Alfa Laughter

Rat Rod Bikes Bicycle Forum

Help Support Rat Rod Bikes Bicycle Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
After getting all that paper off, it was time to get the tire back on.

Luckily I had my wifie to help, as she had never had to fit a tire in her life. She was a bit cack-handed and a bit unsure where to push, but we pushed onward and even applied insulation tape over the spoke heads as I had left the proper tapes back in the village. It would also have been easier if we had the footpump, but we made do with the so-so hand pump.


Almost done, except we also had to load the 'Danusia' Jubilat frame into the car as I have decided to go with the Kross 'Romet Samanta' frame instead.
Well I have my frame in my car and my wheels in the garage, less than 50 metres away, but I am feeling a bit rough this AND it has turned cold, so they will have to wait before they get a reunion :)
Oh yes, and it is also the busiest week throughout the year for my job, so there is that as well...
I thought you were retired, Gee. I gave up engineering at 61. I was the first one of our small company of 10 to retire. My eyes were failing, and I’d had enough, but fortunately we had made enough money to get by.

Temps here have become frosty at night, but warm enough in the day. It’s the desert norm. But shopping and other things have kept me from working on my bicycle.

I have been covering everything in the boatyard, preparing for more rains next week. I wasn’t 100% prepared last time, and some things got wet, but this will be better.

I have 2 project cars and a rolling chassis, plus a small boat and some saws, grinder, vises, steel racks, work benches, battery rack, and hoist, all outdoors, and now all individually covered from rain.

Over my “boatyard” have a 16’x24’ tarp, up on 1.38” steel pole framing, just enlarged from 10’x20’. Sort of a big tent connected to my welding shed and house. It’s all just built with clamps so I can take it up and down, raise, lower, slope, and reconfigure it when I need to.

We only get about 10 days of actual rain here, and it never snows; but I have to be prepared when it happens, and it’s coming Monday.
and it is coming Monday.... ☔

Well, I have still no idea when I will actually retire. Things were simple back when we were young, but now I have to think about working well past 65, assuming that the Russians do not arrive first ;)

What kind of engineering were you involved with?

I was an apprentice mechanic first, before moving on to university and then a small number of engineering jobs for some years, before I gave it all up and became a proofreader here. I am the kind of guy who does so-so work, until something happens and everyone is running around, not knowing what to do. Then I go into action, tell everyone what needs to be done, then I am back to doing so-so work. Work is like walking blindfolded in a cave system, where everything is all right until you walk into a wall and start panicking. I am there to calm you down and ask whether you would prefer to turn left or right.

I find it intriguing that you have so much interest in your boat, and yet you live in a desert.
Yes, our property is quite dry, but remember, Noah lived in the desert too. ;) Where it almost never rained, and people thought he was crazy for building a boat. (The size of a soccer field.)

There are at least five reservoirs where I can take my boat fishing with in a 1 Hour drive. At 14’ it’s easy to tow.

Since I have been an engineer our company was called on to inspect structures after major earthquakes three times in about 25 years. (Remind me to tell you about condemning the 4-story bordello in San Francisco sometime…)

Now, I am 60 miles from the major earthquake zone. But we are only about 300 feet above mean sea level, on the eastern edge of a huge valley.

It’s actually about sea level out in the middle of the valley, and there is a big swamp. It used to be a lake, until they built dams and made reservoirs in the mountains to the east of me 100 years ago.

If California ever has that apocalyptic earthquake the San Joaquin Valley is possibly going to become an inland sea once again (as it was for thousands of years before the last Ice Age.)

With all the glaciers and ice caps melting, I feel like boat building will become of great interest in the future.

So, I started out fixing cars in the summers, while I went to a state university. I studied industrial technology, mechanical and manufacturing engineering, and computer programming.

I was hired before graduation, and went to work for a big lumber company that sold thousands of trusses. They pre-fabricated framing for a good deal of the town I live in, and a part of the larger one next-door to me (where they were located.) I detailed the walls and trusses. (Later I would do the same thing for an aluminum company for almost 5 years.)

The lumber co had a primitive CNC system and I learned how to program it. I worked for other companies over the years, and I also learned to program other machines like gang-torch cutters, tubing benders, sheet metal presses, and self changing punch presses.

Eventually, I went to work for a structural engineering company 22 years, where we designed a lot of public buildings. Back in the early Pentium days I became their computer guru and ended up building their whole computer network up bit by bit.

I was in charge of all of the computer drafting operations, and if someone needed a serious graphic problem solved, they came to me.

The Buchanan Science Lab in Clovis is one of the last (and smallest) buildings that I drew before I retired. This is a very strange experimental system which used plastered or sheathed hollow Styrofoam blocks, filled with rebar and concrete. It is the only building I ever did with that strange system, but it has a normal (mostly hidden) interior structural steel frame and roof. I did all the structural drawings and minor calcs. Circa 2015

This is the largest job I ever worked on: The twin Rincon Towers in San Francisco. I drew only the exterior towers’ aluminum framing systems, which support all of the glass, and the arched aluminum crown work of the structures. Circa 1985
I have always wondered what it would be like to live in that valley, not that there was ever much chance of that happening, but I used to live next to the English Channel - which only began to exist 10,000 years ago when the post-glacial water in what was to be the North Sea came ploughing through there and leaving all signs of it happening on the sea bed.

Ha, ha, but you have a boat, and you know that you will be sailing inland, and at least you get to keep your place to live if it, hopefully, washes up ashore somewhere safely, much further up your valley.

Anyway, last night it snowed, which is much earlier than usual, hopefully it will not be like this the whole winter through.


I was thinking we would leave for the country tomorrow night, but wifie came home today and suggested we clean the snow off the car...
That has a lovely relaxed feel, especially the lighting on that glazing system where you know things happen and yet you cannot see quite what!
It’s a sort of experimental hydroponic greenhouse wall. It would look a little greener except no plants had been grown inside at the time of that photograph.

The frosty glazing is from cellular acrylic panels called Kalwall.

That was a very tiny and very expensive building to both engineer and construct, but it’s an educational facility and it has several very advanced features, that are now all obsolete now, since it was built 7 years ago.

At you can see photos of most of the last jobs I drew, plus a few I had a very minor role in.

The featured Jordan job is a bio-research facility and has three 200 horsepower emergency ventilating fans on the roof, with big filters, to catch things in case there is some kind of breach in the laboratories.

But it’s in a state agricultural college, so hopefully they are working on maybe beneficial bacteria, and not bio-warfare products.
Last edited:
No chance of snow here at all. It was a balmy 70° today, we had a lovely feast for Thanksgiving dinner, and all the grandkids went out and rode bicycles.
My youngest daughter has put on some weight (!) but she managed to ride my bicycles without problems.
In a dress no less!

This is my eldest granddaughter in back. #2 granddaughter in the lead.

It’s a race!
The real torture test! My gordo son-in-law had no luck riding the Sting-gray. (There is almost no trail on this bike.)

My daughter has much better balance with it.

A couple of the grandchildren did not ride, and my oldest daughter did not ride, but my sister did quite well. My sister on her too-small bicycle, followed by granddaughter number three on Flyaway.
We had a bit of snow before last weekend, but it was cold and I did not take any photo of it until it had largely escaped.

I was feeling a bit rough, and had no intentions on going out to stand in a cold garage or barn for any amount of time, except to collect some more wood for the stove.


So finally I went out tonight, after a nice, long day of work, and got a couple of things done - or realised that I could not many thinbgs as some parts have been left back on the farm. Whatever, at least I could fit the axle and the bearings - it is just a pity that I didn't have any of the locking nuts etc.

I do have the 3 speed derailleur hub, though, just waiting to be fitted!


This was the box I remembered to bring, sans any locking or wheel nuts. The funny thing is that I sorted out those nuts, in the other box, the other week - I could have just dropped a few in my toolbox. But I didn't.


Luckily, the green and white medical boxes contain my collection of bearing nuts, and I had just three nuts more than enough to build the rear wheel into its present state.

Now I think I have brought the right BB hub for this bike, but I just hope that it has enough bearings, otherwise I am going to have to pinch them from somewhere. I don't really want to steal that last rear wheel bearing that I have in the box, because virtually every geared hub I have bought has needed it replaced.
I’ve been looking for those axle dome nuts or acorn nuts for a while, And nobody sells them here locally. I will either have to order them online or go “pinch some nuts” elsewhere.


That’s one of those British expressions that would not translate well to Californian English.
I don't know whether to be relieved or worried about that, although I suspect that while wife has been to California, I will never need to test my 'foreign' language abilities there ;)
To night I am heading back to the countryside, without wifie as she needs to give a class on saturday morning - so I will have to pick her up on saturday afternoon, when she arrives by train.

It is the busiest two weeks of the whole year, here in Poland they consider November to be like November + December, tax wise, so everything gets super busy, and then dies off.

I need to dig through my parts collection, while I am there, so I can figure out what I am fitting to the bike!

Latest posts