During my childhood, when ever Love Sculptures' version of Sabre Dance was played on the radio, I would grab the cardboard guitar I made for myself and indulge in a bout of hyperactive pretend guitar playing.
It's easy to over-look the little jobs that get done on a build.
The procedures and connections that one might assume people would take for granted.
The clutch cable, as supplied, is far to long.
So long in fact that it may just be possible to stretch fabric over over the loop it forms and make something like a butterfly wing out of it.
A standard cycle control cable is extended by a shorter cable (the type used at the derailleur end of a gear cable) with an adjuster stuck between the two.
At the lever end of the cable a ferrule has been added for no other purpose, it seems, than to stop the outer cable from fitting into the adjuster on the lever.
So, here's a picture of the bits I removed:
There's a spring on the clutch cable to protect it from the heat produced by the engine which I nearly forgot to replace and a smaller spring that protects the inner cable from your guess is as good as mine.
The finished job:
I moved to say that air filter cover has just got to go and I know I've got a copper fondue heater that would do the job nicely if only I could remember where I put it.
The brass cable clamp is tightened down so much I doubt if I'd be ever able to remove it again but this is a necessary precaution as the 'pull' on the clutch is quite hefty (for a small engine) and I don't want anything 'slipping':
All that now remains to do is to run some solder into the end of the cable to stop it fraying and an end cap fitting so it doesn't end up stuck in my leg and Bob's y'live in lover.
Way before the winter festivities I was asked to provide The Dabbler (a culture blog) with my recommendations for their 6-Clicks feature
I was chuffed to be asked and, with little effort, compiled my list.
Then I hit the problem.
My writing 'style' can best be described as coming from the 'What I did on my school holidays' category of literary composition.
The Dabbler has some really wordy wizard contributors who can wax long and lyrical about the choices they've made and make them seem enticing even to the casual reader (me).
Try as I might, every time I sat down to write about my choices, I blocked.
So, not wishing to waste a great list, here are the links I click on a regular basis:
I creep tentatively forward.
The fiddly job of fitting the drive sprocket to the wheel.
It involves passing a bolt through the sprocket, a rubber mount, the wheel spokes, another rubber mount, a metal plate, a flat washer, a spring washer then into a brass domed nut nine times.
I managed to drop each item listed above at least once.
The worry here was that the wheel wouldn't align correctly in the frame.
Fits perfectly and looks 'right':
The next hurdle involves finding an extra length of 415HD chain for the drive side.
I can't remember when it was that the idea of building a cyclemotor came to me.
Oh, wait a minute, yes I can.
It was when I saw a picture of a Felt 1903 Motored Bicycle similar to this one: The 1903
The major difference between the model that made my heart beat faster and Ridley's version being the addition of a copper fuel tank.
My blog was riddled with my various attempts to build my take on the cyclemotor.
All of them, for one unsurmountable problem or another, failed.
(I deleted the posts out of shear embarrassment and frustration.)
The last nail in the coffin was pedal clearance, or lack of it, on the side of the engine.
I put the engine in a box, put the box in the loft where I couldn't see it and forgot about it.
This evening I went into the loft to start doing a winter rebuild on the Black Tractor.
I saw the engine and, just out of curiosity, offered it up to the frame.
Then the solution hit me.
Lift the engine to a point on the down tube where it clears the pedals then extend the rear engine mounting studs till they reached the seat tube:
I'll have to add some nuts and washers at the engine end to make sure the studs don't work loose but this is the answer!
I messed about for around and hour fitting bits and bobs to the frame and voila! Here's a really bad picture of what I ended up with:
There are some small hurdles to get over but the solutions are all sorted out in my head.
So, here I go again building a machine that I won't be able to use as transport on the roads of Great Britain.
I wrote this song in 2005 and it generally goes down well where ever I play it.
About 3 years ago a man with a leather waistcoat and a grey ponytail collared me and said he was sure he'd heard it before and thought it might be one of George Jones' songs.
I assured him that I'd written it but he was still unconvinced and went away mumbling.
I finally get round to recording a video of it and, as soon as it appears on my YouTube channel, I see that there are several songs that share the name.
The most distressing version, for me, is by Ira Louvin: Bottom of the Bottle
The first two lines he sings turn up in my song.
I can honestly say I'd never heard Mr. Louvin's song before in my life but I know exactly what he means.
I'm still trying to get this song into shape.
This version includes Baritone Uke, Soprano Uke, Shaky Egg and Roland TR78 Drum Machine.
Recorded using my computer's internal mic.
There'a 'crash' after the line "In Light Assending" provided by some guy throwing barrels about just outside my window.
It's in Em/D and runs at 155 BPM if you'd like to play along.
Of course it still needs Dogsbody and Girl on Wire adding.