I've been enjoying your e-zine for a long
time and look forward to each new edition. I've been building custom bikes
for a few years and would like to share them with your readers. Here's a
picture of my 10 speed chopper made from an old '70's Raleigh. It's low
and fast. Note the center-pull brake. Bar end shifter. Aluminum front forks.
It is held together with PC-7 epoxy. No welding. I've put on lots of miles
and it holds together just fine.
Here's yet another use for the discarded
lightweight bike. I found an old Schwinnn Varsity Deluxe behind a dumpster.
The wheels and chain were rusted-out but the frame was fine. I was talking
to Jay Stewart about building a swing bike with the old Varsity. With the
horizontal top tube, two fronts could be cut and joined in the middle. Jay
said a Schwinn would be good because the head tube and seat tube were of
the same diameter and were interchangeable. This would allow a seat tube
to be put in the rear head tube to connect the seat. Jay donated an identical
frame size Schwinn Suburban to the project. The two top tubes were cut and
sleeved with an inner sleeve. I found some brass plumbing pipe at the hardware
store that fit inside the tubes very tight, making an inner sleeve to connect
between the tubes and hold them together tightly for welding. The down tubes
of each bike were cut and sleeved to make horizontal, parallel to the top
tube. The handlebars are home-made from an old "Abdominizer" exercise
machine I found on the side of the road on trash day. I found out the old
Varsity was a Deluxe when we disassembled the crank and a million ball bearings
fell to the ground. On this model the rear wheel was fixed and the front
crank was free-wheeling. That way the the chain was always moving so you
could shift gears while coasting. Pretty cool. We switched the crank and
put on a 26" wheels. At first, this bike is very difficult to ride.
It will throw you to the ground. It is the sensation of learning to ride
a bike all over again. Some fun tricks like the U-turn in the driveway,
or swerving the front wheel side to side can be learned quickly. No serious
injuries have been reported from riding the "Schwinng Bike".
Queen Mary Recumbent
I have always liked recumbent bikes, the
riding position makes sense to me. You can get more power to the pedals
when you're pushing with your back against a seat. I had a BikeE recumbent
and liked the seat-to-pedals position. The BikeE bars seemed too close to
my chest and were not adjustable. The backrest wasn't comfortable with no
lower back support. I didn't like the small wheels. It felt like I was riding
a child's bike. I prefer large wheels for large people. I sold the BikeE.
I call my long-wheeled-base-above-seat-steering
recumbent the "Queen Mary" because it is so darn long. Even with
the extra length, it is still possible to navigate a riding U-turn on a
two lane street with the handlebars at full turn. The riding position is
very comfortable, sort of like driving a car. The bike started out as a
26" girl's 10 speed. The frame had a slight 3" horizontal curve
where the down tube connected to the seat tube. This is where I hacksawed
the frame to allow for a 37" tube extension. I found a tube that fit
tightly over the bike frame so no jig was needed for welding. Another bottom
bracket from an old Raleigh was cut sleeved and welded to the front. Another
tube was cut and welded between the two bottom brackets. The first backrest
was a pair of handlebars inserted into the seat tube with a camping chair
sling. It worked surprisingly well, but I wanted lower back support. The
current backrest is made from an old skateboard deck, upholstered with material
from a discarded office chair. The gear shift is in front of the seat, which
allows for a shorter cable and one less cable on the handlebars. First-time
riders are in for a totally new riding expereience. The long-wheel base
takes a bit of getting used to. Soon you can sit back and relax. My lower
back feels good pushing against the backrest as I pedal. My arms and shoulders
are relaxed. I can ride this bike all day.
There's a great deal of interest in autopeds
in the Netherlands. They have a National Autoped federation over there.
After seeing the Helsinki's club page I made my own. It's a scooter with
27" 10 speed wheels with the high pressure 120 lb. tires. The kids
shouldn't be the only ones to have fun on their Razors. Those small wheels
make me nervous. Anyone who has skated or skateboarded knows that small
pebbles will stop the wheel dead in it's tracks. See this scar on my chin?
With these large wheels you can get high speed without worrying about flying
over on to your face. I made the deck long enough for both feet. That helps
out when changing kicking legs. I usually make two kicks then change sides.
It looks like a slow motion run when riding it. It's very nice to ride for
long distances and my back feels more relaxed after a ride, also seems to
be a good gut burner. The down tube is 1 inch by 2 inch steel. The bottom
rails are 1x1 square steel tube. Brakes front and rear. Brake cable is from
a tandem bike. When I was looking for a donor bike, I went into a bike shop
and told the owner I wanted to spend $20 on a used bike to chop. I picked
out an old Royce Union 10 speed. The owner said forget it, he had over $20
in the pedals alone. I said keep the pedals, I don't need them. He took
them off and I got the bike.
A Modern "Hobbyhorse"
Imagine it's 1818 and the bicycle chain won't be
invented for another 75 years. All there is to get around are your feet
or horse..Someone comes up with a muscle-powered wheeled machine- the hobby
horse. The rich rent the machines for 25 cents an hour. That was probably
a day's wages back then. This is my 2003 version. It's really fun to ride.
I got a Sawzall and some yellow paint
for Christmas and made these two bikes. I made the larger one for myself
and then made the shorter one for my dad's 75th birthday last weekend.
Check out these handlebars - I found them
in the trash. They started out as part of an "Abdominizer" exercise
machine. I saw them by the curb when I was driving by and they just screamed
handlebars! They are wider and thicker than normal handlebars and I think
they are much more comfortable. The frame is made from two identical girl's
Huffy beach cruisers. I laid one frame on top of the other in the grass
and I liked the parallel curved lines of the top tubes, they looked like
a flag waving in the wind. So I cut the bottom out of the top frame and
extended the steering tube. With that super long steering stem, I think
it looks like those bikes from 1899. I call it the "Retro bike"
It is a single speed with hub brake which adds to its clean simple lines.
I like the heads up riding position and the handlebars sweep back and feel
just about perfect to me.
I alway like to stretch definitions and
blur boundries whenever I can.
I've been building a lot of recumbents
with the small front wheel and a large rear wheel. From a design point of
view, the small front wheel is the lightest, best handling choice. But I'm
just not comfortable with the looks of a 20 inch front wheel on an adult
bike. I much prefer the larger wheels for larger riders. One of my first
submissions to Bikerodnkustom was a long wheel based recumbent with 26 x
1.5 tires that I called "The Queen Mary" (because she was so long).
On that bike I used a girls bike for the front part of the frame. I always
wanted to build a beach cruiser based long wheel based recumbent with big
fat tires and a man's cantelever frame for the front. Here's my first long
wheel based recumbent using the 24x3 tires for both the front and rear of
a bike. Using the fat tires as a starting place, I decided to make everything
on the bike oversized. I found a men's 26 inch Huffy beach cruiser that
used oversized frame tubes. The biggest seat I could find was a tractor-sized
seat from a trike. I used 25 inch ape hanger handlebars from J&B Imports.
The frame fits my leg length perfectly, and the pull back handlebars feel
comfortable. I tried many different back rests before I found the most comfortable
one. The best one came off an office chair. All I had to do was drill one
hole and it fit perfectly. I even used the big over-sized black knob that
came with the chair.
Please note the super cheap custom part
I used to cover the empty bottom bracket hole. It's a $1.19 blind spot mirror
from the auto parts store.
With the single speed hub and coaster
brake, this bike couldn't be any simpler. I like how clean it looks with
no brake or gear cables. It rides very smoothly and is surprisingly fast.
The seat height is only 22 inches. The wheel base is 69 inches. It handles
so well, that I can do a riding U-turn on a two lane street. It's so low
I can reach down and pick up newspapers while riding. Overall, I enjoy riding
it very much.
I like having the small backrest to push
against when pedalling.
The grey primer color looks home made,
not store bought.
Plus, I don't have to be too fussy about
scratches- they spray right out.