"He Wears Black and Has a Beard"

CBIIweek; day1

Toby Roworth

Aug 6, 2013

I needed a week off work to take a break. I also needed to make the distance between the saddle and the pedals bigger on my bike. So cue "CrapBike II week" (CBIIweek for short), in which I modify my bike a bit.
Of course, having a history of building interesting bikes, I couldn't just extend my seat post a bit. The ride along the canal is really hard in places, so I wanted to add suspension too. Then I realised how much frame cutting was involved in that, and thought I may as well go the whole hog and make it look like this:

For the less bike-savy reader, that's a short-wheel-base front-wheel-drive recumbent bicycle - in essence, the back is at the front, the front's at the back and the seat is like a thin slice of sofa so you practically lie down whilst pedling.

I started the day by taking all the bits off the bike to get me back to the bare frame. An hour or two with a socket set and I was left with a pile of bits. I left all the bits on the handlebars, but will probably have to remove them at some point, given that I might flip them round.

Then came the point-of-no-[easy]-return - the angle grinder. The astute reader may remember I own a reciprocating saw, which might have been better. However, I didn't remember this, so just used the grinder - I like angle grinders, so I'll save the turkey carver for ripping up the sheet I'll use for strengthening the frame.

How to grind a bike frame has been covered at Atomic Zombie (if you Google it there's a helpful PDF), so I won't go into massive detail. In essence, one needs to chop around all the useful bits, although I could keep the rear forks and seat stem in one piece.

I did have a slight issue though - I couldn't find any G-cramps in Frank's garage, so had to hold the frame to the workmate with bungee straps and ratchet strap (without ratchet). This is obviously unsafe, and should not be attempted. However, it actually worked quite well, leaving me with a nice array of parts to weld together.

Unfortunately,despite best intentions to get the front end tack-welded together (little temporary welds that are easy to cut if the shape doesn't work out) today, at about half three the weather hit with what Google refer to as "40%" precipitation, so I couldn't do much more than a bit of grinding to prepare the parts for welding until 4:30, when I finally gave up and watched a dishwasher.