Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Ideal Bike

The ideal bike is stylish, rugged, and cheap.

Stylish, because style matters. It's an expression of your personality. It talks about you. It tells others what you are made of. Your bike is a fashion statement. You have to customize it, make it your own, so that in the end it becomes a faithful representation of your individuality.

Rugged, because the streets of Syracuse are a tough and exciting ground for bicycling, with no place for the weak. Motorized traffic, pot holes, train rails, uphill, downhill, bumpy tarmac, packed dirt, gravel, all weather conditions, require a simple, strong, low maintenance design that will let you go anywhere, sustain any situation, and never let you down. Strength is the price of freedom.

Cheap, because bicycling is for everybody. It's the quintessential democratic mode of transportation. It's a small reminder that at the core, we are all made the same, and that if we are to live in harmony, there is no sense in inciting the envy of our neighbors. Keeping a low profile is a key to keeping safe, and to keeping your bike.

That's my ideal bike: single speed coaster brake path racer, made from a trashed 1974 Ralleigh Sport frame. What's yours?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Like father like son

Here is type of work my father does in France.

A Peugeot roadster from the 70s with an Italian Mosquito motor from the 1950s.

A Bima Griffon moped from the 1950s.

And half of his collection of Vélo Solex, including the one I used to ride to highschool (the blue one).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Handlebar Wrap

Wrapping handlebars from the top does away with using unsightly bar tape to finish them. Stylish ain't it?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Syracuse Creek Walk

Today, with Tina, and Susie, we went for a ride on the new Creek Walk that just opened in Syracuse, and which runs from Armory Square to lake Onondaga. It was Awesome! It feels like taking a trip back in time, and many of Syracuse's landmarks are on the path.

Thank you Mayor Stephanie Miner for making this happen!

Monday, October 10, 2011

1970s Lady Schwinn Breeze Cruiser

Bought for $10 at the Rescue Mission. It's a Lady Schwinn Breeze 3 speed. I'll make it like new:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Custom Girls BMX

A thoughtful girl named Gabby, who had outgrown her old bike, dropped it on my porch so that I could repair it, and give it to another little girl who needed one. I couldn't resist customizing it first:

Popped the pads, the chain guard, the stickers, the back brakes (there's a coaster hub), cleaned, greased and tuned it up, added some streamers: it rides like charm and looks like a million box.

This is the before picture:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Famille Oblige

My brother Stéphane and my nephew Adryen came to visit from Germany, so we biked together

I love to ride with my people.

This Stingray was all along designed with my nephew Adryen in mind, and he finally got to ride it...

I dedicate this Ralleigh to Stéphane, because he loved to ride it, when we went together on a cruise in Onondaga Park and down by the south side.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Anjou Vélo Vintage

Check out that vintage bicycle ride in the Loire Valley, France.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Painting step 4: pinstriping

I added a gold pinstripe between the main color and the accent color, to mark the transition to the chrome end of the fork, and around the lugs to accentuate them.

As I put the bike back together, I simplified it: I took out the cantilever brakes, and put a coaster brake hub on the back wheel instead. It has the great bare bone looks of a fixie, but with the added advantages of being able to coast, and brake.
A sweet track bike to ride fast in the city!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Painting step 3: actually painting

After applying two coats of the main color, I used painter's tape and newspaper to block certain areas, and applied a coat of accent color:

Tadaaaa! Sweet, now I'll let it dry for a couple of days and do the pin striping around the lugs, and between the colors.

Meanwhile I have to put a coaster brake on the back wheel, and clean and all those parts before they go back on.

Go to step 4

Painting step 2: Sanding and Priming

After a thorough cleaning and sanding of the frame with fine sandpaper, I applied a coat of self etching primer:

Go to step 3

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Painting step 1: take your bike apart

This is the bike I selected for repainting: a Raleigh Super Record, already converted into a single speed, and with a homemade disc wheel. Great bike, but it can surely afford some cosmetic improvement. My plan is to repaint the frame, put a coaster brake on the back wheel, and stencil the disc wheel.

First I take it completely apart, stuffing the parts into plastic bags and into a box, so I don't loose anything.

Only the frame and the fork remain, it's ready for preping:

Go to step 2

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SBWC 10th meeting: Painting

This time we'll learn how to clean a frame in preparation for painting. It'll be the first out of three meetings on painting. After this meeting, you won't be able to ride your bike until the third meeting, so make sure you have a spare one ready.

Bikes in France

There are all kinds of bikes in France, From French clunker, to English three speed, to classy road bike, to fixie: French people love riding bikes. It's just cool there.

Bike Rental Station in La Rochelle

Saturday, April 2, 2011

9th meeting of SBWC

Today we met at Mundy Branch Library and learned how to slap a stencil on a DIY disc wheel, and then went for a ride all the way to Elmwood Park. We had a new member: Brandon, from the South Side.

Here we are at the top of Onondaga Park, with Syracuse in the background.

Mikese, Cameron, Angel, Brandon, Mr. Alex, Edward. Picture by Ms. Tina.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Riding Pretty

This is my girl coming back from work, and stylin' on her Sears Free Spirit

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alley Cat Race on April 8th

Syracuse April Fool's Alley Cat
Location: Syracuse, Amphitheater at Thornden Park
Time: ‎8:00PM Friday, April 8th
-$8 All proceeds are going to support Marc Johnson's Bike and Build summer trip:
Click here for more info

Racing downtown in traffic? I totally dig that. I just wonder what bike I'm going to use... better check the route first.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tweed Rides

A Tweed Ride/Run is a bicycle meet, in which the cyclists are dressed in vintage clothes, including traditional English bicycling garments made of tweed, and ride old bicycles.

Check out this year's Tweed Ride Calendar at Riding Pretty.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

7th meeting of SBWC this Saturday

Today we started repairing and customizing old bikes for the bike show organized by WAC at Skiddy Park on May 21st. We met at Mundy Library at 1:00 PM like usual and then rode to a secret location on the Near West Side.

Mikese, Jeromy, Emanuel, Angel, Brandon, Edward, Cameron and Corey were here. Ms. Tina joined us.

At the end of the day, we had fixed up some sweet bikes!

Thanks to Isaac and Jan for making this possible.