Monday, December 22, 2014

Camera Light

My first digital camera, which was eight years old at the time, met its demise two years ago.  The strap got caught on my hand while I was handing it to someone and it fell face first on the ground while powered on, smashing the lens in.

I also had this bike headlight that my dad bought years ago and somehow, something stopped working after I used it twice.  The outer shell was also very cheap and falling apart.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tearing It All Apart: Varsity Restoration Day 1

With final exams coming to an end on Wednesday night, I was finally able to start working on my friend's '76 Schwinn Varsity yesterday.  I did not hesitate one second to blow the entire thing apart.

Photo from when I first got it

Saturday, December 6, 2014

It Might Be Done, Part 2: '79 Ross Gran Tour

A little over a week ago, I finished adding the components to my road bike and took it for a ride.  Everything worked very nicely for what it was.  I knew that even though the bike was now fully functional, it was not done yet.  I still had to work out the issue with the winter tires.  

So, days after the ride, or maybe even the morning after, I saw that the rear summer tire was about to let go in multiple places.  Alrighty, then ...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Sharpie in a Sharpie

Alright, so the pun in the title wasn't original to me.  A friend said it was a "sharp Sharpie" when I showed it to her.  I couldn't believe that I missed the chance at making that pun.  "Yo dawg, I heard you like Sharpies, so I put a sharpie in your Sharpie so you could ... " No? Okay.

It's not actually as stealthy as it looks here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Found! 1968 Raleigh Superbe

Last summer, I got a beautiful, green 1968 Raleigh Superbe.  

It Might Be Finished: '79 Ross Gran Tour

Last time I posted about the beater Ross, I had replaced the pedals and was excited about some tires I'd found that were more suited to the winter.  Shortly after, it started snowing without warning so I tried to stick the winter tires on.  The front one fit with no problem, but the rear tire was too wide! It suddenly occurred to me that the Ross probably came with 27 x 1-1/4" tires, but the previous owner changed to 700 x 38c wheels, or in other words, 28" tires.  The road tire that is on there right now is just skinny enough to fit between the chain stays near the bottom bracket, but the hybrid tire with the extra tread on the sides could not fit.

Because of this, I have decided to trim the corner treads off.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why Can't I Hold All These Bikes?!

I don't recall writing about this one before, but I've been trying to sell a '74 Ross Europa single speed.

My friend who bought the red Univega from me had actually referred me to her friends.  Last year, I helped her get a red '87 Sheffield Te3 (department store 3-speed) with a Sturmey-Archer AW hub.  All of her friends loved it and asked where she got it, so she told the truth and they all came asking when I had nothing to sell yet.  Due to another friend's mishap, the Sheffield ended up disappearing over the summer so she bought the Univega from me afterwards.  Anyway, a friend of that friend, who I do happen to know personally, was going to buy this Ross from me after I replaced the dry-rotted tires.  That deal fell through, but another friend of those two, the one who lost the Sheffield, who I'm also friends with personally (it's a small world, isn't it) jumped at the deal.

Tonight, my roommate and I went to deliver the yellow bike to Central Campus and we used the chance to bring two other bikes that I'd been meaning to pick up back to North Campus.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Winterizing the 1958 Raleigh Sports

Although it doesn't seem to be sticking around yet, winter has finally decided to rear its head here in Ann Arbor.  We've had a bit of snow for much of this week, and biking to class and work has been a delight (more so than usual) at times.

I was lucky enough to have work on the day of the first real snow, as you can see in this low-quality image from my phone.  I took a few super long detours on the way home, looping around a few of the local parks on the non-plowed snow.  There were footprints that would have thrown me off my balance but as expected, my Raleigh didn't even come close to leaving me on the ground.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wait, what?

If there's one thing I've learned so far in life, it's that things never go as planned.  This applies to everything, including hobbies that you think you have control over.  Now, I've never been terribly interested in classic Schwinn bikes.  Sure, they're gorgeous, they're tough as rocks, and decent ones can be picked up for mere pennies, but they just never really struck a chord with me the same way the old Raleigh 3-speeds did.

What's with the spoke pattern?

I had just been dreaming about building a more practical commuter out of another Raleigh Sports when the opposite, a 1976 Schwinn Varsity, suddenly fell into my hands.  Having read a great article about it on Sheldon Brown's site a while ago, I was already relatively familiar with it.  As Shaddox says on the page, the significance of the Varsity was not that it was a good (read: light & fast) road bike by any means, but that it pretty much single-handedly brought sport cycling as a hobby back to the American adult population.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More New News: '79 Ross Gran Tour

I've officially started spending money to make my beater better.  I'm not just talking about a seat and chain, which were necessary changes, but pedals and new brake levers.  The original weighted pedals were too "square" for me, rolling around under my flat shoes each time I started at a green light. They were also slightly crushed from owners, me included, turning too sharply with the inner pedal down.  They actually still worked fine, though. Before buying new pedals, I made sure the old pedal threads hadn't corroded to the aluminum cranks and much to my amazement, the pedals came right out.  I bought BMX pedals for their flatness and width; they're perfect for the flat-bottomed shoes I always wear.

The brake and shifter cables also came in the mail, but the brake levers won't be arriving until December.  Until then, I'll be hoping that my single rear brake is adequate.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Frankenbike: '79 Ross Gran Tour

As you might be able to tell if you scroll down, this bike has been gaining momentum, both in my mind and in real life.  Also, "frankenbike" is an oft-overused term that describe bikes that are not stock, but I actually received the Ross as a dead bike, resurrecting it with other parts that were dead to begin with.  My goal was not to make a nice bike out of what would have been expensive parts, but to just make the darn thing work.  I spent the last few days digging through the various shops and piles of long-abandoned bikes around town for free junk parts that might work on the Ross since the parts I got it with were getting very bad, very quickly.  I found a front and rear derailleur, a wide side-pull brake, and a few cables.  Thinking that today would be a slow day at work, I rode the Ross with a backpack full of "new" parts to tinker with in the nice shop while I waited for something to do. I first stopped by the hardware store to pick up a few bolts as well as a new chain that was surprisingly cheap (I was not looking for a premium part, anyway).

I'd never done this before and previously disliked fiddling with derailleur bikes (as opposed to internal gear hubs), so the whole thing was a learning process.  Above, the new rear derailleur has been installed.  The old one, which I'd never actually looked at before, was caked with dirt.  I couldn't tell if it started malfunctioning because of the rusted, tired spring or because it was full of dirt.  My hands were too dirty to take a picture of that at the time.

Friday, October 31, 2014

You Lose Some, You Gain Some: '79 Ross Gran Tour

I last posted about my beater road bike fairly recently when the brake cable snapped.  Well, a couple days ago, I picked up a pair of junk fenders for free and used the chance to see if I could start working on the brakes.  I found out that the front brake lever assembly had corroded together so there was no hope of getting it to work for cheap - quickly, at least.

1979 Ross Professional Gran Tour, shortly after I got it running almost two months ago. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Road Users

When I'm using roads and sidewalks, whether walking, biking, or driving, I'm pretty passive and defensive. I prefer to follow the rules and give others the benefit of the doubt; however, I've been becoming increasingly frustrated by the incompetence shown by many road users ever since I started driving or cycling for transportation.  This is only natural, of course.  I guess I could say that the last straw before I said something about it was last night when I nearly ran into three cyclists with
no lights while I was biking home from work. Anyway, here goes.

I have zero tolerance for the following:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Continuing Journey Through Bikeland

It seems like bikes are my only break from school, which isn't actually a bad thing.  I can not only enjoy my bikes during school without setting aside extra time, but cycling is actually always faster in Ann Arbor than taking the bus.  Lately, the Ross Gran Tour has been doing a whole lot of sitting around while my old Raleigh Sports has been doing most of the "waking me up and carrying me to class every day" business.  This also isn't a bad thing.

I decided to ride the Ross to class a few days ago and I had to slam on the brakes for a pedestrian.  The front brake cable snapped inside the lever, but luckily I was barely doing 3 mph to begin with. Man, the cables on my Raleigh are far older and still put up with my hard squeezing every day just fine.  Shows the quality, I guess.  Making my way home with next to zero braking power, I contemplated converting the ailing bike to a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed coaster brake hub, or even fixed-gear, for maximum durability and minimum maintenance.  It probably won't happen.  Either way, the Ross will be sitting once again until I get around to dealing with the brake cable.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Game Changer: My Raleigh Sports has an SW Hub

Late last night, I was going through photos of my 1958 Raleigh Sports when I zoomed in close to a photo of its rusted 3-speed hub.  I'd always thought I had the ubiquitous, rock-solid reliable AW hub that tens of millions of bikes have.  I never did read the stamping clearly enough somehow, even after closely inspecting my hub so many times.  For whatever reason, the letters "SW" now stand out crystal clear and everything makes perfect sense.

Photo taken shortly after flushing out the hub last summer

The classic 3-speed AW hub was made from 1936 until the 1990s and an updated "no-neutral" version is still in production.  It is by far the most common Sturmey-Archer hub and is renowned for its durability.  Tons of information on it can be found on Sheldon Brown's site and all over the rest of the internet.  Anyway, the SW "Super Wide ratio" hub was put into production in 1956 to be a replacement for the AW.  It's a good design on paper (click the link and read up! I put it there for a reason) but due to the crude manufacturing processes back in the day, it ended up being so unreliable that the AW was once again the standard by mid-year 1958.

My hub has the date November '58 stamped on it, so I didn't really question my initial identification of it being an AW.  I did notice, however, that my hub didn't click while coasting like all of the other AW's I've experienced.  The silence was very nice, but the hub also skipped under acceleration every once in a while.  I'd always thought that those two things were attributed to the previous owner's abuse, allowing gunk to build up in the freewheel, pawls, and whatnot.  However, once I started reading, I laughed at how every single detail of what I'd experienced with my own hub was clearly articulated by Brian Hayes on Sheldon Brown's website in the link above.  Every question I'd ever had about my hub was answered in one night.

I won't go into detail about the differences between the AW and SW because they're already stated here.  Instead, I'll just talk about my personal experiences.  One of the things that made me laugh was when Hayes said the following:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Take On Commuter Bikes

I've been cycling for transportation for most of my life, but it's only been about eleven months since I started paying real attention to bikes.  Back at home, I rode a couple different cheap mountain bikes that got me from point A to B without a care.  Cycling really only became a hobby when I acquired my 1958 Raleigh Sports after college began last fall and my knowledge and awareness of bicycles has skyrocketed since then.

Photo from January 2013 after a cross-campus ride, long before restoration

Monday, September 29, 2014

Robotic Fabrication Class

This semester, I started taking an "Intro to Robotic Fabrication" class because since architecture is finding more ways to incorporate technology into design, development, and fabrication, I though why not.  We use Rhino as our base software but also use the Grasshopper and Kuka PRC plugins, pretty much as a user interface, to help us program and visualize the robot movement on the computer.

At first, I was pretty lost because whereas almost the all of my classmates were grad students, I was a sophomore.  I was just beginning to learn how to use Rhino and I hadn't actually programmed before.  A month into classes, though, I'm feeling like things covered in class aren't flying so far above my head anymore.  I'd like to thank my group members and the teachers for that because I've gained most of my knowledge from simply watching them.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Revival, Restoration, and Rebirth: A Reflection

A recent post from Velouria, the author of a blog that I follow called Lovely Bicycle!, finally put to words something that had been nagging at the back of my mind for a while.  This past summer, when I was in the process of restoring my 1958 Raleigh Sports, a strange feeling came over me that still hasn't completely left since then.  To sum it up, my faithful, dependable 3-speed no longer quite felt like the good ol' bike that I knew and loved.  Not that I regret restoring the bike at all, but this experience, as well as Velouria's post, combined to teach me a little something about how simply setting out to erase the battle scars and rust from an old machine may get you a little more than you bargained for.

Memories of this bike before I had the chance to rescue it seem so distant, even though the earliest one is only about two years old.  The story really only started ten months ago and even then, it feels like ages since this bike was finally freed from its decades-old parking spot because so much has happened since then.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

1979 Ross Gran Tour - Updates

I have very quickly gotten very used to riding my "new" bike after a week.  I've gotten a little more accustomed to the super stiff frame and crouched-over riding position, but that didn't happen before I ordered a new spring saddle for it.  More on that later in this post.  I'd even go so far as to say that I've been riding the old Raleigh even less than I would like to, the main reason being that I live on the top of a pretty long, steep hill and most of my classes are on top of another hill.

This bike looks kind of nice from far away and I love the clean lines of a classic ten-speed, but lean up close and you'll see that the paint is actually pretty badly chipped (therefore rusted) and it appears that somebody rode through a puddle of paint years ago.  These grassy photos were taken during a slightly longer ride I took in Gallup Park a few days after getting the bike.  At that time, I was still getting used to it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

1979 Ross Professional Gran Tour and Then Some

In the previous post, I briefly mentioned how lugging 45 pounds of steel up the hills between the University of Michigan campuses was quite literally a pain in the butt.  I love my Raleigh Sports so much and the ride quality is unlike any other, but I don't really want to keep arriving to class all sweaty and out of breath.  I wanted something lighter for daily commuting, but I didn't want to retire the old 3-speed entirely.  Also, I can't say that the energy and time invested in keeping my 50+ year old bike in nice shape hasn't been worth it, but there is always a nagging possibility in my mind that something could happen to it.  It's nearly bulletproof, but I don't want to beat it up.  I wouldn't like to be hit by a car while riding it, and other students' bikes scratching it up at a rack is always likely.

Enter the 1979 Ross Professional Gran Tour.  Described as being "neither professional, grand, nor touring" by someone on an online forum, it is now my daily driver/beater.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Starting off the School Year on the Bike

Alright, so it's been a week since my last post and at the moment, my Raleigh is sitting in a puddle of water waiting for the rain to subside.

I've been riding my bike between North and Central campus four times a day since that's the way my schedule works out on most days, and I can't say it's very pleasant fighting the 45-pound-ish beast up the hill on both sides.  I almost always choose the bike over the bus though, because there's something about being on my own set of wheels that gives me a rush like no other, whether it's a car, a bike, or a razor scooter.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rubber-powered Planes

Here's a short-lived hobby of mine.  In 8th grade, I joined the Science Olympiad team and signed up for Wright Stuff, an event where we were to build rubber-band powered airplanes and have them stay circling around in the air as long as possible.

I first had to buy a kit containing instructions, two propellers, rubber band hooks, and the rubber itself.  I bought a 16:1 gear ration rubber winder.  The white plane was my first and my friend and I accidentally ruined the delicate Mylar so I used grocery bags to cover the wings.  I also used delicate balsa to make the lightweight frame, following the instructions.  The most challenging part perhaps was getting the dihedral angle correct, in other words, the shallow angle at which the wing is V'd upwards.  The two sides are also twisted to make the plane fly in a circle.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cool Classics and Other Luxurious Rides

During the past spring break, which was the first week of March, I had a short, very informational internship with an architecture firm.  After work every day, I'd stop by the store just to look at which cool Hot wheels cars they had for sale.  I ended up letting go of some cash in exchange for some exceptionally interesting cars.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cars For Fun

I'd been thinking about this combination for a while before I actually drew it, but here is the "Shits & Giggles" pair: a '27 Model T hot rod with a '53 Mercury Flathead V8 and a Meyers Manx with a '60s Ford 289 c.i. V8 dropped in place of the VW motor.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Getting Settled In At School - Thrift Shopping

Settling in at the new apartment before school starts has been fun.  I've been having to run errands and take care of business, often spending the whole morning, afternoon, or both on my bike travelling between places for the last week.  My bike's rear rack and basket have seen more cargo this week alone than it had for the entire rest of the time combined that I've had the bike for.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

More Car Art: 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, etc.

Yesterday, I talked about how most of my car drawings were attempted imitations of real life images.  I'm not sure if I would actually consider those "art" because there isn't much thought or personal style that I intentionally put into these illustrations, but I could be wrong.  I guess what came out really does reflect my personal style, even though I tried my best to make it *gasp* like real life.  Well, I suppose they could be art because things like the realistic paintings from the Baroque period are without a doubt considered art.  Either way, I don't really care.  I just draw for my own satisfaction.

I also briefly mentioned my numbering systems for different scans of my car drawings to deal with my inability to decide on colors.  I'll go through a sequence below with my '57 Lincoln drawings first.

'57 Lincoln Premiere 0.0 on the left.  I forgot that I wasn't supposed to color it yet so I reverted the scan to black & white and had to sort of blot out the taillights on Microsoft Paint before printing it out on my non-color printer.  '57 Lincoln Premiere 0.1 on the right was the result.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monsters In The Garage

I always keep a list of cars to draw when I have time since my mind is usually thinking about this kind of stuff.  It's weird, although drawing is sort of fun, the main reason why I draw cars is because I have an image in my head that I would like to see in real life.  My habit is that if something I want doesn't exist or isn't obtainable by me, I make it myself.  Therefore, when it comes to images of cars, I attempt to make most of my drawings very realistic so that I can capture the image from my mind and put it on paper.  I also don't usually do art to express any feelings.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Last-minute Projects

Now that I'm finally at school but classes haven't started yet, I can finally make a few more posts.  So, near the end of the summer, with all the big projects done and out of the way, I started attacking a few of the smaller tasks that I'd been meaning to do.  I felt even more productive just by knocking a few of these out every day.  There are only a few that are worth posting about, though.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Man, it's been a while since I last posted.  I've been packing to move off to school and it's been a bit more difficult to find interesting things to talk about (to me, at least).  I've also been learning a little more about trains as I said I would in the last post, which is coming along quite well.  I might post about that down the road.  As for the frequency of my posts once school kicks in, I'll have to drop back from the daily posting that I've been doing during the summer but will still try to post more than once a week.

Here's one of the most interesting things I found while researching about bikes a while back: the 1960 Bowden Spacelander.

Image from

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Favorite Steam Locomotives

I've loved trains, especially steam locomotives, since even before I got into cars.  The strange thing about this is that while my car hobby exploded into an almost all-encompassing obsession that nearly takes over my life, I haven't learned nearly as much about trains in the meantime.  This could be in part by the fact that cars are much easier for me to relate to: I see them daily, ride or drive them daily, and classic or otherwise significant cars aren't all that rare.  I can safely bet that on an average day here in Michigan, it's more likely that I see a car I love than it is to see even a regular freight train on the tracks down my street.

Allegheny #1601, one of the batch of the heaviest, most powerful steam locomotives ever built on display at The Henry Ford
Image from

Monday, August 18, 2014

In the Black of the Night

After returning from the Dream Cruise on Saturday, which I wrote about yesterday, I threw down some dinner and met my friend Nikolai to go biking again.  I decided to bring my Raleigh Sports for the ride.  At 8 PM, we headed east along Hines Drive further than we had ever ridden before.  The sky quickly got dark but we both had blinky taillights and Nikolai had a super bright LED headlight that way outperformed my Dynohub LED.  Visibility was not too much of an issue.  We cruised about fifteen miles down the road and decided it was about time to head home.  Since I had been riding at least ten miles nearly every day, I felt as though my energy reserve was endless.  Despite the weight of my all-steel 3-speed being a few times that of Nikolai's road bike, I was keeping up comfortably in second gear.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mustang Alley and the Woodward Dream Cruise: Boss 429 Spotted

Yesterday, my friend Kevin and I volunteered to be photographers for Mustang Alley at the 20th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.  Each year since 1994, Woodward Avenue starting from the Detroit city limits to about sixteen miles to the north fills up with classic and modified cars on specific dates.  The Woodward Dream Cruise started out as a fundraiser but has since expanded into a multiple-day event in which large corporations are involved, namely Detroit's Big Three automakers.  Mustang Alley at 9 mile and Woodward, itself in its 16th year, is run by Ford and saw an especially large turnout in cars this year because of the Mustang's 50th Anniversary.

I picked up Kevin and essentially drove more than twenty miles east on the very road that we live on.  After several scenery changes and a few turns, we found ourselves in the volunteer parking garage and walked out into the "Snake Pit", a purely-Shelby and SVT vehicle display area in Mustang Alley.

Friday, August 15, 2014

St. Benedict Chapel by Peter Zumthor: 1:30 Scale Model

I have to say that this summer has been the most productive summer that I've ever had.  Here's the next big project that I've finished.  This started out as the final project in my ARCH 202 (Graphic Communication) class in the fall semester of 2013 at U of M.  Each person was assigned a building to draw at a certain self-determined scale.  We were to draw horizontal and vertical sections, as well as an axonometric analysis (exploded) drawing. Later that year, many of my classmates decided to take ARCH 218 (Visual Studies) in the spring semester because the same instructor was teaching it.  Since about 70% of the class were 202 students, our instructor allowed the oldies, me included, to build a model from the old drawings for the last assignment.

There is a walk-through video in the link that I suggest checking out. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014


I always catch myself wondering about funny little things that don't matter.  Right now, I'm a little mystified as to why Hot wheels cars offered in McDonald's Happy Meals are so different from those sold in stores.  I only have one example, which is called Riveted that my friend gave to me nine years ago.  Riveted looks to be based off a 1969 Mustang fastback except the two inner grille headlights were moved out to the outer headlight buckets.  It also has gull wing doors, quad circle tail lights, and a spoiler that looks like it's been "riveted" on.  The valve covers of engine are reminiscent of the Boss 429 V8 which was also offered in 1969.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bursley Sunrise

It's hard to imagine that I'll be heading back to college at U of M in about a week.  I'll be living in an apartment this year with three good friends which is very different from my living arrangements last year.  During the past school year, I lived on North Campus at Bursley, a concrete/cinder block dorm that was completed in 1967.  It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest dorm on campus, with a capacity of over 1300 students.  I liked living there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Headphones

I mentioned in an earlier post that despite being raised a musician, I didn't get into music until about 9th grade.  As expected, I didn't get serious about my headphones until I got more serious about music.  In my freshman year of high school, I voiced my desire for a pair of studio headphones because I found earbuds to be uncomfortable and all of the headphones that came with various old music playback devices weren't up to par.

My 30mm Sonys left to right: V150, Giiq, and ZX300

Monday, August 11, 2014

Old News: Low-Budget Repairs for the Wagon

In February of 2012, months after my father handed the Sable wagon to me, he drove it to work one day and was softly T-boned by a drunk driver on the way home.  Luckily it happened at a very low speed and pretty much nothing happened, except for this:

After thirteen years of taking such good care of the car, it was scarred by a drunk guy in a Ford Ranger.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Carpet Bumps are Always Welcome

This is the same car that is in the current banner photo for the blog.  It's a Revell 1:25 1956 Ford Thunderbird model kit that came with a pre-painted metal body.  The box had images of the TV show American Dreams on it but I'm not familiar with it, so I can only guess that this car must have appeared in the show.

Photo credit Nikolai Hedler

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Potty Humor

Even though I'm a college student, I'm still very much a fan of potty humor.  I sure hope I never grow out of it.  There are two jokes today: One heard from Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe and another found online with NSFW language.  Brace yourselves.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Uncompromised Luxury"

It's interesting to see how far the culture and expectations surrounding cars has changed throughout the last century.  I mentioned that in an earlier post and today, I'll take my opinion about the subject into a little more detail.

Video from Audi of America

I saw the above advertisement one morning and near the end of the video, the words "uncompromised luxury" jumped out at me.  I laughed at myself, noticing how much my preferences for a luxury car differed from what people today expect from a luxury car.  Today, most luxury cars (not limited to Audi) are pretty fuel efficient, laden with electronic features, and have sporty handling.  Regular cars are also getting more luxurious as they come.  The nice Audi in this advertisement isn't even expensive by today's standards.  While I can't deny that today's luxury cars are very fancy indeed, it seems like my preferences for luxury cars are more on par with those of an old man.  

1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, Givenchy designer series
Image from

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sprinkler Repairs: A Rite of Passage in Michigan

I'm not sure if this post will be helpful or interesting to anyone, but here we go.  About two weeks ago, my father decided to finally start watering the grass because the weather had stayed pretty cool until that time.  During testing, we saw that there was water gushing out from under the grass next to the driveway.  This was not much of a surprise since the past winter was so harsh.  The next day, I dug out the area around the leak and saw that one of the black polyethylene pipes connected to a sprinkler head had been pulled out a little bit.  The next day, after the area dried out, I undid the sprinkler pipe, cleaned out the opening, and tried to even out the gap.  That didn't do the trick.

The following pictures are all from my cell phone since I didn't want to get my camera dirty.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Breaking Records in a Hot Wheels Car

Being a car enthusiast from when I was only a few years old, it makes sense that I'm a fan of all things Hot wheels.  Hot wheels not only produces toys, but they have created numerous real-life, driveable versions of their cars for display and publicity and stuff like that.  Within the last few years, they've gone so far as to break records with their running, driving cars.  I don't think this post needs any further introduction.

Video from Hot Wheels

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Ever since I got my '58 Raleigh Sports 3-speed back in November, I've sort of had my eye out for cool bikes around campus.  Not that I have to try very heard to spot them; once bikes were on my radar, they were hard to ignore.  I was particularly happy about finding more English 3-speeds, so I'll share those ones on this post.  Millions of these bomb-proof bikes were produced every year for about half a century, more than 70% of which were shipped out of England.  It's no surprise that many can be seen still alive and kicking today.  Most of these photos are from my cell phone since I don't carry my DSLR to class.

Monday, August 4, 2014

1949 Mercury Coupe and 1956 Ford F-100: The Quintessential Customs

It is common knowledge in the car community that the 1949-1951 Mercuries, along with their Ford and sometimes Lincoln counterparts, are some of the most popular, if not most sought-after custom cars.  Starting at the time when these cars were new, people started shaving, slamming, and repainting the curvaceous bodies to be sleeker, lower, and more beautiful.  Most of these customs were more focused on appearance than on speed, although raising performance was not uncommon.  Today, a quick Google image search of "49 Mercury" will yield many more customs than stock, restored vehicles. With the popularity of the cars among hot rodders, it's no wonder that the '49-'51 is the most replicated Mercury in small scale models.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Pirate Ship

Just a short post for today since I've been pretty busy.  I have a joke that one of my best friends told me back in high school and even he couldn't get through it without laughing.  It went something like this:

Image from

Once upon a time, there was a pirate ship sailing on the deep blue sea.  One day, the guy in the crow's nest says "Captain! there's a ship ahead!" The captain told the crew to prepare to fight and said "First mate, bring me my red scarf so if I get shot in the neck, our crew won't notice and they'll keep fighting valiantly." The two ships reach each other moments later and the pirates fight and win.

The next day, the guy in the crow's nest says "Captain! there are two ships ahead!" and again, the crew gets ready to fight.  The captain tells his first mate "First mate, bring me my red shirt so even if I get shot in the chest, our crew will keep fighting valiantly!" They get to the ships and win the battle.

On the third day, the guy in the crow's nest says "Captain! FIFTY ships ahead!" This time, the captain shouts "First mate! Bring me my brown trousers!"

The end.

Friday, August 1, 2014

1958 Raleigh Sports: It's Done! Restoration Days 14 and 15

Not much happened on Day 14, actually.  I spent most of the day working with Dad to repair the sprinkler's main supply pipe, cutting PVC and cementing it together.  I used the remaining time to give the handlebars and brake calipers the WD-40 penny treatment and removed most of the rust.

The first thing I did yesterday, day 15, was pack the fork bearings.  I slathered grease on all four bearing surfaces and smushed them together to install the fork.

Miles of Exploration on Two Wheels

For part of this summer while my Raleigh Sports was in pieces being restored, I rode my mountain bike all over the place, finally getting to explore the town that I grew up in for the last fifteen years. In relation to that and the anticipated completion of the Raleigh, I started to think about all of the times I cruised (or bolted) around Ann Arbor during the school year trying to discover new places and the specific riding experience that the rough, unrestored bike provided.