Friday, March 6, 2009

Wherein I Prove I'm A Cheap Bastard

So, I'm back into bicycling. Going out and riding and getting all the benefits of pain and sweat.

Good fun that.

But there's more to it than that. I really don't want to ride around here on the streets so I usually load up the bikes and whoever is going with me and heading out to a nice ridey place. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?

Not so much.

See I have not one but two trucks. Sweet. Just pick one, throw the bikes in the back and go.

Well, we have two dogs. I say dogs but really they're black labs so they're more like furry pathetic begging machines. "You going somewhere? Can we go? Can we go? Can we go? Please, please, please....." You get the idea. And being that I can't say no (really, if I was a chick I'd be perpetually pregnant and have like fifteen kids) they usually end up coming along.

So, we bought shells for both trucks. I really don't know why we did it for both trucks but I think you might be able to figure it out from the last paragraph (Salesman: you need the new single handle doodad and look, it comes in puce. Me: Ooohhh.).

The shells are nice and the dogs love them, hanging their little heads out and barking madly at passing squirrels.

But. They are a pain to load and unload more than one bicycle into and out of. And I almost never ride alone (Hey, I have a mortal fear of those selfsame squirrels. Why do you think I have dogs?) so there's always at least 2 bikes coming along.

The answer is obvious to anyone with more than 2 working brain cells. Bike Rack. Perfect. Except for one thing.

I'm cheap as hell.

I priced some racks at the local bike stores and REI. I was aghast and I don't ghast very easily. A good one was close to 300 bucks! Used ones on CL were still in the 100 dollar and up catagory.
And did I mention I was cheap?

So what to do? The solution was as obvious as it was potentially comical. Make one myself. I have a welder. I have some scrap. I have skills. Well, I have the fantasy that I have skills which is almost the same thing.

The end result

Another view

I had the hitch left over from an accident where an uninsured driver hit my boat trailer and bent it (My insurance paid for everything. Uninsured motorist coverage is a must these days). I hacked it up and added some square tubing I bought at a scrap yard for 3 dollars. two crosspeices to hold the bike frames, some carpeting to pad everything, a neato little hook at the bottom for a bunji and some black Krylon and Viola! A bike rack. I had everything in the shop except the tubing.
And it works pretty good too

Pretty cool eh?

Is it crude? Yes it is. Is it ugly and cheap looking? Oh yeah. Will the welds make any competent fabricator fall over with an immediate massive coronary on sight? Almost certainly (sorry about that). Is it a little crooked? Uh, yeah, it is.
Does it work like stink? Why yes, yes it does.
I figure I've got no more than 5 bucks into the thing. Proof positive that anyone with a little material, a welder, a high tolerance for ridicule and a misers attitude can make something at least marginally useful.
Of course, I did burn all the hair off my arms because I was welding in short sleeves. And I did pick up that cross peice before it was sufficiently cooled. And I did grind off a fair amount of flesh from a finger that later got infected and quite painful.
I guess in the end this project taught me a lesson even more valuable than the money I saved (Wait. Did I say that?).
Being a cheap bastard isn't for wusses.


Doohickie said...

You're not a cheap bastard until you've rescued a bike from a dumpster.

Snap to it, welderboy!

(Rack looks good though)

eric said...

A rescue bike huh? Hmmm. I'm going to have to do some dumpster diving...

Gramps said...

I didn't know you had it in ya. It doesn't look that bad. The way you discribed it I thought I'd see some big globs of bird shit welds. That looks acceptable. Good Yob man. Al Gore would love ya for your recycle efferts.

The Six said...

Hey Doohickey. Challenge accepted!