Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What's Next for Niles and I

Though it's a gross day in Toronto and I have a lack-of-excercise-because-when-I-tried-to-ride-Niles-today-it-started-raining headache, I promised a post, so post I will.

Here, briefly, is what the future has in store for my son Niles and I.

First, Niles:
  1. Lights. I would really like to find some small, aluminum/stainless steel-enclosed LED battery lights suitable for fender mounting. I won't be riding him over night, but it would be prudent to have some lights just in case. My suspicion is that such lights don't exist: there are fender-mounted lights, like this and this, but they're not quite up to my picky standards. The former isn't bad, but should be smaller and not plastic. The latter is ugly. Ideally I would have a front light that looks just like the one on my "model" bike (link is to Vintage Bicycle Press), but battery-powered and LED-based. And, well, a rear light like this would be mighty nice. Any ideas? Will I need to make my own?
  2. A bell. I have the bell, actually — a silver aluminum one. What I now need to do is drill a small hole on the side of my stem and tap it. I wanted to do this in Doug's class when I had access to a milling machine. But I didn't have time. I might try it with my hand drill... and find a way to tap it.
  3. Lots of rides. I'll definitely take him on a circa 75 kilometer ride tomorrow morning. And it looks like he might be coming on a 150km ride into the hilly country surrounding Creemore, Ontario on Monday. This will be a real challenge with his 42x15 fixed gear drivetrain, but I think it will be fun. I may also install some clipless pedals on him — they might be even better for clearance, better for climbs, and get rid of the incessant scraping of his upturned cages on the pedal strokes before I get my foot into the pedal. But I don't know about this. I like the TA pedals.
For me:
  1. Lots of rides. All this bike-building has really disrupted my riding schedule. I'd like to get back to that.
  2. Completing my thesis. I have two years left, and lots of energy. It will be fun.
  3. Finding space to build some more bikes. No, as an apartment-dweller, it's not easy to build frames. I have no "shop space" or any kind; not even a basement or garage. I did all my filing in my bedroom, with a vise clamped to the side of my desk. What I'd like to happen is this: my campus bike-repair co-op lets me use their shop after-hours. They don't have a milling machine, of course, but I don't need one. I can hand-miter the tubes, and take the "basic approach" on everything else. I would still need to buy a torch, rent tanks, get them to let me braze in their space, and also get some sort of alignment system going. Even better than this, of course, would be if a local builder took me under his or her wing. There are one or two of these around.
I would really like to build more bikes. Making Niles, showing the process on this blog, and getting feedback, has been a very enjoyable experience. As a grad student, it's a lot more "public" than what I normally do, and the results a lot more concrete. So I'll find a way to do it. And maybe take some orders in a year or two!


Ethan said...

I have had the same thought about drilling/tapping a stem to accept a bell.

It can get expensive. Because this is a blind tapped hole, you're supposed to use 4 specialized tools, in this order:

Tap drill (4.2 mm if threads are M5 x .8 as I recall)
Taper tap M5 x .8
Plug tap M5 x .8
Bottoming tap M5 x .8

Each tap type has less taper than the one above, so it forms the threads farther into the hole.

Bill Gibson said...

I'm new to your blog; what is your thesis on?

If making bicycles is your passion, no matter what comes, the world will beat a path to your door... (if that's what you want ;-))

AH said...

Ethan: sounds daunting! I will be inquiring about such things when I present Niles to the "No Click Club" next week, at the Mariposa shop. Mike Barry no doubt knows the best way to drill and tap a hole!

Bill: English Literature -- specifically British modernism. My actual thesis is on genre in the year 1934 -- how various writers responded to the political crises of German fascism and growing Soviet terror. Among my many problems is that I'm extremely passionate about literature, too. I'll work something out!

Ethan said...

I don't mean to scare you off it. The whole operation might take 10 minutes if you had all the tooling handy. Mariposa is the kind of place that would probably have a full metric tap set.

Bill Gibson said...

OK; here's a little book to read. It might be relevant in a tangential way. "Defying Hitler", by Haffner. I got mine from Haffner is a pen name. It is a recently published memoir, written in 1938 in London, when the author was about your age, and it is a translation by his son from German, and it is unfinished, but it is compelling to me, especially his memories of Weimar Republic. He was a young lawyer/judge. It's certainly relevant to the time frame.

Ray McGovern, who resigned in protest from the CIA a few years ago recommended it to an audience I was in recently. If you are really impecunious, let me know if you'd like to borrow mine!

AH said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Bill! I shall track it down!

eric said...

i think you need this rear light: