Home > I Made a Thing! > A Tale of Two Bikes, or The Ancestry of Treeline

A Tale of Two Bikes, or The Ancestry of Treeline

It started with necessity, as some ultimately ridiculous things do.  I had a bike, and the pedals would periodically kick forward, in several cases causing a painful thwack on the heel.  No, it wasn’t maladjusted gears, usually the most likely explanation–in my case, the thirty year old freewheel itself was giving out, and the pawls were no longer always staying engaged on the ratchet (the bit that goes click-click-click when you’re coasting).  After one particularly painful near-crash on this thing, I decided that the old bike was no longer safe to ride, and vented my irritation by stripping it not only of the freewheel, but of almost everything.

There it is, pre-stripping, in all its eighties-era glory.  To start, I just put a fixed cog on the rear wheel to replace the freewheel and cassette (rack of six or seven gears), and this got me through to college.  Then, for the final project of an art class during Freshman year, I redid the bike.  I turned the handlebars over and chopped them short, repainted the frame dark green, and even set a painting into the front triangle of the frame.  That summer I would add front and back flashers, a headlight and turning signals with controls integrated into the handlebars, and a few months later the bike was stolen.

I was pretty devastated.  But it was an excuse to begin a second bike with everything that I had learned from the first: how to get the least crappy paintjob from a spray can, how to put a minimal bike together, and how useless cable locks are.  The next iteration also benefited from a windfall of parts, including some of the most expensive parts of a bike, the wheels.  Those only took a couple years to get stolen.  I used the excuse to replace them with green ones that I had long coveted, and thus the next bike was born.

This served me well, but had some very basic flaws.  One was a bent fork, which placed the wheel off to the side and made the bike always slightly tilted while riding.  The other was the frame size–just slightly too small.  After two years riding this one around I decided that I would consolidate bikes by selling the frame, as well as a complete Specialized Allez that I had used for racing, and putting the money into one bike–that would become Treeline, and that is another story.

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Categories: I Made a Thing!
  1. July 30, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Waaaaaah! This is a great blog. Seriously. So many awesome projects, so impressive. Makes me want to take up bike mechanics. Keep posting creations and discoveries, I’m so excited you’re a blogger now.

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