Archive for October 30th, 2011
We frequently host touring bicyclists who need a campsite in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The most recent couple has been riding for two years, starting eastward from Paris shortly after their wedding. Yeah, it’s a honeymoon trip.
After riding through Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and several of the ‘Stans, JeanMarc’s handlebar mirror broke in Kazakhstan. Marie toted the carcass out of the ‘Stans, across India, through China, and then from Montreal to here. They’re biking to Houston, where they’ll fly to Peru, ride south and across the Andes, and work their way across the Atlantic on a cargo ship that eventually docks in Germany. Then, a year from now, they’ll just bike back to Paris.
Makes you feel like sludge, too, doesn’t it?
With that as prologue, JeanMarc wondered if I could fix the mirror mount. It started as a 10 mm plastic ball on a molded plastic fitting with an integral worm screw and strap; of course, the ball stem snapped off during a hard landing or some such event that comes naturally during long-distance riding. We kicked around some ideas, rummaged through the heap, and came up with a workable, albeit hideous solution.
I applied a Dremel slitting wheel to a pair of Zerk grease fittings, sliced off the inlet valve, extracted the valve spring, and cleaned up the residue to leave a somewhat misshapen 9.3 mm (really a scant 3/8 inch) ball-like end. A bit of lathe work converted a chunk of PVC pipe into a sleeve grooved for a metal hose clamp. I drilled two #3 holes, tapped them 1/4-28 (which, believe it or not, is the correct thread for a Zerk), bandsawed the pipe in half, introduced the pieces to Mr Belt Sander to round the edges, screwed Zerks into holes, and wound up with a pair of these:
Which looks awful on the handlebars, but we’re pretty sure it won’t break and he has a spare if the mirror on Marie’s bike snaps off:
The Zerk fitting could unscrew, but the threads aren’t exactly in pristine condition after all that fussing and seem to be jammed firmly in place. If we had more time, I’d have heated the PVC and molded it around the handlebars, but we decided that wasn’t really necessary.
They rode off into the distance this morning… may you have smooth roads and a tailwind, JeanMarc and Marie!