Friday, December 10, 2010


Olivier and I were talking today about how utterly Canadian we are. I'm on to number two in my Canadian Nationalist Biographically-Themed Bike Series (Jocelyn Lovell, check; Greg Curnoe, close). He's building a replica of Canada's most famous bike, the CCM Flyer (which Curnoe also painted, though I can't find a copy online).

And we're doing it in sub-zero temperatures! It's been below freezing all week in Toronto, and our unheated shop has been spared none of the mayhem. We're working in winter coats, toques, and mittens. Those beautiful and seasonal ice crystals are on the inside of our window.

There's been some mayhem in the shop as well. I got quite the scare this week when I went to add some silver to a little gap on the (sort of important!) drive side upper headlug. When I added my spot, I got a little on the shoreline... so I decided to clean it up by melting it down to the lug point. Much to my surprise, however, when I got everything up to temperature, a good portion of the lug just melted and flowed away. You see, as Gertrude Stein once said, "There [was] no there there." In my over-zealous quest for thin lugs, I had filed away the steel, and was down to the silver filler. (This must have been one of the spots where the lug wasn't sitting very flush to the tube—a hazard of my preferred stamped lugs.)

There is an element of Canadian-ness to this screwup also: it was because it was so dark in the shop that I couldn't see the very obvious fact that I had filed through my lug.

So all I could do was add a big blob [haha, I caught a typo that said "blog"] of silver and try to "reconstruct" the lug. This I did, and it actually doesn't look too bad, except for the pinholes:

It's also a bit uneven (overly thin... again.) As stupid as this may sound, I think I'll actually go in and add some more silver rather than try to get Noah to fix it with Bondo. This is a learning experience, so why not just keep at it until it's right? Right?!

Besides that little flaw (and the fact that I needed to un-braze the brake bridge, since it was about 2mm too low for perfect fender lines—another learning experience!), the bike looks really nice. Right now I'm fiddling with the fenders (I decided to use smooth fluted Honjo 42mms). I'll just try to make that lug look as good as possible, wait patiently for my stainless steel brake cable stops to arrive, and keep messing with the fenders. (The new Bicycle Quarterly has yet another article on setting up aluminum fenders, and it's useful. Details in the next post.)

Here's how the bike looks, positioned very deliberately in the Canadian snow—and pictured from the (thank God) properly Curnoe-ian non-drive, non-missing-lug-spot side:

Despite the absolutely innumerable errors on this bike, I really love it.

Speaking of my other Canadian Nationalist Biographically-Themed Bike, I finally put the finishing touches on the Jocelyn Lovell bike build. Namely, I added some of the new Kool-Stop salmon Mafac 4-bump pads. They look nice! But, alas, I will not be testing them on the road until the snow goes away...


OAP said...

Hehe the other day the digital caliper was having a seizure of readings from it's freezing batteries.

OAP said...

*its* (oups)

AH said...

Yeah I tried to warm him back to life near the space heater, but it didn't work! Serves us right for getting something with a battery!

So Olivier has suggested I try out some solder for beautifying that messed up lug. Bring on the variety of metals!!