Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Grand Adventure

I have been woefully remiss is my writing as of late. It is my intention to re-ignite my blog again.  But I've said that before!

What better way to start back than to recount an amazing adventure I recently took with my oldest son around the American West! He, a recent high school grad, and I, currently in a state of employment limbo, had some unstructured time, namely three weeks, to craft the adventure of a lifetime. When would we get another chance?

So we loaded the old Honda Accord with camping gear, two Raleigh Twenties strapped to the roof and hit the road.

Our trip took us east from Seattle over Snoqualamie Pass, across the high plains of eastern Washington. We started up into the foothills of the Rockies ending up on the doorstep of Glacier National Park in Montana.

The bikes were very handy getting us around towns particularly. Here we are at the railway station in Whitefish, MT.

We spent a couple days in Glacier and northwestern Montana, then headed down to Yellowstone. What an amazing place.

One of the deep geyser pools in Yellowstone.  The colors are astounding.

We crested the Continental Divide 4 or 5 times during the trip.  Here in Yellowstone on the way to the lake.

From here, across northern Wyoming to the Black Hills and Great Plains of South Dakota

Devils Tower in north-eastern Wyoming... I saw Close Encounters back in the day.  This was WAY more impressive in person.

Here is my son in front of some of the natural sculptures of Badlands NP in South Dakota.  They had a solar viewing telescope at the visitor center.  The sun was throwing off a huge prominence at the time!

We drove almost a straight line from South Dakota to Los Angeles through Rocky Mountain NP and into the red rock canyons of eastern Utah.  Here is the Balancing Rock in Arches NP.

One of the "fin" structures of Arches NP.

My favorite picture of the trip.  My eldest son (I'm so proud of him!! Graduated high school this year!) "flying" on a cliff in Canyonlands NP.

Monument Vally, southern Utah, Northern Arizona.  There was NO ONE around...

Joshua Tree, NP... words cannot explain the coolness of these trees... Best visitor center we stopped at too.  Check out the home made sandwiches and soup there!

We headed north along Highway 1 on the Pacific coast.  Here is our very comfortable abode in Morrow Bay State Park, our Twenties guarding the fort...

My favorite bird... California Raven. Big Sur, Elephant Seal Beach.

Manchester Beach State Park, Big Sur California. Cold, damp and a bit lonely.  We had the place to ourselves.  A wild Pacific lulling us to sleep that night.  Did not see any Snowy Plovers though...

Redwoods NP.  We slept amongst the largest living organisms we know of in the universe..  humbling to walk amongst them, an honor really..

Crater Lake, NP.  I didn't want to go... really, I've seen the pictures a million times (like most of us, I'd guess).  I'm glad I did.  This place is spectacular! You MUST see it for real...

Not much bike stuff here, but we had a great time... and the Twenties came in real handy.  The only technical issue we had was one of the "L" shaped seat post bolts stripped and we needed to find a replacement.  This was harder than it seemed, and we limped along with a coarse bolt, nut and a couple washers till we got home.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ride at Alki

Heading to Seattle's Alki Beach today for a ride with my wife and youngest son. An "All Twenty" ride.  We started right where the West Seattle Bridge ends on Admiral Way... near Bike University.  Parked the van and started out.

I sprung for some tension bars that create a false top tube.  This makes getting the R-20 MUCH easier to mount on a traditional tail hitch rack.

My wife rode the pristine orange Twenty we have.  If you look hard in the distance, it matches the color of the top of the 50th Anniversary Space Needle!  My 11 year old loves this view of Seattle.

There are a ton of waterfront parks along the basically flat 5 mile or so route.  Fun to stop and smell the salt water!  Also, much of the route has dedicated "wheels" path, meaning bikes only have to content with skateboarders and roller skaters.

No ride to Alki would be complete without a stop at Pegasus Pizza, my vote for best pizza in Seattle!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Current Ride

This is a modified Raleigh Twenty I picked up in Vancouver BC recently. Very sweet bike and an excellent price. Considering making this my main ride now.

There is a story to this bike (of course)...  The girl who listed it on craigslist for a C$75 price mentioned when I picked it up... "my ex-boyfriend wasn't too happy I sold it for that."  No doubt!  I think the wheels/tires alone would've cost me a couple hundred!

This bike rides real quick and agile.  The headset has been modified in some way too (although it looks original).  It is much more responsive than any other Twenty I have.  I haven't taken it apart to see what was done.

I took it out the other day on a 6 mile ride and it felt identical to the road bikes I have been riding recently.  The only difference is the handlebar.  I'm not into putting ram-horns on a bike like this (i've seen others do it) but there just are not the number of available hand positions in this configuration.

There is a slight rattle in the SA hub too I need to look into.  I thought it was the dust cover behind the sprocket at first, so I took it off and slathered grease in there... nope.  Still rattles.  It is a funny rattle - only occurs when I don't have active pedal pressure on the chain i.e. coasting along.  Not sure what is going on but it is definitely in the hub.

Anybody?  Thoughts?

More to come. I'm resurrecting this blog again using Blogger on my iPhone. This is just a test for now...

Modified Raleigh Twenty: Alloy wheels (new Schwalbe tires),
Seat Post, Pedals and Handlebar.  Fully updated brake system
I added lights (2 front and two rear), odometer,
bell and Carradice with home-made support and
Brooks B-17 Saddle
Looking for a nice set of narrow chime fenders....

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Raleigh International DL-170

For a very long time, I've wanted to get a higher end touring bike to make my main ride. My biggest problem... I'm kinda cheap and don't want to spend the kind of money it takes to get a Rivendell or other custom frame. I love lugged frames made of steel. Good steel. I have a Surly Crosscheck that is a great bike, but it's a TIG welded frame and, well, I'm kind of a snob about it I guess. Once I started getting into old Raleigh's, it was only a matter of time before my eye would be caught by the International.

1974 Catalog Image

The DL-170 International was the top of the line touring frame made by Raleigh Carlton in the 1970s. Yes, the Raleigh bike most people would call the true "top of the line" from that time was the  Professional. But the fact is the Professional was the same as the International except for a few facets: the Professional had Campy brakes, it's frame was a tighter racing geometry and it had slope shoulder  fork crown. The International had Weinmann 999 center-pull brakes, flat chromed fork crown, and a more relaxed geometry designed for more comfortable touring. Both frames were made of double butted Reynolds 531 steel, arguably the best in the world at the time. Both were outfitted with a full set of Campy Nuovo Record (with the exception of the brakes, mentioned above).

My searches on eBay and Craigslist were not very fruitful... for years... Too much money (a top condition International can go for north of a grand) or too many dents and scratches. That changed a couple months ago. An add popped up on the local Craigslist for a green 1973 International with a few replaced parts (Shimano changers, brakes and such).  The ad was posted by a gent just down the street from me, so I went to see it.

It was nice, but too small. 21.5 inch frame and I need a 23.5. I'd waited this long, I wasn't going to compromise now....

"Sorry," I said.  "it's just too small."

He got a funny look on his face.

"You know what... I have another one of these I just got from a guy down the hill. Champagne and 23.5 inch. It's a bit large for me... Hang on, I'll go get it..."

Um... OK.... So here he comes with a gorgeous specimen, original Brooks saddle was pretty worn, but the rest of the bike was in great shape except it was missing the rear changer and chain. Unridable, so no one had rode it in ages. Everything else was original condition...

"How much?" I asked.


Now I'd come with $400 for the green one without all the parts. $600 more for a bike I'd always wanted, but couldn't cough up the money for.... Still $1000 is a LOT of money for a bike.

"Can't do it... Sorry. That's just too rich for me..."

"How about I knock off $200 and you leave me the saddle..."

I have tons of Brooks saddles.


 I ran to the cash machine and drove away with this beauty in my trunk...

The bike is completely stock and in great condition.  As I mentioned above, it was missing the rear derailleur and chain, so I began the eBay hunt for a Campy Nuovo Record changer.  As luck would have it, while I was waiting to see if I would be outbid on yet another one (they go fast), I stopped by Recycled Cycles in Seattle and they had one in the "special" case!  Same year and everything!  So it was meant to be.  Literally a few minutes later, I was riding her.  I've since added a pair of hammered Velo Orange fenders to the package.  The special thing about the International is the chrome.  Chromed forks, stays and headtube lugs... Very nice indeed...

The serial number on this bike is A4545.  There is a TON of information about these bikes at a great site called The Headbadge .  It seems that this serial number is NOT a lot of help in determining the age of this bike.  It is probably a 1973 given the lugs that are being used, the wrap-over seat stays on the seat cluster lug and the decal set.

Yesterday was it's maiden voyage of any significance.  The weather was nice.  Still a bit cold, but not soaking wet.  I took her on a 17 mile ride around Mercer Island.  The International handled like a dream.  Very responsive and, like other higher end steel frames I've had the pleasure of riding, powerful.  Every ounce of energy put into the pedals seems to translate to forward movement.  There is no sluggishness to the ride.

Overall, I'm very pleased.  I plan on making this bike my "main ride" for some time to come!


PS:  Know anyone who wants a nice Crosscheck?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This blog, like many, many other sites today will respect the voluntary blackout to protest PIPA and SOPA, now being considered in Congress.  These bills would be very harmful to sites like this one.

Please contact your senators and congress people and let them know you disagree with these bills...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Revival Cycle LLC

Well, it's official.

I've been toying with the idea of starting up a bicycle-related business of some sort and I've finally done it.  I have incorporated under the name Revival Cycle LLC in Washington State. 

veloscene will still continue, as the official blog of revival cycle.  In fact, I hope to up the frequency of posts to support the site.

What will revival cycle do?

Starting out, it will be the place where I will sell vintage bikes that I have "revived."  There have been a LOT of bikes I have revived over the last 10 years and they just get sold via craigslist.  In this way, I can actually gain some tax advantages from this activity.

I have also created a custom saddlebag support that I'm selling.

I've always harbored a dream of opening a bicycle-themed cafe... these are the first tentative steps toward that goal.

I have also been inspired by the mission of World Bike Relief.  My plan is to donate the proceeds from the business to them to support the mission of giving bikes to people in developing countries.  My first bike inspired me to independence, and I think its great to see the independence that comes to others.

Lot's of work to do!!