It’s a tired old title cliché, but really, what else do you call such an exercise in vehicular vanity?
Regular readers may remember Anne complaining about her bike being in for service last week. I tried to remind her that other people travel to shops and pay a mechanic to accomplish the work magically completed on her bike, but apparently even that doesn’t excuse said mechanic to remove saddle and Snapdeck from her main source of transportation.
To make up for the inconvenience, as I tackled some minor tuneup tasks and installed her honey Brooks B17-s Christmas present I threw in a few stylistic upgrades:
- On the A-bars, the recycled (recycled, as in, previously used for years and years on another bike) rubber grips were replaced by Rivendell cork grips and lots of amber shellac. Working with shellac is nice: the warm honey color just looks right, it smells pretty good, wipes right off your hands, and brushes clean up in alcohol.
- The old passenger mtb stem, complete with beer can shim , was replaced with a more fitting tandem stoker stem.
- The old blue onza grips on the stoker’s Nitto Dove bars was swapped for a wrapping of cork road tape, hemp twine and the requisite shellac. (For the curious, I started with yellow cork tape because I heard it comes out leather looking. When you see the raw yellowness, you think there’s no way it will match the saddle, but five coats later it really looks nice.
- As I freshened the polyurethane sealant on the tired Xtracycle Snapdeck, I decided to first lay down a coat of amber shellac. I wasn’t sure what it would do, but it really warmed up the wood, without getting too dark. I followed this with four or so coats of exterior polyurethane. By the way, If anyone at Xtracycle is reading… graying Snapdecks really look like crap. If you aren’t going to use a higher quality sealer then you should make Snapdeck decals available. Such decals would make it easy to do a yearly sand and seal with a nice enviro-friendly coating. As it stands now, if you sand at all, you quickly lose the graphics (which really complete the look) so you are forced to either go gray or use the poly-nasty stuff.
- And for good measure, I even polished up her battle-worn seatpost to a nice silver shine.
Overall, the results were easily worth the effort. I think it looks really good: a beautiful cargo bike for my beautiful wife.
More photos detailing the process in the buildin‘ Flickr set