Tuesday, January 3


I think I already bragged on this stupid thing I made out of a shoe box months back.

Basically, something that lets me flip my bike over and work on it.  Some of my bikes just don't rest on their bars so well due to bells and TOGS and light mounts and goofy shaped bars like on my tarck bike.

I'm aware that a real "bike mechanic" doesn't work on bikes like this.  I never said I was a "bike mechanic," real or otherwise.  Personally, I think the easiest way to tension a chain on a single speed (or tarck bike) is in the inverted position, because... inverted.

There's probably a few other things I do with my bike uspide-down.  Gear swaps, tire changes (or anything else that requires wheel removal), bottom bracket rebuilds... dunno.  Stuff.  Especially because my stupid work stand has been relocated to the living room to hold an indoor antenna for when we want to watch non-internet, broadcast, bad for our brains television. Nothing gets my spirits higher than watching Meet the Press on a blurry Sunday morning.

The morning that David Gregory handed the baton to Chuck Todd and Chuck was bragging about how he could palm a basketball and David was all like mebbe a tiny, novelty-sized ball but not a real basketball.

Anyways, this past rainy weekend.  It hit me.

I wanted to make my upside-down stand out of something hardier than cardboard, but to be honest, I was not really wanting to invest the time to think it out and buy lumber and make it happen.  I was happy that I no longer had to kick shoes under my handlebars to keep myself from working on an unstable bike, but the next step would involve time and effort.  I had loads of one, lacking sorely of the other.

Back to the putting the Christmas shit back in the closet story from yesterday, I tripped on some of the wood I had saved from the whole "tree through my bedroom" incident.  There was literally more perfectly good wood being tossed into the yard dumpster than I knew what to do with.  I knew it would pain my father's spirit to see it all go to waste, so I climbed in there more than once and salvaged any piece that I could see being serviceable in the future.

I almost immediately re-purposed the long strips they used to keep the giant tarp in place.  The back porch was not very blind dog friendly, and Pester had managed to walk out onto the garbage can more than once, so I had plenty of wood to build a guardrail around the deck to keep him safe.

I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that my upside-down stand didn't need to be as complex in shape as the one I made with a shoe box.  As I stared down at the pile of wood bits, I realized that in twenty minutes time (including clean up and chasing screws and drill bits across the floor), I could make something so very, very simple.

As I was cutting with a circular saw using a Coleman cooler as a sawhorse... with no eye protection... in my bare feet, I wondered how my dad, who was looking down from his spot on the mantle in his golden urn, would feel about my half-assedness VS my ingenuity and thriftiness.

On one hand, he was all about saving some random shit for use... someday.  I can remember a pile of bowling balls in the wood shop and cardboard boxes full of wire and metal and VW Beetle parts.  He could always fashion something together from what most would consider "garbage."

He helped me make this way back in the early '90s, because of course he had a hunk of metal that was just the right size and thickness. I've often considered replacing it, since I can afford actual bike tools now, but why would I?

On the other hand, had my dad decided he wanted to build an upside-down bike stand, he woulda done it entirely differently.  Firstly, he would do multiple drawings on typewriter paper, complete with every possible measurement.  This step in the process could take years.  Then he would piddle around the woodshop, looking for those chunks of walnut that he saved from some giant record playing monstrosity he bought at a flea market seven years prior for $6.  Once the ball finally got rolling, his final version would be hinged for easy storage or assembled using dovetail joints... sanded, sanded again, wet sanded... many layers of stain.  It would be museum worthy when all was said and done.  Something that would last 1,000 years.

But in the end, it would just hold a bicycle in the inverted position just like the one that I built.  Mine only took months of planning and execution tho.


Tman said...

My chain whip is a Yakima wheel fork which worked better at launching front wheels off the roof than actually holding them.

Anonymous said...

sounds like my dad, my dad kept everything... he built a lot of stuff as well...
one time him and his buddy build a sail for a canoe, they got wasted and headed out to sail. Only to find that the sheet they used as a sail was full of small holes, so they went no place fast but flipped the boat. Beer bottles full of water, two men laughing wasted in the deep water. Funny it was to see...

my dad built a skate board looking thing, with skates underneath so one could skate board on ice...
then he built a converter to convert dc to ac, so one can plug his car battery into the home electrical system.

The worst thing he did though, was build his own pontoon boat. It could only hold one person yet it was built for 8. He spent thousands trying to get that thing going.
He also built his own house at the age of 20 something while working fulltime as an electrician.

Now, he sits at 70lbs (typical weight when healthy was 200lbs)... parkinsons eats his soul. Not much time left for this fella. Tough he was. glad to have a decent dad that taught me a lot. Many don't have a decent dad. Its good to have a decent dad, even if he is a junk collector... learnt lots from dear old dad. God bless his soul. On his last legs... Love my dad. I probably wouldn't be biking without his wisdom..


roadpig said...

repair stands make the best antenna holders ....

roadpig said...

and is Scott Clark now Asian...