42 orbits

So I hatched a plan for a birthday challenge that incorporated mountain biking, hiking, bouldering, roped climbing, beer drinking, and cake eating.  I planned an early morning start where I would do a leg of biking, then hike up to Moore’s Wall for a leg of bouldering then rope up for a leg of climbing the tall stuff.


Moore’s Wall – aka hero cliff


The plan was to bag about 11 miles of mtb, 1 mile of hiking, 20+ boulder problems, 5 pitches of the finest quartzite on the planet, and however many beers and/or pushups needed to total 42… as in 42 orbits…. er, 42 years!


a cold, but enthusiastic start


‘antsy’ and I rolled out of Winston-Salem just a bit after 6:30 am on Saturday and headed up to the Moore’s Wall climbing access parking area.  We saddled up our bikes and dropped down Hooker Farm Road and began our meandering  way to Moore’s Springs Trails.  ‘antsy’ has a sweet, old-skool Gary Fisher rig that was put to the test riding the rocky trails of Stokes County.



We descended to Camp Sertoma using paved roads, a nice section of singletrack call the Thoob Pool, and some farm double track. ‘antsy’ nancy then took a break at the MST farmhouse, while I rode a full lap of the built trails at MST.  Land of the Lost, Ground Control, and Major Tom all rolled splendidly and dab free.  Well, almost dab free!  The big rock at the high stream crossing on Land of the Lost require me to unclip as did 2 of the burly switchbacks…. but I cleared the rocky switchback on Ground Control easily!

Next up we headed back up to Moore’s Wall for the climbing legs of the Birthday Challenge.



We put in a solid 2 hours of bouldering and knocked out 25+ classic, quartzite tugs.  Our local crew has been gathering on Tuesday evenings for some indoor plastic pulling; without the conditioning provided by these sessions, today’s climbing legs would not be feasible.

I had the good fortune of receiving a new rope for christmas and was waiting for a special occasion or a hard repoint to pull it out of its packaging and send it sliding up some stone.

maiden voyage on a new cord

‘antsy’ and I roped up for a very windy ascent of the Sentinel Buttress.  When we got to the top I wanted to just walk around and back down the gulley instead of rapping the route because of the gusts of wind.  No such option as we had left a water bottle on the crow’s nest ledge… thus we had to do the 2 raps.

some of the finest stone on the planet



Upon getting back to the base of the wall, we opted for a more casual finish to the day in the boulder field, read: out of the wind.  I had easily racked up the requisite 42 with 11 miles of mountain biking, 1 mile of hiking, 27 boulder problems, and 2 pitches of climbing… whew!  For good measure, I consumed 3 guinness and 1 slice of birthday cake that was waiting for me at home… thanks Kimberly!  Gneiss day!  I hope to have the good fortune to do another 42 orbits.


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converting a step van into a rolling bicycle service, part 4

Yesterday was a treat, as I got to see the work table that Larry fabricated for the van.  I had previously given Larry the ‘ideal’ dimensions of height, width, and depth of the table.  These dimensions evolved by careful consideration of ergonomics and by budgeting space.  I’m very happy to have an efficient workspace that will accommodate tools, repairs, a vice, and a truing stand.

workspace starts to take shape!

Unfortunately I didn’t take any other photos.  We added a lower plywood shelf and measured/planned for the pegboard that will back the work table.  Next time.

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this looks like stacks of fun

Endurance racing in Americas beer and fitness capitol

check out this ride:  Durango Gravel Grinder

160 mile and 115 mile options for a self-supported epic ride in Colorado.  Git u some!

photo ripped from http://coloradoes.wordpress.com/

Beer and pizza at the finish… yeah!

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space planning…. thinking 3-dimensionally…  or how is this going to fit?

Now that the inside of the van has been cleaned and re-painted, I’ve been thinking about the layout of my repair shop.

pegboard of tools

The trick is how do I hang most of these tools on the internal walls of the van?  Pegboard?  Magnet board?  Tool cabinets?

Where do I mount the truing stand and how do I arrange these things to create an efficient and ergonomic workspace?

truing stand from 'big blue'

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Winter reading; building a bike repair library

Saw this image and was reminded of a recent book purchase,  The Bicycle Wheel by Jobst Brandt.

I have slowly acquired a small library of bicycle repair books.

repair library

Obviously, I’m a big fan of Lennard Zinn.  His Zinn & The Art of Bike Maintenance series are very user friendly and helpful to both neophytes and old pros.

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converting a step van into a rolling bicycle service, part 3

bumper to bumper!  check out how much of an improvement a simple coat of paint makes.



Larry May, (my father in-law) repaired the rear bumper and fabricated a box hitch receptor that will allow the attachment of a bike rack.  Unfortunately I didn’t take a ‘before’ photo of the mangled rear bumper, but here is a picture with the newly fabricated box hitch before we painted it.

box hitch adaptor will enable the attachment of a bike rack

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converting a step van into a rolling bicycle service, part 2

Before we start installing the work bench, work stand, shelves, and tools, the step van needed a thorough clean out and re-painting.  First we used a high pressure steam cleaner and blasted off years of grime and dust.

steam cleaning

steam cleaning the exterior - check out the grime streaking down the sides

Before we cranked up the steam cleaner, we un-bolted the seats from the front in order to clean the interior thoroughly.  We then blasted out all kinds of gunk that had accumulated in the floor of the front and in the back…. fun stuff!

steam cleaning interior

blasting out rust and grime

Fast forward a week and the step van has dried from its steam cleaning.  I had told my father-in-law that I wanted to paint the interior work area ‘battleship grey’ to give it a clean and professional look.  He then showed me a can of Ford Grey paint and his air brush kit… impressive.  After masking off sections with paper and tape, we shot the interior to give it a fresh look!

airbrushing the front interior

airbrushing the interior Ford Grey

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converting a step van into a rolling bicycle service, part 1

in the beginning

The previous owner had a catwalk attached to the roof and it was holding water and creating rust and leaks. My father-in-law and I decided to pull the catwalk off and repair the roof. Notice in the photo above, the streak of rust above the sliding door and the rusted seat base.

riveting work!

I had never worked with sheet aluminum or done any riveting before.  My father-in-law found a source for a very large roll of aluminum; enough to ‘skin’ the roof with one singe piece.  We quickly discovered the need for a pneumatic rivet gun and were pleasantly surprised how easy it is to do quality rivet work with the right tools.

sheet aluminum, 300+ rivets, silicone caulk, a 'warm' day and "voila!"

It is certainly rewarding to learn a new skills like sheet metal and riveting work, but the most rewarding part has been observing my father-in-law’s resourcefulness and his work tricks; the man is genius.

the look of things to come

This is a rough draft of the graphics package that we’re developing for the van.  Jim Horton of Horton Design is a mega talent and he has the ability to create the look that we’re envisioning.

Next we’ll tackle cleaning and painting the interior.

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"see how he uses a spanner to repair that nut!"

While developing the concept of the mobile bicycle repair van, I was reminded of this funny Monty Python skit.

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Getting Started!

This is the home of Doc Wheelies, the 2 wheeler healer, a rolling bike repair service located in Winston Salem, NC.

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