Friday, June 24, 2011

Trailer Park LBS

I cleared all the furniture out of the small living room in my trailer and set up a work stand and a bench. I was already known as a Bicycle Guy around the Park, but nobody associated me with Bike Repair. Now they do. In my 12x12 area there are my two personal bicycles and a Beach Cruiser belonging to one of the kids. There are two or three bikes on a waiting list for my free repair services sitting around the Park and I am sure there will be more.

At this point I am not interested in being paid, which is a Good Thing because nobody around here has any money. But I make it clear that One Good Deed Deserves Another and I generally expect there will be some sort of compensation for my efforts down the line.

Full House
But space is already an issue and I have no idea what to do about it. My situation here at Whispering Pines is a fairly cozy one and I have no plans to leave any time soon. There is room for a shed outside and I was planning to build one sooner or later but now that Bicycle Fix-it is a Reality I can see that I will need A Lot More room. Bicycles have a way off taking up space as I am sure all of you know.

But I'll work it out somehow.

The First Paying Customer
The Manager here at the Park dug an old Giant MTB out of one of the Trailers last week and asked me if it was worth fixing. I told her it certainly was and I plan to strip it down and clean it up, lube the cables and so on and do my Trailer Park Single Speed Special conversion. I did it to my Old Mongoose a couple years ago and really liked the results. The first thing I look for when someone comes by with a bike for me to look at is whether or not it has horizontal drop outs or at least semi horizontal. Horizontal dropouts means the chain can be adjusted once the rear D is removed. Many of them do have semi-horizontals and this is Florida: there ain't a hill in sight and these riders around here mostly just want a bike for the bike path along the river and riding to the corner market. Gears are of little use.

Strip It Down
I will remove the derailleurs front and back, take off the cassette and make a spacer out of a piece of PVC pipe. Then I will put on a single cog retrieved from my stash or from the LBS. Tires are usually an issue on these bikes. They sell these bicycles at the Big Box stores with huge 2.25 knobbies that will never see a single track and serve no purpose on the sidewalk riding they will be doing. Comfort bike tires (1.75) are inexpensive and ride way better.

The end result is a bike of improved simplicity and considerably less weight. Hopefully one less bike in the landfill and one more rider in Old Hawks Park.

My Master Plan
I have given a lot of thought to producing a few of  these Single Speed Conversions and seeing if I couldn't sell them for enough profit to buy more parts. The bikes the neighborhood kids are riding have cassettes and chains that are rusty and cheap rear derailleurs that have seen so much abuse that they are riding around in one gear anyway. I have found a pretty decent wheelset on the Web with a coaster brake rear that would work pretty well and enable me to remove the rear brake and cable and simplify things even more.

When we were kids in the sixties (yeah, I'm that old) the Stingray craze hit and there was always that One Guy in the neighborhood who could take your Regular Bike and put on the banana seat and the hi-rise handlebars. He would have two or three conversions available for sale. My first real bicycle was just such a Stingray Conversion. So that's kind of what I'm thinking about with my Trailer Park Specials. We'll see. First I gotta figure out this space problem.

The Ocean
This morning I took a short little ride to the Beach to make sure the Ocean was still there. It was. The water was smooth and clean and looked perfect for a sail. But a tree branch fell on my Prindle on Christmas day last year and wiped out the Port Hull. Merry Christmas, Tim Joe. I sold it to a guy who had the money to buy a used hull to try to do repairs so I am without a Beach Cat for the first time in many, many years. Cycling has been filling that void but today Mama Ocean was calling out to me in that seductive way she has about her.

Danged poverty.

Oh Yeah
But I just remembered I know about this guy who somehow has an eighteen foot Hobie and has never sailed it. Oddly enough, he also used to be a bike mechanic at some famous shop in San Diego. So perhaps tomorrow I will give him a call. Sailing would be good. Plus this guy, who I barely know, supposedly has some pretty wild cycling stories from his time as a race mechanic in SoCal back in the day.

Stay With Me
I know today's post wasn't much, but I can't help it. There are some wild developments taking place in my life that have nothing to do with Cycling and I'm pretty preoccupied. So while I'm typing about one thing my mind is on another. I want to tell about it but not yet. Once I get it Figured Out and Rolling you guys will be the first to know. Rest assured it's a Fun Thing and my Readers Will Be In On It.

So, later Dudes!

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and House of Mystery


  1. Stray bikes multiply like stray cats. I have a shed cluttered with assorted semi-assembled projects. I've been known to fix up an old big-box and give it away on occasion myself. Great minds must think alike!

  2. I am actually working on a Sears Free Spirit step thru right now- a big box bike from the bike boom years. Hoping to turn the rust bucket into a bike I resale for -yes more bike stuff. It can be done Tim Joe go for it. I recently read an article, that might be relevant for you, about making a "poor boy single speed" might allow you to build some really affordable single speeds and your upgraded wheel set with single cog bikes could be your Dee Lux line ;-) Anyway good luck.

  3. Wayward and Ryan: Why do we do it? Artistic reward? Humanitarianism? Because we're crazy?

    Somehow I suspect there are hundreds (or thousands) of us out there. I wish I could get all of them to read this blog.

    I only consider bikes that are not completely crap. I was picking through my daughter-in-law's bike junk pile (four kids) the other day and found this "Mongoose" that looked like the tubing was put together with Juicy Fruit instead of welds. It makes you want to weep.

    Ryan, thanks for the link. Some of these guys really put together slick sites.

    And Wayward, I am taking it for granted that #1 Son's graduation present has two wheels.

  4. Awesome blog, thanks to Fatty for passing on the link.

  5. And WTF, I though Dave Moulton quit blogging a couple years ago?

  6. Trailer Park CyclistJune 28, 2011 at 4:30 AM

    English Dave is indeed still blogging and doing it quite well. Drop by and say hello, Mike. And thanks for visiting The Park.