I just got a new bike, and it's going to be fun

Posted on September 18 2017

I just got a new bike, and it's going to be fun

It's been a while since I got a new bike (not that long--I got an Appaloosa about 9 months ago)--but it seemed like longer than that, and I wanted to get a CLEM-L 59 before they were gone, and if we were down to two I'd feel bad for taking one of them and depriving somebody of this bike and Rivendell of they money.

We've been talking a little but not a lot about one-speeds. I have a track-dropout one-speed, but it was made in my less enlightened days, so it doesn't have what I want in a one-speed.

Will and Dave are sold on one-speeds with vertical dropouts and chain tensioners. They don't think all others are dumb, but they like them. Will's ridden his Hunqapillar this way a lot.

Most of my widmeek riding is a short commute to here, but I often stretch it slightly a charge up hills a 100 percent effort, and it's the short bursty stuff I do it for, not for speed, so at that point the gears don't matter and a one-speed will do.

And my daughter's been riding her Glorius and parking it where anybody can steal it, leaving it out in the dark for a few hours--and that's all good and all--I'm a big believer in riding good bikes for hobo tasks and not worrying too much about them (easy for me to say I hear you say). But even so I thought a CLEM we could both ride might be good for night-locking.

I really like the Grilver color, too, and I already have a green and mustard something (Mustard CLEM-L 52). Listen, I get to buy a bike on a whim now and then. It's good for me, I get a BLAHG out of it, and it's fun and doesn't hurt anybody.

Here's my new single-speed CLEM-L----



I'll put reflective tape on the tires instead.


Yes, this is what's going on there. It's a Shimano tensioner. Pretty easy to work, but dang, in looking at this pic I notice the chain is too long to let me use the small front ring. I really hope Mark fixes that. (I put it all together...)

Around here and on the phone I think we call these "basketball tires." They're 700x42 and on the wide DM-24 rim they measure 41.5. Ripped off!

I drilled and spiked these pedals. I thought ten set screws would be enough--five per pedal--but I forgot that pedals have two sides. Well, Ace didn't have 20, anyway, but could have gotten four more. I may go there today, but the thing is--once I put a pedal onto a crank, I don't want to take it off and mess with it anymore. The pedals don't need spikeys, but I like some, anyway.

RIGHT GRIP. I'll ball-cock it later.

This left grip is ball-cocked, but I need to shellac the orange.


This is a good looking decal.

CLEM SMITH JR is a hobo. He lives underground. We're not making fun of hobo or living there. Hobo means "homeward bound," I heard from somebody who wasn't a hobo. I hope they all get homes. I was a hobo for a two days in 1979. That was the year ET came out, and Breaking Away, and the first commercial mtn bike was made. I think there were no good songs from '79, unless Bob Dylan had an album that years.

 This bike rides dreamily. It needs a bag and basket and fenders, and lights. We're going to get a new (well, resurrected) bag for the holidays. It's top secret, but it doesn't have to be. Want to see how the internal correspondence goes? OK, here's the bag and some notes to the maker on the first sample:


 It may not be clear here, but it will be to the maker. I'm not stuck on the rivets.

------ a friend just sent me this link. (I added the comments). Sheesh.

 OH...as of today it's back to normal and pictureless. Good, it can stay that way.

------Bike Update----

I think I prefer heavier wheels, but it goes pretty good with these. Fenders before it rain. I've got lights on it already. I like the underailer it has to take up the chain slack, but I wonder why not just put a derailer on it? THen if I opt for gears again it'll be all ready. There are ways to scoot the derailer pulleys under the desired cog and keep it there.



  • SSS: October 22, 2017

    Joe Strummer speaks from the grave

  • Mark Figueroa : October 20, 2017

    Wow! You got a comment from Joe Stummer! Pretty impressive. I’d have to agree with Joe on this one. That’s clearly not Grant,but do we know who the hec that IS?
    I love the pic of the flying ups box. Nice shutter speed so no motion blur on the box

  • Matthew McDaniel: October 15, 2017

    Holy crap – Please tell me that THE actual Joe Strummer follows Grant Petersen. I just fangirled a little there…

  • Laing Conley: October 12, 2017

    1979 – Refugee by Tom Petty

  • Crazy old uncle Joe: October 09, 2017

    Stumbled across an image from an older Film Friday. Think the shooter was Dave. Double exposure, wife, cat, guitar and it brought me up short. It encapsulated my past forty years.

    The guitar brought me to marrying the beautiful Kathy. You see, I was playing a gig and she had gone to school with the band members and their wives and girlfriends. She and my music have been the most powerful influences for good in my life, and any good that I have within me, I owe to her. And to the many cats to whom I have been guardian over the years. You see, people don’t train cats. Cats train people. And while I may not have been the best of students, my teachers were both patient and wise.

    The two cats currently in my life are my daughter’s cat Smudge, a midnight kitty with golden eyes and a white blaze, and my Kinjin, an orange tabby with scroungey appearance and grouchy disposition. Most fear him, but oh I love him so.

    I suppose if you would take the guitar/cat thing a step further, smudge would be a Les Paul black beauty. My cat Kinjin would be a mongrel Strat with mismatched parts, the finish scraped off and a tone that would have the Devil himself in fear for his life.

    Oh, and there was great music aplenty in nineteen hundred and whatever. Guys like me were playing it all across the land. It just wasn’t being sold by the record company “who is waiting there to sell plastic ware”. All a matter of knowing where to look.

  • ojaw: September 25, 2017

    1979 – The list is obviously endless but has to include Patti Smith, Nick Lowe, Talking Heads, Lee Perry, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, and as everyone must know, the Fabulous Poodles released “Bionic Man” that year!
    Further to the Clem, I’m in the midst of building my green 59cm up. Was initially going to go single speed using the same Alfine tensioner, but was tempted and will at least initially go with a Zee 10 speed set-up (I know!).

  • Joe Bernard: September 23, 2017

    Dylan’s Slow Train Coming was 1979. I think it kills – Mark Knopfler is all over it, he was about to explode with Dire Straits – but it’s a very polarizing “Jesus Music” record. It coincided with me having a similar spiritual experience to Bob’s at that time, so I have a find connection to it, but I imagine it still drives a lot of people nuts. Like Zimmy, my relationship to this stuff is different now, but I still think the title track, Gotta Serve Somebody and When You Gonna Wake Up are engrossing tracks.

    Nice L, Grant! I love my Cheviot Green 52.

  • wf stekl: September 22, 2017

    Joy Division released Unknown Pleasures in 1979. A watershed moment in music history.

  • Ana Candela: September 20, 2017

    Happy New-Bike Day!

    You must’ve not been into disco back in 1979. Looking at that year’s billboard top 100, more than a few will send me to the dance floor. My top choice: Boogie Wonderland!! :-)
    PS — ET didn’t come out until 1982
    PS2 — I was a hobo two weeks ago, and I have no idea if there are any good songs or movies this year! :-D

  • Jim Cassa: September 20, 2017

    I agree with both Joe and Ayjaydee. I’m 70 and been listening to music for a lot of years, everything from bluegrass to opera. I can’t remember when songs came out or when I first heard them. I only know that there will always be new music worth listening to; I might not find it, but I know it’s out there.

  • Crazy Uncle Joe: September 20, 2017

    I suppose vertical dropouts and a tensioner are all right for some. Ran my old Fisher hookoo like that for awhile.
    But it doesn’t work for fixed gear, thus defeating the (my) purpose. And trackends are problematic with fenders. But to each his own.

    The two current go-to rides in my stable are a Surly Crosscheck singlespeed with rack, fenders and Albatross bars and a nice old 1976 Raleigh Supercourse fixed conversion; the original 27 inch wheel redished and a track cog fitted. Most of my rides are on towpath (Crosscheck) or flat, smooth rail trail. Wouldn’t recommend either bike as built for your only ride, but for their intended use I have found nothing better.

  • Björn: September 20, 2017

    A Suntour alloy derailer, a wire, and a single downtube shifter adds about 50 grams – and you can go up Marin Avenue in Berkeley Hills.

    (I have re-converted my converted-to-single-speeds to six-gear freewheels – so easy to find fantastic hubs, freewheels, and derailers)

    Go Clem!

  • Joe Strummer: September 19, 2017

    1979 was a great year in music.
    We released London Calling:

  • Ayjaydee: September 19, 2017

    I suggest that Dire Straits “The Sultans of Swing” was indeed a good song!!

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