30 January 2013

Bike trailer modification

Amanda and I want to bike and run together, this means Fiona needs to come along too.  Since I refuse to carry her when running and her little legs will take her only so far it means we end up using our trailer for this.  Although the trailer is good, snow is not it's forte.  This meant that we needed to get some skis for the trailer. Although Chariot do make a good set of ski's and frame for pulling the trailer whilst skiing this was not really what we were currently looking for as we are not skiing at the moment and we have just paid for some new fatbikes, (see here) it also costs $275! which is not really in our budget at the moment.

After searching the internet I found a solution, this is my version of the idea I found here.  

I found an old pair of skis on Craigslist, after removing the binding's this is what I was left with.  Initially I was planning on using the pre existing bolts but in the end this turned out to be a royal PITA so I ended up drilling through the ski's and bolting straight through with a bolt.

skis attached to wheels
Ok maybe not one bolt, 6 bolts per ski.  Wheel trays are Thule trays and straps are some I had available I may have to change the straps not to sure yet.
attached to the bike
All looks good from the garage setup, will try it out this weekend with Amanda hopefully.

running setup
If Fiona agree's we will go and test this out tomorrow, forecast is for 2-3" overnight so we shall see. 

Cat play area

The condo we are currently renting would be described by an estate agent as cosy, this has lead us to try and make the most of all the available space we have.  One of the dead spaces is the area above the kitchen.
Amanda came up with an idea for letting the cats use the area as we have no way of getting up there and anything we do put up there will just need dusting all the time anyway.

Since we know cats like to climb we utilised the height of their cat tree and a couple of shelves to allow access to the dead space.

The cats love it, and seem to take great pleasure in looking down on the rest of the family.  Overall this project was a huge success.

Here is the finished result.
Exploring the new area

Susan enjoying freedom 

27 January 2013

Nick went to the races....

If you have read this blog before you may know I occasionally do a bit of cycling amongst other things.  Amanda and I were lucky enough to get new bikes last weekend which we ordered before Christmas.  The bikes are fat tyre bikes (previous post about them).  These bikes are great fun to ride, from what I have read on all sorts of trails however at the moment the trails here are snowy which is where these bike excel.

The shop we bought the bikes from run a series of races throughout the winter (Abominable Snow Series)  on the local trails weather permitting (if it is below -4F the race may be cancelled or if it is to warm/trails ruined due to the weather).  When I saw the third round of the series was coming up I convinced Amanda that I really "needed" to race it.  It turned out that this round was a time trial just me against the clock, man and machine, the race of truth.... ok enough of that it was like any other race, set off and go as fast as you can and try not to blow up in the first half of the course, tricky when you don't know the course and are riding at night.  If any of you have never done any night riding it is a blast and can transform local trails in a good way.  On the other hand if you don't know the trails, sharp corners and steep rises really catch up with you.

The race started at 6pm ish, I turned up at around 17:45 and signed on.  After a short briefing I realised that I would probably not be starting for another 30min so headed back to the car to keep warm (it was 0F or -17C or rather nippy)

I was watching the starters (from the car) and got really lucky with my timing, I took a chance and got ready to ride and headed over to the start and almost immediately my name was called to start.  Then I was off and into the dark dark dark woods, I caught the guy ahead of me then another guy, great I though at which point I was promptly passed by the mechanic who put my bike together :-(  I was however having a great time.  Continuing on I was passed by another guy then I was pretty much on my own for the rest of the course, I passed one more rider and that was all I saw on my way to the finish apart from some other lights of riders as we looped through the forest.

The trails we were riding are really well maintained with bermed corners, dips and jumps if you are going fast enough, (I was not)  and I am really looking forward to riding them again especially in the summer when hopefully it will be a little bit lighter.

Here is my Garmin track of the race.  I finished and had a really good time, there is no way on earth I will be anywhere close to a podium in this series......this year but in the future who knows.

24 January 2013

Getting things organised

One of the problems with renting is that places never feel like your own.  So far our new place feels much more like home than any of the previous places we have rented, perhaps it is all in the mind but previously we feel like we have been living on rather than in our flats/houses.

Our personal items should be arriving on Monday the (28th January) which I am sure will make things feel even more like home.  Other things that really helped is that we now have little things like a garage with tool board :)
yey tool storage
I also took some time to make some stands for the new bikes we have bought (see here for info on the new bikes).  The design I used was this one https://nuxx.net/blog/2011/11/28/low-cost-fat-bike-stand/ and I think they turned out really well.
Daddy's little "helper"
Almost done
The next projects will be the ski project for Fiona's trailer and some shelves to make life more interesting for the cats.  We are planning to use the dead space above the kitchen to allow them some height and hopefully fitting the cat's with dusters will enable us to not have to dust up there, access from cat tree to above fridge in the picture below....
Shelves on this wall
Amanda and I also had our trainers studded so we can go running in the snow, well more if we hit ice we don't end up on the floor nursing broken bones.  We have both still to test them out but maybe tonight or tomorrow morning will be the time, I will do a follow up report once we have tested them.

That is all from me, until next time take care all.

20 January 2013

The fat bikes have arrived!

On Saturday the 19th January 2013 to complete my birthday week Amanda and I received our new bikes.  :)
New bikes
Here are a couple of facts about the bikes, the tyres (tires if you are American) are 4" wide and run at low pressure to allow you to float over the snow or dirt, they recommend 5-10psi.  As most people who know my wife know she likes the colour purple a lot.  Since we were finding it difficult to find a purple bike we went with a silver frame and purple accents (cables, nipples, seat clamp) it looks amazing.

Next extra is the reflective tape you can see in the above pictures, since the wheel rims we bought have cut outs in them for weight saving purposes, you get the opportunity to add something a little different to the wheels. (I've seen a photo of one guy who installed lights in his cutouts, here)  We sourced some retro reflective tape from http://www.identi-tape.com/ which allows any light to be reflected back towards the source, hence the reason the flash from the iphone photo above can't cope with the picture so well.

All that was left to do was take them out for a short spin, here is Amanda heading out for a short ride.
Amanda out for a ride
This is me heading out in the snow that arrived later in the day.

Me out for a ride
Finally a shot of my bike in the woods.

Bike in the woods
This week there was also a story on NPR about Fat Bikes here is the link

The next couple of projects will be adding some skis to the wheels on the trailer so we can all get out together.  Some thing like this will be completed in the not to distant future, just waiting on our things from Bogota to arrive so I can make some measurements.  And making some stands for the bikes like this

Well that is all from me for now more riding stories and manufacturing stories to follow probably.