Shop Information

Robert Hamlin Bicycles is not open. I am available for repairs. Just call to set up a time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"This Is My Passion"

I rode for four hours yesterday.  My mind and body feel inspired.  Then, this morning I watched this video of Graeme Obree, an old bicycle racing hero.  Somehow I feel a connection with this man.  We are nearly the same age (Do I look as old as he does?).  He says the things I often say, things like "inspired by the sense of my own mortality," "scrap heap challenge," "artistic expression," "recycling," "I wish I'd done more," "this is my passion," and "after my cup of coffee."  I love this video.  Good luck Graeme.

Return of the Flying Scotsman: inside the mind of Graeme Obree from Humans Invent on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

WKRP. Enjoy.

The Young Woman With The Bright Orange Schwinn Cruiser

No, not the young woman in the picture, and no, not the bright orange Schwinn cruiser with the magenta wheels either.  The young woman I'm talking about has short hair, a wonderful smile, a flower child persona, and lives here in Loganistan.  We don't have a beach here in Loganistan, just a flooded marsh.  The young woman and her bicycle came into the shop because her chain kept falling off.  She was absolutely head over heels in love with her bright orange cruiser.  She told the story of how she acquired it, and how she only had to pay $60.  "Don't you just love this bike," she asked?  I smiled, and told her no, that I really hated her bike.  I tried to explain how it was not a real Schwinn, about Kmart and Sears, and how heavy and ridiculously inefficient it was.  She did not hear any of it.  She just loved her bike, and I totally tried to respect that.

I put her heavy bike up on the stand, hurting my back, while we talked about how all guys inherently know how to put a chain back on and that some women have a hard time with it.  I explained that it was a fallacy because the chain guard was kicking my ass.  I inherently figured it out and changed the subject to other deep philosophical discussions, having to politely explain my need to move between my tools and work bench and her bicycle and that she should stand off to the side.  Perhaps I should put tape on the floor like Less Nessman.

The chain ring and cranks were not bent.  The rear hub was wobbly (that's a technical bicycle mechanic term I use when the cheap coaster brake hub allows the rear cog substantial play, even though the wire clip is in place, which explains why legitimate lock rings were invented).  All I could do was tighten the chain so that it was real tight in spots and real loose in other spots and bend the chain guard so that it didn't rub.  Hey, it's what I do.  Then we started talking about how she had used superglue and Scotch tape to repair her rear rack.  The rack eyelets had come un-brazed (the two metal thingies that the rack screws into were no longer attached to the seat stays).  I couldn't stand it.  I took off the tape and threw out the eyelets.  I tried to use two plastic-coated clamps but they were not large enough to go around the fat aluminum seat stays.  So, I wire tired her rack on to the seat stays.  The young woman with the bright orange Schwinn cruiser was ecstatic.  She thought wire ties were genius.  She was so happy she bought a helmet.  Smart woman.  I was so happy, I gave her the pair of leather gloves she wanted.  Absolutely free.  So were my expert bicycle repairs.

I know, I know.  I said I was not going to run my shop like that this time around.  I said that there was going to be a minimum labor charge, and that if I put a bicycle in the stand it was going to cost the customer at least $10.  I also said no discounts, freebies, or credit.  Oh well.  I'm doomed to be the person I've always been.  However, in the end, the young woman with the bright orange Schwinn beach cruiser made my day.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shop Life

I never intended to get busy, but the bicycle season has begun.  I've worked an entire week all alone without any real sales other than Jules' bicycle.  But now it's warm out.  It was actually warm enough to wear shorts and sandals today.  The repairs are going to start stacking up soon.  But really, I'll do my best.  I'll be open tomorrow, unless I'm not there because I decided to go for a bicycle ride, a Robert Ride, in which case I won't be open.  Seriously, I'll be there.  I already have a to do list:  repair/free life time adjustments on a Redline R540 I sold four years-ago (really, I said it and I mean it, I'll do the free adjustments anytime, not just for 30 days, I don't mind pulling cable because I have a fourth hand tool, it's not a good one from Park Tool Company, it's just a cheap Hozan, which they call a third hand tool, I think, but hey, I'm just pulling cable, but you can see the difference in the pictures below), build a 21" D440 for Matt, and repair/free life time adjustments on Irene's bicycle that she bought six years-ago.  It was the yellow cruiser with the green trim, right?  I can't remember names, but I will remember your bicycle.  Stream of consciousness style, right, John Barrett?  Still with me?

Next post:  The Young Woman With The Bright Orange Schwinn Cruiser.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hours This Week

I'll be in the shop today, but I have to watch kids most of the day.  Lupine and TJ have get out early at 12:30.  Jaide gets home at 3:30.  So, I guess I won't be in much today.

I should be in most afternoons Thursday through Saturday, as long as nothing comes up with the kids.  Well, just call me if you need me.  I'll be available by appointment.

Monday, March 19, 2012

More Shop Stories, The Grand Opening

"Hey, my mom came in here last week and bought one of these lights.  It works great, so I want to buy one too," said the thin tobacco scented man.  I tried to tell him I was not open last week, but I gave up.  I don't think he was hearing what I was saying.  I told him about the light in his hand, that it was LED, all metal, 1 watt, batteries included, great quick release bracket, pretty bright for a little light, and only $25 (msrp $28).

"Twenty five dollars, that is ridiculous!"  We talked friendly-like as he walked out the door to his large expensive four-wheel-drive pick-up truck pulling two expensive snowmobiles on a trailer.  I asked him about the snow conditions, tried to genuinely smile, and waved goodbye.  Yes, I thought, ridiculous indeed.

The next customer brought in her mountain bike for repair.  I told her, "I will not be open again until Wednesday, can I get it to you then, because I may not get to it today?"  "No problem," she said with a smile.  The front deraillure was twisted and bent, rubbing on the tire, and all the cables were corroded in their housing from sitting out in the rain for too long.  No brakes, and no shifting.  I had no other customers, so I replaced cables and housing on the front brake and rear deraillure (old Grip Shift, always a challenge to change a cable), loosened/lubed the other two, adjusted all, inflated tires, and the bicycle was good to go.  I called her.  She came to get her bicycle with a bag full of these in her hand.

Saturday turned out to be a fine first day indeed.  Grand.  Thank you Wendi.  You made my day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bicycle Craft

Most off-the-shelf bicycles sold at most bicycle shops are assembled by children.  Well, young adults, but my point is many of these mechanics are really not, and have no real experience.  If you want an off-the-shelf bicycle, I have some of those.  Let me professionally assemble one for you, and when you take a test ride you will notice the difference.  But what I really want to sell you is my Bicycle Craft and a bicycle put together based on your needs and desires; a Pake or Soma steel frame do-it-all bicycle that you may ride for the rest of your life.  Bicycle Craft begins with a raw frame that gets professionally prepared.  I learned how to do this from Carl Strong (yes, I'm name dropping).  Let me show you:

The first thing I do is ream and face the head tube.  This removes any burrs and excess paint allowing the headset cups to sit flush against the head tube.  This means your headset will not make noise.  No creak.  Notice the before and after pictures.

Before.  Note the excess paint.

After.  Smooth and clean.

Next, I chase the threads in the bottom bracket shell and face the end(s) of the shell.

This removes the paint and allows the bottom bracket to sit flush against the shell.  Again, no creaking sounds.

Notice several things here.  The drive side of the bottom bracket shell and the bottom bracket have a perfect interface.  Also, the customer wants an inexpensive yet very durable bicycle, so I use a traditional JIS taper bottom bracket and crankset.  No, I'm not even going to get into why I think it is really stupid for normal non-racer types to spend hundreds of dollars on a bottom bracket and bunches of hundreds of dollars on a crankset.  This entire bicycle is less than $800 (before labor).

Then, I ream the seat tube.  Also, all eyelets, bosses, and braze-ons are chased.  A word about brakes:  Cheap V-brakes work better than traditional cantilevers and are much easier to adjust.  Mal-adjusted V-brakes work just as good as perfectly adjusted cantis.  However, linear pull road levers (Tektro 520A) are required with 26.0 mustache bars.  The bars will get wrapped once the customer decides on bar flip and lever position (now the bars and levers are in the aggressive position).  Other important steps:  true wheels, adjust hubs, lube and pre-stretch cables, check the chain line, and fine tune the brake pad placement.  This bike will eventually get wood fenders, a rear rack and basket, and a front wood bottomed basket.  Yep, I better flip the bars over in the rise position and move the levers back in front of the bend.  What do you think Peter?  I think this is a really special bicycle.  By the way, she's going to get a 52 cm.  This thing built up way too big.  Now I get to start over.  It's all good though.  Now there is a 54 cm on the floor for folks to test ride.  Also, I'm keeping my saddle and pedals.

I have missed working with my hands.  Ouch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Open Yet?

I will be in the shop today for about an hour or two, and again on Thursday and Friday for a little bit.  Then, let's call Saturday the first official day, the Grand Opening.  I'll be there all afternoon.

Mini Rant of the Day: Trim clicks and modern indexed front derailleurs are stupid.  I know they work great when properly adjusted, but I miss the good old days of always being aware of what gear I was in and making trim adjustments manually based on sound and feel with a friction front derailleur.  More importantly, it was impossible to ride around cross geared all the time.  Today, most folks do just that.  God forbid they ever get out of the big ring.  Yes, I admit, I've been riding long enough that I still think about reaching for the down tube when it's time to shift.

Speaking of gears and front derailleurs, I've been on the bike for three days in a row, set up fixed in a huge gear, 52x17 (it's magic numbers, I have no choice).  I did the unthinkable yesterday.  I rode the Tuesday Night Ride (Hyde Park Old Guys) fixed, fifty miles in just over two hours.  Ouch.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Frames On Walls

And, there's a whole bunch of other things going up too.  I'm running out of hooks.  Customers, however, are scarce.  It's a good thing I have a few friends in Florida who appreciate my work and are getting bicycles from me.  Thanks, my brothers.  I did have a few locals come in today.  One had a department store Schwinn with bent wheels.  The front wheel almost went through the brakes without stopping, and had a solid tire (that's right, a solid tire, what will they think of next, see pic below).  I told him the options.  $80 for new wheels plus labor (I admit, I've never removed or installed a a solid tire before) or $20 minimum labor for a little wheel whacking and a little spoke tightening.  He chose not to choose and rode away with brakes rubbing so bad you could see, hear, and feel it.  I've missed bicycle repair in Logan, where $20 is just way too much to spend on an $89 bicycle.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tomorrow Is A Special Day

My Logan Business License and Utah Tax License are hanging on the freshly painted wall.  So, I'll be open tomorrow afternoon, setting up mostly.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Where Is Robert?

I need to carry a spot tracker with uploads here so all my readers can track me.  All three of them (thank you sisters for reading).  I'm still in Montana's Bitterroot Valley.  I installed three new cameras yesterday.  Then at 5 o'clock, I went to the brew pub and had a burger.  And a brew.  Yep, I highly recommend the place.

I should be heading back to Loganistan tomorrow, come hell, high water, or much more likely, blizzard.  I am going to open the shop officially next week.  Maybe.  Fire marshal Bill has to come back to make sure the switch and cover plates are back on after painting.  I'm going to start assembling some bicycles.  And perhaps I'll start riding again.  I really do not like being 188#.  And, cross season starts at the end of September.  Time to start training.

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