Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Santana Safe Case

What's it all about?

The Santana Safe Case can carry a tandem bicycle, one that has couplers, in the frame, that allow it to be taken apart.  The parts of the bicycle are stored in respective layers of foam.  There is no need to wrap the frame, to protect the paint.

You say you want an evolution ...

Reading the supplied instructions, watching the on-line video, and searching for disassembly information for components not covered in the Santana video caused acknowledgement that bicycles keep changing.  The design of the cut-outs, in the foam, is merely a snap shot in time, of one bike, with its particular components.  Will the Safe Case work for your tandem?  All you can do is try.


The instructions will state what needs to be taken apart.  You can always take things apart if the foam cut-outs dictate.


The last page of the instructions has photos of what parts go where.

The goal is to put this tandem ...

in this suitcase.

Layer 1 holds the stoker bars (IF they're cow horns, since we do not, the spare spokes and pump can go here), a tube (if your frame breaks down into individual tubes, since ours does not, the belt and the chain can go here), the hub skewers and three of the cranks (if you do not have hollow spindle bottom brackets).

Layer 2 holds the front of the frame ... and a crank arm.  I removed the front disc brake because it seemed to be protruding upward far enough to be in the way.
Layer 3 holds the rear wheel (disc down).
Layer 4 holds the captain's handlebars.
Layer 5 has a lot of work to do.  It starts out by holding the seat posts and saddles.  It also provides space for the handlebars, from the layer below.

Both seat posts were longer than the cut-out.  The handy electric carving knife makes expanding a cut-out quick work.  I used the bread blades, though the carving blades might have been fine. 
And then it gets really ambitious by attempting to take the rear triangle AND the front wheel.  But Houston, we have a problem, a BIG problem.  Sigh.  The problem is with where Co-Motion slices the frame.  With Santana, the slice is very near the stoker's seat tube.  As you can see here, with Co-Motion, it is quite a ways away from there, which creates an impossible situation.  I attempted to gain some space, by removing the tire, from the front wheel, but it didn't gain ENOUGH space.

Layer 6 holds the tool box (it comes with the Safe Case), a frame tube (the Co-Motion Carrera doesn't break down into tubes) and perhaps another part of the frame.
The rack, and maybe the cranks, can go in another piece of checked baggage, the remaining piece of the frame can probably go in Layer 6, but what to do about the wheel.

Time to stew on this problem. 

The rear triangle

Without a major reworking of the layer scheme (perhaps even WITH), there did not seem to be a way to get the rear triangle into the suitcase.  In the end we punted: we would put the rear triangle in the second checked bag.

Rear triangle of tandem frame fits in soft shell roll-a-bag

It will be necessary to put a spacer in the rear drop-outs, and to wrap the frame with clothes, to protect them during handling.

Next I decided putting the belt rings in the soft bag was a bit risky, so I revisited putting them in the chainring spots in the Safe Case.

Layer one has had the cranks, with the hollow spindle bottom brackets, added.  Note that the spindles protrude upward and will need to be accommodated in several of the above layers

Layer 2 has had two holes added to accommodate hollow spindles of the bottom brackets.

Layer 3 has two holes added, to accommodate the hollow spindles of bottom brackets.

Let's look again at Layer 5, the workhorse of a layer:

Layer 5, without the headache of trying to include the rear triangle of the tandem frame.

Now we want to customize Layer 6 (the final layer), to accommodate the middle of the tandem frame.  I went to a foam shop and for $60 was able to match the foam.  I got one sheet of 1/2" and one sheet of 1-1/2".  This would enable simulated routing.

Bottom of top portion of Layer 6.  Although wood glue is shown here (because I had some), it was very slow to dry, so I would recommend using something more appropriate.

Top portion of Layer 6 has been glued to bottom portion.  Now the wait for it to dry.

Cut the bottom, 1/2" layer, where space will be needed for the items in Layer 5: the disc brake and the handlebars.  Also cut a hole for the bottom bracket.

Layer 6 holds the center of the tandem frame and the the tool box.  It also allows space for the handle bars, and the disc brake, from Layer 5 (below), to poke up.  (The corners of the foam still need to be rounded, to better fit into the Safe Case.)


A bit of mucking around, including completely recreating Layer 6, and placing the rear triangle of the tandem frame in a second carry-on bag, allowed the Santana Safe Case to be used for a Co-Motion Carrera tandem.  The stoker stem and flat handlebars still need to be added to Layer 2. 

It will be prudent to place a spacer between the rear drop-outs, to protect that spacing during shipping and handling.  This one was made from a scrap piece of 2x6 (from the construction site next door) and two crank bolts.  First drill holes in the ends of the wood piece using a slightly smaller diameter bit.

Spacer for rear drop-outs

Friday, March 29, 2019

One Hundred Marathons of Solitude


In 2006 I allowed my siblings to set me on the slippery slope of running a marathon.  For lots of reasons it was a dissatisfying experience.  I reasoned however that perhaps, under different circumstances, a marathon could be more satisfying.  I tried it again ... and the activity became a staple of my existence.

After running marathons for a few years, an idea was hatched: complete marathon #100, in my home town, 50 years after high school graduation.

As I near #100, age is letting me know there aren't too many more of these events up my sleeve.  It has, nonetheless, been a wild ride.  I hope to hit #100 this fall.  In the meantime, here is coverage of this year's marathons.

#95 - Los Angeles (did NOT prove too much for the man)

I first ran LA last year.  It is by far the largest field I've run in.  In 2019 there are 23,000 runners.  My division, this year and last, had over 180 runners.  I sometimes run marathons with a smaller field than that.
Awaiting start
Approaching drop off point
And they're off
Filling the streets
Pacer carries flag in harness
Disney Concert Hall
Woman pushes cart with girl.  Earlier there was a dog attached.  I didn't think to see if it was in the cart.
Humor with Spanish 'J'
At my age ... I can only DREAM of running like a cheetah.  Sigh.
One of the nice neighborhoods
Almost to the finish!
Shortly after the finish: Our Lady of Perpetual Endurance Events

#96 - Wenatchee (magical sequencing on a 10 mile loop)

The event is part of the Apple Blossum Festival.  The scenery is dazzling: blossums in the foreground, snowcapped peaks in the background.  There were three starts: early marathon, at 6:30 am, half marathon, at 8:00 am, and the combined marathon and 10k, at 8:15 am.  Not only the times, but the directions, are carefully thought out, to minimize conflict, for the runners, and logistics, for the organizers and volunteers.

The start, for all, is at the plaza at the convention center, on Wenatchee Ave.  From there one goes north, ties into the trail, and continues clockwise.  And then various things happen, depending on ones distance.  For the marathon, one goes out 5k, returns (to rack up 10k), then continues, counterclockwise, for two laps on the 10 mile loop trail.  The trail has great variation in terrain, scenery, people and ambiance.  It's always exciting.

There's a reason it's call the Ten Mile Loop Trail

The scenery dazzles runners, every step of the way!

The snow capped peaks of the Cascade Mountains loom in the background!

There are three bridges as part of the Ten Mile Loop.

Pedestrian Bridge over Columbia River
Climbing up to US-2 Bridge

Pedestrian Bridge over Wenatchee River, where it enters the Columbia River 

In addition to the many residents using the trail, for walking, running and biking, there was an MS run.  Never a dull moment!

Blogger nearing finish, listening to just the right tune!

The plaza, at the Convention Center, on Wenatchee Ave, is a great setting for the finish.

Perennial podium dweller, and all around nice person, Carla Stewart

#97 - Wisconsin (Kenosha)

This marathon had intrigued me, ever since I learned of it, a few years ago, for a collection of silly reasons:

  1. The course is barely in Wisconsin (tucked away in the SE corner of the state)
  2. The event has a cheesy theme
  3. The organizers are from Chicago

Kenosha is considered the northern limit of the Chicago metropolitan area.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

NAHBS 2019

At the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show, small scale builders get together to display their works of art.  They push the envelope, not only visually, but also in use of structural materials, connections and finishes.  One will also see new technology arriving in the world of cycling.

The annual event has been around for 15 years.  Organizers change the location each year, to give everyone a chance to visit.

Shaft Drive Train

Say good-bye to chains (and belts).



Bamboo Bikes

Give new life to that dreaded weed in your side yard.


Wood Bikes

The amazing strength of this material becomes clear.

Class project

Lugged Steel?

You betcha!

From Rivendell (but you knew that from the paint scheme!)

Shamrock Cycles



Oldies but Goodies

How many fork blades are really necessary?

Brooks (but you already knew that, right?)

Schmoozing with Cycling Gods

Nelson Vails (and some poseur)

(That's all he wrote!)