Don't tell my 3 orthopedic surgeons I am here...



Aug 31, 2020
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Hi,

My name is Neil, and I too old for this stuff, but I'm still trying to relive and improve my childhood.

I am in the process of restarting a business (my old job was outsourced to Manila), and that business will take me back to a place I love - the drag strip. I will need a working bike to get this old, damaged body around so I can speak with potential clients in the pits.

A little background...

Back in the 1990s, I was the track photographer at two drag strips here in the Northeast; New England Dragway and Lebanon Valley Dragway. I had an old muscle bike that I took with me to get around. It fit into my trunk and it was also a way for people to find me - if they saw the bike they knew I was nearby. I have attached a photo of Chuck Etchells and me checking out each other's cool rides.

20-plus years later I find myself in need of a new ride to get around the drag strips. The thing is, I'm not the same healthy guy I was back then. I had stage 4 lymphoma in 2015 that took out both of my femur bones and required that my hips be replaced. (One of those hips had to be replaced twice to correct problems with the first surgery, that's why I have three surgeons.) One of the surgeries damaged the nerves in my left leg and I have something called "drop foot" in my left foot. I also have two mechanical heart valves, (the chemo damaged my heart), but they are actually working really well.

And I'm partly deaf from years as an auto mechanic and drag racing photographer.

In all I have seven artificial devices installed, not counting eyeglasses. One more device and I can get Amazon Prime for life and free Starbucks coffee for a year!

That means I have some special requirements on any bike I built or buy for myself. Number one is it needs to be fairly low to the ground. I can't afford a bad fall so I need to be able to be flat-footed while I am sitting on the bike so I can easily catch myself if need be. I also need smooth pedals so I can get my left foot off the pedal easily since that foot doesn't move as it should. I also need to have gears so because my heart isn't 100% and a single-speed bike would be too much for me after a long day at the drag strip. And I need to be able to sit pretty upright because I also have a 62-year old back that likes to let me know that I'm not a kid anymore.

My wife found a free roadside bike that fits most of the bill. It's a 24-inch Pacific Quicksilver, 21 speeds, V-brakes, cool purple color, and in almost new condition. It sits too high, has pedals with cleats on them that I will need to replace (I already fell off of it once because I couldn't get my left foot off fast enough. Don't tell my wife.) I have a plan to turn it into an adult-sized muscle bike with a banana seat, apehangers, and smooth pedals. Over the winter I will add a chopper fork and repaint with candy colors to resemble and old Gasser from the 1960s.

I know it's all wrong for what I am doing, but I'm an advocate of the old adage to "run what ya brung." It's not perfect, but it's what I've got, so I am going to make it as cool as I can. Maybe later I can find a better frame, but for now, I will make this work.

I have been checking out some of the great builds here and I am definitely stealing some of your ideas. And I need to find out where you getting some of these cool parts.

Thanks,
NitroNeil
 

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nosferatu1381

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Us old guys call that a step through frame.
41521034_2089727734425769_576494536516173824_o.jpg
118455824_3523069077758287_6065548430157857683_o.jpg

One of these little "step through" frame muscle bikes would probably be perfect and they made 20 million of them. I can ride that one comfortably and I am 6'2'
 
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Welcome aboard! Sorry to hear of your past misfortunes, but you seem to be taking them in stride. I have a suggestion you might not have considered--a pedal trike. I personally like the ones from Miami Sun that are lightweight and multi-speed...with space in the back for carrying tools and parts. That sure sounds like a pit bike to me.

sun.jpg

These can be pretty dang pricey when they're new, but every so often, a bargain rolls along.
 
Aug 31, 2020
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Welcome aboard! Sorry to hear of your past misfortunes, but you seem to be taking them in stride. I have a suggestion you might not have considered--a pedal trike. I personally like the ones from Miami Sun that are lightweight and multi-speed...with space in the back for carrying tools and parts. That sure sounds like a pit bike to me.

View attachment 137336
These can be pretty dang pricey when they're new, but every so often, a bargain rolls along.
Thanks Rusty,

I thought about a trike and decided against it for a couple of reasons.

1. I need something that will fit easily in my Hyundai Tucson so that kinda means two wheels. I could probably get a trike in the back if I took it partially apart, but I won't feel like doing that at the end of a long day.

2. Honestly, it isn't cool enough. We are talking about guys who name their cars and paint them in wild colors and then try to break the speed of sound every weekend. There are people riding bikes in the pits and most of them are vintage rides or at least hopped up newer bikes.

3. Yeah, the cost was an issue too. New ones aren't cheap, and it's hard to find older ones, at least around here in New Hampshire. The price of the roadside freebie that my wife found was perfect.
 
Jul 30, 2013
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With the handlebars folded back, our Miami Sun fit easily in the back of a Ford Escape. You couldn't do that with a Schwinn Meridian, and you'd throw your back out trying with a Worksman! I thought a trike might be a little 'stodgy' for your taste, but leaf through the forums and see what's possible. You might be surprised.
 

Captain Awesome

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Welcome aboard! Sorry to hear of your past misfortunes, but you seem to be taking them in stride. I have a suggestion you might not have considered--a pedal trike. I personally like the ones from Miami Sun that are lightweight and multi-speed...with space in the back for carrying tools and parts. That sure sounds like a pit bike to me.

View attachment 137336
These can be pretty dang pricey when they're new, but every so often, a bargain rolls along.
You know I always look at these single down tube models and wonder about splicing in a hinge section from a little folding bike. Pop off the front wheel, maybe a QR on the stem to swivel the bars down, and with the hinge in the right spot you could make this trike half size

Or maybe I'm just daydreaming again.......:speechless:
 

RustyGold

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Welcome to RRB!

I have an inkling of what you've gone through, I've had Hodgkin's, and due to the radiation therapy portion of the treatment for that...two rounds of stents (five total) that were replaced in June during a triple bypass operation. I say an inkling because I started the above in my twenties, so have had far less complications than you have.

I'm looking forward to what creation you end up with... hopefully you will get the help you need here.

Jason
 
Aug 31, 2020
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Welcome to RRB!

I have an inkling of what you've gone through, I've had Hodgkin's, and due to the radiation therapy portion of the treatment for that...two rounds of stents (five total) that were replaced in June during a triple bypass operation. I say an inkling because I started the above in my twenties, so have had far less complications than you have.

I'm looking forward to what creation you end up with... hopefully you will get the help you need here.

Jason
Jason,
It's amazing what they can do these days. I can't really complain, I feel much better than I have any right to expect. I just have to be careful.
 
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Brother Neil:
I think that you're on the right track with the 24-incher. The Safety Committee approves of the gears and solid brakes. I have several of those in-between-size bikes and they are handy cruisers (see pics below). You'll find that your Quicksilver will roll quicker if you ditch the knobby tires and get some street rubber on there. Banana seats are definitely cool, but I find a layback seatpost more comfortable while providing the same ergonomic advantage (getting further back from the pedals and handlebars on a frame that is actually too small for the rider). Browse the forum; you will find many good ideas from the clever folks who post here.
Have fun!

Pics: 1) Huffy Good Vibrations 24 with layback seatpost. 2) Dyno Glide 24 with COVID accessories. 3) Hawthorne 24 step-thru with banana seat (I know the rear carrier is a bit odd with that seat, but I couldn't bring myself to ditching it). 4) Sun Retro 24 retrofitted with a 26-inch front fork and wheel (work in progress).
huffygv1.JPG
dyno 16.jpg
hawthorne1.jpg
sun6.jpg
 
Aug 31, 2020
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Brother Neil:
I think that you're on the right track with the 24-incher. The Safety Committee approves of the gears and solid brakes. I have several of those in-between-size bikes and they are handy cruisers (see pics below). You'll find that your Quicksilver will roll quicker if you ditch the knobby tires and get some street rubber on there. Banana seats are definitely cool, but I find a layback seatpost more comfortable while providing the same ergonomic advantage (getting further back from the pedals and handlebars on a frame that is actually too small for the rider). Browse the forum; you will find many good ideas from the clever folks who post here.
Have fun!

Pics: 1) Huffy Good Vibrations 24 with layback seatpost. 2) Dyno Glide 24 with COVID accessories. 3) Hawthorne 24 step-thru with banana seat (I know the rear carrier is a bit odd with that seat, but I couldn't bring myself to ditching it). 4) Sun Retro 24 retrofitted with a 26-inch front fork and wheel (work in progress).
View attachment 137665View attachment 137666View attachment 137667View attachment 137668
Love the Hawthorne. I want a carrier so I can carry my photo gear.
 
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Welcome aboard! Sorry to hear of your past misfortunes, but you seem to be taking them in stride. I have a suggestion you might not have considered--a pedal trike. I personally like the ones from Miami Sun that are lightweight and multi-speed...with space in the back for carrying tools and parts. That sure sounds like a pit bike to me.

View attachment 137336
These can be pretty dang pricey when they're new, but every so often, a bargain rolls along.
I'll second that. A muscle bike would be nice, but banana seats are like riding a solid piece of narrow wood, for us old guys.
You can easily make some modifications to a trike, like a springer and gearing. I'd suggest a 2 speed kickback hub, no cable just low and normal gearing by pedaling.
1599355351424.png
 
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Hello and welcome!

Your detailed story, helps to understand your goals and reasoning/requirements- I will jump in to with a couple o' thoughts

there is a type of pedal called "bare foot" pedals that might work- but may only fit single piece cranks or
I once made some smooth pedals by unscrewing the outside band off some "grippy" Mtn bike pedals (there was an aluminum band screwed to the pedal body) and screwing my own "blocks" on the pedal body by match drilling through my blocks
- you could do just one side or
put a piece of thin material on top and bottom of the pedal and run a few fasteners through that "oreo cookie"

Cool-ness-wise, since you are running a 24" frame you could replace the forks with 26" (straight-springer!) forks, and top that off with some hi-rise bars- then put a 20 wheel up front and the bike should about level out (24+26-20=killa). Oughta be gettin sort of krate-y at that point
'course then you are rolling around on just your rear brake, a true chopper!

Sounds like a banana seat after that, am i right? (how long are you riding this at a stretch)

Or something else entirely- You are bound to find many good ideas here, I sure have!
See ya on the boards
2020-09-06 15.23.32.jpg

Not barefoots, but purty smooth. These are for single piece cranks- 2 kinds

2020-09-06 15.23.13.jpg

silver one has metal band, black has band replaced by strips of material (blocks)
 
Aug 31, 2020
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Thanks, everyone for all the great suggestions.

I have installed some smooth Krate style pedals and they work great. My left foot comes off the pedal easily and I can keep myself from falling if I turn too hard.

I also picked up an original Schwinn Stingray handlebar and mounted the brake/shifter controls to it using a Jagwire DIY cable set to hook up the brakes and derailleurs. The apehangers allow me to steer the bike without hitting my knees with the handlebars. That alone makes the bike safer for me to ride.
s-l500.jpg


I have a banana seat and a sissy bar on the way. I will post a pic when I get the seat mounted.

I do plan to put a 20-inch wheel on a set of extended chopper forks. I have found some adapter brackets that will allow me to install the V-brake to the chopper forks.

This will be a working bike. I won't be doing any touring or cruising with it. I'm not really concerned about the seat being hard because I won't be riding it for any extended time.

I have been riding it around my driveway. I haven't ridden a bike in a long time and I had forgotten how much I enjoy just riding a bike, even if it's just in circles on my driveway.
 
Jul 16, 2019
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This will be a working bike. I won't be doing any touring or cruising with it. I'm not really concerned about the seat being hard because I won't be riding it for any extended time.
Sounds like a good idea
I have been riding it around my driveway. I haven't ridden a bike in a long time and I had forgotten how much I enjoy just riding a bike, even if it's just in circles on my driveway.
Hee hee hee, well, there goes the good idea!
 
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