Friday, March 25, 2011

Daft Punk/ Something About Us

Sent from Jeff's (new) i-Phone

So sometimes the curse of living car-free comes to haunt me at an unexpected hour. Jeff is at the shop, right now, and he puts a wheel on the frame, puts the other end on a can of battleship gray Kiwi Coat and stands on the deck! It did not collapse. Then he emails me a photograph just to taunt me. Of course a photo of him standing on the deck might have been more impressive but Essie is an Anatolian Sheepdog and doesn't know how to operate the camera function on an i-Phone.

Steve Harvey & the Cockney Rebel/ Mr. Soft

Existing in that nether world of the seventies between prog rock & punk rock........

At the shop & getting closer.......

Another awesome session at the shop. Every time we come in we seems to get stuff done. Almost as soon as we came through the door we started to pull clamps of the rear end.......the verdict: way stiffer than we had imagined. Not as stiff as a quality steel frame but easily as good as a cheap steel cruiser. In other words within acceptable limits for a functioning rear end. The frame was basically 90% done and weighs in at twenty pounds. That seems suspiciously light even allowing for the extra parts to add but I'm not complaining. The forward head tube is off the center plane by a degree or two but there is little we can do at this stage. The cargo deck is still the 'noodly' spot on the whole structure. Tonight, we installed the dropouts (glued and riveted). Why does the extra bit of wire always get stuck in the rivet gun? The cargo bed side panels (pinned, epoxied and filleted). Outstanding is the rear head tube and the forward head tube cap. I think one more session and we will be ready to start installing wheels and shit.

Time for bed..........

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mary Poppins /Chim Chim Cheree

Mary Poppins........straight trippin'

We're getting Kickstarted!

Great news.....our project has been accepted by For those unfamiliar it is a web sight where individuals and organizations can post projects in search of funding. Originally conceived as a way for artists and musicians to raise money for specific projects, hosting a gallery show or recording a demo tape for instance, it has grown to include advocacy, technology and design ventures. The way it works is when a project is posted interested parties can pledge anything from $1 to, well, as much as they want. The beauty of the system is that if a project fails to meets its funding goal no money changes hands. We have set a target of $2,000 within 30 days. I have no idea if this is feasible but we shall see. Projects are encouraged to offer rewards for different funding levels so I thought I might try and laser cut small models of the cargo bike for donors (above $50) to assemble & own along with a small booklet with more detailed information about the project. While we have managed so far to run this whole undertaking on a shoestring it is evident to us that some serious moolah will have to be laid down by the time this is all completed. Obviously we can't submit a bike to Oregon Manifest with janky components we dug up out of our garages so there is a long shopping list of shiny stuff we will have to purchase. Powder coating will have to be outsourced to somebody and while we have connections it won't be free. We would also like to produce a limited edition book of the whole project which will again require more 'wedge'. Hence our Kickstarter submission. It won't be up on the sight until next week at the earliest as we have to jump through a couple of hoops and produce a video but we are excited to see how much interest it will generate.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Leftfield/ Chant of a Poor Man

Update........and the Hand Eye Curiosity Club

So Jeff goes by his shop all the time (it is his shop after all) so he gets to fiddle with the project out of hours. Yesterday he removed some of the spring clamps from the rear end.........and it didn't explode! Jeff's initial report is 'good stiffness'. Of course he didn't wrench on it excessively but so far so good. Thursday we are back at it.....drop outs, rear head tube, cargo bed side panels.

But yesterday was not a work day so instead we went to the Hand Eye Supply Curiosity Club (a fortnightly lecture series) in Chinatown to hear Michael Felix discuss human/computer interaction. Very interesting, very geeky. Michael is the creator of the Velosynth, an interactive sound device for bicycles that responds to motion and the proximity of other Velosynths. After that it was dinner at Gideon's (red cabbage salad with cranberries and aniseed dressing.....mmm) then on to see The Scott Pemberton Trio at the Goodfoot. An edifying evening all round.

Oh, and Laurelwood Porter?'s good.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Everything But The Girl/ Flipside

Reminds me of home............

Shop Class as Soulcraft/ A review

As is often the case this book stumbled into my consciousness at the optimal time. Somebody thrust a copy in my hand at Mary & E.J's (famous) Christmas party. Having only recently decided to embark on the cargo bike project (okay....we had decided two months before) and experiencing some doubts about how viable it all was this book was the perfect catalyst to action. This is required reading for all of us who go to work every day and then have trouble explaining what it is we actually do (i.e. produce) to friends & families when we get home. Matt Crawford makes a compelling case for a return to a basic level of manual competence in opposition to 'work' that increasingly produces nothing of substance and requires little skill other than the mindless inputting of data. He argues that our mechanized, consumer industrial society has created a spurious division between thinking & doing where technocrats do the heavy conceptual lifting and the proles are left to do, well, the heavy lifting. He points to the fact that very few high schools now still have tool shops where previous generations learned the rudiments of manipulating wood & metal. Our products, or at least the ones we obsess over, are increasingly opaque as to the underlying operations that create function (think iPod). Some of the chapters are hilarious like when he describes his short stint writing abstracts for science papers for an online database. But beyond the evident utility of being able to, say, fix a leaky toilet he suggests that the act of manual labor necessitates ethical virtues, a deep intellectual capacity to problem solve and fosters individual responsibility. It also, I would argue, encourages humility and by inference, community. A very readable & accessible book and a manifesto for all the cubicle rats (and I count myself among them) who pause everyday at their computer terminal to wonder: Is this it? Highly recommended.

The Incredible Jimmy Smith/ The Cat

So pooped last night on the ride home I could barely put a sentence together but in my head I felt like this............

Glueing up the rear end......intense

Our wooden cargo bike is about 90% glued up. Last night we tackled the rear triangle which is an order of magnitude more complex than the cargo bed/head tube mast we did last week. Not only did we have to ensure proper clamping and alignment of the rear stays but also integrate the seat post and bottom bracket blocks, the bottom bracket/seat tube steel component, rear head tube and attendant panels and all of these disparate parts liberally coated with epoxy resin making the whole enchilada a slippy, gooey mess. Good job Jeff owns a small mountain of clamps and an awesome epoxy resin dispenser, that combined with liberal use of zip ties (what did we do before they existed?) and the nail gun that shoots tiny, tiny headless pins we slowly brought the form together. Still, three hours in a jolly plastic coverall and respirator applying 'spooge' into every nook & cranny is about the limit of human endurance. We left of the dropouts, the rear head tube and the outer frame of the cargo bed for another session. Those cold beers Jeff had in his micro 'frigilator' never tasted so good.

Jeff has some misgivings about the intense curve needed to form the rear stays. It's possible the whole thing might explode when we remove the clamps (cool!). Our thinking going forward is to form the rear stays with stacked plywood laminate but that will have to wait for version #2. Right now our intention is to add material as necessary to increase rigidity. The major area of concern is the cargo deck that lacks torsional rigidity. The rear triangle? We shall have to wait and see when the glue drys.