Saturday, June 1, 2013

BikemanforU LIVE - Montauk to Manhattan - Get Real


The BikemanforU dream scape opens today with a live feed from the family bike shop filled with beachgoers, cyclists, and the urgency of serving the immediate wants of customers.

For all practical and wonderful purposes, this is a life feed. Food for the spirit, a celebration of the human condition. Ya gotta love it.

There's YouTube's how-to guru of bicycle repair running the show, supported by 16-year-old SonofA in the director's seat, wife Toni Basket, a local politician running for village trustee on the Beach Party ticket, tween-age daughter Baby G, aka Ally, aka Alexandra, who steps in wherever and whenever needed, plus the zen master himself, Mr. Pump, father of the BikemanforU and co-founder with his late wife, Louise, of the family business where this dream was born.

Sebastian, BikemanforU's couldn't-do-without roustabout, assistant bike mechanic BMX Boy, and myself round out the bike shop crew. 

The show uses four surveillance cameras to stream the feed through a switch and DVR into an older Mac desktop, where it's uploaded as a google + hangout and on the BikemanforU YouTube channel. My task is to embed the live feed into the website, an online sales channel for the bike parts, tires, tools, and cycling accessories shown in the BikemanforU video tutorials.

Even though I know and work with everyone, I feel like a voyeur staring into my computer, watching the unrehearsed, spontaneous interactions of a family and strangers, learning about parenting, customer service, communication skills and the hoots of getting real with sound tests, who's got a microphone and who doesn't.

"I do believe we're live. I do believe we're live," says BMFU, and he reminds me of Bert Lahr's over the top portrayal of you-know-who in the Wizard of Oz.

The feed, which lasts for hours, is becoming addictive. There's chit-chat on the YouTube channel and who knows how many viewers on the hangout. Who can keep up?  

You get a full stream of consciousness, not just from the four cameras, but from the dialogue between the cameraman, the shopkeepers, the customers, cyclists passing by and all the emotions that make up the river of life.

Peer into the world of the BikemanforU family in the Bike 'n' Kite shop on Potunk Lane in the tiny shoreline hamlet of Westhampton Beach on eastern Long Island, NY. I don't gotta, I do love it!

-- Pam-a-lou

Friday, May 31, 2013

BikemanforU LIVE Show - Get Real


Well, it's official. The BikemanforU LIVE Show officially debuted on Memorial Day weekend 2013 with a marathon stream. Mr. Pump says it's a dream come true for YouTube's how-to guru of bicycle repair.

If you like to binge watch, here's the full playlist. Get real with us on Saturdays, 10am eastern on the BikemanforU Channel.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gear Shifter De-Gunk & Cable Install - Cut vs Crush


Some homemade tools work so well and should be an integral part of your toolbox. Take that awl with a bent tip that the BikemanforU uses to clean out the gear shifter mechanism in this bike repair video. It's a homemade tool that functions like a watchmaker's tweezer - invaluable.
Park Tool CN-10 Cable Cutter
The second tool BikemanforU uses in this video is another story. Tenspeed The BikeHanger, a loyal viewer, said it so well in his comments: "You must cut the cable and casing and not crush it." 

The cable cutter YouTube's how-to guru of bicycle repair uses is a parrot-nosed configuration. The cutting edges curl around almost to engulf the small cable and casing. 

This cutter cleanly avoids crushing and fraying. A typical diagonal cutter in this situation is a very poor substitute.

Watch the video tutorial below for a close-up instructions on how to use a parrot-nose cable cutter properly.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Use A Pedal Wrench When It Just won't Fit - Bike Repair

I know the feeling. You take that old bike out of the barn and your eye focuses on the decomposed pedals. That should be an easy fix, you think. Your toolbox has a pretty beefy crescent wrench. Should be a snap to get those old pedals off.

Oh, no. It just won’t fit. The jaws are wide enough but there isn’t enough space between the pedal and the crank arm to get a grip.

Even after you obtain a proper pedal wrench for the proper job, you may find pedals on an old bike are so frozen you can't budge the buggers.

Get your buddy to hold the bike firmly on the ground. Fit a piece of pipe over the tool to increase the fulcrum and give it heck.

You’d better have that bicycle on solid ground if you’re going to use a pipe or it'll be too unstable.

-- Mr. Pump

PS Last resort - Use a sledge hammer

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Giant Cypress vs BikemanforU - Mother's Day Contest

The Giant USA hybrid bikes shown in this video would make any mother happy and proud. So would your participation in this year's Mother's Day Contest. Details are in the video, so don't hesitate to watch and enter.

At our brick-and-mortar store hybrid bikes make up approximately 75% of our new bike sales within our leisure-recreation-vacation market.

It wasn’t always that way. In the early ‘80s, our dominant new bike offering, dictated by distributors, was a 10-speed drop handlebar bike.

The industry “handle” was a 10-speed racer.

This was okay for our younger client. However, our middle-agers didn’t want to lean forward and stretch their neck upwards to see where they were going.

Racer. yes. Comfort, no go.

The listener, BikemanforU, claimed ‘I’ll fix that.’

Without changing anything other than the handlebar and brake levers to a three-speed design, he made a modified comfort bike to satisfy those customers.

YouTube's how-to guru of bicycle repair, as usual, was way ahead of his time.
Don't hesitate to nominate your favorite Mom Who Rocks by commenting on this video or posting your own video response.

This year's Mother's Day Contest is sponsored by our own RockHell. Winner gets a $50 Gift Certificate redeemable online at our website.

-- Mr. Pump

Monday, April 22, 2013

Video Surveillance Is What We Make Of It

If you don't want to be seen in what you might define as the wrong time and the wrong place, you may have to confine yourself to a fortress of some sort.

Can you believe Google had a photo of the boat in the driveway where the surviving alleged Boston Marathon bomber was captured -- as the saga unfolded in Watertown, Massachusetts? As well as the untold videos of the two actual suspects as they carried their deadly cargo and left it near the finish line in Boston?

Video surveillance, security or otherwise, is everywhere you go. If you enter the grounds of Bike 'n' Kite in Westhampton Beach, NY, on Saturdays you will automatically be part of the BikemanforU virtual reality show being taped live on our YouTube channel.

So yes, BikemanforU is using a Samsung outdoor surveillance system to show the world our inner workings in a small-town bike shop as they happen  in real time. And that's edutainment!

-- Mr. Pump

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wall-Mount Bike Repair Stand - Park Tool PRS-4W - 1

This BikemanforU video portrays a fairly permanent installation with four-by-four embedded in concrete of one of the best bicycle stands we've found.

Park Tool's Deluxe PRS-4W 1 makes sense for anyone who fixes bicycles and who may  have  a barn, garage, or a shop building. 

This stand can be installed almost anywhere inside or even outdoors, as we did for our bicycle cleaning station. All you need is a substantial post, beam, or stud. Use a solid lag bolt to fasten.

The adjustable linkage clamp, Park's Tool 100-3C, that makes up the business end is the highest professional quality available. The stand itself is affordable, versatile, and doesn't take up a lot of room.

If you don't like where you put it at first - no problem. Try someplace else. Consider attaching it to the end of a heavy duty work bench. Just make sure your choice of installation is substantial.

-- Mr. Pump

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Watch - BMX Brake Or Brakeless

You will hear the BikemanforU moan. Heavens, a challenging situation: Brakes or not. 

BMX is a great sport. The rider is out doing, in fresh air, getting exercise. 

There’s a lot worse things that kids could be doing.

BikemanforU and friends, at the age of 14ish, built their own half-pipe and bikes in their BMX days. Sometimes, I couldn't look. However, it turned out right.

-- Mr. Pump

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Keep Used Bicycle Parts For Guess-And-Test Repair

Converting a 10-speed wheel into a single speed calls for a supply of spacers, washers, lock nuts of different thicknesses and who knows what else.

This is an enterprising guess-and-test exercise demonstrated in the above video from  YouTube's How-To guru of bicycle repair. I have a few suggestions as I open my big mouth. 
Try to accumulate some spare parts for your tool chest. Not only wheel spacers and axle nuts of various widths, but any and all bike parts - brakes, derailleurs, shifters, and the like.
Where can you find free or low-cost bicycle parts, you ask? Try roadkill abandonment, yard sales, police bikes, the free section of classifieds. 
If a bike is totaled, break it down and save the good stuff, because, I guarantee, you are now hooked. You, too, will achieve the BikemanforU mechanical advantage. 

Della Phillips, who watches BikemanforU video tutorials, says he uses an egg carton to keep small parts in order when taking them off a bike.

Della's currently restoring a 1972 three-speed Schwinn Breeze. Kudos to him for sharing this helpful tip. 

-- Mr. Pump

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Start Your 3-Speed Bike Repair Project With Free Calipers

Customers bring in so many old, just about worn-out, three-speed bikes to our shop.

Owners are reluctant to spend many dollars, saying, 'Oh, it's so old," "I've had it for so long," "I just want to make it run," "I don't care if it has gears or not, I love my old three-speed bike."

The bicycle shown in this video was like one of those just recited. You can find all the Sturmey Archer bicycle parts shown in the video are available on our website

So, get that old three-speed bike out of the barn. Watch BikemanforU video tutorials several times, but before you order the parts, get yourself a vernier caliper, so you will know what you need.

Schwinn Speedster 3-speed Restoration Completed
You, too, can create a masterpiece, just like the blue Schwinn Speedster in the video.

To the first five guys who send us a picture of your proposed three-speed project - the BikemanforU will send you a vernier caliper with his compliments. 

Doesn't matter if the bike is a Raleigh, Huffy, a Murray, a Sears, made in the U.S. or somewhere else. Let's get started.

p.s. We'll need your address.

-- Mr. Pump

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Upgrade an American To European Bottom Bracket

How to convert an old single-speed bike into a multi-speed using an insert. Imagine the possibilities that open up by going to a standard European or English thread bottom bracket.

Why make this kind of upgrade? If your bike has a one-piece crank and you want to go faster, or re-build a bike into a fixie or a multi-speed, add toeclips or clipless pedals, or do any number of changes to customize your bicycle drive train, you'll need to change over to a three-piece crank. And to do that, you first have to change the threading of your bottom bracket. 

BBT adapter assembled and apart
You'll need a TruVativ bottom bracket adapter. It's a complete conversion kit with two aluminum bushings and bolts. 

BikemanforU's video above shows how to get the old crank out, the insert installed, and the bottom bracket ready for a new crankset.

Here's what you're working with: The shell itself is the lowest part of the bicycle and the center of your drive train. The shell holds the bottom bracket, which connects the crank. The crank is a term for the chainring or sprocket and the two arms that connect the crank to the pedals.

One-Piece American crank
One-piece cranks are older technology. They're a heavy and made of steel. The photo at left shows one without pedals. The center is a spindle connected to left and right arms. 

This American, or ashtabula, crank fits into two bearing cups. which make up the bottom bracket set secured inside the shell of a bicycle. 

You'll find these rugged, durable cranks on older U.S.-built bikes. They're still in use on cruisers, BMX, even some mountain bikes, as well as less expensive or department store bicycles. We sell a lot of them for repair and restoration.

In the video below. BikemanforU takes apart and replaces an old American crank, showing how the parts fit together. The video thumbnail shows an empty tourquoise BBT shell, with the chainstays, and downtubes welded to the outside. 


FYI: The world calls this a one-piece crank because it's a single metal forging of two arms and spindle.  

Three-piece cranksets for standard thread BBT
A modern three-piece crank, aka crankset, consists of the chainring or sprocket plus two arms. There is no axle or spindle as with the one-piece crank. 

They can come in colors and are made of aluminum alloy, like the single-speed cranksets at left. (Note, the photo shows only one crank arm.) A multi-speed bike would use a crankset with two or three chainring/sprockets. 

The three-piece cranks use different threads than the one-piece, hence the need for this TruVativ adapter. 

The adapter lets you install any bottom bracket set that you want, providing your shell measures 68mm in width. If you're not sure of the shell width, you can measure it with calipers.

Once you've cleared out the BBT shell, you're ready to install a new, sealed cartridge bottom bracket set. 

The spindle, or axle, since it's not part of a three-piece crankset, is included with the bottom bracket set that secures inside the shell. Spindle length is a consideration. For example, double or triple cranksets (with two or three chainring / sprockets), require a rather long length. The BikemanforU video below explores the different spindle sizes.

I've written about finding and fixing up old bikes abandoned on the side of the road, bikes that have been roadkill or whatever. Old single-speed clunkers. There's got to be millions out there. Send us your ideas. What would you build?

-- Mr. Pump

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winter's A Time To Plan Our 2013 Bike Shop Garden

Being a farmer of sorts, I look forward to the first seed catalogue’s arrival, usually in January. Guess what, it arrived last month. This one’s loaded with new varieties of every imaginable flower, herb, and, of course, veggies.

You may have seen my last year's 10x10 victory garden videos on the BikemanforU YouTube channel. Or watch the video playlist above to see how we started digging and what else we grew over the winter.

The 100 square feet concept seemed great. However, with an abundant amount of horse manure from BikemanforU's firefighter buddies, our garden quickly grew out of control. 

What I'm writing about starts at 2:47 in the video below. Watch from the start and enjoy a bike check on a rare Cannondale Flash with a lefty fork from our guru of bicycle repair.


Back to our victory garden. Plants that were tied to posts and supposed to reach two to four feet in height, doubled over and grew another four feet. Even with that lush abundance, our efforts brought a reasonable success.

This year's plans call for fewer pole beans, cosmos, and tomatoes and more lower growing herbs and shorter-stemmed flowers. We'll apply the same amount of manure, though.

In an upcoming blog post, I'll show you my plan for our 2013 "Square Foot" garden.

Stay tuned

-- Mr. Pump

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fixie Conversions - Videos For A One-Speed Bike Build

BikemanforU's fixie conversion how-to series is well worth a look if you're thinking about building a single speed, fixed gear ride using an old 10- or 12-speed road bike. 

The video playlist, above, from YouTube's guru of bicycle repair builds on the original how to series, covering flip flop hubs vs standard wheels, getting an old crank out and a new one installed, as well as the ins and outs of bottom brackets.

Fixies, whether a direct drive or as a single speed with coaster brake, are a popular bike build. Old frames are readily available and being your own bicycle mechanic can be fun, especially with coaching from BikemanforU videos.

Feed your hunger with BMFU's original Fixie how-to series below. This informative playlist shows us how to do everything from selecting colors for grips, bike parts and accessories, to choosing necessary tools, as well as removing old cranks, installing new chains, even water bottle cages.