From the ground up

Wheel on truing standHello world!

My best friend Chad set up this blog site for my birthday, and I think when the project is complete I’ll be grateful to have had a place to show my work, think out loud and remember the steps along the way. The project in question is to build myself a city bike. I have a big honkin’ mountain bike, and I also have a carbon fiber road bike, but I don’t think either is particularly ideal for riding around the city.

I have also been craving the act of making something for a while now, and this feels like the perfect project to satisfy that craving. I think the satisfaction of riding something I designed and built will make this even more rewarding.

So – The start.

I’m sure the proper order of operations will be more obvious to me when this project is complete, but the wheels seemed like a reasonable place to start. Some of the necessary dimensions are either standard or listed on technical documents from the manufacturers, but the confidence to start making some of the parts will be that much greater if I actually had some of the components in my hands during the design. For reasons I’m sure I’ll elaborate on later, I wanted to use an internally geared hub. A 14 speed Rohloff speedhub would be great, but those are quite a bit more expensive and seemingly quite a bit more obscure than the Shimano Alfine 11 that I chose. This choice also felt like it fulfilled the (old-school and possibly untrue IT cliche) that I’ve read about a couple times: “You’ll never be fired for buying IBM.”  (Or Shimano, in this case.)  A quick trip to the local Mountain Equipment Co-op later, and I had myself a shiny new rear hub that I quickly modelled before it was soon secured in inconvenient spokes. Which it was, by the end of a wheel building class the next weekend at the local college. After a lot of tiny wrench turns on the truing stand, I had myself a set of solid, very true and round (if I do say so myself) wheels for my new bike. Its taking shape! At the moment, that shape is round.