Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Black Lung!

"The Black Lung"

Having grown up 6 blocks from the beach, bicycles have always been a big part of my life. I grew up in Santa Monica, California, just a few blocks from where the "Chuck's Bike-O-rama scene was filmed in the movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure". That movie changed my life forever.
Bicycles have always been a good source of fun, comradery and self expression for me. I can definitely say that tinkering with bikes paved the way for me to get into hot rods and old cars. Born from the gritty Streets and the Smog of Los Angeles, with an 1800's coal miner vibe...I present to you, "The Black Lung" Boneshaker!

While building my latest hot rod project (a '29 ford model A roadster which I'll do a separate post about eventually) I started to get a little discouraged since things weren't moving along as fast as I would have hoped. I literally started with a left over rim from my last hot rod and a dream! I've been collecting the parts piece by piece for the last few years, and I still have a long way to go. As you can imagine, it can get discouraging at times.

Since none of my projects are running yet, and summer was in full swing I decided to pick up this old Boneshaker, Penny Farthing Bicycle I found on Craigslist. I mostly just thought it looked cool, and I later found out it was made by a company in the Late 60's-Early 70's that was making these Boneshaker reproductions using modern type parts. Anyway, I figured it would be a good way to get something fun on the road pretty quickly, and I was right. This thing is a blast to ride once you get the hang of it, (if you don't fall on your face and give up). Your center of gravity is almost in the middle and you are pretty high up, so it definitely takes some getting used to!

It needed a lot of work, and since it wasn't an original from the 1800's, I didn't feel too bad about customizing it. The design is really straight forward. I started off by flipping the handle bars, I fixed the stem/forks which had cracked, and tightened the spokes. I also found a better seat for it from Rideable Replicas in Northern California, and some old pre 1920's style wood grips from eBay. I also found this neat old brass acetylene lamp that's over 100 years old! I welded some tabs on the front to mount it. I have an LED light inside the housing. I debuted it at the Ciclavia Ride two rides ago, at the one that took place on Wilshire Blvd., and it was a big hit even before it was finished. It had no brakes, so it was kind of sketchy going down hills and at stop lights. I almost ran over a cop that got in the way! haha.

I would have to slow down using the pedals and just jump off, or walk down the big hills. I decided it was time to add a rear brake to at least help me slow down, and I was glad I did that! I had an old lever and caliper off of an old 60's bike, and an old cable housing from the heater cable in my old '50 chevy that were in my junk pile so I was able to modify them to use on the Pennyfarthing. The local bike shop helped me with some of the little parts I needed to get it working good. I also found a cool little simple brass bell at the bike shop too. I also wanted to add something cool for a rear step plate, so I used the foot pedal from an old turn-of-the-century era sewing machine. The bike had a really cool looking rusty-patina from having been left outside for years, and I really debated on whether or not to paint it. I finally decided to just paint it flat black with a rattle can. It looks more sinister this way, like an old steam locomotive or something. So finally after adding the hot rod fox tail, I was ready to go! It was an even bigger hit at this latest Ciclavia ride in Downtown L.A. Lots of people were taking pictures and stopped to talk to me about it.

The only other plans I have are to maybe add a small leather tool pouch under the seat, and maybe a speedometer, but other than that. I think I'm done.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Snow Day!

I Found this picture in some dark corner of my hard drive. It was taken a while back by my good buddy Patrick Connor up in the mountains near Las Vegas New Mexico. Good times!

I've been really bad about posting regularly, but I have lots of things to post now :)