The Marginal Way

It’s odd when bicycles are classified on the city’s infrastructure as play toys so that automobiles can conveniently be driven irresponsibly. That’s what I was thinking when I saw this bicycle sign posting a limit of “6mph”. Are you kidding me? Meanwhile are cars are whipping down SW Marginal Way well over the speed limit. Coincidentally, the sign had been run over by a car.

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Elvish Steel apparently not the same as mithril

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As a fan of bicycles, you’d have to be completely oblivious to not know that there’s a renaissance of sorts for steel bicycles, particularly at the low volume, artisan end of the market. Many individuals are leaping into the trade with wonderfully ornate bicycles, but sometimes I wonder about the design choices they make. People want to believe that they have an instinctive feel for what is sound design, the assertion that if it “looks right, it is right”. The basic skills of framebuilding do not differ that much from other trades such as jewelry making or other more mundane fabrication employment, but a bicycle is a lot more complex structure than a broach or a welded iron bed frame. Not a whole lot of engineering goes into traditional steel framebuilding, so experience building and repairing steel becomes the guiding hand in design.

Take for instance the right rear dropout. It is one of the most highly stressed areas of the frame. It may not be the best place to get really fancy with one’s file. And even when you might think that a design may be quite conservative, you still have to worry about the metallurgy of the dropout itself. Is it forged or cast, how consistent is the product supplied by the manufacturer?

In the photo above is a broken dropout from a company supposedly run by elves (who happen to be enamored of the French). I’ve seen at least 7 or more of these bikes come into Davidson Cycles for the same repair; we’re almost like an official repair contractor for the other bike company. Yes, it’s steel and can be repaired, but it isn’t cheap or convenient.

photos of the repair after the jump

Hufnagel Cycles

For those cyclists that ride in the rain, they take it very seriously, like with this Hufnagel.

Uploaded by Hufnagel Cycles | more from the Bike Hugger Photostream.

Students in Oregon Learn More About Cycling Than Adults Anywhere

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Oregon’s Statesman Journal is reporting about a program in a Willamette middle school that’s providing ten hours of instruction on bicycle safety to students.

By comparison, that’s 10 hours more training that drivers are required to take on cycling. This program should be everywhere.

Fender on my Fixie

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I wish I was back in Taiwan. I loved the weather there, warm and humid. Instead I’m here in Seattle, dank and chill. Still, since Taiwan I’ve been more consistent on riding, and I intend to keep going. I finally had to give up and acknowledge the death of summer by putting the fender on my Sycip “modal concept” bike.

I’m using last year’s SKS Race Blade XL fender, but I’ve improved it by securing it to the empty brake bridge with a bolt and wingnut in order to reduce rattling. The fender has enough space at the back that I can remove the wheel from the rear-facing dropouts without moving the fender.

I kept the 60mm deep Hed rim on the front despite yesterday’s blustery conditions. I call it practice, a way of expanding the conditions in which I can effectively use deep aero wheels. If there’s any trick to riding aero wheels in windy conditions, I’d say that you should ride a low and long position on the bike. It puts more weight on the front wheel so it’ll jump less in a sidewind, and the hand position give you more leverage on the steering axis.

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