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Club news

November Club Meeting
Our October meeting was held at El Centro Restaurant with about 22 in attendance.

The following items were discussed:

  • Adopt-A-Highway on Middle Rd. WW membership in attendance voted and agreed upon keeping our 2 mile section for another 3 years. Contact person Charmaine Shaw requests help in setting up dates for litter pick up. It was discussed to make sure the first pickup date of the year is before vegetation growth is underway in the spring.

  • Sherando bike path update. Section F is almost complete, pending authorization of insurance company for FCPRD. Hereís a link for the paths in their current state:

  • Dec 19th Xmas ride at Shawn and Nancy's. - See ride description below.

Fat City Cycles

For the Wheelmen that remember the Sarah Zane bike shop, the framebuilder Chris Chance will also come to mind. Chris started Fat City Cycles in Somerville, MA 1982 and built many frames that became hugely popular over the years. Early on, his road frame was called the Slim Chance and his mountain frame, the Fat Chance. His forks, referred to as New England segmented, were finely crafted. Fat City eventually went under and was sold to a holding company which also acquired Serotta and moved everything to Glens Falls, NY. Many Fat City employees, with extensive knowledge of the business, stayed behind and started Independent Fabrication, which has also become an industry leader. A few years ago, at the Philly Bike Expo, I ran into the framebuilder, Christopher Igleheart, who was displaying a fork just like the old Chance road forks. I picked it up and was surprised that it was nearly as light as carbon fiber. When I mentioned that it looked a lot like the old Chance forks, he said that was because he built many of the old Chance forks for Fat City way back, and it was so light because it was Reynolds 853 steel. I had him build one for Ceciís bike and itís probably the nicest fork I have ever seen. Igleheart, himself a well-respected framebuilder, told me that Chris Chance was now a massage therapist. Igleheart also mentioned that Chris Chance would do much better in todayís hand built frame market.

- Dave Albecker

Rugby on Wheels
Dave Albecker

Cyclocross is like rugby in that if you do either you’re tough, period. If you do both you’re crazy tough with the accent on crazy. Cyclocross racers compete in all sorts of ideal conditions – mud, snow, rain, slush, sleet, and occasionally sunshine. They race rutty, hilly courses, and if that isn’t enough, their season is in the cold fall and winter. They clear obstacles placed in their way by some sadistic race planner and if you ask the racers why they do it, they invariably say they wouldn’t have it any other way. I have never understood cyclocross, but over the past several years a group of Winchester Wheelmen have taken up the sport with some impressive race results. If you want to see a race, you can find some info here (Super8 CX) and here (Sportif Cross Cup) or you can get some info at one of the three Winchester bike shops, or on the Winchester Wheelmen forum.

Update on Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum Generator Bicycle
Charmaine Shaw

At last year’s July Club meeting new member Mary Braun brought up the idea of the Wheelmen constructing a Generator Bike for the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, A Museum for Children, of which she is the Executive Director. The Discovery Museums mission is to "ignite creativity, spark curiosity, and inspire learning in visitors of all ages by providing a rich variety of interactive, hands-on exhibits and programs that focus on the sciences and mathematics, the humanities, and the arts." ( ) Mary hoped we could assemble a generator bike in time for their opening at their new location 19 West Cork St in Winchester. After some discussion and voting on the project at the August meeting the following month we decided to attempt making the bike and donating it to the Museum. So, you may ask, what is a generator bike? The bicycle generator project is an experiment to show that the act of pedaling the bike, the motion, has the potential of creating energy. When you move the pedals on the bike you can create enough power through the generator (motor) to light a bulb, move a fan, power a blender or computer or store energy in a battery.

How much power a person produces is somewhat dependent on size, age, and physical fitness. Kids under 12 can put out 50 to 100 Watts of power for an hour. An adult who works out every day can put out between 100 and 150 Watts of power for an hour. Someone who is a competitive cyclist can put out up to 500 Watts.

For safety and stability reasons we chose to use a spin bike rather than a bicycle on a stand. The 36VDC motor, kindly gifted to the WW by Shane Curtis of Curtis Electric and modified (a soft rubber wheel was attached to allow spin wheel to rub against it) by Carl Corbin of Miller Machine and Tool Co., was attached the front wheel of the bike rather than the back as we had seen in most blueprints.

We decided that for the kids to see that they were creating energy we would give several small examples of energy and chose to have two small fans, volt meter, amp meter, and a row of lights that changed color as child pedals. These props were attached to a plate designed and constructed by Ken Tenney and cut by Carl Corbin at the machine shop. We then attached the plate to the handle bars of the bike running all wires through the frame of bike for safety. Electrical work, wiring, fuses, soldering and assembly was done by Neil Crowe.

Woodwork done by Shawn Carrico. Information for display (with donated pictures from various WW members) written and submitted to museum for printing by Charmaine Shaw.

After countless hours designing and assembling the bike was completed and delivered in time for the Museum’s grand opening this spring. Maintenance on the bike will be an on-going responsibility and modifications may be done at some point; perhaps a larger light fixture or fan. Recently the bike was taken to Blue Ridge Bicycles and a fly wheel was put in place to make pedaling and stopping safer for all. I visited the Museum and I can say with all honesty the bike is being used and enjoyed by children and adults and is a fine example on how movement is energy.

Many thanks to Ken Tenney and Neil Crowe who initially agreed to help me with this project and without whom I would never been able to attempt or complete on my own. Many personal hours were put into this project. Thank you to the Carricos for allowing us to store the bike and all our bits and pieces in their garage and letting us come as needed to work on it. Additional thanks to Robert Golightly for his connection to Miller Machine and Tool Company.

Dave Albecker

The North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show, NAHBS, started in 2005 when the talented, entrepreneurial framebuilder, Don Walker, decided to put together an annual show that would highlight the craftsmanship of framebuilders in North America. That 1st show was in Houston, TX and had 23 exhibitors and 700 attendees. Each year the show moves to a different location in the USA and I went in 2010 when it was in Richmond, VA.

It has grown to about 170 exhibitors which are mostly framebuilders with a handful of component companies like Chris King mixed in. The last few shows had around 7000 attendees each. The 2015 show is in Louisville, Kentucky on March 6-8, and here is the 2014 exhibitor list for anyone interested in the builders they might see if they go. For about a week after each show, the cycling news websites post hundreds of photos of the gorgeous frames.

One thing is apparent from this: craftsman-quality, artistic frame building is alive and well in the USA.

Wheelmen Ride Calendar

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