Bike Build Step #6

Cosmetics, Cockpit & Completion

Hey guess what!  My handlebars have arrived!  So, taking my single speed Frankenstein bike for a cruise, is a real possibility.  I am going to use this beautiful afternoon to apply a couple cosmetic fixes that have been bothering me and get my cockpit set up.

My vintage frame is equipped with a plethora of welded on cable guides that I have since been rendered useless with my rebuild.  It was also designed to carry rim brakes that will no longer be needed, so the welded on mounts for those can be removed as well.

I borrowed a Dremel tool affixed with a metal cutting blade and moved my maintenance rack outside.

I started with the smaller cable routing mounts, and then once I got the hang of it I moved onto the rim brake mounts.  Looking at the front fork, I decided to leave most of the mount and just remove the pegs.  I tried to just unscrew the pegs but for the life of me I couldn’t get them to go.

Exercising patients and a steady hand I methodically removed all of the mounts.  Already I feel the weight of nagging cosmetic nuances lifted from my shoulders.  Switching to a sandpaper attachment on the dremel I go over each location once more and smooth out the remnants.

A quick dusting and I am ready for touch up paint.  Just so happens that the paint job was done recently as you may recall, and I still have my spray cans at the ready.  Using some well placed cardboard and towels I blend the new paint to the old without overspraying any of my new parts.

I let it sit out in the sun to dry, while I get all the pieces to my cockpit together, feeling good about getting those nagging cosmetic issues taken care of.

Handlebars, Grips, Headset Star Nut & Cap

First and foremost, I have a 1” steerer tube that I adapted to a 1 ⅛”, so I needed a 1” starnut to secure the headset cap.  A star nut installation tool is a specialty tool that I don’t see myself using very often, but it’s cheap and I don’t know anyone that has one, so I bit the bullet and bought one.

The installation tool is easy to use and convenient, no guesswork needed.  I hammer the star nut into place.  I didn’t install the headset cap at this point because I may have to adjust the angle of the headset once I attach the handlebars.

I loosen the front of the headset enough to slide my new handlebars in.  I chose handlebars with a little bit of a rise to them for comfort reasons since I plan to use this as a commuter bike and not a trail bike for the most part.  I tighten the bolts down in a cross “X” pattern to keep the pressure even.  I orient the handlebars at zero degrees to start, and will adjust them after a few rides once I get a feel for where I want them.

Eyeing up the orientation with the front wheel, I determine where straight is, make sure all the bolts on the headset are tight, then install the headset cap into my newly installed star nut.

As you know, my simple, minimal design requires no cables or levers.  So the only thing left to install is the grips.

I got a pair of brown leather, ergonomic, lock on grips to match the saddle.  I slide them into place and roughly position them where I think they should be, tighten a couple Allen bolts and I’m done.

Stay tuned for recaps and reviews of my first rides!

Tools Used For This Step:

Dremel with a metal cutting bit and sandpaper bit (borrowed)

Spray Paint (left over)

Star Nut Installation Tool

Hammer

Allen Wrenches

Total Cost For This Step – $121.39 (111.96 Euro):

1” Star Nut – $5.50 (5.07 Euro)

Star Nut Installation Tool – $22.95 (21.17 Euro)

Headset Cap – $16.98 (15.66)

Handlebars – $33.06 (30.49 Euro)

Grips – $42.90 (39.57 Euro)

**All parts are linked to the same or similar parts on Amazon**

Complete Cost of the Bike Build: $560.82 (515.39 Euro)

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Bed Frame to Bench

Repurposing Practise

When it comes to children, it can be hard to donate or give away some of the items that they have outgrown.  Sentimental items have always been a difficult area to address in the world of minimalism.  Certain items however can lend themselves to repurposing, a way of preserving the sentimentality while breathing new life and purpose into the item.

My wife, while scrolling the depths of Facebook, happened upon a bed frame that was being given away for free.  She recognized this as an opportunity.  Our boys are well past the age of cribs and changing stations, but we had a hard time parting with their old crib frame.  We certainly didn’t have a use for it anymore though either, it would make for a strange conversation piece if randomly placed somewhere in the house, and it doesn’t easily serve another purpose in its natural state.  With some modifications however, this old crib frame could become a very nice bench and serve as communal outdoor or indoor seating.

Back to the Facebook post, the old bed frame that was being given away for free could become our test run.  Being that we have not built a bench before, we didn’t want to risk destroying the boy’s old crib on a failed attempt.  My wife replied to the post, and now here we are with a free bed frame to practise on.

First and foremost, we knew we would like to refinish the frame so my wife gave it a rough sanding.

Then our first area of focus was the headboard.  The headboard would become the seat back but it was much too tall in its original state, so we measured another bench and some chairs and came up with 42 ½” (108cm) for the center overall height, 38” (97cm) on the ends.

**Note: all measurements are approximate**

Once we decided on a height, we marked the legs where we intended to cut them but didn’t cut them quite yet.  We measured up from our markings to seat height, 18 ½” (47cm)  and made another mark.

We are able to use the bed slats, which used to hold up the box spring and mattress as our construction wood and bench top.  We took one of these slats and attached it  1” (2 ½ cm) below our seat top markings (the width of the seat top boards) from the inside of one bed frame leg to the other

This would help us maintain a straight line cut along the seatback riser boards, and by attaching each riser to the board before cutting them, maintains the spacing.  Once each riser is attached we cut along the bottom of the board with a jigsaw.  Now that they are cut and secure, we took a handsaw to the legs at the further down full height marking for the seatback.

The next area of focus is the arms for the bench.  In order to make these we are going to use the footboard from the bed.  Again, referencing the length of arms on typical chairs, we measure in from each side of the footboard 20” (51cm) and mark the lengths.  We also mark the overall height that we need the front legs to be in order to match the back legs 29 ½” (75cm).

We want to match the seatback riser boards on the arms and pre-attach them to a piece of the slat wood like we did with the seatback.

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We cut the risers to length, cut the front legs to length, and then cut the depth of the arms from each side of the footboard.

In order to connect the front legs, we use one of the side rails from the old bed frame.  This measurement matches the measurement between the back legs 51” (130cm).  As an additional bonus, the side rail is already formed with a lip, this will help give the bench that finished look with the seat top boards tucked into that lip.

Nomatic

We did have to purchase a couple pieces of hardware to complete this build though, it wasn’t completely free.  The hardware we needed was a box of screws and a couple handfuls of small angle brackets.  We use the angle brackets to hold the arm sections and the front leg spanner board together, as well as the arms to the back legs.  All in all we spent less than 10 dollars at the hardware store.

The seat top is the next step.  We have enough slats left to complete the seat top and even a few to spare, which is lucky for us.  Due to the width of the bench, just placing the slat wood across it and then sitting on it causes the wood to bow and sag.  

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The front spanner board already has places for support wood to be placed, but the back rail does not.  We take another piece of slat wood measure down the width of the wood and attach it 1” (2 ½ cm) lower to the back rail that we attached previously.  Taking yet another piece of the slat wood, we cut it down to the width between the inside of the front spanner board and the back of the bench and run 3 support rails evenly spaced from front to back.

Finally, we cut and place the seattop boards and then screw them down on each end to the board securing the arm risers.

A few coats of paint, some clear coat and the bench is done!

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Homemade Compost Bin

Homestead Hygge-lism

What goes hand in hand with a freshly dug and planted Victory Garden?  Well, a compost bin of course.  Surely, this was something that we would be able to achieve by recycling and reutilization something we have around the house as we did with the garden border.

Now I don’t condone purchasing large plastic anything, but chances are that most of us have a big plastic Rubbermaid container somewhere in their attic, basement or wherever.  Surprise, surprise we had one from years ago that was sitting empty.  

This container will make for one of the quickest and easiest compost bin conversions ever.  Easy enough for even the boys to do most of the work.

A good compost bin needs to satisfy a few prerequisites:

  1. Be large enough to hold at least enough compost to cover the garden bed in the fall for tilling into the soil before the winter comes.  Then it can be restocked for another round in the Spring prior to planting.  
  2. Have a cover to aid in keeping the critters out and the smells in, but air needs to circulate, so there needs to be holes in the lid.  
  3. It also needs to be kept moist with regular wetting, so there needs to be holes in and around the bottom to let the water strain through and drain.

A Rubbermaid has all of these features, except for the holes and that is a quick remedy with a cordless drill and a decent sized drill bit.  So easy a child could, and a even did, do it, two children to be exact.  Please note, my children only use power tools under strict supervision.  I would have said responsible supervision, but it is typically me that is doing the overseeing so I’m not sure that would apply.

After completion, we start our compost with a simple base layer of a little mulch and some of the grass that we cleared for the garden, root side up.  We will alternate food scraps like salad leaves, egg shells, fruit peels (light on the citrus fruits) and coffee grounds, with additional mulch, cut grass and dead leaves. Stirring occasionally.

With any luck, one day this chunk of plastic will be able to produce enough compost to offset the negative impact that its own production caused.

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24/6

A Hygge-lism Book Review

**Caution** This review pays no mind to “spoilers”.

“24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week” written by Tiffany Shlain, promotes a traditional weekly day away from screens.  In particular, cell phones, tablets, laptops and televisions.

It’s no secret that we are surrounded by technology and a lot of that technology has screens that beg for our attention.  They don’t even really have to beg though, we want to look at them and we do look at them…constantly.  “24/6” presents an avenue to escape this glowing , buzzing, chirping, dinging, ringing, attention hog for one, twenty-four hour period each week.  By unplugging for that one day you can reground, recoup and recover your creativity, productivity and drive.  At the same time you will strengthen your relationships, create memories and build traditions that will carry on for years.

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Tiffany Shlain approaches this day as if it is a day of rest similar to the ancient rituals of Judaism’s Shabbat or Christianity’s Sabbath.  She even refers to it as a “Technology Shabbat”, recalling all of the benefits that her family has encountered for the many years that she has practised it.

The numerous hazards associated with too much screen time are just now being realized as screens in general are a relatively new invention with respect to the evolution of the human eyes and brain.  One startling revelation that I learned is that the blue light associated with screen time is being proven to increase a chemical in the brain that is comparable to that of someone with Alzheimer’s.  Another referred to attention and how long it takes for your attention to fully return to your task at hand once it is interrupted by a notification ping, buzz, chirp or simply the screen lighting up.  In fact, your phone is likely causing attention disruptions to all those around you because merely the sight of a cell phone in a meeting or at a conference divides your attention.

Nomatic

If the interesting facts and multiple benefits of reducing screen time is not enough to make you want to pick up this book, then I recommend it just for the great quotes that she references throughout the book.  Seriously, there are a lot of quotes and they are all really good ones.

While I don’t share the same religious like approach to a screen free day, I do recommend that everyone should give this book a read and give reducing screen time a chance. 

Some additional notes on screen time, not necessarily expressed in this book.  As I mentioned before, screens are a relatively new invention, staring at a screen is equivalent to staring at a low wattage light bulb for hours at a time and that cannot be a good thing.  Cell phones are leading to health issues with the poor posture that they promote and the repetitive thumb/hand positioning that you are so accustomed to.  There are even links to testicular cancer in men, as they typically carry their phones in their front pocket, and breast cancer in women as lots of cell phones are tucked into the bra.

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Cell phones are an incredible invention, to have an entire world of information in the palm of your hand is a benefit that is incomparable to anything else.  The issue is what we use this power for, and how we have become slaves to this technology’s beck and call.  No longer are these devices assisting and complementing our lives, they have managed to gain the upper hand.  We jump when they call, we panic when they are out of reach, when they beep, chirp, vibrate, ring or light up we stop what we are doing, what we are thinking about and bow down to their needs.  The content that they can provide devours our attention and steals all of our free time.

Take back control of your devices and screens.  Turn off notifications, learn to be unavailable once in a while, allow yourself to sit quietly and wait.  Relearn patience, focus and concentration.  Enjoy a disruption free conversation.  Turn off the screens and enjoy your first night of truly good sleep in a long long time.

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Financial Freedom Update #4

May – 4 Months

We are now 4 months into our quest for financial freedom and our dream of an early retirement.  

This is a very turbulent time for investments in general with the global pandemic wreaking havoc on economies all across the world.  At the same time, the dramatic drop in all of the markets effectively puts stocks on sale and could prove to be the most opportune time to really start investing in a serious manner.

We have 2 accounts with Betterment.com and 2 external retirement accounts separate from my career supplied 401K.

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Betterment Account Performance:

Physical Investment to Date: $21,010.39

Passive Income Earned (Dividends and Interest): $67.33

Current Balance: $20, 569.14

Performance to Date: (-$441.25)

The initial market drop did some damage right off the bat, but the recovery is gaining momentum and I am optimistic that this will continue to trend upwards as lockdown restrictions are lightened.

Supplementary Retirement Account Balances:

Thrift Savings Plan: $111,220.06

Vanguard 401K: $14,563.79

F.I.R.E. Account Balance

$146,352.99*

*This is an increase of $9,116.24 from last month.

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Victory Garden Build

Homestead Hygge-lism

We have seeds started and plants growing but nowhere to put them.  This weekend was the time to remedy this.  After talking to our awesome landlord, we had the all clear to dig away.  We did a rough layout of how we wanted to plant our vegetables and decided on a small garden, roughly 3 ½’ x 7’ (1 x 2 meters).  

This was a perfect opportunity for a little homesteading practice, and a great time for some warm weather hygge moments.  Typically hygge is thought of as a warm drink with a comfortable blanket watching the cold wind blow outside.  Hygge is not just reserved for the colder months though.  A nice sunny, warm day with the whole family working together building a garden bed that will eventually produce vegetables that we will all enjoy and we all had a hand in growing is just such a moment.

Unfortunately, prior to our move we left most of our landscaping tools behind.  We did not expect to have a need for them on a rental property.  A quick bike ride with a backpack solved that dilemma, but for the rest of what we needed we were determined to re-purpose what we already had on hand.

My wife found a bed frame last fall that was being given away, we are transforming it into a bench, which I will be posting about, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.  Anyway, between the leftover wood from that and some worn out lumber from around what will one day be a water feature, yet another upcoming post, we were able to piece together a border for the entire garden bed.  It’s not the prettiest, but it is pretty awesome.

Charlie Approved.

While I got started clearing the grass layer off of our garden area, my wife and kids worked on saving as much of the top soil from the clumps of grass as they could.  We worked together through the morning, stopped for lunch and finished up in the early afternoon.  Proud of our accomplishment and all with a sense of ownership in what we were doing, left my wife and I optimistic about the proposition of running a homestead one day with our boys.

The next morning, after further garden layout planning, we determined that perhaps an extension to what we did the day before would be better than a separate garden bed for the additional plants that we planned.  After the practice from the day before, we accomplished this extension with no problem and in no time, utilizing some more of our reclaimed wood.

Raking, sifting, watering, this garden bed is ready and waiting for plants and seeds the next morning.

We determined the plant companions and the most efficient way to utilize the amount of sun and the shade that the plants would cast.  We pre-placed the plants in their pots next to the garden and started digging holes.  Everyone had their chance to plant a few veggies.

All told we were able to get strawberries, lettuce, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, peas, beans and cucumbers planted, watered and mulched.  All we will still need to add is lattice for the cucumbers and beans to climb as they grow.  

We had a few extra beans, spinach and a strawberry started without any room for them.  On the property is a neat little spiral garden feature that was used to grow herbs it seems, there are a couple rosemary plants still growing on the top section of it.  We planted our extra plants in the spiral.  The rosemary was conveniently used to aid in pest control of our new garden bed as well.  By cutting a handful of 8-9” stalks and peeling off the bottom couple inches of needles before sticking them into the ground you can regenerate complete rosemary bushes.

The Victory Garden is done, a little regular care and attention and we will be feasting off of its production in no time.  The whole family is all in on it, and excited to reap the rewards.  A wonderful, sustainable, hygge, Spring, weekend, family activity. 

Wish us luck! I will let you know how it turns out.

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Contemplating Homesteading

Should This Be The New Normal?

This may sound strange, but our family has actually kind of enjoyed these last couple months on lock down.  While people all over the world are going stir crazy, protesting and just plain acting foolish, we have been slowing down and enjoying our already simple hygge-lism life.

Now don’t get me wrong, we have had to cancel a couple vacation getaways, and that is a bummer.  We planned on thoroughly taking advantage of our time in Europe by seeing all the sights to be seen.  In the meantime, there is something to be said about experiencing life, at home, with family.

We have settled into a kind of quarantine routine of sorts.  I wake up a little later than I used to, since my commute is about 15 steps.  I brew a pot of french press coffee, water the plants both inside and out and then log into work.  I wake up the boys, they eat and then join me in the classroom/office for their schooling.  After bringing coffee up to my wife, I work and teach for the rest of the morning.  By lunchtime typically all of the schooling is done.  We all eat, check on the plants and work on house projects while I bounce back and forth between work and home tasks for a few hours in the afternoon.

The “Classroom”

In the evenings we sit and talk about the day, the past, the present and the future, it’s nice.  

We have solidified our meal plan, we are saving and investing more than we would have.  Minimizing our trips to grocery stores has made us more creative in our food processes.  We have had the time to really focus on what we want, we are being more conscious of our spending, reducing our wastefulness and paying attention to our environmental impact.  We have started our garden, looked further into the plants and trees that surround us for their possible benefits and have gotten even more self reliant and sustainable than we have ever been before.

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All of these things have turned our attention to homesteading.  Living sustainable and as much off grid as possible is something that we think could become a reality for us.  To be able to raise, grow and harness nearly everything that you need to feed and support our family would be a dream.  Only, it doesn’t have to be just a dream and we are in a unique and opportunistic situation to make it happen. 

Our current situation is financially beneficial and also beneficial in the aspect that we have a clearly defined timeline that we can schedule, save, research and plan too. By planning, saving and focusing on what we want now, we will be able to hit the ground running, as they say when the time comes, also as they say.  I also have a job that offers multiple location possibilities that I can take advantage of while we get a sustainable homestead established.

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Covid-19 is a horrible pandemic, and has been devastating worldwide.  Self-isolation on the other hand has had eye opening benefits for families and offered the chance for connections and realizations that were never even imagined before.  While everyone is pining for the chance to run back out and return back to the old normal.  We are looking at what could be the new normal for us, ready to stay in, be self sufficient and sustainable for the long term.

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Victory Garden Time

Spring has sprung and it is time to get those seeds in the ground.  Not unlike the tough times of the World Wars, victory garden seems the appropriate title for this year’s Spring planting.

This year’s victory gardens will serve the same purpose that they were originally coined to do, supplement our food supply and boost our morale.  With no reasonable end in sight to the social isolation and quarantines, food supplies have dropped and finding the freshest fruits, vegetables and herbs will become harder and harder to come by.  Nothing is fresher than something just plucked from your backyard garden.  On top of having the freshest and healthiest food possible, a victory garden will supply you with something productive to do during your many long days at home.

Caring for a plant from seed until it fruits also carries a sense of accomplishment and gratefulness, something that we are in dire need of at the moment.   

We are currently in a leased home, and have not requested permission to dig and till up half the lawn.  Instead we may pursue some raised garden beds.  Regardless, now is the time to get those seedlings planted and going.  We personally have started a couple small trays of lettuce, spinach, beans and peas, that are just now starting to sprout from seeds.   

We also potted some young tomato and strawberry plants that have a jump start on the season.  I look forward to watching these plants grow and produce food.  I look forward to eating what they produce even more!

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Bike Build Step #5

Wheels, Chain, Etc.

It has been a little while since I did a bike build update, and I have added quite a bit since the front forks were installed.  I wanted to wait until I had all of the remaining components but unfortunately, shipping delays have pushed my last two items out a little further.  So my beastly, single speed, hard tail commuter completion is close but no cigar, or no handlebar for that matter.

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When I left off, I had just finished installing the front forks, so picking up from there:

Wheels

My old frame is designed for 26” wheels as is my new front fork, so I am sticking with that.  I ordered and received a Mango 26” Cruiser Bike Wheel Set. I am trying to go as minimal and simple as possible, a dream set up.  Little to no maintenance required, next to no failure points. After all, I am a hygge-list, minimal yet functional design and aesthetically pleasing.  So I opted for the rear wheel to have a coaster brake hub, yes you heard me right, a coaster brake, instant flash back to making skid marks down my parents driveway on my first ever BMX.

Installed on those coaster brake cruiser wheels are 26” x 2.125” tires with tubes.  The tread is suitable for road and gravel riding, the most common terrain that I will be riding either during my daily commute or out on family rides.

Installing the wheels sets is pretty self-explanatory, there are no disc or rim brakes to worry about, no cables, no levers, no problem.  I attached the front wheel to the fork securely. I attach the rear wheel, but just finger tighten the nuts so that I can adjust the positioning accordingly for when I install the chain.

Headset Stem, Shim & Spacers

If you recall, my frame has a 1” steerer tube, and the front forks that I installed were 1” and threaded.

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I am converting this to a more common 1 ⅛” headset stem.  In order to do this I needed to add a 1” to 1 ⅛” adapter shim.  The threaded steerer tube is already secured in place so all I am looking to do here is add a spacer (1” diameter, the tube is 1” and the shim will bump into the spacer) and the shim to elevate the stem to the end of the steerer tube.  Once I have the desired height worked out, I slide the stem over the shim and tighten down the Allen screws, alternating between the two to keep a constant even pressure to prevent stripping them out. I aligned the stem as straight as I can for now, but will likely have to readjust once I get the handlebar attached.  I have links to the same or similar items that I used at the bottom of this article.

Saddle, Seat post & Clamp

The next and quickest installation is a new seat post, seat and clamp.  I love the look of streamlined, brown leather saddles. I was able to find a great synthetic saddle by Charge Bikes that fit the bill.  I also received my new 27.2 mm diameter seat post that is 350 mm long to allow for plenty of height adjustment options. The seat post clamp adds a little white highlighting to go along with my forks and headset as well, aesthetic bonus.

I attach the saddle to the seat post, install the seat post clamp and slide the seat post into a rough estimate of the height that I will want it at and tighten the clamp down.

Chain

Installing the chain is a big step that I have been looking forward to.  I picked up a ½” x ⅛’ KHE chain with 112 links. It is highlighted with white face plates to match the design that I am going for.

I was a little stressed about being able to get it sized just right to avoid having to install a chain tensioner.  Like I mentioned before, clean and simple, less parts and less points of failure. The drop outs on my frame (the slots that the rear wheel slides into) are not horizontal, but they are not vertical either, so I was optimistic that I could make it work.

After wrapping the chain around the chainrings, I used a small metal hook to hold it in place, you can also shape a paperclip to do the same thing.  I pulled tight and moved the rear wheel around the dropouts to get a perfect size. Marking my target chain link, I used a chain breaker tool from my bike multi-tool to shorten the chain to the proper link, reinstalled a master link, made sure the tension was perfect and tightened the rear wheel in place.

After a couple test spins on the cranks, checking the tension all of the way around the oval chainring I was satisfied.  Perfect fit!

**NOTE**  If you have a narrow / wide crank ring, be sure to align your chain properly to match the narrow then wide teeth to the narrow then wide openings in your chain.  If this is off the chain will stick and bind while you spin the crank. **

Alas, this is where I had to stop.  Upon receipt of my handlebar and headset cap I will install and complete my build.  Which will then be IMMEDIATELY followed by my first test ride, I can hardly wait!

Tools Used For This Step:

Adjustable Wrench

Tire Pump

Allen Wrench

Chain Breaker

Pliers

Flat Head Screwdriver

Total Cost For This Step: $242.86 (222.77 Euro)

Mango 26” Coaster Wheelset with Tires and Tubes – $119.95 (110.03 Euro)

Truvativ 60mm, 1-⅛” Hussefelt Stem – $31.95 (29.31 Euro)

Jili Online Bicycle Stem Shim 1” to 1-⅛” Adapter – $3.99 (3.66 Euro)

1” Alloy Bike Headset Spacer Kit – $9.90 (9.08 Euro)

Charge Spoon Saddle – $29.48 (27.04 Euro)

CYSKY 27.2 mm Seat post – $17.88 (16.40 Euro)

Fouriers MTB Seat Post Clamp – $15.59 (14.30 Euro)

KHE Bicycle Chain – $14.12 (12.95 Euro)

**All parts are linked to the same or similar items on Amazon**

Bike Build Riding Total: $439.43 (403.07 Euro)

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Bicycle Commuting

The Trial Ride

My commute currently consists of walking down my stairs and into our guest room / makeshift classroom / office.  I am lucky enough to be able to work from home while the world is self isolating. My boys have their classroom set up next to me as I sit at my desk, between us is my bike build project; unfinished but oh so close to done.  An ever present reminder of what a joy it would be to be able to commute to work on my bike each day.

So while my bike is in various states of togetherness, I have been riding my wife’s bike around town to get my fix.  She has a 2020 Trek Marlin 29er so it’s not exactly a chore, and I don’t have any qualms about riding a purple bike either.  The frame is much too small for me, but since it’s just short term I’ll survive just fine.

This past weekend I decided to see just how much of a reality it would be to ride my bike to work once everything goes back to normal.  The roads were pretty much empty and a bike ride falls within all of the social distancing guidelines.

I have two options, a short ride to a train station and then a short ride from a train station to work.  Second option, strictly biking all the way there and back. I don’t want to get on a train at this point in time for obvious reasons.  So I decided to go for a long ride, scout a path and see how long a relaxed ride to work would actually take.

Built Bar

Google Maps does an excellent job finding bike accessible paths and it proposed two possible paths.  I decided to take one on the way there and the other one on the way back to judge which one was the better route.  

I tracked each route using an app called Strava:

This route was great, some paved paths, a little single track and dirt paths and a good mix of uphill and downhill sections.

On the way back I took the other suggested route, I must say that biking home immediately after biking out was not my best decision.  My energy levels were a little low for this ride, but I still accomplished it.

This path was also enjoyable, much flatter roads, another good mix of paved and dirt paths.  This one tracked more along the main roads though and did include a section along a busy road with no bike path.  So not quite as good as the first route, plus it was just about 2 kilometers longer.  

**Note** If I had taken this route first, the elapsed time would have definitely been a little bit quicker.

All in all, I found that this is a very real possibility.  Once everything goes back to normal I will test run the train option as well.  To save the impact of a daily commute in my diesel car, no matter how economical the mileage, is just too big to ignore.  I feel strongly that this is something that I need to explore further and try to incorporate.

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