Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Sorry Lewis

Nothing lasts forever.

Clearing My Mother's loft is a roller coaster of dark emotion and youthful nostalgic hilarity.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Peugeot Fixed Commuter Number 2!

New Commuter
I built a new commuter for this winter out of an old Peugeot Premiere. I love old Peugeots, they ride nice, feel nice, and have quite a sporty look to them. Maybe they were slightly ahead of the game when it came to geometry. Peugeot made millions of this style of bike, according to the serial number this one was made around March 1986. Peugeot uses Mangaloy HLE tubing and welds them together in such away that the weld seem is incredibly thin. They achieve this thin weld look by welding the tubing inside and out, I still haven't worked out how they do this. There are so many of these bikes still running, the system must work.

How the bike looked when it was donated to me
Iv'e been looking for an old road bike just gappy enough to fit a set of Rocket Ron's or similar cyclo-cross tyres to for quite a while. When this Peugeot got donated to the shop it was the perfect candidate for a new project. I don't need another bike, I'm not sure anyone ever needs more than one, they just turn up and get ridden and loved and enjoyed and then they end up where I can't part with them.

I had an old fixed gear Peugeot with the same frame as this and in the same pearlescent white colour about 5 or 6 years ago and I loved it and I sold it to someone for 100 quid. I still see it locked up all over town still going strong, and usually wish I still had it.

There's nothing quite like stripping all the crap off these old bikes and getting down to just the frame fork and sat post (never throw a Peugeot seat post away, there a weird diameter and only come in one length). I love dissolving all the candle wax thickness grease out of the bb and headset, cleaning off thirty years of road film from the rear triangle and throwing out all the discoloured and rusted cable housing. Most of the parts from the bike were destined for the bin. The chainset was a moulded aluminium thing with non replaceable rings, the bb was in reasonable shape but had to be binned due to overly long square taper length. The wheels, bars, brakes and gearing system all went the journey also.

Fixed/Fixed Halo hub on velocity deep V with 16t Dura ace cog and surly lock ring
I had a reliable and bomb proof fixed rear wheel lying around that I built up about 4 years ago that has done a lot of miles but since there's nothing to wear out other than the bearings (which were fine) this set up was still going strong. The wheel fit great in the forward facing dropouts. I used a Kenda cyclo-cross tyre on the rear because it had slightly better clearance than the Schwable and it was incredibly tight around the chain stays.

Truvativ MTB bars
I used some Truvativ XC bars and only cut about 1/2 an inch off each side, the days of super skinny bars are numbered both stylistically and practically. When you only have one gear I find it helps tremendously to have wide bars when it comes to climbing steep hills. I put a cheap dual pivot road brake up front with a BMX style 2 finger lever. I had to drill a wider hole at the back of the fork steerer for the modern brake hardware.

The fork got modified considerably on this build, the original axle width was about 8mm but I had to grind the slots of the fork dropout to 9mm to accept the hub I was using, I also had to file the underside of the cast crown a little to give just enough clearance for the Rocket Ron tyre. I also had to chase the treads on the fork steerer, and file a little off the crown race mount in order to fit a new and non pitted crown race that would work with the existing headset.

The afore mentioned front wheel I built radially using 3 old 36 spoke wheels. I got the rim from a modern commuting wheel with a collapsed hub, I got the hub from a 70s touring bicycle wheel with an incredibly worn braking surface, and I lucked out on some old spokes out of a rusty MTB wheel which was tangentially built but worked spot on for 700c radial building.

The chain set is an old Shimano triple off a hybrid and the ring is a new 42t standard comuting middle ring. I fit a 107mm BB and the chain line was almost dead on 42mm. I used 4 pieces of brand new KMC 510 chain which were off cuts from 25 9 BMX set ups and attached them together for a free new chain.

Pedals were Wellgo and found in the discard bin at work as was the Giant road saddle.

South Shields in the sun in March
The bike rides great, I haven't rode fixed much in the last few years and it felt so natural and fun to get back on it. I built this bike for icy conditions and simplicity of equipment through the salty and corrosive winter but the frosts never really came this year. The bike has seen a lot of rain however.

The 42 16 gearing is a bit lighter than I normally ride but because of the slightly bigger tyre and the fact that I want to hit more gravel, pave, bike paths, tram tracks and woods on this thing it works out about perfect. It's awesome to have a fixed gear that feels this solid and because of the extra tyre girth I can still short cut over people's lawns or down the occasional 3 stair.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Super Monaco and T2S and NSFYC

NSFYC2 from Elliott Brown on Vimeo.

Dope Vid this like.

Super Monaco available now from Grey Haven

The Internet Is DEAD. All Hail The New Flesh!

Smashed and colourless I dont no what, Gateshead 2014

Reality is the new unreality. When I was a kid Cyber punk was so cool, I wanted to be a ghost in the machine like the Major, I wanted to be Case form Neuromancer and get with Molly Millions, I wanted to store Data in my Brain like Johnny Nemonic, I wanted tentacles like Tetsuo and to do battle with space born lasers and aged kids with telekinetic powers, I wanted to be a Blade Runner and get to retire replicants, I wanted to be a cog in the machine that went rogue in a Fritz Lang city scape, I wanted to spray paint a PC keyboard Camouflage and go Rollerblading with Angelina Jolie, I wanted Picard to issue demands so I could tap on an all black touch screen display and reveal warp drive diagnostics and how to avoid being one with the Borg.

I wanted technology to meld with the physical, I wanted brain implants that would lead to telekinesis, bodily teleportation and exploding heads at a canadian lecture theatre. The world of Body tech felt so exciting and renegade, so sexy and bizarre, so geeky and terrorist, an underground world of tech crime and film noir. A predicted world in literature and film that would never arrive forever occupying my imagination.

The problem is all this cyber world of online technology and interconnectiveness is finally here and I find it all undeniably boring. There's no Morpheus with a blue and red pill, kung fu battle, die in the matrix-die in real life excitement, there's no indestructible robots from the future trying to kill my Mother in the past.

All the internet brings us is Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and a million Blogs and websites continually reposting each others content.


The internet is full of normal people talking about their dinner, their pets and their kids.

Where are all the Sexy Cyber crime types like Keneda's girlfriend from the resistance, Pris covered in black spray painted eye makeup waiting under a sheet to choke someone out with her thighs and the gun toting Deunan Knute from Appleseed's E.S.W.A.T.

The spirit of Cyberpunk is better suited to the Xeroxed world of Zines and Punk culture, now all the predictions thought of in the Cyberpunk era have arrived, the internet has managed to contain, sanitise and suck the life from them to the point of complete inoffensiveness.

How Boring.

Social networking, touch screen everything, fully immersed mmorpg's, portable super computers, video conferencing, GPS, globalisation, when first imagined it was all so exciting, but the reality is entirely mundane.


I think because I find the internet so boring now, the blog is suffering as a knock on effect.

The more the future arrives the less I like it.

Icarus, fly not so close to the sun, less your waxy wings might melt. I painted this in School when I was 14, maybe I knew technology was doomed to be so boring.

The real and palpable fleshy world of the now is the only excitement I know.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Let the Cyclist live. (Pedal reflectors and other bicycle stigmata)

Sweet Roosy P takes time out from his busy Christmas schedule to reflect on the recent change of pedal Legislation in the UK.

Digging the grill son!

Read more HERE

I always run from or ignore the Plakkas anyway. What they going to do? Call the real bizzies?

My BMX has a total absence of brakes, reflectors or lights. Is it still 30 quid for a push bike misdemeanour? If so there's no way I'm going to stop and get grilled by the police and then hand over 90 quid. Truth is, I almost never ride my BMX in the dark and if I do I wear a highly reflective jacket and have numerous lights on my backpack and person. I can stop it as quick as any bike with a brake fitted thanks to many years in the brakeless game.

When on my commuting, MTB or road bike I have very efficient and highly maintained brakes and a vast array of powerful lights made by market leading manufacturers. I wear reflective clothing. If you don't see me, you must not be looking.

Pedal reflectors are not going to help my cause of being seen on the road. Fining me for not having reflectors will only server to victimise the minority, a minority who are responsible for almost no deaths on the road and no pollution to the Earth. Fining a cyclist for having no reflectors is only likely to put him off cycling. Cycling as I'm led to believe is good for health and the environment which in turn saves the government money in the long run. Cycling is something you'd think the government would want to encourage.

It feels like in the (contrived and faked by the media) war of motorists versus cyclists, the more cyclists who are killed on the road by cars the more the government want to victimise the cyclist.

Like it's our fault for getting run over.

How about every car has to have a gigantic soft rubber mattress fitted to front and rear bumper, would that give cyclists a fighting chance when they get mercilessly ploughed by a driver. A driver who was probably smoking, texting, changing the radio channel, fumbling with his ball sack and eating fish and chips while at the wheel.

How about the government makes everything illegal at the wheel other than driving. Would that save a few cyclists lives? I'm inclined to think so.

Stop bullying cyclists for getting killed and injured on the roads. We don't want to be killed or injured. We avoid it at all costs.

Don't blame the cyclist for deaths on the road.

Blame the motorist.
Blame poor cycling infrastructure.
Blame poor education in the road driving test concerning shared road space.

Let the cyclist live.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Skavengers, the unknown history of the sickly bicycle.

A lot of locked bikes get damaged in the town. A truck backs over your bike when the delivery driver is distracted, your bike's wheels get stamped by drunks over night, someone bends your bars and snaps your brake cable trying to rag the lock off, you get a flatty and the bike is not even worth the price of a new tube. Truth is there's a thousand reasons why you would leave a bike locked in town and not return for it, but I would guess that it is usually down to the bike being damaged in someway and the inconvenience of dragging it back home outweighs the value it has as a bike to you.

These lonely bikes sit out every night slowly rusting away. They're neglected and feel sorry for themselves, they have no voice, no will power and no way home.

Once a bike has been spotted for weeks in the same spot and in the same sorry state, that's when the scavengers move in. First to go is usually the front wheel. Then the seat and rear wheel. Next up on the list of skavenger frequency is bars, shortly followed by forks and stem.

In the above photo the bike which has been locked on Clayton street for 6 months has had the bottom bracket removed. To remove a square taper BB of this type requires a crank puller, a lockring remover and various thin sided wrenches. Invariably a BB of this quality fitted to a rusted Hi Ten steel frame would be a nightmare to remove in a workshop, let alone on one of the busiest streets in town while it was chained awkwardly to a bike rack. A daunting task on the fly.

What strikes me as extra weird is that not only did the scavenger have all the necessary tools and the knowledge to remove the bb, but they then left it lying on the ground next to the bike after it was successfully removed. Was it possible that the scavengers were rumbled by the bizzies just as the job was about to come off, or was it that they realised the square taper axle length was too long and it wasn't going to work on their set up, or was it that they fitted the new BB and what we see lying next to the bike is actually the scavengers old BB and the job had come off without a hitch, new BB installed on the fly. If the last out come is true then these guys need commending.

Whatever it was, the truth about this and a thousand other bicycles locked in various states of disarray all over the North East will never be known.

About the region ageing velo cadavers picked to the bare bones by street urchins and scrap vultures, await a grim destiny, their steel carcasses will rust and eventually be cut away and destroyed. Their history melted in a vast pot, their knowledge bound in carbon and manganese is kept and inaccessible. Their prior riding life is a dark mystery held so closely to the chest by the murky silence of the street.