ride?  Fabulous.  This is now my “go-to” bike.  I can definately see Miss Behaving getting a LOT of miles next season.  I’m also now a compact crank convert – the Athena 11 shifts perfectly, I can always find a perfect gear, and there is plenty of range to get my old and wrinkled ass up most climbs that I am likely to come across.  Again, perfect for epic rides next season.  I’m thinking Jerimiah Bishop’s Alpine Gran Fondo next September…


Why I Didn’t Get Up Early To Go And Ride With The Group This Past Sunday Morning And Other Excuses

I didn’t get up early last Sunday to go and ride with the guys, like I normally do. It’s a long story and the short version is that I won’t be replacing our electric toothbrush any time soon. Not after Saturday night.

It was like out of a bad Stephen King novel.  Our long-serving Phillips Sonic-Care electric tooth brush apparently got fed up and couldn’t take it any more, so it decided to scare the living crap out of its owners by coming to life around 1:30 am.

By itself.


I know this to be true because of the very loud buzzing sound that woke both my wife and I from a sound sleep at that ungodly hour. Mary Ann rolled over and pretended to not hear anything, leaving it to me to crawl out of bed and go forth to boldly investigate the source of the noise that was coming from the bathroom.  So, bleary-eyed, semi-conscious, and clad only in my underwear, I stumbled into the bathroom and turned on the light.  Yes, I was correct: the noise that we were hearing was the electric toothbrush, buzzing away merrily, lights flashing, that somehow came to life all by itself.  It had sort of toppled over on its charging stand, so I reasoned that this buzzing sound must have been a hitherto-unknown feature of the Phillips Sonic-Care that alerts the owner that his or her electric toothbrush is no longer charging.

Hey, it was 1:30 am.  You come up with a better rationalization for ignoring a developing problem at that time of night.

I shut it off and went back to bed.

The toothbrush came back to life fifteen minutes later, again buzzing angrily and generally making a racket.  Mary Ann rolled over and mumbled something indistinct about electricity, defective toothbrushes, and fire alarms.

I got up and shut it off again.

The toothbrush re-awakened for a third time around 2:15 am, and this time it would NOT shut off, choosing instead to cycle randomly (and noisily) between its 5 or so different state-of-the-art pre-programmed tooth and gum care routines as I desperately pressed the “off” switch.  Nothing.  If anything, pushing the “off” switch just seemed to piss it off and make it buzz louder.

My wife, who wisely stayed in bed the entire time, poked her head above the covers just long enough to say something to the effect that, regardless of the course of action I may eventually choose to deal with the electrical menace in the bathroom, my task would not be complete unless I could assure her with 100% certainty that whatever it was making that awful noise in the bathroom wasn’t going to catch fire and kill us all.  She then rolled over and pretended to go back to sleep, leaving it up to me to bravely save us all from a fiery death at the hands of a demonically-possessed electric toothbrush.

At this point I grabbed the toothbrush and tromped downstairs to the garage looking for a way to kill it.  My first impulse was to take the toothbrush apart and remove the battery.  Nope, the engineers who designed the Phillips Sonic-Care Electric Tooth Brush made absolutely sure that there is no easy way for an embattled consumer to rip out its malignant little electronic heart should their creation ever become sentient and decide to attack.  Bad move, Phillips.  My next impulse was to take a hammer and just smash it to bits.  I quickly realized, however, that with my luck I would hit the rechargeable lithium ion battery, rupture it, and create a genuine hazmat situation in my basement.  So I reluctantly concluded that the easiest and safest thing to do was to do nothing and just wait for the battery to run down and then go back to bed.


You have no idea just how long a fully-charged electric tooth brush can run.

You do a lot of thinking when you are pacing around your garage in your underwear while holding an electric toothbrush at 2:30 in the morning. I had plenty of time to ponder the fact that my life up to this point had left me tragically unprepared for this particular crisis.  Just leaving the damn thing in the middle of the garage floor and walking away wasn’t an option: I would have to explain to Mary Ann what I did with the toothbrush when I got back upstairs, and her reaction to my leaving a zombie toothbrush unattended in the garage where it would inevitably catch fire and incinerate the entire block was likely to be worse than the interminable buzzing.  I briefly thought about picking up a shovel and burying it in the back yard, but that would have been very hard to explain to the neighbors.  Or to Mary Ann for that matter.

At around the 45 minute mark of my Nocturnal Garage Interlude With Electric Toothbrush I had an idea.  I grabbed a big plastic bucket that was sitting by my workbench.  I opened the garage door and, still clad in just my underwear, I crept out onto our driveway.  It  was now 3am.  The toothbrush was still buzzing away at a furious rate. I grabbed the garden hose, filled the bucket with water, and then threw the toothbrush in.

Just my luck, the bucket actually amplified the buzzing sound. I hoped that none of the neighbors were sleeping with their windows open because, noise or no noise, I had run out of viable alternatives. It was the bucket or nothing.

I left the bucket and toothbrush in the middle of the driveway for the neighbors and the raccoons to deal with.  Skulking back into the garage, I lowered the door and went back to bed. But before I went back into the house I bent over and peered into the bucket. My gaze was met by a pair of flashing and blinking lights dancing in the darkness as the toothbrush jitterbugged around on the bottom of the bucket- a pair of hellish green demon eyes winking  back at me through the murky abyss.  Phillips Sonic-Care: the Official Electric Toothbrush of Hell.

I can report that there was no fire.

So, anyway, that’s why I didn’t get up early this past Sunday to go and ride with the guys.


Third Time’s The Charm

You could’t tell it from my increasingly-infrequent posts, but I am building another bike frame. My third. They say that the “third time’s the charm” – which implies that your first two tries left something to be desired. Maybe. And, yes, I do seem to have gotten the hang of the basics of the frame building thing this time around. This bike is going to be “nicer” and the first two noble efforts. Better tubing, better geometry. Fewer screw ups.

So while I still ain’t Irio Tommasini, Tom Kellogg or Darren Crisp, if you want to throw a leg over a genuine Taylor frameset you’r gonna have to see me.

Rather than do a repeat of the “Eight Tubes” series that I did while building Number 2, I’m just gonna mark my progress by posting some pictures from time to time.

Number 3: The Details

Tubing: Columbus SL
Lugs: Cinelli (copies by Long Shin)
Measurements: Top Tube 55cm (c-c)
Seat Tube 55cm (c-c)
Head tube 140mm
Chainstays 41 cm
Angles: Head tube 74 deg.
Seat tube 74 deg.




Proof that this is a low buck operation is the “jig” that I used to braze the main triangle of the frame. The “jig” consists of some leftover 1in square tubing that I had from the Fork-A-Lizer. The beauty of 1 inch square tubing is that (1) it is cheap, and (2) it is usually fairly true, with no twists. Because is it square, I figured that I could use it to align the head tube and the seat tube in place while I brazed the frame.




Put the fork on the frame, and it starts to look like something.


Ahh…Chainstays. The tricky part about chainstays is getting it all lined up – making sure that the stays are parallel to each other and the dropouts aligned so that, when you are all done, the wheel sits plumb on the bike. For the first two frames I just clamped the chainstays in the vise, lined up the chainstays by eye, squared up the drop outs, took a deep breath, and then had at it. Both frames turned out fine…perfect actually….but that was just dumb luck. So I built al little jig that does a much better job of aligning the chainstay tubes. I assembled things, and then checked the alignment for twist, etc., before I fired up the torch. The result: ‘effing perfect. And repeatable.





FInally, I’ve been collecting parts for the final build. Like its sisters, Number 3 is going to be another “old school” bike, which appeals to me. What I have so far..

A cool “drillium” Sugino Super Mity crankset


New-in-Box Shimano 600 front and rear derailleurs


I should be done in early spring….stay tuned.

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