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Tuesday, March 31, 2015


...well, at least I have a lot of projects to work on!
Yesterday was an odd bird.  The majority of the day was quite quiet, leaving me with unfettered motivation to just build.  Not a bad thing, in the sense that it allows me to get a rhythm going and bang 'em out, but the dark side of that force?  Doesn't help satiate the creditors!  At least the later half of the day was "ahhhh KICKIN'!!"  Last two hours was a mad rush of folks shuffling in!  One lucky gent (who had returned for the FOURTH time in his search for the perfect ride!!) snagged the sweeeet Raleigh BIG BOY!  Yep, that gem didn't last more'n a couple of hours.  Did NOT think it would!  Red and Black...anything, moves quicker then ah fart in the dark!  Had many a looky loo as well, but as desires often shift, the big thing everyone is looking for now (again) is hybrids.  Of course, we are usually in short supply of those, but this too will change, always does.  Nah, yesterday I pumped out four with a fifth one (a real cute girls 20" Raleigh cruiser, full fenders and all) in the rack cleaned and ready for reassembly!  Three of the four done were, of course, all MTB's.  Yes I know, silly for the most common bike in Florida to be a mountain bike, but...there ya go!
Also, was a busy, busy afternoon for repairs.  I take it, always, as a personal challenge to be able to do "pit stop" style repairs, or "while you wait".  Surprising how use to waiting for a few days, folks can get.  Nah, "in and out" that's OUR motto!
...wait...that doesn't sound right!
Thanks to all the folks for their continued trust and to all those trying us out for the first time.  I will never grow tired of the look of shock that comes over folks faces when they find out just how cheap it will be and how quick they'll get it back!  Hey, we are definitely not getting rich financially, but I'm all about a much deeper reward!
Today after already banging out a couple "while you waits" (A drive train replacement, and a rear wheel rebuild!  Try getting THEM done anywhere else in under fifteen minuets!  Ok, yes...I'm really full of ourselves today!) I am going to, FIRST, do that which I almost perpetually FORGET to do, and that's update the "What's Still Here" column in the blog!  UGH, that thing is at LEAST four day's out of date!  Then, pop in some MST3K (yes...I took a brake from Mike, Joel and the 'bot's for a few days, and re-watched all the X-Files episodes we have) and go to town on that cute little Raleigh. THEN, I picked up a couple cruisers, ladies, the other day and I'm thinking they might just have the parts I need to bring that ladies JC Higgins back to life!  Yes, I originally had intended on cannibalizing it to build up the '67 Typhoon in the back, but as I spent a lot of time over the last couple weeks on special projects, I'm going to focus on "Bread and Butter" instead.  Besides, as soon as I an locate an appropriate tandem, I will be building up another "truck" for special order, and that one will take a little more time then the first, as I'm going to be throwing in a lot more detail on that beauty.  Art deco front end, opening lid, liner, and  little more metal work (ugh) for the supports.  She will be getting a LOT of use, and not by us, so I want to make sure she will hold up.  Although, if ours is any indication, with as much as we have been using her, seems to be a pretty sturdy design!  YAY for dumb luck! 
All is relatively quiet on the home front.  We have a house guest for Spring Break, and being of the older boys ages, the three stooges have been keeping later hours hanging outside.  Angi has been VERY accommodating, as the boy shows her a great deal of respect, very rare in todays youth, so I have curbed my normal penchant for rigid normalcy. 
Elijah seems to be enjoying his new career (with the fortunate fact of not calling HERE to do telemarketing, knowing full well he'll just get hung up on.  Sorry, may seem rude, but you want to do business with me, best to do it face to face.  If I cannot shake your hand when the deal is done, there's NO deal!) and is putting himself in it full force.  Even talking about investing in suits!
WHOA!  Never thought one of MY kids would have a "suit" job!  I've worn three suits in my life.  Prom, first "date" with Angela, and my wedding.  No point in pushing for more!
OK, I've rambled enough, I'd best get a move on!
Hope to chat with ya soon!

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ONLY $65.00!!
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ONLY $85.00!!
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Do The TWIST!!

One of the most important lessons in life we try to instill in our kids is "PAY ATTENTION" in a conversation, as when you fail to do so, important information slips through your fingers.  I, in part, blame the fact that the majority of the younger generation are almost perpetually wearing at least ONE ear bud in their head, with the incessant drone of gruesome music (if you can CALL it music!) impeding their ability to grasp the context, if not entire truth of the words being spoken to them!  Let it be known, I have broken a few sets of headphones yanking them out of ears, when I felt my words were not sinking in to their vacuous heads.
However, that aside, perhaps it is just the "mind numb" of youth which propagates such misunderstandings as we had last night.
Once the wee ones were in bed, and Elijah and I had returned from doing laundry (we recently did our bi-monthly purge of the kids rooms, resulting in massive loads of dirty laundry, and just decided to do it all at once AND test out the weight capacity of the "truck" by hitting the local laundry mat) we all sat out side to enjoy the crisp air.  As the conversation weaved in and about, Kaleb spoke up with some news that caught me completely off guard.  A friend of the family has had to endure a long battle with cancer.  Not the most pervasive kind, but the mere mention of the C word, tends to make one fear the worse.  A few months back he and I had been talking and he informed me that he was going through radiation therapy and had been doing much better.  His appetite was coming back, he felt a lot more chipper and the prognosis was good for a full recovery.  Well, Kaleb informed me last night that when he had visited with him the day before he found out that our friend had only six weeks left!
I was FLOORED!  I'm not to proud to say, I almost starting crying.  BUT, a little voice in the back of my head reminded me that Kaleb has a tendency NOT to pay that much attention when he is being spoken too, and that he will fabricate or speculate the missing links after the conversation is ended.  SO, I withheld all emotion, until I could contact our friend this morning.
SURE ENOUGH, what Kaleb HAD been told was that our friend was doing better as he had just completed six weeks of therapy! 
So, the morale of the story is, the next time you have to talk to a teenager, put it on a Jpeg, and text it to them.  The art of conversation is DEAD!
Alright, so yesterday, again being the third day of spring break opening weekend was...dead.  Apparently, most souls have left the building to destinations unknown.  Spent the day building, which is okay, as the projects are on a constant flow now, with more and more newbies coming in.  Put out a SWEET looking 6 speed Schwinn cruiser.  I LOVE the flared fenders!  Gives it that classic 40's look to it!  Check out the pic below.  Also, put together a 20" BMX as a special build for a grandmother and grandson.  They'd picked him up a 16" on Saturday, but he was WAY to big for it, and needed something larger, and needed it NOW.  Once those were done and done, put a sharp looking 26" dual shock DBS in the rack, and it's all but 5% done.  Have to switch out a bum shifter this AM and she'll be good to go.  Which is nice, as we picked up a SWEET old school BIG BOY Raleigh "Boss Cruiser" last night, in trade for a road bike at the house (one of Kalebs' that he gave up on) and he has donated the trade to the shop.  Seriously, this one is really sharp looking!  Lugged frame in red and black!  NICE!!!
One of the projects we will be doing tonight when I get home is replacing all the light bulbs.  Here's the skinny.  A few months back we switched over to those twisty bulbs, and after a little time, we noticed a slight change in some of the family, such as unexplained headaches, drowsiness, irritability (I mean, unexplained irritability) Angi received a report this morning that they have discovered that those bulbs emit high levels of radiation. Effected test subjects had resulting symptoms identical to our own.  Now, I'm not one prone to irrational reaction, but I figure, best safe then sorry. 
Now, I best get my keister back at it!
See y'all soon!!

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ONLY $115.00!!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"Go away kid, ya bothah' me!"

Apparently Winter pulled over, did a U-turn and, missing the sunny shores of Florida, decided to come back for an extended stay! 
We were sitting outside last night chatting away when it came by to say hello!  But please, I'm NOT complaining!  This is PRIME riding weather.  A couple pull-overs (and in my case a 30 year old flannel) and once you get going, after a few minuets of pedaling, the cold air doesn't bother you!  We here, in Florida, sometimes forget just how icky the summer months are, when we are bundled up again the winter air. But TRUST ME, those sweaty, melting, stifling days are only a couple months away!  Get OUT and enjoy this while you can!
Yesterday, being the second official day (and first weekend) of Spring Break meant ONE THING...very quiet streets! 
*sad face*
For some ungodly reason, people actually choose to go to the beach?  Yea, throngs of people dressed scantily (and most not really looking all that appealing as such (think ME in a Speedo!?  Sorry if you're eating)) eating at overpriced restaurants, buying tacky, high priced knick knacks (all made in China) and spending the majority of the day, in their cars, unable to find a place to park! 
Somehow....doesn't sound all that much fun to me!  Nah, give me the open trail, a nice little café' along the way and peace and quiet.  And most folks on the trail keep their clothes on! 
So yesterday, was dedicated primarily to new builds, although the ones I choose to work on needed a heck of a lot of TLC!  put out another sweet 6 speed cruiser and a cute 6 speed, 20" MTB.  Also, tore down a FINE looking 7 speed Schwinn Cruiser with full fenders!  This one is a peach! 
Today is more of the same, as we got in even MORE "DAILY BANGER SPECIAL" stock!
(sorry if I sound like I'm rambling, but some young man has just wandered into the shop and has been trailing on and on and on....about video games...apparently under the impression I have ANY interest in the subject matter! Isn't it strange how some folks talk about video games as if they were adventures they REALLY went on?  Seriously, to quote William Shatner in the immortal SNL sketch, "GET A LIFE!!")
OK, like the guy on the airplane pretending he is reading, in an attempt to ignore the prattling on of his motor mouthed neighbor, my continuing to type seems to have warded him off. 
As I was saying, I'm jumping back on the rebuild band wagon, and you can go ahead and check out the new goodies we put out yesterday.  Oh, and we got one interesting little toy, the "Electrified Personal Rover"!  It' kind of like a long board...with ski poles...and a motor.
oh, don't ask me!  I'm selling it as a favor to one of our regulars. It is fun, had it out in the parking lot yesterday tooling around, and I'm sure would be quiet handy for going to the beach!
If you're into that.
See y'all soon!

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ONLY $90.00!!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

One of THOSE mornings!!!

OK...that was cool!
SO, definitely kept busy yesterday!  Seems the Snowbirds are beginning to fly North for the spring, and some of the Vacation Plan bikes are coming back in.  Had four returned yesterday, and of course, I did not have the foresight to leave cash at the shop, but in all but one case they had paid with credit cards so they're just a matter of a refund to the card.  Was funny though, the first two to come in, quickly got a once over, and other then a couple minor tweaks, had been maintained in real good care.  I set them back out on the line and was going to the computer to repost them on Craigslist, and a couple just recently relocating to Florida, came in and snatched them up.  One of the ladies was QUITE smitten with the 6 speed cruiser, and went about bedecking it with a rack and bag and such!  I love it when folks get immediately infatuated with their new rides!  We also took in a GORGEOUS 20" 6 speed, folding bike on consignment!  This thing was barely used, if at all!!  Still has some of the original packing plastic on it! Husband bought three for himself his wife and his daughter, but the wife wouldn't ride it.  It kicked around the garage for several months, then he felt compelled to get rid of it! 
As stated yesterday, I went right to work on the rides I had torn down from the day of the blackout, and put out another two, with a third cleaned and ready to be assembled this morning.  Yes, I'm having a blast doing the bevy of DAILY BANGER SPECIALS!!  These are the hot items, as always!  Finally sent the Specialized Hard Rock to a new home, that one held on for FAR to long!  ALMOST three weeks!  WOOF!  That's like a gajillion years in bike years! 
As always, thanks to ALL the folks for not only bringing in NEW repairs but picking up the ones already done!  Although, I DO have one hold out, which was brought in for a simple tube change...three weeks ago, and was supposed to have been picked up in fifteen minutes after he dropped it off!  I hope he's reading and remembers his MTB!
I have gotten in an interesting challenge on a conversion for a one armed man (Richard Kimble, you listening?) as when he rides, he need's more control over the bike on steep hills as he goes out to the beach a lot.  I got it licked with an OLD SCHOOL Mongoose BMX dual brake lever, and a BMX bar with a cross support.  Should be fun!
Today should be interesting, though.  In any large family, you get attitudes.  On any given day, one or more individual has some hair across his or her backside, and you deal with it.  Then, there are days like THIS morning where everyone woke up on the wrong side of the bed!  OY!  This is a recipe for DISASTER!!  Needless to say, for Mom's sanity, I did my best to try and keep the nit picking to a minimum amongst the masses, but to NO avail!  They were all out for blood!  Owen started his antagonizing from the get go, and Elijah and Kaleb were in NO mood!  Then Owen started with Rozy, who in turn went into the boys room and started in with Kaleb (for what, I'm not sure)!  Even Miranda and Izabella were going at each other (we are intensely trying to rid Miranda of her penchant for hitting!  And Izzy, who is the primary target, because Mommy pays attention to her too, is a VERY easy going little girl, but has had about enough!) Once Elijah brought out the guttural demon voice, it was time for INTERVENTION!  Taking all four boys with me, whilst at the same time giving both Kaleb and Elijah errands to run and putting Owen in solitary in the back room (more to keep him from getting killed then anything else).  Owen, can at times, be something of a gnat, buzzing in your ear, but no amount of flailing and shooing can make him stop!  Hey, I love my kids, but I KNOW their shortcomings! 
ANYWHO, all is quiet at the house now, and tempers seem to be waning, so that's a good thing.
OKAY, now I am going at it, and get some more rides pounded out! Check out the newbies below! 

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ONLY $90.00
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ONLY $80.00!!
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ONLY $70.00!!!
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ONLY $140.00!!
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ONLY $90.00!!!

Friday, March 27, 2015


As far as days go, yesterday was, in the vernacular, "POOPIE!!"
No, I'm not talking of business or the wonderful folks who came in to pay us a visit, especially the little girl who was SO extremely excited that her grandparents picked out the little pink BMX for her next stage of development.  Apparently, the bikes colors are closely like that of "Monster High" (if you have  little girl(s) you'll know what I'm talking about) and she was doing a cute little dance and clapping her hands when she finally got to ride it after a few adjustments.  Yep, it's things like THAT which make this all worthwhile!
No, I'm speaking of the strange air of "That which CAN go wrong, WILL go wrong!"  And, considering some of the folks I'd talked to throughout the day, we were NOT an isolated case of the "misfortune blues"! 
Our day started off well enough, but around ten AM, I heard Suzanne barking out back, went to check, just in time to see the Progress energy folks clicking us off!  WHAT THE FUDGE?!?!  A quick phone call later, come to find out, the last payment we made either by my fault or theirs, went on our home account!?  I blissfully went about my month, not knowing that the axe would soon fall.  I mean, it was a mere pittance, but clearly if they don't get every cent they are owed...
Knowing full well, there aint' no point in arguing,  I ponied up the pennies, even before the guy LEFT the parking lot!!  They then responded that they would send out the turn on order and we'd be back up...."at some point today"? 
Um...but he's STILL here!  Why can't HE turn it back on? 
"The order goes out to the trucks and the next available technician will be out"
(and exactly HOW do you justify calling someone who flips a switch, a "technician"?)
UGH. point in getting upset.  Serves NO purpose! six O'clock when we left, the lights STILL were not back on! 
YES FOLKS!  One of MANY reasons why Florida, the PROGRESS ENERGY MONOPOLY STATE, fully lining the pockets of ALL righteous governmental bigwigs is a GOOD thing for consumers!  I think they deserve ANOTHER price hike just for providing such WONDERFUL service, and being such all around benevolent! 
(wow.  Sarcasm IS tough to represent in writing.  Almost reads like I was serious!)
Yes, I KNOW it was probably my screw up.  Doesn't make trying to see in the dark any easier!
But, yea, it seems like EVERYONE was having a screwed up day!  One lady who came in for a tube change on a bike she just inherited couldn't lower it's seat and in the trip over had to stop quick, slipped off and broke her shoe.  Then, as I went to remove her rear wheel, I opened the brake caliper...and both pads fell out of the brake shoe! 
According to her, she was going straight home to hide for the rest of the day.
I KNOW what you mean!!
Sadly, she was not the only person having a "rum go"! 
Needless to say, with my aged eye's, trying to work in the cave like darkness of this place, is tantamount to calamity, but I gave it a go, and had about two hours of light from the back door, where I could get the repairs finished, but spent the remainder just doing tear downs.  Of course, at one point I kept busy cleaning, and as a demonstration of just how doddering I am getting, when I finished organizing and dusting I went to vacuum the floor...
and couldn't figure out why the VACUUM wouldn't work!!!
Oh yes, sign me up for Hospice care at the home for the very numb!
I obviously have a LOT to catch up on, so I am going to "beat feet" and get ta workin'!
See y'all soon!  And may today pass by without negativity!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Well...that happened.

OK, so that's a wee bit of exciting.  The gent who inquired about having a truck built for his business in downtown Saint Pete came in yesterday, we had a run through and he was quite excited to get started!  SO it looks like I'll be building another one.  Gratefully, he understood it will be different then ours, BUT I'm looking to make the three speed idea work on this one!  That should be fun! 
See, the real danger here is, you open the flood gates, and pretty soon ALL I'll want to do is special projects!  They're a LOT of fun, but don't keep the lights on!  I learned that the hard way years back when we were doing all the custom work.  We'd put in four times the work on a custom piece but only be able to get a few percent more for the finished product. Economically damning.  Sad, really.  If all I had to do was let the muse out of control, and do nothing but create, I'd be one happy mammah jammah! 
...cause I've got a design for a "hammock bike" (yes, it is EXACTLY what you think!) and one with a frame, handle bars, wheels and seat made completely from felled tree limbs. and stumps. 
Someday...maybe as a retirement project. Heh, yea, like I'm EVER going to retire!!
SO, as a sign of the risk of creativity, time ticked by me yesterday as I stood in a semi conscious stupor, absent mindedly stroking my beard in a slightly maniacal yet thoughtful way, contemplating the new design and how to make it all work.   Shaking myself out of my self imposed dream state, I got back to work on bread and butter, and pumped out one newbie.  This one is one of three of the six speed comfort cruiser we got in the other day.  These were all "outside" kept but barely used, rides.  In other word's, clean frames, mechanically in great shape, but badly rusted.  Needless to say it took a LOT of cleaning, a little paint, and a few replacement parts.  I'll show you the finished pic, but don't get too attached.  As SOON as I put it out, a returning young lady who was convinced she had  to ride a 24" bike, due to her diminutive stature (but who I had been TRYING to convince would find such a choice VERY uncomfortable) agreed to try out the low slung 26"...and found it fit perfectly! Needless to say, the boyfriend ponied up right quick!  I did manage, though, to strip another identical one down and get her all cleaned up, reassembly to follow!  That is, after I get the repairs up and done.  Trying to get through all of this AQAP as it's, once again, getting downright difficult to walk through here!
ALLRIGHTY!! I'd best get to it!
See ya soon!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

uP, Down,uP.....down

Ok, so the day yesterday started rather swimmingly, with the "Sows Ear" Specialized finding a new home, right quick!  I had high hopes for the day after that early start, and quickly jumped on newbies, after banging out a couple repairs, with only minimal problems.
Around noon the phone rang, and the caller greeted me with "Mr. Atherton?  This is Deputy ______ at Dunedin High School"
My response was a deflated "oh Lord....."
As the call progressed, I came to find out that Kaleb had an altercation in school with a group of common, useless bullies, who find great pleasure in taunting kids of "lesser means".  Granted, Kaleb has his own way. He dresses down when he goes to school, and has a preference for a certain...look.  That of grungy.  We have tried to convince him otherwise, providing for him good looking clothes, that serve only as lining for his bureau drawers in deference to his "wife beater" t-shirts and cut off, knee length shorts.  In our house, once kids hit the high school age, we stop coaching them on hygiene.  Their big enough to take care of themselves, and endure the social ridicule resulting.  Not defending the antagonists, mind you, but it is always a factor in "choice". Well, apparently, yesterday, having had a bad day so far, he had "enough" and told them to knock it off or, I quote, he would "stab them in the face!"
oh boy.....
Needless to say, in todays highly paranoid state of public education, such a threat is NOT taken lightly, and nor should it be.  But in the case of Kaleb, who is not by nature, a violent kid, I knew this was him blowing off steam.  And as the school has a sadly, SHORT memory, they failed to collate the fact that this had been the SIXTH altercation between him and this group of morons, and in all previous cases Kaleb had NOT taken matters into his own hands but instead reported it to the necessary authorities, who did exactly what they always do, in short, NOTHING!  This has sadly been our experience in ALL Florida schools, that they coddle the bully, making excuses for their behavior, while simultaneously victimizing the victim!  As I stated, at length, at this mornings meeting, Bullies are meticulous, cruel, cautious and calculating, making sure that their actions are done in secrecy and when there are no witnesses about, while the victim suffers in silence for far to long until the moment when they cannot take it anymore and they snap.  Because their reaction is one of heighten emotions, they are not cautious enough to be aware of any onlookers, and more often then not, get caught either in a aggressive verbal exchange (such as this time) or worse, a violent, physical reaction.  THAT is what is then witnessed, and the victim is summarily disciplined (especially today under the Bull$#!+ "Zero Tolerance" approach) and are left alone, disheartened and feeling betrayed by the people who are SUPPOSED to protect them!  In the extreme you get Columbine.  Oh, don't try and tell me there was anything "random" about that event.  That was text book retaliation from YEARS of abuse!  Sure, the boys were a little whacked in the head for the extremes they went to, but believe me, that kind of anger broils in ALL victims of bullies!  And with a completely inadequate system set up to deal with bullies, as the school system and counselors try desperately to find the "underlining causes", we give attention and coddling to the perpetrators.  Me?  I'm all for public caning of any bully, but that impractical approach aside, bullies SHOULD be publically identified!  Why not have a bully be forced to wear a sign around his neck, in school, for a week identifying him as such.  Perhaps an assembly where they are trotted out on stage as an example.  Oh, I know, bleeding hearts out there will identify this as "cruel", but how is it any more damaging then the pain and long term suffering their actions cause their victims?
ANYWAY, sorry, I'll step down off my soapbox, I just have NO sympathy for ANYONE who takes any kind of satisfaction from inflicting pain on another person. 
Needless to say, the better part of my day yesterday was spent dealing with that, and then having a long confab with Kaleb after school getting to the bottom of it all.  Thus, giving me all the information I needed to approach all parties at this mornings meeting.  Of course, none of the bullies were there.  I'm sure they were off somewhere planning their next round of taunts and jeers for some other poor, hapless victim, quite comforted in the knowledge that THEIR actions will never receive any comeuppance.
 I jumped back on my tasks around four and finished putting out two rides and tearing down and cleaning a third.  Got out a nice ladies 26" cruiser, then put the finishing touches on that GORGEOUS 1981 Trek road bike!  Oh what a gem she is!  ALL original, but with new tires, tubes and handle bar wraps!  Incredible how good a condition she's in!
Got a VERY interesting call yesterday.  Seems a gent down in Saint Pete saw the truck, and wants us to build one especial for his business.  Supposedly he's coming in for a meet and greet today, so I may just be building another.  My only rule is, on custom builds, I NEVER build them the same way twice!  Color me a sentimental fool, but mass production detracts from their uniqueness!
OK, I best jump back at it, as I still have a LOT to do!
See y'all soon!!

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ONLY $70.00!!
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ONLY $265.00!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mana From Heaven! Well...from garages...and back yards...and sheds...

As if in response to our prayers we were inundated  with newbies yesterday!  YAY!  And the best part is, aside from one really SAH-WEET old school Trek road bike, ALL the other thirteen rides are perfect for DAILY BANGER SPECIALS!!!! 
Oh I am SOOOO doing the "Happy Pants Dance"!!  We didn't get the bulk in until later in the day  BUT I still managed to bang out two, and stripped a real sharp looking ladies cruiser down, and got her cleaned up before close.  Have to bang out a quickie repair this morning and then it's on to new builds! 
The Trek was a partial trade towards the Schwinn Voyager Flip Hub Fixie we have had for FAR to long!  Many folks drooling over it (both Elijah and Kaleb were battling out who would get enough money to buy it first) but as with any bike, they'll find their rider!  The Trek had been a barn ornament for the last decade or so, and as such, needs some work, BUT the frame and paint are in fabulous condition! The gentleman who traded it, inherited it, but wanted something with straight bars.  He is, in his words, in his advanced years, but his line I loved was "you're never to old to brake bones!" 
Having fun NEVER get's old!
Speaking of having fun!  Took the Truck home last night.  Wanted to give it somewhat of a good road test.  Good thing too, as I came to find out the rear cog has a VERY annoying "clunking" in it!  ARRGHH!!  Gotta' yank that some point!  Also the height and pitch of the seat was all wrong, as my knees were in my nose.  Luckily, Kaleb has his tools at the house!  But, we took her out for a cruise around the neighborhood, and with my blue tooth speaker blaring out some Delta Blues we tried to turn some heads! 
Well, I'm pretty much on my own again, as Elijah, who has been serving "get off the freaking couch and do some work" penance has FINALLY started a new job yesterday!  Telemarketing.  Yes, those  people I hang up on, rudely!  I mean, seriously I'll be elbow deep in grease, the phone will ring, I think it's a customer and drop what I'm doing, rush for the phone only to be met by some computer or script reading voice trying to sell me credit card processing, or Google advertising, or home security!  UGH!  I just have NO tolerance for that! 
ANYWHO, he's geared up about it and really likes the folks he's working with, and he has to dress appropriately with shirt and tie, so I'm not complaining! 
SO, check out the newbies below, and I'm gettin' back at it!
See ya!
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ONY $85.00!!
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ONLY $90.00!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

NEW GENESIS....Let's recap!

Yep, I did it again.  Didn't post yesterday, as we hit the ground running when we came in.  Much to do, and I wanted to get the store stock out of the way (as well as the repairs) before I got back on the truck which was SOOOO near completion!  Elijah helped out, roughing out two rides, a sweet 24" BMX and a "silk purse out of a sows ear" Specialized Stumpjumper, while I continued with the final touches.  Oh, I say "final", but the thing is only about 98% done.  I have a couple more things to do to it but it's ready enough to sit outside so folks can oogle it.  Mind you, it IS for sale, but in the meantime, we will be using it to show off and run the occasional errand. 
So, as there has been a few brakes in between it's transformation and the finished project, I'm going to do a recap slide show for you from the first installment, minus my witty commentary, then walk you through the rest.

Okey Doke!  Yes, left out some of the minutia, but you get the general gist of where we came from and where she's headed.  If'n you want all the details, just check out the blog for  March 19th.
From here, we had to get to work on the siderails for the box.  What fun.  Because, as originally stated, projects like this evolve as they are being constructed, especially at times when what you envision, just won't work.  Because the center support drops at such a slope, and the resulting rear was lower then anticipated, and due to the constrictions in length of the vertical supports, the bed itself was at a 7%  slant.  I wanted the top of the box to be straight and level, so I had to cut the supports accordingly, which made the front (which IS level) interesting to build.  You'll see what I mean.
First, we clean and sand the boards for the lower support...

I believe these were from a tear out of a screen room.  Some scraping and sanding later, they're ready to be chopped into the right lengths.  Then, came the side slats.  This one was easy.  Just some old two by fours, ripped down into 3/4 lengths.  Needed a buckets worth...

Then, cut down into appropriate lengths, we put together the first side.  Toying with position and style (originally I wanted to weave the boards, but given the degree of knots in this wood, after snapping a few, I gave up on that approach) I settled on something a little more traditional.

Notice what I mean about a grade? The bottom slat had to be wedge cut, and of course there is a wee bit of a gap in the back end.  Oh well.  I didn't want to just slap something over it, maybe I'll figure something better, later.  At this point, the hardest part over, I knew which direction the rear and other side would go, so they went up a lot easier.  Of course, once both "sides" were done, I'd run out of the nails I was using.  Remember..NO buying anything new.  So we dug through the tool boxes in the back, and lucked out.  Although, being screws, I had to pilot hole each slat, so that slowed me up a bit!

Had to both eyeball and use the level as I should have constructed them on a "level" surface before installing it!  The things you figure out AFTER you do it the hard way!  Now, it got interesting.  The corner go in at  22.5, then the front is straight, so the connecting slats pitched up, and decreased in size from the top being 6.5" to 5 7/8" on the bottom.  THIS took for some chopping after the install.  Yes, I could have cut each one...but, what the hey!  That's what sandpaper is for! 

Now, with the box finished, and a few coats of stain going on, I went on to prepping the signs for the side.  Ripping down a 1 X 4 into 1X1's, I then cut a recess into it to fit the sign stock.  Wanted a fancy frame for it!

Once finished, the frame was cut to size, then stained black (well, one coat of flat black spray paint in order to allow some wood grain to peek through) and the sign stock was white washed (again, flat white spray paint) then hand lettered.  Sure, I could have done fancier, had a couple offers from sign makers to put something together for me, but everything else was hand done, I wanted to stick with the program!   Now came one of the finishing touches of overkill.  A rear basket!!  Yea, I know, but what the heck!  We got a truck...with a trunk!!  This is where the basket of odd's an end's fastners came in REAL handy!!

  The end result is...

There you have it!  This sucker has been banging around in my head for sometime, and it's finaly realized.  Oh, I have  couple more things I intend on doing, a set of rear fenders for starters, but she is ready to go run about town!  See ya on the road!
OK,  Now here's the more traditional rides we put together yesterday as well!
See ya soon!!

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24" BMX!!
ONLY $90.00!!
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ONY $80.00!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rasdy? SET.....go back...

OK, It's been a couple days of fits and starts, so....sorry.
Thursday, was ready to go at it like gang busters!  I had spoke to our man about town, Terry, and he confirmed he had much scrap lumber he could part with and yes, in fact, he did have a table saw I could borrow.  With that set to go (and to be delivered in the afternoon) I set about to bang out all little repairs and a couple quick rebuilds, so as to free up my afternoon to get back on the truck.  A little after noon time however, Angi called me.  Miranda has been having "evacuation" problems for the last three days, and hasn't been able to keep solids down.  No sign of dehydration, thank God, and no other symptoms to speak of.  But, after Angi had been embroiled in an hour of such, resulting in nothing but dry heaves, she needed me to take the wee one to the ER, just to make sure it was nothing serious.  The reason for concern, was a few days before, Miranda had slipped on the stairs of the bunk bed's and bonked her head.  She never lost consciousness, and no signs of concussion, but years ago, some neighbors of ours had a little boy who got a knock on the noggin running across the room, then developed fluid on the brain several days AFTER the incident, so head bumps have become a constant concern for both of us.  Needless to say, the remainder of my day was spent at the hospital doing X-rays and cat scans, a barrage of test, only to come to the conclusion...there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with her.  I was shocked at how well she took it all though.  No complaints, no fussing, no crying, even when they strapped her in for the cat scan!  I mean, she's a tough little girl, but I can remember other children's hospital visits (Owen, especially, who took three large orderlies to hold him down while they took blood, when he was two, because he ripped his way out of the baby straight jacket) and they never were so easy.  The good part of it all was, it gave Daddy and Miranda the RARE opportunity to be alone.  Whereas she is usually VERY much the Mamma's little girl (Angi cannot go to the bathroom without her accompaniment) the fact I was there for her seems to have put me in a new light, and she choose to sit and play with me, even so far as to want to remain near me when we got home!  Surprise, surprise!
Needless to say, though, not arriving home until ten minuets to close, there was no point in coming back in.  Of course, it was one of the busier days we have had this week. Otherwise it has been somewhat quiet.  I realize part of the reason, being, that we have not had a lot of newbies coming in over the last several days.  As if to prove that point....
We hit the door running yesterday.  Quickly making short work of the three repairs that had come in the night before, then went on to the three newbies I had picked up the morning before I left for the hospital. With Elijah doing tear downs and clean, and I, reassembly, we banged them out quickly (with an eye on getting back on the truck ASAP).  They were, a cheapie cheap 24" dual shock MTB, a 26" ladies cruiser (quite colorful in pastel yellow and baby blue) and a GORGEOUS Iron Horse MTB, complete with front and rear disc brakes, integrated shifter, even having to do some SERIOUS cleaning on her, but oh so WELL worth it!  Well, to prove that having stock is EVERYTHING, the dual shock and the ladies cruiser both went to new homes within minuets of hitting the floor, leaving the Iron Horse  the only hang on.  BUT, as I went right back to the truck the moment I finished the final one, I didn't even take time to post anything.  Didn't do that until this morning, so I figure that one won't last too long today.  She is priced to move, and a real head turner! 
SO, with all that, I only had a couple hours to get on the truck, and the better part of that was just getting the wood prepped.  Had to rip some old 2 X 4's down to 3/4" slats for the side rails.  Had wanted to do something a little less traditional with them but it didn't work out the way I envisioned.  Not a problem though, the classic look works just as well. 
Finished one panel before close, and am going to hit it right after I take care of a repair that just came in, and one more rebuild.  Got in a classic old Specialized, very rough, but should make for a good Banger! 
It's the perfect day to get outside folks!  Hope to see ya soon!

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ONLY $160.00!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Next Projects Progress! DUM, DUM, DAAAAAAAH!!!!

No, I did not post yesterday. Three reasons.  First, some friends of ours offered to treat us to Saint Patty's day festivities, and we ended up in downtown Dunedin for Flanagan's Saint Patties Day festival.  WOOF!  I had NO idea it was THAT big an event!  I figured we'd go to the pub, have a few drinks and eat some Sheppard's Pie.  WHOA no!  The whole city center is blocked off, there are tents everywhere, live music everywhere and people EVERYWHERE!  It was a hoot to rival Chicago! Angela was the bell of the ball, be splendored from head to toe in Green, white, orange and gold, and many folks told her so!  She was quite the lovely little Irish Leprechaun! Of course, the next morning I was dragging a wee bit, so I sent Elijah in to open up, just so I could imbibe a little more coffee (no, straight coffee NOT Irish coffee!)
Reason two: When I did arrive, as he had closed the night before, I had to do some straightening up, and check out a couple last minute repairs that had come in. Also, to give him his hit list for the day, as he had to do a Bullet run for materials.  Once I get going on actual "work" I don't like to back track and sit down and do my "morning chores" of computer updates.  Yes, I am ritualistic that way.  Not to mention the fact that I had started the "truck" the day before (will get to that in a few mo's) and was itching to get back to it.
Third reason: Inexplicably, there are times in this business that everyone and their relatives seem to just drop off the face of the Earth.  We all of a sudden go on "silent running" and are dead in the water.  Well, this week has been that way.  Right down to all the repairs that came in Sat-Mon, are still sitting here, finished, and waiting.  There were literally hours yesterday, where we didn't see a soul in here, OR the rest of the plaza.  Very strange, and inconvenient.  True, it gave me unfettered time to work on the current project, but HEY, I'd love a distraction now and then.  Not to mention feeding our creditors.  We finally got to put out an "under 100", thank God. Been FAR to long with only higher end rides out!  Makes us start to look like a snobby "Boutique Bike Shop" and we SOOOO don't want to appear like that!  *SHUDDER!!*
After the last project bike slide show we got a LOT of great feedback, and several requests for more of the same.  SO, always more then willing to feed my ego, I present the latest newbie that abstensively would be for sale, but primarily is going to be for show.  I say that, because it will take one brave soul to ride this contraption on a regular basis.  Not so much the weight, more the stability!!  In retrospect, having such a long, rigid body sitting on a short rear wheel base...enh...not so much.  But it sure looks damn cool!! Oh, and mind you, she is NOT completely done!  I have to put the railings on, hang the rear basket, do a final clean and touch up the paint, and perhaps some pin striping, but I really wanted to share where we are at so far.
We started off with a partially stripped down tandem.  The wheel set had already been transplanted to a cruiser we built a few weeks back, so that part was done.
Here's what we had to begin with

After only about ten minuets we get her down to this.

At this point, I reversed gears, and opted to go through the components first.  I have never done a project like this before, and whereas I had a visual image in my head as to what the finish project would look like, I did not have "formal" plans or diagrams.  I don't work that way.  When I'm working with leftovers, spare parts and one HECK of a lot of "junk drawers" I'm pretty much making it up as I go.  Having already determined the original three speed idea was not going to work, I settled on the single speed.  Once I had the majority of the parts I thought I would need, I went about removing the decals, a full sanding (oh THAT was fun!) and the prime (four coats) and setteling on fire engine red, three coats of that.  I am saving the final coat for touch up.  This red covers REAL well, but I KNOW I'm going to be dinging it up through the construction, so save myself the hassle of screwing up a finished paint job. 
Here's where she was at...

With the rear end in place, and locating the necessary bearing packs (not the newer 15mm, but old school 3/8, as that is the diameter of the axel shafts I have (working with what we got, remember?) as well as the freewheel drive and the ever elusive lock block (I dropped that bloody thing TWICE and took some serious searching to recover it!) I turned my attention to the front end.  Here was a REAL trick.  This ride was a 26", but as the rear wheel base would be 24", I wanted to try and keep it level and replace the front fork.  Trouble is, with the length of the steering tube, and even though we have a  plethora of spare forks kicking around, locating one turned out to be impossible.  And believe me, I had Elijah dig through ALL of them, and after several times of having to DEMONSTRATE the difference of 24" VS 26" (*sigh* SO sad!) we couldn't find one.  At this point, I was momentarily stymied BUT turned it too our advantage.  Brainstorming, I realized this thing would be better off with front disc brakes and shocks anyway, more stopping power, as there would be no REAR brakes!  I found (what I thought was) the perfect pair.  Only problem?  Threadless neck, which means wider steering tube.  Thus began a frantic search for the right bearing cups to house it, while still fitting the frame.  Here's one of the bloody drawers I had to dig through (I watched almost ALL of MST3K "Bloodlust" while doing so!)

About part way through the third drawer like this, I found a matching pair that would work.  So I turned my attention to cleaning and prepping (and in the case of the wheel, painting) the front end assembly...

Yea, don't berate me!  I am MESSY when I work, but I know where everything is!  It's when I clean that I get flustered!  Heh! Of course, the next challenge was, that even though I had the perfect forks,  I realized that somehow the star bolt that is supposed to be in the steering tube was missing.  Removing one of those things is hit or miss.  Far to often, tapping it out results in snapping it in two, here's the culprit....

The most effective way we have found is to flip the forks upside down, insert a long socket extension in it (we have a mushroomed out one, that's sole purpose is blunt force trauma!) and "WHACK IT WITH A HAMMAH!!!" But, remember to "lube your tube" as to help extraction go smoothly!  Once we sacrificed another set of forks for the cause, we had the choosen one, good to go!

After having taking so much time to make the headset work...I didn't bother to thoroughly test the shock!!  ARRRRGHH!!  Once all put together and road tested, I discovered they were blown!  Yes, there was a BRIEF moment there that I said "Screw it!  Close enough for government work!"  BUT, common sense got the better of me, so I underwent ANOTHER search for a set of replacement forks, which again turned to my advantage, as the set I went with looked a lot better ANYHOW! 
Now I tuned to her rear end!  I've always been a butt man anyway!  (SORRY DEAR!!)
As you'll see, I went with an aggressive tread, primarily, because I have a set of NEW 24" tires, that really pop, so I figured what the heck! Once the wheel set, axels and drive were in place (and I relocated the lock block!!!  Not to mention a proper fitting set of'd think with all the bloody washers we have, that part would have been easy, but NOOOOO!) I mounted the lateral and horizontal supports.


Normally,  on a rear end like this, the lateral supports are braced under the seat, but in this case, I had to come up with something else.
Here's where some folks are going to scratch their heads and say..."I don't knooooow"
With NO long square metal stock available, nor any serious metal sculpting tools to speak of, I opted for the next best thing.  As the bed of the truck is going to be made out of wood, why not the support!
Famous last words.

At this point, the hunt was on!  It's been a long while since I had any use for my woodworking tools, so it took some digging through the tool boxes in the back to find what I needed!  Luckily, it was all still there.  The first two by four I had, I bored out WRONG!!  ARRGH!  I always forget to measure twice!  SOOO, had to dig around out back to find another, slightly weather worn one, but it gave me more length anyway, so that made me happy!  In order to reinforce the center support, I opted for ome old school seat clamps, tapped down past the stop, to lock it against the frame...

I knew keeping all those clamps would come in handy!  This support allowed for stabilizing the rear end (he said with fingers crossed) as well as mounting the rear bed too.

Of course, any such modifications have more and more "issues" that crop up, needing to be dealt with.  As the chain's path brings it close to the frame, and rear housing, the added slack needed to be picked up.  Luckily, it already had a tensioner, but given the fact that the rear sprocket is about six teeth larger then the original, and we reduced the front chainring down to a 42 tooth, the chain was hitting the bottom of the housing.  SOOOO, something had to be done!  Here's where ingenuity gives way to daring stupidity!  Having no other way to reroute the chain, I had to grind down the lower part of the housing.  Problem is...I have no angle grinder, not since one of the boys burnt it out a while back.  So...I improvised!  Taking the grinding wheel from the table grinder, a long bolt, washer and nuts.... I made my own!

Again, like I said, stupidity...but it WORKED!! 

Not as clean as an angle grinder, but with a file and some paint it will be fine.  At least the chain aint' hitting the bloody thing anymore!!

Now, I turned my attention to the horizontal support for the rear of the truck bed.  Again "would or wouldn't wood work?" (oh that was fun!  Say that five times fast!).  The struts I used have been sitting in my three wheeler parts for well over five years now and I'm glad I finally got to use them!!  I took another chunk of 2 X 4, trimmed it to 24", drilled out the pilot holes, then counter sunk both sides to plop in some metal axel washers for strength....

Yes, some maybe saying "Gosh, that is rough looking wood" and you'd be right, but believe it or not, aged wood CAN be stronger!  And again, we are TRYING to do this entire project with stuff we currently have.  So, after some adjustment to the set nuts, and a healthy use of a level, we have the horizontal in place....

Now, we undergo the task of prepping the 1 X 4 for the bed's deck.  These boards are the remaining stock I had left from the wheel rack we built a couple months back (you know, the one that partially fell down...oh...THAT doesn't bode well!).  They were once used as framing for poured concrete slabs, so before we could sand, we had to knock off some excess concrete!  Loads a fun! 

Luckily, we had just enough to make the deck the width I wanted, basically not to exceed the width of the rear end.  I have to be able to get this monstrosity in and out of our narrow door, you know?  We used one length to attach them at the rear end, and counter sunk it half way so it covers the raised support strut bolts and we can sandwhich it together....

After assembling the deck, and cutting it to shape, as well as using 2 X 2's for support in the front, we went to sanding.  I did not want it "perfect" just no splinters, or rough parts that could scrape your knuckles.  Again, I'm digging the rough hewned look!  Once that was all done, we used a deep red stain to REALLY bring out the wood, and each board being darker or lighter in nature REALLY made it POP!!

So, there you have it SO FAR!  Now, I have to hook up with Terry, my man of a thousand scraps, and see if he has anymore scrap 2 X 4's and a table saw I can use.  I have to rip them down into 3/4 widths and 2 X 2's to make the railings, and additional lower supports.  Then top it off with some vintage style signs.  This one will make for a fun little "show off" for a while, or until someone ponies up enough cash to make me part with her.  It's an idea I've had rumbling about in my vacuous head for some time, and it's hard to keep from looking at! 
OKEY DOKEY!  That's about it for now, I'd show you the DAILY BANGER SPECIAL we built on Tuesday, I was writing this most recent post, it went to a new home.  No fret though, we got two more in as well...although one of them IS a higher end Iron Horse! OH well! 
See ya soon!!!