Saturday, January 31, 2015

Monroe, MI

Early in January, I went to a model train swap meet with a high school friend and a few of his modeling buddies.  We rode in a pristine 2001 Ford Excursion with 260,000 miles on it all the way to Monroe, MI and proceeded to spend a few hours at the place poking around.  I'm new to modeling trains but seeing as trains were one of the first interests I had in life, I felt more than ready to start.  At the moment, there's too much for me to make sense of except for the fact that good stuff is readily accessible.  Apparently, Hot wheels made 1:87 scale (HO) cars.  I thought my favorite scale was S scale (1:64) because it matched with the hundreds of Hot wheels I already have, but it doesn't seem very common at all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Suspense: 1979 Raleigh Superbe

Well, after the small amount of work I did yesterday and today, I think the only thing the bike is waiting for is the package of spokes.  Maybe a light bulb, too, but I'll get to that.

I cold-set the frame yesterday.  I had been planning for the longest time to go out and find a 2x4 as suggested in Sheldon Brown's article, I then got the bright idea that this tubing might be soft enough that it didn't need the additional leverage, and I my guess was correct.  I'm willing to bet the new spacing change (front 90 to 100 mm, rear 110 to 130 mm) isn't perfectly symmetrical, which can lead to problems depending on how bad it is.  I think I'll be fine seeing that the unrefined tubing of these bikes is so flexible, anyway.  Tightening the axle nuts would probably result in bending the dropouts to the right position as opposed to bending the axle.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Baby Steps: 1979 Raleigh Superbe

The title says it all: parts have been trickling in and I've been putting together what I can.  Various small things have been assembled and prepared for installation, but until I build the wheels and cold set the frame, none of the stuff can be installed once and for all.

I have decided to put the headlight bracket upside down.  For fear of the bolt gradually loosening and dropping the headlight on the street, I drilled a hole to put a screw in and "made" a lock washer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thanks for the reminder, Frito-Lay! I almost forgot which side faces up

In all seriousness, does anyone know what that mark is actually for?

On a related note, I managed to finish this bag of chips at exactly the same time as I did the jar of salsa without even trying.  Last year, I remember trying so hard to finish a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner at the same time.  As fate would have it, I was less than one centimeter - a couple days - away from completing the impossible when I accidentally left them in the dorm shower stall.  They were nowhere to be found by the time I realized my mistake.  I guess some things are never meant to happen (HOLD ON, I AIN'T DONE WITH YOU YET).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Most Perfect Vehicle I Have Ever Driven

The title says it all.  Earlier this week, I rented a U-haul to go pick up my new Raleigh and some other bikes to flip.  My weapon of choice was a 2014 Ford F-150 with a single cab, 8-foot box, and a 5-liter V8.

Despite my love for them, I had never driven a pickup truck before and was extra cautious about letting the rear end swing out since it had snowed the previous night.  Soon, my confidence increased.  It was so much easier to control than the Chevy Volt I'd driven at work a couple times.  I have no better way to say why than to make a list.  Keep in mind that these are my opinions and nobody is paying me to write these things.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A little late aren't we, December?

As if anyone needed proof, I don't take it easy on my Raleigh Sports.  I mean, I take care of it and I want it to live a long life (heck, it's already 56 years old) but I use it for what it was made for.  A few weeks ago, during finals week, I found that the old pre-architecture studio had resurfaced its drawing tables so they had a pile of vinyl that was about to go in the trash.  I rolled it all up and brought it home to use as work mats for my bikes.  That whole roll weighed about 25 pounds, not including the textbooks in the basket.  The old Raleigh handled it just fine, although the "ladies'" step-through frame flexed and sprang noticeably side-to-side just as it does when I come home with a heavy load of groceries.  That's the major reason why I chose a "men's" frame Superbe as my third bike.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Three months ago, I wrote about what I thought would be my ideal commuter bike.  I am excited to say that the project is now underway!

Gilbert is a Raleigh Superbe built in Canada in 1979.  Precisely, the hub was made in July and the frame in October, as the serial number states.  The original Dynohub is also still there and probably in working condition.