Archive for July, 2012

Nose MkIII

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned the nose bike.  I arrived at this third version of the frame last November and built a few of them, but never actually put up any photos.  Yesterday afternoon when I should have been working on a customer’s bike, I had a pretty clever idea for a front platform/crate and dropped what I was doing to make it!

The Nose bike, when equipped with a crate makes a pretty convenient grocery getter.  It’s easy just to toss in things like grocery bags and anything else that will fit, and off you go.  I find myself in the position pretty frequently, though, of having to head out to find the UPS guy who’s got a package on his truck for me that may or may not fit in my crate.  It feels pretty silly to ride a cargo bike home one handed because the parcel you’re holding in your other hand won’t fit in the crate.  So I built a platform upon which I could bungee packages, and discovered pretty quickly that it feels just as silly to ride a cargo bike around with a back pack on because the stuff you want to carry is too disorganized to go on a platform.  GAH!  What to do?

It goes without saying, that I could remove the bolts and simply switch from the platform to the crate, but this was just enough hassle to make it not worth doing!  Naturally, I could bungee the old crate to the new platform, but this felt a little kludgy.  Then it occured to me..  What if the platform was the bottom of the crate?!

The platform that I had made was slightly tapered.  Narrower at the front.  You know, for aerodynamics.  So I made a crate that was missing a bottom.. mostly.

When you put the crate on, it mates with the platform..   (stop giggling, Valancy Jane).

Slide it back, and through the magic of inclined planes, it snugs right into place.

Then bungee it down and you’re off to the races..  Or the grocery store.

This only takes about 15 seconds, requires no tools, and is VERY solid.  Surprisingly so!

I found some bungees with loops at one end, so you only need to worry about chasing the other end.. which helps a lot!

There are a few little innovations that I’ve got in mind.  But as a concept I think it’s pretty neat, and it renews my excitement about the nose bike.

Now I need to head out to the shop and get back to work on that customer’s bike.

dingus

Just finished making this thing for my brother, Zach.

I’m not allowed to say what it is.

In some circles I’m known as the other Caldwell.  This is because, in those circles, my brother is a bit of a guru.  He’s one of very few people in the U.S. grinding skis.  He spends his time in a shop about the size of mine, grinding microscopic patterns into the bases of cross country skis to make them go faster in very specific conditions.  Different grinds for different conditions.  The U.S. ski team skis on his skis.  He makes trips to the factories in Europe where they’re made to hand pick skis.  He coaches some of the U.S. ski team’s biggest hopes.  He’s a big deal.  You can check him out here.

It was at the tail end of my recent trip up to visit Zach in Vermont for some mountain biking, that we went and found my new mill.

Up until now I’ve been working with a couple of really crappy little Chinese bench top mills (mostly because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get anything bigger into my shop!  The fact that we got this thing in there as easily as we did may set a dangerous precedent..  Now the only limitation will be floor space.. and financing).  This mill introduces a whole new level of fabrication capability, especially since I’ve added a DRO.

While I was up in Vermont, we schemed up a small improvement to Zach’s stone grinder (with the new mill in mind).  An adjustable thingy that will..  Well, that will do something REALLY clever that I’m not at liberty to tell you about (and that I may not entirely understand).

Fascinating story.  I know.

All the same.  I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out.

Hill comes home late tonight.  I’d better go straighten up the house a little.

Just me

I’m all by my onesy at  the moment.

Em is in Maine.

My Sam is elsewhere in Maine.

Hillary is in Ithaca, isolated in her adviser’s house finishing up her second year paper, while she (the adviser) is away.

Without a family around to cook for, evenings take on a pretty different quality.  Usually I drag out cooking as long as I can get away with, because it’s a great time to hang out.  And waiting makes good sauce. I tend to get things done a little faster when I’m alone.  I enjoy cooking for myself, but it IS a bit of an anticlimax.  By 7:30 or so, I’ve eaten, taken Putney for a walk, fed her, and am ready for bed.  But it’s still light out.

product testing in VT

Another video from my brother, Zach.

“and I TOTALLY blanked out about my brakes..”

Pretty awesome. Obviously one of the most rewarding bikes I’ve ever built.

First ride in VT

From my brother after Gunnar’s first day commuting to and from camp.

Gunnar did great both coming and going today. I picked him up, and I wasn’t quite fast enough getting going down the driveway for him. As we came to the downhill on hickory ridge road (past Tom Hayse’s place) he let forth a big “yahoooo!”. He seems to be getting the drift of the whole bike thing.