Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Company Vehicle

In celebration of Environmental Day in Canada I thought I would share my bicycle with the world sporting it's new sign. Lately the 'bykadelic' project bike is better known as the "Company Vehicle". Still working out some details as the gearing is way too high for an upright commuter bike. Man is it fast and hard to peddle in 8th gear! Changing to a 39 tooth chain ring helped considerably but I am still passing cars in 8th gear...not the desired effect. I am going to get pulled over for speeding!. I need to to get a 36 tooth chain ring which will tone it down but the Gain Ratio will still be the same as a street racing bike ! Yikes!!! Any advice on this dilemma is appreciated.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bike to Beach

I recieved my Bike to Beach bicycle iPod player by iHome today. It delivers great sound and yet is safe for commuting as you can still hear the traffic around you. Earphones-not so safe.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rebecca's CCM Mixte

This bicycle rides like a dream. With a 5 speed transmision, comfy Brooks B67 Saddle, new 'dirt rag brown' cables, brake pads and wicker basket. In tall gears the bike chain was seizing. I replaced the chain today as no amount of cleaning or chain wax was smoothing things out. Now it drives perfectly.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Reveal

The project is now completed and already I wish to make some modifications. The ride is very comfortable however the lower gear doesn't quite manage the hills like my previous bike. I have ordered a Sugino 38 tooth chainring and it should help handle the hills to work much better (think San Fransisco). The higher gears are like a rocket which I don't need however it will be plenty fast even after the modification. I also ordered a Bike to Beach iPod player. I'm totally addicted to that sound technology on my other bicycle.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Progress Report

The Bykadelic project has been completed this past weekend. It started out as a restoration but truly it is a transformation. The project was met with many delays. Several parts that I ordered last fall only arrived last week. What I didn't realize is that the wholesalers often let their inventory drop back at the end of the season and don't replenish their stock until the new season. So the Sturmey Archer 8 speed hub was one of the last things to arrive.

The light set that works off the front SRAM dynamo Hub were tricky to find. As it turns out, although the wholesalers sell the dynamo hubs, no one supplies the lights that would run off them. What is that about? In any case, I stumbled across Peter White Cycles who is the distributor of these lights to north America. The product I purchased were Busch Muller lights from Germany. They have features such as turning on automatically when the ambient light is dim and also stay on for several minutes when you come to a stop.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rebecca's CCM Elite

This is a side project I've been working on, and in the celebration of the first day of Spring, we launched her on her maiden voyage after an overhaul. New wicker basket, cables in 'Dirt Rag Brown' (matches the wicker-it's all about the esthetics), Brooks seat, and cream coloured Schwalb tires.

Rebecca, sporting her new LuLu Guiness sunglasses, reports that she finds the bike very chic.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bykadelic Project Bike Pics

Just a few pictures I've taken today of my bike restoration project.

Rebecca's New (Old) Bike

While waiting for more parts to arrive to facilitate my main project I've decided to do a side project. A friend of mine gave me an old bike that her father had which was very grimy and rusty. I've cleaned it up and polished through much of the rust and put new tires on it. I've yet to do a bit more but it is in good working order as is. This is a fine 5 speed for my lovely wife. Happy Valentines day!?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cycle Chic London Circa 1908

This is a photo of my great grandmother, Kate Maud Thornborrow (nee Fosten), taken approximately 100 years ago. It was possibly taken by her husband Thomas who was very interested in photography. At the time they were living in West London (Ealing). I have many family pictures taken at the turn of the last century but only one with a bicycle.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy New Year

Many obstacles have been encountered whilst trying to commute on a daily basis. These obstacles can be summarized under the heading 'Canadian Winter Weather'. Both black ice and hard packed snow, i.e. white ice, have come up and bit me in the ass on more then one occasion. The first effort to confront this demon has been to employ my daughters mountain bike, a Gary Fisher. That helped somewhat with it's thick tread pattern, however serious ice was still treacherous. I recently installed some Nokian studded winter tires; they are the cat's pajamas! They do not eliminate completely the element of surprise, but I can live with a little excitement in my life. I also have elected to wear a helmet for now as the cars on the road are dealing with the same element of surprise, so I wear it for now so that car drivers can drive like idiots. The helmet I am using is a snowboarders/skiers helmet hence it is better suited for winter, i.e. it keeps my ears warm. That and a belaclava keeps me toasty warm in -10C weather.

The bike restoration has been bogged down awaiting many parts on back order but once they arrive, with a flurry, this project will be completed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Painting Progress

The bicycle has been stripped down to the metal and undercoated. The first coat of paint has been applied. A urethane based black enamel has been used, A second coat will be applied after the paint has cured 3 days.

Part selection has been both interesting and sometimes frustrating. Hunting and gathering so to speak. Searching on the Internet to find the right hub, seat and tires has taken up a lot of time. Compatibility, both mechanically and esthetically, is critical. Paul, from Bicycle Works, has been very supportive in this quest of mine to pump new life into an old bike. Many parts have been ordered through his shop. A SRAM front hub dynamo to run the headlight and tail light as well as a Sturmey-Archer rear internal 8 speed hub is on it's way. An order for creme coloured Schwalb tires has been placed. A coat guard is on it's way as well.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Naked Bike Frame

Paint Removal

The required tools for this job involved, after failed experimentation with a heat gun, paint stripper, 3M scouring paint stripper pads, Emory cloth both medium and fine and steel wool. For working in tight spots I used a Dremmel tool with a steel brush attachment.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I have started to strip the bike down to the frame and now I am considering upgrading some of the components, new headset, cranks, hubs and wheels. I have made some inquiries however and have found that a lot of products available to distributors in the USA and Europe are not available in Canada. This I find very frustrating.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Bicycle Studio

Project Bike on Stand

Christopher Thornborrow mon fils
The work area has been tidied up and work will soon start on the restoration. I had the good fortune to find a bike stand on kijiji for $60. I bought it from this Punk Rock musician in Hamilton. What a find!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


This is the project bike. I chose this 1970's 3 speed for nostalgic reason. Also it is more appropriate to use a bike without derailleurs to to emulate the European style I am going for. To find bikes of this vintage, without paying too much, I posted a bicycle wanted sign at a seniors condominium. Those places have loads of bikes like this that no one rides. Within a couple of days I got a call from a prospective seller. And paid only $45 for bike helmet and gel seat. The helmet and gel seat I didn't want but I didn't want to hurt the sellers feelings so I accepted them graciously... Does anyone want a fat ass gel seat or bell helmet?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Repair Shop

This secret undisclosed location will be the site of the bike restoration project. With winter coming I wanted to find a clean warm place to work on this project. With the help of my son Christopher I cleaned up this section of my office basement. Other good news to report... my bike tool kit arrived today. I don't know what half the tools are used for but I will soon figure it out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Graphic Journal

Inspired by my son Nick, I am keeping a graphic journal of my bicycle restoration project. The image I have created is what I hope the bike will turn out like.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rocky Mountain Transpo

This is my current bike that I am riding now. It was one of the first Mountain Bikes to be developed in the 1980s. I have modified it by adding fenders, basket and a Brooks saddle. My objective over the next few months is to restore a vintage Japanese 3 speed into a European inspired Cruiser that I can use for the summer months along the Huron Shores.

Zen and Art?

redbike Bike Shop Edmonton Alberta
Zen and the Art of Bicycle Restoration is the ramblings of a middle aged guy who has always loved cycling. This has been rekindled after several visit to Curbside Cycle in Toronto as well as my own desire to stay fit and make a positive environmental impression. Why Zen and Art?... Zen because everything about cycling to me is like t'ai chi. It's man and machine. The bicycle is men's best mechanical invention, his finest work. Art...because bicycle restoration can be an artistic expression.

This blog will be an online journal which will document the restoration of a 1970's Canadian Tire Supercycle into a European inspired Cruiser. Style over Speed!