I finally recovered enough from Gunnar’s visit to get up to Grant’s Tomb and take some proper portraits of this little rig.  Getting it there was a bit of an obstacle.  Too small to ride.  Too big to go in the basket of the nose bike.  Too short bend over and push that whole way.  No midget to ride it for me.

I had to haul out the xtracycle, the only bike I have left from the original fleet that hasn’t been replaced all these years later.

I guess the next chance I get to take time away from customer bikes to do some *cough* R&D I’ll have to work on some sort of a long bike!

So.  It’s a 1×9 MTB with 20″ wheels.  My brother and I thought we might be able to get away with 24″ wheels until we realized that if we scaled that up the bike would be the equivalent of a 6′ rider on a 36er (which, as cool as it is..  oh never mind.  It’s absurd). The main tubes are all Zona double butted seat tubes.  Columbus makes one particular externally butted MTB seat tube that has a short enough thin section that it worked.  Barely.

The chainstays are 19mm round seatstays, chopped up and custom bent to make room for the tire.  Lowmount internal disk tab because I had one around.  Since this bike won’t ever get a rack or fenders, there’s little advantage to it.  Then again.  If he ends up riding it to school a rack might not be a terrible idea! Rear 140 rotor and front 160.  (double disk brakes on a bike that small!!?  for a rider that small??   Um.  yeah.)

Cranks were a bit of an issue.  There’s really nothing out there that I could find that’s appropriately short for small riders.  I think that’s part of the reason that short riders always look a little silly on bikes..  To have the seat low enough that they can reach the bottom of the pedal stroke with cranks that are too long, at the top of the pedal stroke they’re kneeing themselves in the chin.  So I sniped a pair of Sugino RDs from one of the lesser used bikes around and re-drilled and tapped them at 130mm.  Making sure that the pedal spindles and BB spindle were parallel was the main trick.  The fixturing was pretty cute.   They’re still a little long (if you can believe it) by some sort of half assed calculation that I made, but he’ll grow into them fast.

Ok.  That’s it.

Long Week!

Gunnar’s folks were on a work trip in Norway this last week.  My mom and Hill were at a conference/workshop.  So it was me and Gunnar.  It seemed like a good time to build him a bike.  He’s not very big.  Most of the commercial offering for people under 4 feet tall is pretty paltry.  Bikes made out of scaffolding pipe with tin parts hanging from them.  What parent wants to spend a lot of money on a bike that their kid will grow out of in a year!?  But that’s short sighted.  There will be other kids!!  So.  Gunnar will be the first owner of a bike that gets passed around the family, and neighborhood.

8 hour days in the shop making bikes is pretty tiring for me.  Doing it WHILE looking after an 8 year old (“hey.. uncle Ezra..  What if this thing was a bazoooka and it had knives attached to it and…  “) is another thing entirely.

“gunnar!  seriously.  I’m trying to figure out how to bend your chain stays so they’ll make it around the tire!  I have to concentrate.  Can’t think about Bazookas”

“oh. .  .  .  .  .     uncle Ezra.   Do you want to hear the whole first scene of Romeo and Juliet?”

It had been my intention to document the whole thing.  Maybe even film some of it.  But I found that my brain was spread SO thin that JUST getting the bike built was about all I could do.  A little preview of (“Two households, both alike in dignity,  In fair veronna where we lay our scene.. “) what it will be like to be a stay at home dad who builds bikes, while Hill is out in the world PHD-ing things.

“Can I have a PB and J”



“Well.  Can I have another cup of coffee?”

“No.  Not until those..   What are those called?  are brazed to that thing.”

“Midget task master!”

By day three we were really starting to hit our stride.  We made a playlist of story songs that we listened to more or less on a loop.  Gunnar learned the lyrics to just about every song.  (“Like my eyes ain’t green and my hair ain’t yella, it’s more like the other way arooouuund!!“) My brain expanded a bit and I was able to focus a little better on multiple things.  Juliette’s suicide by dagger, and brake caliper clearance vis a vis seat stays simultaneously (try that, Janus).

“oh man, Gunnar..  That was a stinky fart!!”

“wasn’t me.  I think it must have been you..”

“Gunnar.  Seriously.  In my particular condition, you KNOW it’s pretty obvious when I fart, and that the smell stays in the bag!”

“Well.  It wasn’t me .  .  .      find him, bind him, tie him to a pole and break his fingers to splinters..

We had a good time.  Managed to finish the bike just in time to have a bit of a ride before he packed up to go visiting grand-parents in Minnesota.  Of six or seven races around the park, I only managed to win one.  It may have been the 98 degree heat, but I feel like the finish line kept moving (G was the official course setter,naturally).

Somewhere in the shuffle of things, between the bottom bracket and the headset, I think, Hillary left for a conference in North Carolina.  She’ll stay on after for a week or so to visit family.  Gunnar took off to the airport at 4:30 this morning.  My Sam will be leaving for the summer on Sunday.  Suddenly it’s a little quiet around here.  Just me and Em until Tuesday, when the Italians arrive..

I DID bring a multi tool…

I spent yesterday not eating in preparation for this morning’s colonoscopy.  A pretty different experience when you don’t have an asshole!

Got up this morning, and for the second time in the last couple of weeks had to leave the house with no coffee.

I arrived at the colonoscopy store, and leaned my bike up against a sign post.  I reached for my lock.  No lock.  I had remembered a multi tool (had even gone back upstairs for it just before leavint) so that I could remove the seatpost and saddle, but I had walked out the door with no lock.  I stood there for a second, dumbfounded.  “I’m a pretty good problem solver..  What the fuck am I gonna do here..”  Looked at the time.  9:37.  9:45 appointment.   15 minute ride home, and another 15 minutes back.   I thought for a second about businesses in the area where I might know someone..  Somewhere that I could stash the thing.  Then remembered that I was on the upper east side.

Stopped me dead.

So I shouldered the bike and walked right in the door.  Told the doorman, “suite 201.”  He asked my name and waved me in.  Got on the elevator.  Walked into the office.  Signed in.  Got a colonoscopy.  Ta da!

Nobody really blinked.

For those of you keeping score:  The scope was entirely clear.  No polyps.  No nothing.  After a clear PetCT and a clear Colonoscopy in quick succession, after a year without treamtent, I’m feeling an incredible sense of relief.  On the wobbly ride home (still VERY high on versed and propofol), I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed.. such a sense of well being..   Oh yeah.  Wait.  I could remember.  It was the last time that I was hopped up on narcotics.

Oh well.  Nice while it lasts.

New Album

Glen has been in town for the last few days doing promo for his new record.  Keep your eye out for it at your local music store.

Glen has been a true friend and dear these last 5 or 6 years.  One of the finest guys I know.  A constant source of support and inspiration.  If you don’t know his music already, please check it out!


Yesterday made three years!

While we were out and about on bikes, my new doc called.

“Hello, doc.  How are you?”

“I’m fine, thanks.”

“how about me?  How am I?”

“You’re fine!”

“The pre-sacral mass?  Has it shrunk some more?”

“Nope.  It’s the same size.  Might always be.  But it shows no abnormal uptake.”

“No hyper-metabolic activity?”


“So..  despite the fact that I’ve been riding bikes to my heart’s content, that area seems to be continuing to resolve.”

“That’s right.  This is very good news.  You’re fine.  I’ll see you in three months.”


Forgot to say.

There was no colonoscopy on Friday.  It’s postponed until next Friday because of double booking at the office.

BUT, the PetCT is this morning!  Wee.

So.  I’m up.  With no coffee.  Ready to stroll over to the medical imaging store.

Hopefully by tomorrow I will be vindicated, and the scan will show that the mass of concern in the pre-sacral area has continued to resolve itself despite the fact that I’ve spent the last three months doing quite a reasonable amount of bike riding!

Every time I get a scan, there is a certain amount of anxiety.  Less each time, though, I have to say.  After 10 or 15 of these things, you start to figure out that there is never any concrete news..  unless it’s BAD news.  The good news, if there is any, is always that there isn’t any clear bad news.  SO that’s what we hope for.  No bad news.

I’ll let you know tomorrow or the next day!