After obtaining a loaner regulator while mine gets sent back to Craftsman for repair, I was able to do some external brazing.

I'm still fighting with temperature control a bit, but I feel like each time I pick up the torch I get a little better.  

Head tube fillet!
These dropouts were so thick it was difficult to heat them without overheating the chain and seat stays.  
Figuring out how to miter these by hand was interesting.
Bottom bracket, and a nice view of the fancy bent chainstays!
Suddenly, a bicycle.
Having the loaner regulator seemed to make a huge difference - I think my oxygen regulator wasn't really doing a great job of, well, regulating.  Hopefully when I get it back it will work just as nicely as this one.  

Once I clean up the flux, I'll double back and fix any holes or weird areas on the fillets.  Then it's time for braze ons!  


Coming Soon To Pursuit Bars Near You

I went to do some final brazing this weekend and discovered that my oxygen regulator had decided "nah."  Since Amazon doesn't consider oxygen regulators worthy of same day delivery service quite yet (apparently that's reserved for "essentials," like "food") I figured I'd tackle another project that's been getting finished way too slowly over these past few weeks.

Disregard the funky artifacting.
This is undergoing a test print at the moment, and after any additional edits I'll make the modifications for cable routing.  Hopefully I can have these for you guys by the end of summer! 


Loose Goose

Brad Marshall, a pretty incredible industrial industrial designer and overall cool guy, created this masterpiece recently.

Photo via Cycle Exif
The whole write up and a few more stellar photos can be found here, and if you're anywhere near Brisbane you'll be able to see this bike in person at Pushies Galore this coming weekend.  Aside from the design being modeled after other similar style pursuit frames, this bike is made even more special by the fact that many of the parts were 3D printed!

I remember those bars!  Photo via Cycle Exif.
Seeing this bike finished is extra cool, as I found out that Brad was up to something when he inquired about these bars.  I got to see a sneak peak of some of what he was working on, but when this popped up today I was blown away.  I'd love to see this in action at a velodrome...and even though it looks quite too large for me, I'd love to ride it! 

Brad, if you're reading this, I sure hope you have more bike related projects in mind for the future :D!!


Alexander Kirichenko

Today's entry was sent to me by a friend of mine, and has taken me far too long to get uploaded here!  

Here's a bit of history for all of you about Alexander Kirichenko.  The articles below explain this photo of Alexander holding half of his handlebars...yikes!!

I'll include both the original articles and their English translations.

Информация о причинах поломки руля Тахион на велосипеде Александра Кириченко на Чемпионате Мира 1989 г. (Лион, Франция)

На одной из тренировок перед чемпионатом СССР (на котором проводился отбор на ЧМ) Александр Кириченко, выполняя ускорение с виража, упал в районе 200-метровой отметки.  При падении удар пришелся в руль. Осмотр велосипеда Cinelli показал: деформацию трубы руля в месте ее входа в усилитель (материал – алюминиевый сплав); трещину в месте присоединения кронштейна крепления руля к коронке вилки (материал – сталь).  

Представители ЦКТБ, которые присутствовали на этой тренировке, предложили Кириченко сразу заменить руль.  Но Александр от предложения отказался, мотивируя это тем, что руль выправят, и что он привык к этой конфигурации руля.  На следующий день тренер Б. Васильев проконсультировался с представителями ЦКТБ о способе починки крепления руля.  Было рекомендовано крепление на коронке вилки выпрямить, а трещину заварить. Это было выполнено и затем, по просьбе Васильева, крепление было приведено представителями ЦКТБ в надлежащий вид.  Еще через день Кириченко сообщил, что А. Сенцовский (механик сборной команды СССР) руль выпрямил.

Представители ЦКТБ предупредили Кириченко, что с рулем из алюминия так поступать нельзя и его лучше заменить, но Кириченко продолжил проводить на нем тренировки.  Далее, используя этот руль, Кириченко выиграл Чемпионат СССР; провел серию тренировок к ЧМ, в которые входили и старты с места, т.е. руль постоянно испытывал максимальные нагрузки.  

Из этого можно сделать вывод, что в произошедшей поломке ни сам руль, ни его конструкция, ни его изготовители не виноваты.


Information on the causes of the Takhion handlebar failure on Alexander Kirichenko's bicycle at the World Championship in 1989 (Lyon, France)

At one of the training runs before the championship of the USSR (from which riders were selected for the World Championship) Alexander Kirichenko fell near the 200 meter mark when accelerating out of a bend. During the fall the energy of the impact was transferred into the handlebars. The inspection of the Cinelli bicycle showed the following: deformation of the handlebar tube at the point of its entry into the joint (welded with aluminum); a crack at the point of attachment to the mounting bracket steering fork crown (made out of steel).

CDTA representatives present at this training event recommended immediate handlebar replacement to Mr. Kirichenko. Alexander declined the recommendation, reasoning that the handlebars will be straightened and that he is used to this configuration of the bars. The next day, coach Boris Vasilyev consulted with representatives of CDTA on fixing the handlebar mounting. It was recommended to straighten the handlebar mounting attachment point and weld the crack. This was done and by request of Vasily, the repair was taken to representatives of CDTA for their approval. In another day Kirichenko reported that mechanic A. Sentsovsky (USSR team mechanic) had straightened the handlebars.

Representatives of CDTA warned Kirichenko that an aluminum handlebar assembly can not be repaired in this way, and it is best to replace it. Kirichenko continued to conduct training on it. Using this handlebar assembly, Kirichenko won the Championship of the USSR, and conducted a series of training sessions for the World Championship, part of which included starts from a stopped position (during which the handlebars experience continued maximum application of tension load)

This information is the basis for the conclusion that the eventual failure of the handlebars can not be attributed to the handlebars themselves, or their proprietary design and construction, or their manufacturer.


Газета «Советский спорт», № 287, 16 декабря 1989 г.

Вопрос: Александр, кто все-таки виноват в лионской драме?

А. К.: Во многом - я сам. Не настоял вовремя, чтобы сменили руль, который уже с лихвой отработал свое. Он сослужил мне отличную службу: на этой машине я стал чемпионом страны, зимним и летним, обладателем Кубка СССР, победил в «Большом призе Тулы», выиграл соревнования на призы. Аэрофлота, завоевал «золото» Игр-88 в Сеуле и, наконец, побил мировой рекорд, к которому, девять-лет никто не мог подступиться. Но... Во-первых, не было руля такой формы, которая бы меня устраивала, да и менять что-либо в столь счастливой машине накануне чемпионата мира не хотелось. Помните? «Коней на переправе не меняют!».  

Но к «Тахиону», изготовившему когда-то этот руль, претензий у меня нет. Только благодарность.


From the newspaper "Soviet Sport", № 287, December 16, 1989

Question: Alexander, who is still to blame for the Lyon drama?

A. K. In many ways - myself. I did not insist in time that the handlebars be swapped out, and they had exceeded their lifespan. They served me well: on them I became the national champion (winter and summer), the owner of the USSR Cup, winner of the Grand Prix of Tula, won victories for prizes of Aeroflot, conquered the gold in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, and finally broke the world record, to which no one had come close to for nine years...but, first of all, there were no type of handlebars that pleased me and I did not want to be swapping anything on such a fortuitous machine on the eve of the world championship. Remember the saying? "While crossing a fast river, the wise don't swap horses."

Additionally I have no complaints to Takhion, whom built the handlebars, only gratitude.


I hope you found this as fascinating as I did!! Thank you for sharing, Vadim!

(Please pardon any translation errors - I had help but also attempted some of this myself, and I very well may have borked some of the translations!)


The Sunken City: Exploring Alviso and Drawbridge

The Silicon Valley seems like the sort of place that wouldn't at all be synonymous with a ghost town.  With buildings upon buildings housing companies such as Google, Apple, Oracle, etc., and the demand for housing high in an already dense area, the last thing anyone would imagine here is an abandoned town slowly sinking into the slough.  

But yet, that's exactly what there is. 

Drawbridge, California has an interesting history and can only be accessed by a treacherous trek along an active rail, but you can get pretty close and see some abandonment in the nearby town of Alviso by bike.  An amazing write up up Drawbridge's history and some excellent photos can be found here, but I'll also share some photos from a jaunt last weekend to check out the Sunken City.  It's been nicknamed such as it is slowly sinking into the bay, which started when an increase of infrastructure caused more water to be pumped into the slough.  This is why Drawbridge was slowly abandoned.

The Guadalupe River Trail which goes through downtown San Jose leads right to Alviso.  So that's where we started.  

The trail runs right past the airport - a few years back before this section was added, you had to ride through the airport.  It was not fun.  
This mural covers the San Jose Mineta Airport parking garage.  I always thought it was cloth, but looking close it appears to be something like ping pong balls stuck into some sort of mesh.  Kinda cool! 
The trail ends right where Alviso begins.  Alviso is still populated, but there are areas that are no longer used.  

Once we reached Alviso, we found a public shore access area that seemed to have been abandoned for some time. 
The building slightly above my handlebars was the South Bay Yacht Club.  It was upkept, but still seemingly abandoned...there were also boats in the harbor - but no way to get them in or out of the harbor.  The whole place was a bit eerie.
In memory of Tim Haines.  Found in the grass near the abandoned boats.  He was loved.
Following a rocky, gravelly trail, we passed by old dilapidated buildings and century plants sprouting trunks showing their age.  Eventually we came to a loading dock that is still in use, which turned out to be a part of the Alviso Marina Park, on the edge of the Alviso slough. 

The modern docks were a stark contrast to the old buildings and endless grasses on the slough, but we were able to ride all the way out to the end of the gangways.  
A sign on the gangway.  It pertains to weather conditions and boats, but I think it's a good bit of advice in general! 
Leaving the docks and heading left was the nature preserve, which is where we were going.
From the docks we followed the trail to the nature preserve, which was trails winding through grasses and out to the slough.  It was a bit surreal.  

A sea of grass.
The wooden trails were guarded by these gates, which stood up from the grass and made interesting silhouettes over the bay.
We moved on through the slough, which almost felt like a path riding out into the ocean.  Shorebirds and seafoam were everywhere - there were more pelicans here than I'd ever seen in my entire life.

The trails went on for some miles through the slough.  They were rough, sandy, and gravelly - probably better suited for a CX bike or a mountain bike, but my bike did just fine!
We stopped to look back towards the bay.  
The trails continued on, but eventually we came to these tracks which are still active and serve the Altamont Commuter Express Train and the a few other Amtrak lines.
The tracks were the only entrance and exit into Drawbridge.  Though I wanted to head out, a bike on live tracks is not the safest way to cross into Drawbridge, and it's closed off to the public.

The road to Drawbridge.  The land mass narrows and there's eventually nowhere to go if the train comes.  If you're going to cross, you'd better know what you're doing! 
No trains coming from either direction, so I had to try to shoot my bike on the tracks!  
Following the loop of the slough trail, it eventually led back to Alviso through a seemingly abandoned natural area which slowly gave way to neighborhoods.  

One of the last signs in the nature preserve.  Someone bothered to give the ducks blue collars.  
With the wind at our backs, we took the Guadalupe River Trail back to San Jose and had some well deserved burritos.  If you're in the bay, I recommend heading out to the slough and exploring - it's well worth it!


A Day of Stays

Sorry for my silence lately!  

Today I spent a good chunk of time in the shop working on the chain stays and the seat stays for the touring frame.  

When I was working on stays at the Yamaguchi Frame Building School Mr. Yamaguchi had a few nifty tricks to deal with stays.  However, this current bike is a bit tricky and is using bent chain stays, so I had to do a bit of magic to get things to work.  And by magic I mean math: I calculated the angle of the chain stays and then mitered them accordingly, making sure that I kept the amount of material removed consistent on both sides.

We have a stay!
Once the stays were mitered, I had to slot the other ends to fit the dropouts, which took approximately forever.  The only file I had to do this was a low quality file that I hadn't yet replaced with a Nicholson file...and I definitely learned my lesson!  

Now it's really starting to look like a bike!
I still need to crimp the drive side chain stay, thought I did mark and measure with the crank that will go on this bike so that I have a good point of reference.  
The seat stays are about halfway done, but I need a better file before I attempt to slot them.  Once they're good to go the rear triangle will be tacked, which means final brazing and the (many) braze-ons are coming soon...


I meet cool people on the train sometimes

Friday morning I was on the train to work, on complete autopilot, when another lady cyclist commented that we both matched our bikes.

I asked her if it was intentional - she was wearing teal leggings with a black shirt and a teal backpack that matched an older teal Specialized (I think, I hadn't had coffee yet) that she said she had been using as a beater.  She said it was pure coincidence, but it was a pretty awesome accident! 

I was in an orange tank with orange gloves and an orange helmet, which is all intentional on my part - visibility, a cool color combo, and appeasing Giants fans and all that.  We got to talking a bit about bikes and commuting in style, and then parted ways at the next stop.

Thank you, rad stranger.  It was a brief but excellent encounter that made my day!