Yard Birds, you know… Chickens!
Well… With the kind of weather we have had lately, getting a chance to get on my road bike today was a real treat. Just a few days ago we were in single digit temps; yesterday was rain, thunder and lightning (yes in January); today the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky and amazing blue skies. Temps were in the mid 50′s. Go figure.
You never know what you are going to find on a bike ride. I suppose the chickens were just like me out to enjoy a sunny beautiful day. I’ve written about this chicken farm before (click here) and today we add the above picture. Nice view indeed.
On a completely different note, on one of the roads I ride often, I found a great deal of “patch” road work today. The type of repairs like this were found in the stretch of about 3/4 of a mile on both sides of the yellow line. The reason this struck me was because of the poor quality of the repair. Not very well packed and far from level and smooth.
Today, roads riddled with potholes seem the norm. It is sad because the state of South Carolina used to have very good roads. Not anymore. Finally, what just adds icing to the cake is that any initiative to find new funding for road work is immediately turned down by politicians that are more concerned with votes than in doing the right thing.
So how did the patchwork feel? Not smoother than what used to be there. Furthermore, with the poor quality of the work it will be no time before this starts to disintegrate. I suppose we get what we pay for…
I finally came across a vintage, mid 80′s Ciocc road bike frame in the correct size and very red. Needless to say, I could not pass up the opportunity to finally own one of these Italian beauties. I remember back in the day, receiving catalogs from mail-order vendors (no Internet back then) featuring these amazing Italian frames. Frames with names such as DeRosa, Bianchi, Colnago, Ciocc, Pinarello, Guerciotti all built with lightweight Columbus tubing. All would be dressed in beautiful paint jobs with some of the higher end models outfitted with plated stays and plated forks. As with everything nice in life, there was a catch: all that Italian flair came with a high price.
I purchased this frame already re-sprayed with very nice red paint and new decals. Not what I prefer since I like to do the painting myself. However, by the time I would have bought all the materials I would have had more than what I paid for it. The plating is not 100% perfect, instead it has a very nice patina. Hell, after all, it is 25+ years old! This is the real-deal, down to the Campagnolo dropouts.
Just like I did with my Bianchi road bike, the devil is in the details. There are a number of pantographed bits on the fork and frame that will need some white paint. For example, the Ciocc logo and script on the fork, the CIOCC script on the seatstay caps and all the little details on the lugs. I know, a lot of work for an old bike but this is just not another bike – it is art!
As far as components go… Interesting thing eBay. For some time I’ve picked up some good deals on modern Campagnolo Chorus components. Most is new, with a couple of exceptions. Bottom line, I have pretty much a complete 2008 Chorus groupset with a set of older dual-pivot Chorus calipers (the used bits!). The downside is I am sure this will piss off many folks because the cranks are Ultra Torque carbon. But, that is all good: I’m building this to suite me, not others.
Among the bits left to buy is a Campagnolo aero seatpost – I’m looking for one with flutes so I can finish it like I did the one on my Bianchi with the Italian flag colours. I also need to find a stem and suitable handlebar. Wheels, you ask? I have a spare set of Mavic Ksyrium’s that are true and in great shape. Again, why go out and buy more when I already have some really nice stuff.
So what is the big deal? After all, it’s just another old bike? Agreed. But, I like to ride and I like bikes. I have several and this one will be a nice addition. Stay tuned! I’ll have updates soon.
This weekend I visited my friend Cator’s fabrication shop where he keeps his 1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet. We were done working on one of his other hot rods trying to wire up a Hemi with fuel injection when I asked to uncover the Merc and take a few pictures
According to Cator, these are very rare cars to begin with – only about 1200 of these two door, two-seater, convertibles were sold. Cator went through great lengths to make this awesome ride a reality and boy does it pack some serious heat! Given it’s rarity, I am sure many folks reading this post will have something to say since this car is far from stock. Then again just like me, Cator built this car for his personal use and enjoyment.
Yes, this 1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet is powered by a seriously hot Chevy 350 with triple carburetors. Cator built this car before we had a chance to convert him to fuel injection! That is why his current hot rod will be powered by that late-model fuel injected Hemi. But I digress…
The grill and bumpers are all original to the car. There is some serious bling going on here!
The engine is mated to a GM transmission and this runs to a 9″ Ford rear end with a solid axle.
This Merc is fully decked out with an air ride suspension. Check out how low to the ground it can be lowered! It is also equipped with a nice AC system that blows very cold air! The interior is outfitted with plenty of leather. And, the canvas top is fully lined – the top’s frame is completely hidden from view and according to Cator, makes the ride very quiet.
I need to get Cator to bring this bad boy to Cars & Coffee. I’ll have another set of pictures soon…
I did some research on what options exist for a flip key for a Honda S2000. As we all know AP1 S2000′s did not come with flip keys. Here is the story on fitting a flip key for my 2003 Honda S2000.
I did some searching on eBay (where else?) and found a suitable candidate. This one is available for about $25 bucks – a little steep – but I figured what the hell and gave it a try. What you get for your hard-earned cash is a blank plastic enclosure for the S2K’s remote PC board and a flip key blank. The key comes uncut so you have to take it to a local locksmith to have it match your key.
The only thing missing above is the flip key blank. At the very top is the upper half of the enclosure. The area with the blue ring is where the “chip” is inserted for cars equipped with it. I have no clue how that works – my 2003 AP1 does not have a chip.
The rest of the bits include a tab for fixing a ring for more keys, the three little screws used to hold the two halves together, the spring and the little plunger that releases the key.
Finally, the bottom half of the enclosure. The red circle shows a tab that requires a slightly modified to make room for a little metal tab on the remote’s PC board. You can see the metal tab in the picture below, right next to the “OMRON” text. I used a Dremel tool with an end-mill and carefully removed the excess material on the tab. Click on the pictures for more details.
Next came the buttons…
The buttons that came with the enclosure are rather chintzy and did not fit so well. So I just recycled the buttons from the original factory remote. They have the right color, texture and “feel”. Picture above shows the original remote on top and the new enclosure on the bottom with the buttons installed. They just drop in place. Above the big oval button at the top is a small recess where the clear plastic on the remote control PC board rests. This is also where the tiny red LED light shines through when pressing the buttons.
This is what the flip key for a Honda S2000 looks like fully assembled and in working order (click on the pictures for more details:
- The flip key enclosure is fairly nice. I have about $27.00 in it. $25.00 for the enclosure (free shipping) and another $2.00 to have the key blank cut.
- Prior to assembly I had to smooth the edges with a jeweler’s file to remove all the sharp edges. It is very obvious this is a mass-produced item with no time spent making it look OEM.
- It takes some patience to get the spring that drives the key aligned properly. There is a small tab on the bottom half were part of the spring is anchored. Then one has to pre-load the spring with the key while making sure all the other bits don’t fall out. The little “button” used to trigger the key must also be aligned properly. Not rocket science but it just takes patience.
- The outside of the bottom half is very poorly designed. There are three tiny screws holding the affair together. Two are easy to get to; while the single screw closer to the key resides in a recess where a foil with a tiny red “H” emblem is supposed go. This is asinine. If the little “H” foil is affixed then how do you get to the screw without ruining the foil when changing the battery? I tried to leave the one screw out, but that makes the enclosure wobbly and the last thing you want is give that precious spring any chance to make an unannounced departure.
- I’ll have to give the flip key a try. Yes it looks very sexy and has a bit of a “wow” factor but the thing is a bit heavy and bulky. On the other hand, the factory key and remote is so much lighter and thinner. I suppose here is yet another example of where the Honda engineers got the AP1 S2000 oh so very right the first time…
On my way to work one day last week, I saw this pallet hauler shown here.
While I am not a fan of automotive emissions tests or road certificates, this is one time when I wish the state of South Carolina had one. I’ve seen this truck before, but never with the disaster of a trailer in tow. No lights, no license tag, nothing…
Once I pulled ahead of this truck – not hard to do mind you – I glanced at the two occupants who were completely oblivious of the bad weather, wet road conditions and the fact the truck was crawling in the left lane. The tires on this truck (and trailer) were about as smooth as the proverbial baby’s butt. The trailer is something else too: those uprights were flopping and swaying back and forth. Truly an accident waiting to happen.
On this very same road, I see on a daily basis folks driving high-end Mercs, Bimmers, Porches, and even a Tesla Model S. Makes one wonder what kind of insurance this bubba has on his white truck…