Archive for the ‘bikes!’ Category

Birthday bike ride

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

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Lucky Lab Hawthorne six pm. Tightening a loose valve stem. It is Chris Merkels birthday today, captain of team Unicorn Pony, our cyclocross team. That is Chris on the left, and Edwin Brown of Sprout Cycles on the right.

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Stopping at City Bikes on Ankeny to adjust my crankset, we pick up Andrew Morton, visiting from New York. Andrew has bright green shoes, and hosts Courier’s website.

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Happy Birthday Chris!!

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We bike to the top of Rocky Butte, snap a few pictures, then bomb down the hill to Mt. Tabor, racing the sunset. Edwin, Chris, Joel (me), Alex, Matt, Andrew (L to R). Break at Tabor with some 22′s of SuperDog from LuckyLab, before meeting up with more friends lower down Hawthorne.

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This last week has been amazing. Is it just us or is the summer intensifying in fun? Ate at Dove Vivi three times in the last week! Rad dinner partys, making new friends. Our good friends Michael and Brittany got married over the weekend, and yes, Courier made coffee for the wedding in style. Little Red Bike Cafe celebrated its two year anniversary, two years! And, well, the weather has been beautiful!!  We are calling it a short day at CCR, croquet  at Colonel Summers park 4pm this afternoon, most likely in the NE corner off 20th and Belmont.

cargo bike update

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

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Our front loading cargo bike is doing well. The giant chunk of gearing on the right still has me a bit unnerved (9-chainrings Sram). Yesterday while eating a Banana & Nutella crepe at Perierra Creperie, 12th and Hawthorne, I was mentioning the new depth of sound coming from the pawls in the rear hub. Lucky for us Miranda of Potato Champion, the neighboring food cart, also works as a bike mechanic. She came out of her cart and we learned a little about cassette hubs.

Parts of our bike that need work are the vertical steering stem, and the front hub. The front hub cones and races are partly eroded, from crud getting into the loose ball bearings. And the steering column has always been rigged, the shaft being non-standard, and a star-nut not fitting for a headset. While we have work to do, we have come a long way in improving the awesomeness of our ride.

The cargo bike visited almost all of our accounts yesterday. Our regular Tuesday morning had Alex out to Little Red Bike Cafe, then over the St. John bridge to Two Tarts in N.W. Portland. After having a crepe I took our cargo bike up to Toast, 52nd and Steel, then to 72nd ave Pub, finally Sellwood Cycle.

This morning I biked through Sellwood, over the Holgate overpass, and up to our workshop, dropping off glass mason jars full of whole bean coffee as I went.

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-bike frame made by C.A.T. in Eugene, Oregon- additional love from Veloshop Portland.

External gearing rocks; working on finca Palhu; love from Italy.

Friday, June 26th, 2009

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Server error last night, oh my gosh! And just when I was about to burst with CCR news. Yesterday was mad crazy awesome. It all started two days ago when I got a text message from Italy, which was followed quickly by a phone call via Skype from Brian Mumford, one of the kids at the H&H. He called to have us deliver coffee to his girlfriend on her birthday. How sweet is that? So yesterday we delivered a bag 0f Guatemala finca Palhu to her door with love from Brian!!! (The night before delivering -10 hours since roasting the coffee – I cupped two batches of finca Palhu of that day to find my favorite. I chose the lighter of the two.)

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Later on (still yesterday) I biked downtown on one of our mini bikes to receive the newly built-up cargo bike. It’s so so rad: Phil Wood rear hub (36 hole anodized black with room for a nine speed Sram cassette), disc mounts, mineral oil Shimano hydraulic brake. Ryan of Veloshop put in a ton of work. He gave us one of his brake levers and had to reface and redrill the rear disc tab by at least a millimeter (since it was welded on crooked- C.A.T. we love you). Oh my gosh, and the hub has five bearings inside. It rides like a dream. This set up is heads above the old Shimano Nexus redline internal 8-speed. But when I rode off down Burnside after ending the day at the Half and Half I immediately lost the chain by doing something silly. Then I kept stopping in my highest gear and really had to work to get myself going again. When was the last time I had an externally geared bike? Elementary school-Huffy. Anyway, we’re ecstatic over getting the cargo bike back: THANK YOU RYAN! AND THANK YOU VELOSHOP.

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8 am – 9:30 pm: roasting, bushing, missing spokes.

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Friday. Tired. Waited most of yesterday for our first truck delivery of coffee shipped through CWX. Much of our green coffee comes up from Emeryville/Oakland via semi-truck. For the last three-and-a-half years we’d shipped with Redwing Coffee and Baking, meaning that if we both had coffee coming along the same route we have it placed on the same pallet. This saved us on shipping fees with the added benefit that I didn’t need to be present when the coffee arrived. But Redwing is no longer. Though I guess moving coffee the mile up Hawthorne was often a trick. A few times we did trips with the cargo bike, which can do three bags max but is much better with two. Mostly we’d used my Toyota Corolla, which can do about 900 pounds. Then we found out that Zipcar’s minivan can do 900 pounds, and without rubbing… Well, anyway, yesterday — for the first time ever — we received a truck delivery directly to our door. It was great, but then again we spent practically all day waiting for it on the porch. At the last minute we found out the coffee had been misdirected to Cellar Door Roasters on 11th and Harrison. Luckily, Jeremy at Cellar Door helped sort things out, and we got our beans.

I wish I had a picture of Scott, our Con-way driver, but instead I’ve got a picture of Little Red Bike Cafe’s old Mazzer Major doser mechanism (their espresso grinder). There is some metal on metal action each time the doser part pivots on the center hole. Well, now the hole is no longer round and has carved out a nice oval. These things don’t use bushings at all, so I’m going to drill the bottom plate center hole wider and set it up with some bronze bushing. In the meantime, LRBC recieved a bottom plate assembly that is part of their old Super Jolly grinder — and it’s working well. Still, I like to keep parts together instead of transplanting them.

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Midday it started pouring rain. Alex was on the floor replacing five spokes that just “fell off” his rear wheel. I was trying to bush the doser and an aging lawnmower (that, at this point, no longer works). Then we cupped coffee, which had lost all its marking — pretty neat. Anyway, it’s dark again, and I’ve got to get out of here so i can get back within nine hours to get out to LRBC with some of the coffee we got yesterday: Guatemala Huehuetenango finca Palhu.

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Eye candy to tide you over til tomorrow.

Friday, June 12th, 2009

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This is another picture of my Sprout Cycles rack, made from the dead parts of my old Surly 1×1 frame. The fork-mounted supports were once the Surly’s chainstays. All the welds were done with brass and silver. This rack has totally saved my back since the rear wheel of the cargo bike went out of commission. It’s great for piling boxes. Though it might slow me down a bit — and it’s much more difficult to balance at a stop — it’s much more fun than using just my bag.

I currently have a choice stock of large cardboard boxes from a shipment of our vacuum sealed green beans. I’ll usually select my favorite box and use it on the rack til it won’t hold. Then it gets recycled. I guess this only keeps staying awesome for as long as this dry weather holds up. But, I guess that closing the box flaps may keep our coffee dry for a little longer. Anyway, this rack: awesome.


Hario, bike maintenance, nap, coffee roasting (surprise?).

Monday, June 8th, 2009

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Making myself some Brazil Nossa Senhora de Fatima by Hario syphon brewer — 3 minute extraction time, 3 cups, 24.9 grams. This coffee came to us in 16.5 pound vacuum sealed bricks: green, packaged four to a carton from the London based coffee merchant Mercanta. The packaging keeps the coffee tasting awesome (vacuum packaging from foil and plastic) by protecting it during shipping and storage from humidity changes, moisture, oxygen, and sunlight. I do get excited by how fresh this coffee smells when it’s green, but the packaging bothers me a great deal. There’s no way to recycle it.  We stack it up in the roastery and reuse it as much as we can, but eventually it will find its way to the ocean…or a landfill. (For what it’s worth, kinda my feeling on plastic packaging in general.)

I had a late evening at the workshop working on my freewheel. My single speed bike got a new Salsa 44-tooth chainring, KMC Premium HX chain, 16-tooth White Industries freewheel (the outer ring), and a new freewheel bearing. The teeth on my freewheel were in pretty poor shape, and I’d already flipped the front ring once. Much time was spent getting grit out of the threads with fingernail and a paper towel and then laying a nice clean layer of Park grease. Pawls and springs were all removed, cleaned, replaced. Everything’s awesome except my Shimano cartridge bottom bracket…which is still popping back and fourth.

Sleep at 9, up at 3. The workshop’s a wreck. Time to clean, then to roast. Alex is biking the downtown deliveries this morning. I  also sent him looking for a wooden finger brush (we do like to brush our fingers and wash our hands). We might make some more coffee in the syphon if Ray ever shows up.



Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Day three of attempting to rebuild the rear 8-speed Shimano Redline hub for our cargo bike. We would never have opened it up had it been working well. At least Alex has had a project for the last two days. It might have been our entire m0rning today. Roasting took place mid-afternoon; made coffee for the first time that day after that: Brazil Cerrado fazenda Chapadao de Ferro, straight from our cellar.  New protocol at CCR is to store all coffee in hand in the wine cellar at 65%rh, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Our table was full — coffee made amidst everything else: Matt Sperry on labels, Alex back and forth from washing dishes, me dropping coffee in the roaster…Matt grabbing a notebook to pull roast times, me hand sorting the roasted coffee, Alex grinding and packaging. We took a few seconds for discussion after three cups were on the table. Then Alex clears away the cups and presspot, things find their way into everyone’s bags.