Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Tall Bike Construction Primer

With the recent exponential multiplication of tall bikes across the country and even around the world, a primer on their construction hardly seems necessary. Still, for the sake of those just starting we provide here the basic steps and notes for the construction of the classic "one bike on top of another" design. By no means that this design is canonical, for there are many approaches by which one may make a bike tall. But purists and the aesthetically inclined may find the classic design more deserving of elaboration.

image hosted by photobucket1. Two bike frames of near-identical length are required. If both head tubes are aligned the bottom bracket of the top bike should rest dead center atop the seat tube of the bottom bike. In a pinch, give or take half an inch.

2.. Remove the seat, seatpost and handlebars from the bottom bike. Remove the handlebars, crankset, and wheels from the top bike.

3. Cut the seat and chain stays (the "rear triangle") off the top bike.

4. Find a piece of steel pipe that will sleeve into the steer tube of the bottom bike's fork. This is usually about half an inch in diameter. It should also be long enough to sleeve an inch or more into the top bike's steer tube.

5. Some steer tubes have an open bottom, so that you could sleeve a pipe through the top and right on through and out the bottom. Find one of these forks or use a grinder open up the bottom of a fork. Either way, this is going to be top fork of your steer-tube extension. Cut the fork blades off the top fork. Put the fork back on the top bike.

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6. With the lower bike standing on its kickstand or leaning against a chair, drop your half-inch steel pipe into the bottom steer tube. Then take the top bike and sleeve the top steer tube onto the steel pipe. This should be a relatively snug fit and you should be able to simply rest the top bike's bottom bracket on the top of the lower bike's seat tube, and the whole thing should stand on its own without your support. Make sure you've cleaned and greased all your bearings in the steer tube set because once its welded you can't take them apart again!

7. Examine the point where the top bottom bracket is contacting the lower bike's seat tube. Is there a lot of contact there? You might want to file or grind the seat tube to get more metal-to-metal contact.

8. You are ready to jig! Take two wood boards and place one on each side of your tallbike.

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Use old inner tubes, rope, whatever, to lash the boards together snugly, sandwiching the bikes between them. This will align the two frames with eachother.

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Eyeball and doublecheck to be sure, but honestly, the best test is to just try turning the front wheel with your hand. If the bikes are lined up sufficiently, the steer-tube of the top fork will turn in a smooth fashion when you move the wheel.

9. Time to weld. Put tack welds at the contact point between the top bottom bracket and lower bike's seat tube. Then tack welds at the bottom and top contact points of steer-tube extension. Let cool. Remove the jig. Complete welds.

10. Add a gusset between the top and bottom bikes in front of the top bottom bracket. Maybe even a second running parallel behind the steer tube. This is too reduce flex stress on the bottom bracket/seat tube welds.

11. Put the crankset back on. Add chain. You can run a chain directly to the back wheel, as shown in Figure 4

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Or you can make a triangular chaindrive by looping the chain around a still intact lower bottom bracket, as shown in Figure 5.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Mother of All Bikes

The idea of a Mother of All Bikes was hatched around the same time the beginning of the Iraq Invasion. Apparently, in Gulf War I, Saddam said the War would be the "Mother of All Battles." Then, before Gulf War II, the U.S. developed the "Mother of All Bombs" which was tested off the western coast of Florida.

Battles? Bombs? Why the hell not a Bike?

MOAB the Mother of All Bikes

MOAB is sort of like the Jawa sandcrawler in Star Wars. It takes up the width an entire street, and takes like over 30 people to ride it, including stokers, a pilot, co-pilot, navigators, lookouts, wait staff, bartenders, cooks, janitors, engineers, errand boys, outriders, welders, machinists, and shiftless drunks. There's a welding station inside, and bikes can ride in and out of the back if it while its moving. People sleep in hammocks tucked in the various hollows inside the vast nest-like super-structure built of scrap frame parts. Defense is not an issue because it can run over anything, and if bandits or highwaymen try to scale the sides they get lockjaw from all the rusty sharp metal edges. MOAB has these scoop things on the bottom-forward, so the MOAB rolls and teeters around collecting ever more bikes and scrap metal, and is basically a tiny moving tenement (complete with laundry lines), built out of garbage, in a constant state of breaking and being built and rebuilt.

Monday, September 8, 2008

dclxvi updates


photo by megulon-5.

Aquachopper Expeditions.
Our first amphibious ride. We rode to Ross Island, camped overnight, and returned to civilization the next day.

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St. Ratricks Day
We visited the Chicago Rat Patrol in 2005 for St. Ratrick's Day, which is their holiday. They get together, crash parades, ride in alleys as usual, and undergo "Rattification", which may involve settling grudges, recognizing distinguished conduct, and boasting.

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2002 Chunkathlon
In August of 2002 we held a Chunkathlon. It was the most organized thing we'd ever done.

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Sex Advice from Bike Jousters
Bike jousters are very do-it-yourself, any tips for how I can creatively do it for myself?

Doing it for yourself isn't just about making a chair instead of buying one - it's about being the kind of person that would think to do that in the first place. And that can be applied to your sex life; you need to be comfortable with yourself and with the idea that you're going to do things perhaps differently than most people or just to make you happy.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mt. Tabor Timetrials



From the 2006 Labor Day weekend festivities. For the record, out of two runs per racer, Thud & Hang tied for best time(s) with runs of 37 seconds. But the Bear got a 38 and a 39 by jumping off the designated route and plunging steeply through flora and fauna, giving him the COMBINED best time (Hang and Thud's other runs were both 40+ seconds).