Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Back to Normal

Finally, after riding New York's Bon Ton Roulet with 10 speeds, courtesy a 32-tooth granny gear, I began working on converting the little red tandem back to a fixed gear machine.

First chore was to rebuild the rear wheel with the new Phil Wood hub, since we had stripped the lock ring threads on the original one.




After riding this as a derailleur-equipped bike for over a thousand miles this summer, it was refreshing to feel the smoothness of the fixed wheel, again.



This weekend, we're taking it to Hotter 'n Hell in Texas.  Good times.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

BAK 2017

Well, since the fixed gear hub got some important threads stripped out at the end of the Cottwonwood 200, we ran the fixed gear tandem as a 5 speed.  Glad we did, actually.  Not for the hills, but for the relentless wind and heat that blew at us all week.

So now, we have a month until our next ride, the Bon Ton Roulet in New York, which promises grades up to 12%.  SO, I spent last night turning this once-upon-a-time fixed gear into a 10 speed!  Yikes.




The TA cranks accept a wide range of chainring sizes.  This time, it's seeing a 32t and a 46t.  The range is pretty good, from about 30 gear inches up to about 87.

The generic rear freewheel goes from 14 to 28 teeth in pretty even steps

The rear derailleur is an ultegra, the front derailleur is a Suntour, the shifters are power ratchets, I think.  It all works very smoothly!

But, I miss the fixed gear.  We'll run out the summer like this, but I already have the new fixed gear hub to replace the trashed one, so I'll embark on building a wheel here shortly.


Friday, June 2, 2017

2017 rides

Being laid off from work means more time to ride!

After January 2017, we both had plenty of time to ride, so we did.  1400 miles through May.  All on this fixed gear tandem bike.

We rode:
Newton's Chisholm Trail ride
Hutchinson's Sandplum ride
McPherson's BamFam ride
Wichita's Wicked Wind
Cottonwood 200

The Cottonwood 200 had us feeling really good about riding this bike.  Despite the six or eight times we *had* to stand to get up a hill, we really felt the fixed gear helped us keep momentum, even going up inclines.

About five miles from the end of the ride, we lost the drive chain.  Well, it was worse than that -- the lock ring had come off with some of the hub's threads and the cog followed.  Rats.  We had been looking forward to riding this fixed on BAK again this year.  Oh well.  Back to a five-speed, I guess.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Rides

We rode several early-season rides, including the Wicked Wind 100 in May.  Kind of a long, flat route.  We finished in good time and felt pretty good about this idea of a fixed gear tandem.

We rode the middle day of the Cottonwood 200 on Memorial Day weekend.  We thought this hilly route would be a good test:  if we could do this, we wouldn't have a problem on Biking Across Kansas.

In June, we took this bike on BAK.  Turned out to be one of the hillier BAK routes possible.  We ended up flipping the wheel over to the freewheel side about 25% of the ride.  Still, it felt good.



For July's RAGBRAI, predicted to be hilly, I converted it to a five-speed machine.


This worked *really* well.  I think the rear cluster goes 14-17-20-24-28 and there's a single 46 tooth chainring cranking it.  We got up and down and up and down the hills pretty happily.

Prep for Hotter 'n Hell in Wichita Falls, TX included turning it back into a fixed gear machine.  We had a dandy ride that day;  it's an ideal course for a single-speed bike.

Come October and Octoginta, I turned it back into a five-speed to more easily handle the hills around Lawrence, KS.

After that, it went back to being a fixed gear bike for winter '16 and spring '17.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Introduction

I just had to find a place to park these stories.  fixedgeartandem.com wasn't taken, so I took it.

I like riding a fixed gear bike and have for a long time.  My best bike riding friend, Mel, also likes the fixed gear.  The two of us have also put several thousand miles on a tandem together.  So, naturally, we'd wonder about the efficacy of riding a fixed gear tandem.

We had our first serious consideration of that notion when we saw a 70's Fastab Miura tandem sitting in a storage room in a friend's soon-to-be-sold house.  Mel negotiated a rescue mission and the project began.


Yeah, I call it "metallic beige".

It really couldn't be ridden.  Everything about it screamed cobbled together.  However, it had a few good points:  Reynolds 531 tubing, long horizontal dropouts, TA Cyclotouriste cranks, and Campagnolo seat post binders.  Yeah, that's about it.

The work begins by taking it all apart.  This is the most satisfying part of the project in that it's hard to go wrong.  Everything will come off, eventually.


I took it to Lorac, the powercoating operation south of downtown Wichita.  It came back looking like this:


Red *is* faster.

I ordered a custom Phil rear track hub with 48 holes so I could lace up a bona-fide tandem fixed gear wheel.



Bikes are like legos.  They're fun to build up and take apart.  Here's the build up:





Some old parts, some new.  Many parts were found at the 2015 Velo Swap in Denver:  Sun Rims, Brooks Saddles, SPD and Frog Pedals, stoker handlebars, handlebar tape.  Some were purchased new, like the brakes, chains, cables, fixed cog.  By the end of January, 2016, it was road-ready.