Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday Morning

Maddie and I rode downtown to pick up some tires from someone who posted them on Craigslist. The house was out there by Buckeye in the Corbin Park area. It was a beautiful morning -- about 70F and clear, so we weren't crazy disappointed when the guy was a no show. We poked around a bit, and rode through the alley to the rear of the guy's house and saw this beauty trike. I think that's a bike rack on the back there. That big boxy thing on the handlebars is ballast. Your basic cinder block, bungied to the bars. Nice. I wish this guy was there. Anyone with a rig like that is worth meeting.

Stop #2 REI to check out Maddie's new rig and to learn something new

We paid attention the other day when Maddie rode her little hand-me-down 12"-wheeled bike. It was way too small for her. Poor thing. Even after extending the seat/bars all the way to their safest heights, the bike is too small.

A benefit of Liza wrenching at REI is good deals. So Liza ordered the pink Electra, "Hawaii." Since Maddie and I were on the tandem, we couldn't bring it home with us, but Maddie was able to ride it around the REI test ride spot. It's very pink. It will be completed with pink streamers and a basket. It's a pretty BOB-ish ride, a single speed with full fenders and a chaincase. After the front basket goes on, it'll want a dynohub and full lighting system, but we may wait on that.

One of Liza's co-workers is a guy named John. He's a master mechanic and has forgotten more than I'll ever know about wrenching and fixing bikes. I was staring at his bike and trying to figure out the extra chainring wedged in his chain. I figured it out just as he noticed my puzzled look. It's a chain tensioner. Much more elegant than the old/pseudo derailleurs used on most bikes with vertical dropouts.
The non-descript bike here is actually a Bruce Gordon bike. Cool rig. Cool idea. He said he learned about this method of chain tensioning from a guy in Missoula. Anyone else seen this? John also said the trick is to use the same size chainring, which probably makes sense instantly to most geeks, but has me doing little mental exercises for a couple minutes before making sense.


Unknown said...

That chainring tensioning trick is super slick!

Andre said...

Yup I've heard it most often called a ghost chainring or idler chainring. See item 8 under "how do I tension the chain" from mtbr's SS FAQ.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

Nice blog!
I miss my morning bike commute and Saturday rides in Spokane. I only commute by bike twice/week, now, (in an unfriendly suburban biking environment).

Happy trails,
Bad Ben

erikv said...

So now, why does the ghost chainring have to be the same size? That doesn't make sense to me, but you said you figured it out?