Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What you can do with a hundred bucks.

I regularly get bike dealers traders and scrappers, offering me older English bicycles. It seems other bicycle mechanics/rebuilders don't want them. You can easily distinguish these bikes by a few things. The color, frame design, headbadges, 3-speed hubs (often, but not always.)Many of these bikes were made in the same factory in England. You can find such names as, Dunelt, Phillips, Hercules, Royal Scot and Humber.The most popular of all at least in the US, is Raleigh.
I picked one up at our recent swap meet, for $50 bucks. The frame was pretty clean as were the fenders. The hub needed rebuilding but other than that, it was a pretty cheap deal.
A couple of friends invited me to breakfast the other day. They were both riding cruisers and dressed well. Not wanting to be the odd one, I pumped up the tires on the Raleigh, did a quick brake adjustment, raised the saddle and took off with them. We took a scenic neighborhood route, as opposed to the through streets.It was a nice morning and taking it easy on a cruiser felt so natural. We took a scenic route on the return trip as well. Upon returning to the shop, I decided to make the cruiser mine. Besides completely rebuilding it. (Which I've still yet to do). It needed a few personal touches. I hate a street bike with no bell, so that was a no-brainer. Lights, that's a given. In fact I believe only a moron would ride without lights.
What this bike needed however, was something personal.

I recently picked up a few wine crates from a local wine shop. Most shops have to dispose of these somehow so, they can be purchased for free.99 Which is a fabulous price. I've seen folks do really creative things with these crates in the past, but I'd only used them as storage bins. How silly of me. So finally, my brain powered up and I came up with this:

A few lag bolts, some shellac, a couple of rubber mounts, some wood quarter round to reinforce the corners and there it is.

I needed to strength test the box so I hopped on and road the bike over to Lincoln Park. I had a friend that owed me a few bucks so, I could make it a dual purpose trip. I took Cortland ave. east to Armitage ave. Cortland, like many Chicago streets, has it's share of rough patches. A good test for the design. The box never rattled and when I reached Clark street, I shook it to see if maybe it was loosening. Nothing, as solid as when I first mounted it. That felt great.

The friend I was to meet was working over at the zoo, so I figured what the hell. I never go there, not really a fan, but hey I'll check it out.

They have this zoo lights festival, that's opening after Thanksgiving. There must be over a trillion lights all strung up around the place. Every goddamn tree, is covered in wire and lights.

As much as I think it's silly, It's kinda cool. Something to do on a fall weekday. There was almost no one around. Just a few nannies and couple school groups.
I'd say check it out for sure. Try to avoid the animal exhibits. Most of the animals, thankfully were indoors. That would figure, since many of them are from Sub Saharan Africa, whose climate is vastly different from lakefront Chicago. Sad really. I took this shot of the Zebras that happened to be out. They looked bored to tears, poor beasts...They just stood there, looking sad, shit...

I thought this sign was ironic:

"Help us protect our wildlife". Tough to do since they are no longer in the wild.
What's that? Captivity you say?

After tooling around for about 45 minutes, I finally found my friend. This is him below. He's one of the guys hired to string all those purdy lights.

After meeting up with him, I figured time to get out this pretty, but sad place.
I jumped back on the Raleigh and headed west. What a cool bike, hipsters take note. That thing on the bottom is called a kickstand.

All this bike plus a little dress up, for about a hundred bucks.
What's really sweet about the rear wine crate? What you can bring home in it.

Nice, a toast to Raleigh cruisers!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A sign that the world has changed.

Like we actually need more signs. As if the global depression isn't enough. I now have another sign that the world I once knew is no longer. We had our Bike Swap last weekend. It was loads of fun. For those of you who missed it, we have a video that Carene is editing of the two days. "Carene editing" is also synonymous with, "you may never see it". I'll keep hope alive however. My sign of change is this: If I had 5 bucks for every person who asked me, "what's a swap meet"? I could take a vacation in Wisconsin.
So here it is from Wikipedia.
A flea market or swap meet is a type of bazaar where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold or bartered.

One would think that given the current economic climate, swap meets would be everywhere. But alas, it seems few people have even heard of them.
Sad...There are many bike swaps during the winter in the Midwest. Do yourself a favor, attend one. You won't regret it. Thinking about the Wiki definition, I really like the word Bazaar. So for next time look out for, "Lugs Bicycle Bazaar", although I'm sure some people still won't actually know what it is. For those who do, check this out.

This saddle was marked $5 dollars and sat around all day Saturday unsold. I got it, and it's no longer for sale. Wait til you see it polished.

A brand new Axiom Pannier bag. Great for the ladies or you softer boys. 20 bucks!

Beautiful vintage britches.

Bike crap galore

No, this wasn't for sale but this fella came by with this hipstered out Eddy Merckx.

There was tons of other stuff, like new cycling shoes for $5 dollars or leather saddles starting at $30. Most attendees had fun and found something to go home with. I'm sure we will do it again. There used to be a shop in Old Town, which is now just called Wells street. The shop was called the Bizarre Bazaar. They had all kinds of wacky stuff inside. It was such a cool place. That's it, that's what I'll call our next swap meet. "The Bizarre Bicycle Bazaar" Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Weekend you don't want to miss

I'll be there and have confirmed 5 other bike dealers/mechanics/collectors who will be unloading tons of cool stuff. Build up that winter bike. Get that new saddle. Find a treasure. Ignore dates on flyer. Actual dates 11/7-11/8 11am-4pm

Friday, October 30, 2009

About Last Night

Well, another Zombie ride is now in the record books. I'm beginning to see a pattern, arranging these events. Ever since the Winter Solstice Ride, "Mother Nature" has been a "Mother Fucker" for us. Thanks to all who joined us last night. You are an inspiration to cyclists everywhere. Here are a few scenes from last night.

As always Sven was unsure of the attire for the occasion. He thought it was return of the naked ride. He still vaguely resembled a Zombie.

Clare and Laura are usually looking to eat something. Brains were on the menu last night.

Something about Rosanna's costume that looked quite normal. Can't quite put my finger on it.

Tony had the costume of the night. Not sure what he was. Perhaps man on the loose with a bag of stolen makeup.

This was the high point of the evening. Touching...

Ghost bikes should be recognized by the Federal and Local Governments. That's just how I feel.

On a lighter note. This unlucky young fellow, had the misfortune of having his crank fall off. So much for new bikes being problem free.

Fortunately Bean happened to be chewing on a couple of crank bolts. I've seen her eat those fuckers. Now all is well with that Schwinn Madison.

There was at least 1 Hipster Hanging, that took place.

Looking at Brittany in this wig reminds me that the aFro was, and still is, a cool hairstyle.

Then again...forget what I just said.

Dear God...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tonight is A holiday at Lugs

The Weather is in the 60s, It's not too windy. Put on your costume, grab a flask filled with blood and join a community of cyclists, as we do what we enjoy most, PEDAL.

Friday, October 23, 2009

This Just Breaks My Heart

Click on title above to view.

City streets are a bitch. Be careful my friends.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Sayin

I recently pulled out a fall coat that I hadn't worn in some time. I'm one of those people who puts stuff in their pockets and never checks them, even when I lose something. I got a pretty pleasant surprise when I pulled out this:

We around here who were lucky enough to have known him, called him, Doc. His real name was Dave Ornee. Doc finished the race that is life, January, 21st 2009. One thing that really rocks about the cycling community, is the people you meet. Dave was one such special person. He built thousands of wheels over his lifetime and was a true master at it. I've handled many a wheel in my time but I've never seen anyone who engineered like Dave. He had a way of looking at simplest of things with a " how can it be improved?" attitude. He understood that, riding a bike could be much more pleasurable if you built certain things (like wheels) better and stronger. He didn't lace a touring wheel the same way he laced street or track wheel. Whenever I'd ask him to build something for a customer he'd ask, how much do they weigh? How do they plan to use them?
During his eulogy his daughter Amy made a comment about him. "He would always say to me, Amy, there's no such thing as a failed experiment." That's how he looked at life. When he gravely I'll, a staph infection ravaging is body, he told the doctors to try whatever they thought might work. A deeply religious man, you didn't know it because he never wore it on his sleeve.
I didn't know him for very long, but I'll never forget his lessons. I'll just say PEACE, cause I know resting just ain't his style.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What You missed/ Chicago Tweed

Well it's come and gone. Our first annual tweed ride. Oh what fun you missed! Oct. 10th in Chicago has an average temperature of 62 degrees. Should be the perfect time for tweed right? It would if mother nature didn't hate Chicagoans. What a little @$%%&!
The over night low temp for the Tweed Ride? 29 degrees! I want to thank everyone who came out and gave old mother nature the middle finger.

I love it that so many came out even though it was a blustery Saturday night and I'm sure there were many other options for the evening. Including staying at home and doing nothing.

It was beautiful to meet so many cool people for the first time. I loved how the gathering wasn't a scene or a particular cycling clique. It was a community of people who genuinely love the bicycle Yes that lovely human powered vehicle! Not just fixie, not just spandex, not massholes, just folks in love with the bike. Here are a few shots from the evening.

Does Kate not look like she should be distributing the New York Times? circa 1936?
Extra, Extra! Tax on Booze just passed in the New York legislature... read all about it.

Garth, the definition of cool..

Clare should dress like this every Saturday night.

Even Ryan looked stylish that night. Compare this look:

To his hip spring Uni-Bomber look:

Ryan was also the first Flat tire of the night. Shitty Continental's. Yeah I know. I don't care what the masses think. I think they're shit. Fortunately Bean Came to his rescue.

Way to go Ryan, just stand there and smoke a cigarette. Beans got it.

Laura dresses like this everyday:

Then of course the chilly but cozy after boozing.

What is it about bicycles and PBR? I just don't get it. Great photo however.

Little Taco really wanted to come but Amy Left her BMX bike in Humbolt Park and her style at The Rainbow Shop. Poor little guy, sorry you couldn't make it.

All in all the ride was a success, and we will for sure do it next year.
Damn , I love bikes!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Are you Ready?

It's that time of year, when fall fashions come out of the closet. The cheaper summer wear go's into retirement and for us cyclists it seems, it's dark when you take to the roads in the A.M and Dark when you finally make it home in the evening. Swirling winds are starting up and it really doesn't matter what direction you're riding in, the wind is against you. Being as into bikes as I am, I usually shun the term "biking weather" or "bike season". In my mind there ain't no such thing as bike season.

So to welcome the change in weather, and to get those fabulous fall fashions wrapped around us, I like to welcome one and all to, Lugs first annual Tweed Ride!

For you who are still curious, or who stop me on the street and ask why a tweed ride. It's our way of showing the stylish side of cycling. Sort of a fashion show on wheels. Besides, it's a shitload of fun.

For those not use to this type of ride, here's a few things FYI.

Gloves: the low for the night is projected to be 36 degrees.

Undergarments: I'm fond of bib shorts, besides ass padding you get that cozy feeling underneath.

A metal coffee mug: what you put in it is your business.

Lights: It will be dark, if you don't have any we have a few sets at the shop.

A scarf: so you don't have to always wipe your nose on your sleeve.

A lock or locks: (after party) should be a good time (11pm)
A few bucks: just makes sense...

An empty bladder: we will make a brief park stop. What you do is your call, I won't look.

Dress up: cause that's the whole point.


This just in!
We will end at Corosh 1038 Milwaukee Ave.
Outdoor Fire on the Patio
Outdoor grill
$2 hipster juice (PBR)
$3 Bells Amber draft for those with taste buds

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vittoria's Randonneur

I usually don't feel compelled to write about a product. I figure most things get due praise without my two cents. There's a ton of killer bicycle parts and accessories in the marketplace today, and from all indications plenty of cool stuff coming in the near future.

I built up an old Raleigh Grand Prix, I recently acquired. It started life as a ten speed with pretty shitty Simplex gearing. Most of these seem to have come stock with drop bars, but this one had a factory set of steel cruiser bars. I decided it was best not to change too much of the original stuff and came up with this:

It's still a vintage cruiser, but now it's fixed with a nice Shimano 600 crank and sealed cartridge bottom bracket.
What's I like most about this bike, almost enough to make me want to keep it for myself, is how it rides.
I installed Vittoria Randonneur's after initially installing white CST 700x23 tires. The Vittoria's cost about twice the money. They have a double casing and heavy wire bead which makes most tires pretty fucking hefty. I'm a stickler for tires having low rolling resistance. I'm not the fastest guy out there and don't need a sluggish tire slowing me down even more. Even though the tire is fat at 28c it's still pretty fast. The weight doesn't hold these tires back one bit. The best part about them...they ride like butter. They max out at 85psi which keeps them fairly soft. You could ride on these for many hours in real comfort. I got caught in the rain with them and one thing I noticed was how well they dispense water when rolling. Lot's of road and almost all race tread tires just kind of get wet and ride on top of water. With automobile tires they call it Hydroplaning. The double casing will also save you a few bucks on tubes as they have superior flat protection for this type tire.
If you're planning on commuting this winter, (i sincerely hope you are) this would be a good all season tire to install. I know they come in black, but not sure about any other colors. Trust me your ass will thank you.

They're kinda cool lookin too.