Thursday, November 9, 2017

bicycle stool (or, recycle all the things)

Last week, a friend from my shul brought me two old road bikes as donations for the refugee bicycle project. One of the bikes was fine and would be great after a tune-up; the other had been in a crash and the frame and fork were damaged beyond repair.
I assured my friend that I'd scavenge whatever useful parts I could and recycle the rest.

After removing all the parts -- including the bottom bracket and headset, which are both still fully functional -- I decided to make the frame into something I could use in my shop. Years ago, in my early months at Citybikes, I'd made a work stool from a damaged bike frame. It was a great height for working alongside a bicycle in a tight space and I liked having it. When it was stolen, I never got around to replacing it.

But now that I work at a home workshop, I thought it would be a good time to make another.
So I grabbed my hacksaw and removed the front triangle of the frame, sawing off the downtube and top tube about an inch and a half from the seat tube (which I eft attached to form the rear triangle).
I set the front end aside. Then I spread the dropouts as far apart as I could without breaking the old steel tubing, to form a tripod.
Since I'm bigger than I was when I made the first seat some twenty yers ago, I decided to add another "leg" in the back to stabilize the seat more.

I used a damaged mountain bike handlebar, flattening one end to fit over the cable stop bracket at the seatpost clamp and sawing off the other end to the correct length. I used hose clamps to attach the handlebar to the frame after I'd affixed the flattened end to the seat clamp bracket. The bottom end got capped with a stout handlebar plug.
Hose clamps worked well -- if you choose this addition, be sure not to overtighten them. You can cover the hose clamps with thick tape if you're concerned about the sharp edges.
Once that was done, I plugged the two open holes and added a wide saddle and accessories. The bell is just for fun, and the bottle cage was rescued from the front half of the frame to be used to hold my beer.

I may look around for an even wider saddle, but this was in the junk pile and for now it'll work.

I really like the addition of the fourth "leg" as it stabilizes the stool so I can put more of my weight on it. It's a good height for truing wheels on the bike, detailing brakes and such. And it's small enough that I can hang it on a hook and lock it inside the shop when I don't need it.

As it happened, the front end of the frame is being claimed by an artist friend, who will turn it into door handles for a large cabinet in her studio.

So in the end, almost none of it will end up in the landfill. I couldn't be happier.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2017 - #7: Ps & Qs; riding through depression and wrap-up

This year's challenge was actually pretty hard for me to complete.
Not because of the distance -- riding two miles is not a big deal in and of itself -- but because I am really struggling with some health issues this fall that include a Crohn's flare-up and depression that's amplified by the change into the dark, wet days of late fall.

On top of this, I've also had to hustle for gigs, which haven't been coming this year; and the release of my latest CD, which I hope will kickstart the process of getting more gigs.

So riding my bike to get coffee just hasn't been especially prominent on my radar just now.

Still, I went out today to finish it all up.
It wasn't grandly ambitious, and I rode all of two and a half miles.
I was exhausted from last night's CD release show, and a bottle of hard cider which, in hindsight, I probably should've skipped, and the change to Standard time didn't give me any additional sleep because my cat kept me up half the night.
So the fact that I went out at all is probably a little amazing.
But I did. I rode over to Ps and Qs Market, bought some pretty darned good coffee, rode around the neighborhood, including a loop around the back side of Woodlawn park, sat and watched the leaves fall and a few birds flying overhead while I drank my coffee, and finally rode home. Along the way I saw some beautiful color, which helped me enjoy the ride a little more.

Let's dispell something about all this: depression doesn't always look like I'm sad.

Last night I celebrated the release of my third CD of original music and I played a house concert and sold some CDs and folks had a good time (and mostly, so did I). Underneath it all, I really just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep, even as I played my heart out and did a fair job of it.
That's depression.
I'm not always visibly sad when I'm struggling with it. I am often really tired, fatigued (remember, this can also intersect with the fatigue of Crohn's, so it's not clear-cut which is which and there's really nothing to be done about that lack of clarity). I remember what it was like to be full of energy and want to get outside on my bike or outside and doing other things. When I'm in a flare-up AND depressed, I don't want to do much of anything but sleep becasue I'm so f#cking exhausted.

One thing -- last night, when talking about the origins of one of my songs, I was able to be honest and also talk about having depression, without any sense of shame or stigma. Because it's medical. It's not something I created. It just is. And I'm glad I was able to get that out there.
When I'm in the throes of a depressive episode, going outside to ride my bike is really, really hard.
But I did it, and I'm done for now.
In my world, mileage doesn't count. Riding does.
So I'm going with that.
Thanks, and good riding to you!

Evidence photo, at Ps & Q's.
This was after I'd already ridden a couple of miles and had sipped some really good coffee.

Below: Drama. I love it when the sky gets like this and really shows up the gold and orange of the leaves before they fall.

P's & Q's also does really nice things with eggs.
Stop in on a Sunday for brunch.
Or just pick up a few staples on ther way home.
(This is where I go for my chocolate milk.)