This post could just as rightly fall into the "show your duds" category, but I'll drop it here. Cross-pollination, as it were.
I bought myself a jacket that I've desired for 20 years now, the Rocketeer's jacket. Oh, it's beautiful. I did ask the company, Wested Leather, if they would be willing to alter it in one way for me. I had decided that if I could get it in black, then I would be more apt to wear it. I was thinking that it could become my motorcycle riding jacket. So, while posting a picture of me in it, I thought I'd also show you a bike that I've been playing around with.
The story starts with one of my failed bike projects, the tandem. I bought two beach cruiser bikes, and welded them together, to make a tandem with a twist. The twist was that the back person pedaled the back wheel, and the front person, in addition to steering, pedaled the front wheel. This was supposed to make it so that you didn't have to constantly be pedaling in sync, as you do now with purchased tandems. Here was the bike:
It was a big fail, as the front pedals swung away from you with the slightest turn of the handlebars. Also, the two people were too close together to be comfortable.
But I believe in recycling my fails, and so I did. Next I tried to use that long frame, which I was proud of, as a cargo bike, but that looked ugly as hell, so I decried that as another fail, and tucked the bike in the corner of the shop, where it remained for months. Recently, I was thinking of how I have several ideas in my sketch book for things that would be cool on a bike, but these ideas don't require an entire bike to do them. I mean, I had the idea for my long bike, which I've written of elsewhere on this site, and the bicycle I commit to that is only a long bike. Or the tall bike, which is only a tall bike. But what of my idea for a cool springer front end? How about the idea I have to mount this cool hood ornament on one of my bikes? What about the idea to make my own seat pan? Well, I got to thinking that one bike might be cool for all of this leftover stuff. That would make it a real Frankenstein's Monster of a bicycle, wouldn't it?
So I dusted off that tandem/cargo bike, and cut it down in the middle section a bit, so that the two seat posts are about 8 inches apart. What I was left with was a cruiser that was longer between the seat and the pedals and handlebars. It looked very patched together, but in a good way. I then named the bike "Frank," since it will act my my Frankenstein of various mismatched ideas.
The first idea I wanted to add to it was that mentioned springer front end I had sketched up in my book in Afghanistan. I had the idea to just get a mountain bike frame that had rear suspension, and use that rear set up as the front of my bike. Well, it wasn't as easy as bolting it on. There was a lot of fabrication to get it to work, grafting it onto the stem of some forks, then making some bracket pieces from scratch, and also narrowing the profile of the whole thing to fit. I think it all came out great, though. I'm really proud of it. This front end is my first bike building win in a while (my projects are wild enough that they often don't work well). To me, it looked like an old Indian leaf-spring front end, so I put on a pair of handlebars upside down, to stay with the old-timey look of it.