Saturday, May 05, 2007

Use this bike!

A blue, early 1980s Peugeot is about to be dropped at the Safeway on SE 28th and Hawthorne in Portland (picture coming soon). It was given away instead of going in the trash. It's been adjusted and seems to work pretty well. If you need it, take it. Pass it on when you're done, and report its location here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Unstolen bike #7

Tonight I delivered the seventh bike of my Unstolen bikes project to A.J. in downtown Portland, whose bike—his only transportation—was stolen just a week after he hit town from Idaho. Number 7 is mostly a Schwinn Impact (decent older mountain bike) contributed by cyclist and illustrator Karl Edwards, who is pretty new to town himself.
I've abandoned my original idea of locking a bike and distributing the lock combo to everyone who "qualified." (People just weren't applying, probably due to scam-wariness.) Instead, with this bike, I looked over the stolen-bike listings on until I found what seemed an appropriate match.
Meanwhile, bike #8 needs some work but will be ready soon. It's an early 1990s Giant Iguana with a frame size of 16 inches, suitable for a small-to-medium person. It needs a front wheel (mountain-bike 26" size), pedals (9/16") and brakes (cantilever or V).

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Another one out the door

Unstolen bike #6 recently found a home with David out near Powell Butte (not the same David who got bike #3). He was the only applicant who followed all instructions, so he "won" by default. Thanks again to Xanx for the garage-sale find.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Unstealing again

Was your bike stolen? Was it your main way of getting around? If so, you could have this one for free; stand by for details.

"Unstolen" bike #6 is a mountain-style Giant Rincon from about 1991, a decent commuter with a (mostly) chromoly steel frame, alloy wheels, click shifting (Shimano 200GS), etc. The frame size is 17", the standover height is just under 30", and the top tube length is 21.5". It should fit people of medium height. It's an ideal transportation bike with some superficial ugliness to repel thieves, but with all systems now working very well.

Here's how to qualify for it: Send me an email by June 15 telling how you used your bike and how you've gotten by since it was stolen. Tell me your height and your leg inseam length, so I can tell whether the bike will fit you. (If it won't, I'll put you in the running for the next "unstolen" bike that will.)

Shortly after the deadline, I will send an email to everyone who qualified, telling where the bike is parked (within Portland city limits) and what the lock's combination is. First finder is the keeper.

Props and good karma aplenty to Xanx for finding this at a garage sale, driving a hard bargain, and laying out $10 of his own hard-earned money.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Unstealing bikes: Commitment fulfilled

Here's a long-overdue update to my "unstealing" project.

Mid-February: Brian donates a beater bike. (Thanks, Brian!) It has a nice enough lugged frame, but the bike is a wet-braking deathtrap with steel 26 x 1 3/8 rims and long-reach, stamped-steel brake calipers.

Early March: Patrick rescues an abandoned early 90s Hard Rock from death by rust in an empty lot and turns it over to me. It's perfect for Nellyda, but it's got a ton of BTA stickers.

Mid-March: I replace the Hard Rock's rust-locked headset, tune it up, and put the word out to the BTA that I likely have one of theirs.

Late March: Ann reads about her Hard Rock in the BTA email newsletter, contacts me, and is happily reunited. Too bad for Nellyda, though.

Early April: I acquire a coaster-brake hub and use it, a drop bar and old Pivo stem, a narrow saddle, and some miscellaneous parts to rebuild Brian's donated beater as a presentable, relatively safe faux fixie. This becomes bike #4, for Nellyda. When she takes delivery she gives me not only some random, decent parts but also a jar of peach jam (Yum!) and the great painting you see pictured here. What nice people in this town!

The delivery of bike #4 fulfills my January commitment. (Actually, counting Ann's, I delivered five.) Maybe now I can get back to my original vision, which is to release one finished bike at a time by locking it up in a popular spot with a combo lock whose combination I would email to applicants who qualify.

The next release likely will be for a six-foot or taller rider. I have a nice old (big) Rockhopper frame (still another from the Clown House) and some parts on hand (from Patrick, Brian, Nellyda, et al), but I'm lacking wheels and a fork that fits. If you have a mountain-bike fork for a tall frame (in the old 1-inch steer tube diameter) and/or some functional but homely wheels or bare rims that are just cluttering up your garage, I'd love to take them off your hands.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Unstealing along

The Unstealing bikes project is moving along, thanks to a parts donation from Patrick and a generous cash contribution from none other than Fred Nemo. (Thanks guys!) Bike #2—a trash-picked Pacific with parts from Patrick and others—went to Connie, who does a lot of volunteer gigs and now may be riding to them again. Bike #3—an evacuee from the Clown House, with parts from Patrick and others—went to David, a family man who left a nice comment on When I delivered the bike, his kids were excited to be able to ride to school, now that Dad was again able to escort them.

Now I have a problem. The one frame I have on hand is way too big to fit Nellyda, the 5'7", 32-inch inseam rider who is to receive bike #4. Anybody have about a 17 or 18-inch mountain bike frame to trade for a 22-inch, late 80s Rockhopper frame? A road frame around 21 inches would be good too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

You knew it was coming

Hey old bike guy, what's your take on the now infamous bike rider/bus driver/bus passenger incident and lawsuit in our fair city? Is it still safe for us youngsters to ride in this town?

—The kids are Albright?

Hey Kid,

Was it ever safe? I doubt it's less safe now; just don't ride alone at night, when cover of darkness and consumption of substances lower inhibitions and increase vigilante impulses all around. [Update: City government seems to have recognized the menace of balkanization on the road and has launched a campaign for decency and civility. Good on them.]

But since you asked, here's my take:

When the cyclist left the bike lane approaching the Hawthorne Bridge and rode in the right-hand part of the traffic lane, he showed bad form. If you're gonna take a lane, then throw down a traffic-speed interval, get out in the middle, and take the damned lane. By weaseling along on the right-hand edge of a narrow, high-traffic lane (see for yourself), the cyclist invited the close encounter with the bus.

But what if traffic speed is too fast to match? That's a clue to stay out of the lane altogether, unless you're from Manhattan and you're comfortable with such close quarters. Obviously he wasn't.

Ostensibly the cyclist left the bike lane because the gravel from recent snow-control efforts made it unsafe. But he put himself in much greater danger with his non-committal lane position and pace. He could have just negotiated the bike-lane gravel at an appropriate speed for a few hundred yards, then been home free. As I've said before, there's no need to be a martyr; this is supposed to be fun.

So the cyclist makes a bad decision, invites a close call, then goes postal when it happens—breaking at least three laws in the process. And he gets an equally brutish and unlawful reaction from the bus driver and passenger. That's fine; arrest all three, cuff 'em, throw 'em in a holding cell and let 'em hate on each other for a few hours. They deserve it. Too bad the cops didn't see it.

Sadly, though, we all pay for their shared caveman complex now. Balkanization accelerates and we cyclists—who also drive cars now and then—get hated as a class. Meanwhile, we taxpayers have to pay for a boneheaded abuse of court time. Thanks a lot, law-suit guy. Nice advocacy. Nice riding.