Saturday 29 November 2008

The Mixte: Session 1

Remember that day I was feeling lucky, last weekend when I chanced upon a red Shogun Mixte amongst the South Melbourne nature strip hard rubbish heaps. I felt blessed, I grabbed it straight away. I've had my eyes open for one of these for a while to build up for feride to replace her heavy Indian built Avon bike I bought her last Christmas. The plan is to go single speed with a coaster brake, the good old foot brake. Haven't decided on the colour scheme yet but have decided on chrome plated forks.

So the forks came off on Thursday night and the paint stripper and wet & dry emery paper came out. The fork isn't turning out too bad, a few pock marks and some kind of rough areas that must have happened during the bending of the fork blades. So it's stripped and I'm in the process polishing it up in preparation for the electro-plating. The fork crown looks nice enough though a little crude, also trying to clean it up a bit by evening up its surfaces. I've never had any electro-plating done, fingers crossed it works out well. I'll update with some pictures when the chrome is done.

Here are a few pics of me at work on the forks. Take note of my non-workshop, it's the tiny back yard, courtyard of my little single fronted house in Carlton. Most of the work happens on the paved bricks as you can see, amongst the Autumn leaf and spring blossom debris. The bike junk storage system will also need some serious attention this summer. You might also notice the container of caustic soda and the rim sitting in a paint tray in the background. That's my solution for MDF's hub problem, I'm stripping the anodizing from the rim in order to polish it up. Been having so much trouble tracking down a 36 hole fixed hub to build onto the original rims I've given up and decided to use a new 32 hole rim to match the hubs that are readily available. So in the end the rims will be mismatched, but my theory is that doesn't matter, it's the same on my first fixie, which incidentally MDF referred to when describing what he was after with his yellow machine.

Sunday 23 November 2008

A Very Bikey Weekend

The Melbourne Bicycle Film Festival has been in full swing this weekend. We went to the Program 1 screening on Friday night and really enjoyed most of the shorts films. Tempted to go to another session tonight. Surprisingly Melbourne's crazy weather this weekend didn't manage to put a halt to the outdoors events related to the BFF program. First up on Saturday morning I headed off to the Vintage Bicycle Swap Meet really expecting it to be a washout. The seriously heavy downpoor turned to hail as I arrived (in the car) but the show still went on. Here's my small collection of pickings, alloy bars, cranks and a stem.

Last night I finished another set of leather wrapped bars, two tone. They go very nicely with the wood grain TV, orange candles and Malcolm's painting. The orange toe straps originally intended for Aly's bike will go nicely as will the orange saddle currently in the exhibition at Don't Come Gallery.

Then today I headed off for moring ride to get some fresh air into the lungs hoping the rain would hold. I returned to the place of my collision with the car last Thursday, via a different route. Met up with Ged and Thuy and we headed over to the BFF street party. Things were pretty quiet so decicded to take a ride through South Melbourne, Albert Park and St Kilda, encountered many an Alleycat rider along the way. Hopefully we gave them accurate directions when they asked. On the way back to the street party I couldn't believe my luck when I chanced upon this Red Shogun Mixte in the hard rubbish down a street I wasn't supposed to go down. Today I'm feeling really lucky. I've been planning to find one of these to build up for Feride, to add to her "quiver". It will go nicely with a basket, Brooks and coaster brakes.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

"The Art of the Bicycle" Opening

Have just returned from the opening of the exhibition, big crowd, many from the fixed community. Here you can see my saddles hung along the wall at the entrance to the gallery.
Met Aron (again) the one and only follower of this blog. Had a good chat with Mr Fyxomatosis and chatted about his collection of potential saddles to work on and good about the Cannonball Run. Here is a few pictures of the new saddles just completed for the show.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Skull Saddle on Fyxomatosis

My first fixie

Big thanks to Dan at Shifter bikes for this one and the next one of course and the next and the next and so on. My first fixie began on Australia day 2008 and was completed about 6 weeks later. Now I'm onto my seventh and eighth bike conversion projects simultaneously. It started with building myself a simple commuting bike and then somehow grew out of proportion. The first one has a Brooks B17 saddle everything since has had one of my own "reactivated" saddles, except for MDF's Yellow Machine.

Monday 17 November 2008

MDF's Yellow Machine

Michael's nice looking frame sitting idle on the bookshelf. Waiting for those 36 hole rear flip flop hubs to arrive. Hand stitched bar wrap in natural leather, just like on my first bike but a much better job. Practice makes perfect. As I work the designs progressively evolve hand in hand with the technique. Making is designing.

Poor Michael, he's being so patient. I remember the wait with my first fixie, six weeks felt like an eternity.

Cookie Monster's Saddle

Here I am working on a Selle Italia Flite for Catt's Purple Cookie Mosnter. Came complete with a set of matching double toe straps and gold leather fancy detailing. Too bad the gold plated buckles costed out too expensive.

Photos: Feride Peel

The Art of the Bicycle

Some of my saddles will be exhibited in "The Art of the Bicycle" as part of the Melbourne Bicycle Film Festival. The exhibition runs from November 20 - 30. See the link for more details.

Two of these will be exhibited, the other two have already gone to good homes. There will also be a few fresh saddles experimenting with some newleather working techniques.

Cycle Craft - Urban Interior Occupation

Check out my custom bikes at 

but I like making stuff

Photo: Thuy Vy

I am a busyman

Photo: Thuy Vy