31 July, 2010

I got busy first thing this morning, working on the C100 build. For those that haven't guessed yet, I'm doing a Trials build. The cliff notes of a trials event is that you ride around slowly, going over and around obstacles, while not putting a foot down or falling over. Sounds pretty simple, huh?

I have no aspirations for being good at Trials, but I wanted to give it a go. Luckily there is a very active NorCal Trials group with half a dozen sites, including one in Orland. They run events that have multiple lanes, from novice to expert. Expert Trials riders scale huge boulders and hop over trees and ditches. Novice riders just try not to crash at 4mph. That is my speed.

A 50cc Cub is very small for a Trials bike, but I like small bikes. I figured a cub would be easy for me to build because I have lots of spares collected for them, including major items like engines, wheels, suspension etc. I also liked the idea of a 3-speed semi-auto transmission with no clutch. One less thing to worry about when I'm navigating the novice lane.

I gave all the parts a good thorough pressure washing this morning:

After a session of sanding and scuffing, I washed everything again. Then I primed and painted most of the key parts by early evening:

I need to clean a batch of nuts and bolts, then I can see about fitting some sub-assemblies together tomorrow.


More Beer: Cranberry Wheat

After a day of garage work, I decided to spend some time this afternoon brewing up a second batch of beer. This time I used the wheat kit from Mr. Beer, and added a bit of cranberry fruitiness. I boiled up some water and added the whole cranberries in sauce, and 1.2 ounce of cascade hopes. I let this do its thing for about 30 minutes, before letting it cool and adding the Hopped Malt Extract.

Yummy cranberry and hops stew!

I had it all in the fermenting keg by about 3pm, and it is hanging out in the spare room. Should be interesting to see how this one turns out.


30 July, 2010

Mr. Beer Kit - My first attempt at "brewing"

A few weeks ago I got a bug up my ass and decided I wanted to get a Mr. Beer Kit. I wanted to brew me some beer, but realized I didn't have the space to house the proper equipment, nor the time to dedicate to brewing each batch. However, I did make a trip to the local brew supply house and asked some questions about the kit.

As it happens, they had a Mr. Beer Deluxe Kit. And then I piled on some extra items like a bottle brush, some real bottle caps, a bottle caper, some hops, and a few other odds and ends:

Then I set about brewing. The process is quite easy, and took me about an hour. But I added an extra 30 minutes into the mix because I steeped some hops to make my Pale Ale more hoppy:

I've got the fermenting keg hanging out in the spare bedroom, sitting in a cooler. The keg is elevated about 3 inches, and standing water sits about 2 inches in the bottom of the cooler. A thin towel is draped over the keg, with its ends wicking up water. Thanks to my little temp gauge, I've seen the temps hold steady at 70-degrees, despite the fact we keep the house at 78-80:

It has been two weeks, so I thought it was time to pour off a small amount to test it. It has just a hint of sweetness, and quite a bit of hop aromas and flavors. Of course it is flat, so Susan cringed as if she was drinking liquid devil, but I thought it was surprisingly tasty:

BTW, this was the standard Pale Ale recipe that came in the kit. I added about a 1/2 ounce of Cascade Hops to my boiling water, letting the hops steep for about 30 minutes before adding the extract and and following the standard kit instructions.

I'm going to let this hang out in the fermenting keg another week before I bottle it. I'm going to mix up my bottling process a little. The kit came with reusable plastic bottles, but I also wanted to try my hand at using real glass bottles. I've been saving up some 12 and 22oz bottles. I plan on using all three types of bottles with this first batch.

As it happens , I just got a package in the mail today. A second Mr. Beer Fermenting keg, with some more accessory items. I picked up a wheat recipe kit at the home brew supply shop when we bought the first kit, so I figured why not get a second brew going. I'm going to fruit this beer, as I love a fruity wheat beer on a hot day. I'm thinking blueberry or blackberry.


29 July, 2010

Unnamed Project: extended leading links

One of the few modifications I'm doing to the C100 project bike is to give it more ground clearance. I have an extra set of Trail 70 rear shocks that are about two inches taller for the butt end, but I need a way to get the front end higher too.

I thought about trying to adapt a telescopic front fork setup off some of the parts bikes I have. I got so far as to walk out along the side of the house, beer in hand, and look. Then I moved on with life and decided part of the fun of the old C100s is the leading link setup. After some head scratching, I realized I could both raise the bike up, and give it more wheel travel by lengthening the leading links.

The stock arm is pictured to the right, the new raw piece to the left:

The upper hole is where the link pivots, anchored to the fork housing. The center hole is where the shock mounts. The end hole is where the front axle mounts. I did some quick maths and decided to lengthen the arm about "this much." Luckily I had a hunk of thick steel in the scrap bin to work with, so I cut two lengths about 7.5-inches long, and drilled three holes. I'm hoping to use all the stock bushings and spacers to give a range of motion.

Depending on how artsy I get, I hope to finish the arms up with some rounded corners. Most of the arm is hidden in the fork though, so I'll probably just make the end that sticks out pretty.

The only other thing I'll need to do is make a little post that sticks out toward the inside of the "passenger" side arm, to hold the brake drum face from spinning. I may be able to do this with a bolt poking through the inside at just the right spot.


28 July, 2010

Dis-assembly Part 1

I got cracking this evening on the yet-to-be-named project C100. Dis-assembly is always fun, as you can tell if the bike had been apart before. There has been some engine work (which I knew about - new top end) but it seems as if the main components of the frame haven't been touched. Original little Honda cotter pins, pudgy nuts, and lots of spider nests.

Me and my sweet head band had the bike mostly apart in about an hour:

My newish cordless impact driver with adapter for fitting sockets works great on stuff like this. Beats the heck out of hand tools.

I've decided it will be white. I think.


One More 50cc Beast Joins the Stable

Look what followed me home today. A 1965 Honda C100. Yes, another one. This one is all original, as sold at Oroville Honda many moons ago. Been in a garage for about 20 years. The front fender is damaged, and it is missing the leg shield, but has the original chain guard.

The seat was even freshly upholstered by a shop up in Paradise.

$180. How could I resist? Oh, and it came with a second stock chrome muffler.

I have plans for this beast. It includes riding around very slowly, going over (small) obstacles, and not falling over. I'll let you ponder that for a moment (don't tell them Sean, as I'm sure you can guess.) Hopefully, I can throw this bike together in a working fashion over the next week, and make an event next weekend. If not, I'll hit up an event in September.


Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen Ale

4.7% abv

Apparently my mixed up six pack of booze that Susan grabbed me this week has two offerings from Flying Dog. In addition to the Barley Wine listed below, I got this Hefe. Luckily it is significantly better than the Barley Wine.

However, it isn't that great. Even by Hefe standards, which are pretty low. Instead of a nice mellow yet crisp super cold Hefe, this is a slightly sour Hefe. Like a Belgian, which I hate slightly less than the Dutch. But it is drinkable though, so I will finish it.

I should work in the marketing department at Flying Dog.


Flying Dog Horn Dog Barley Wine Style Ale

10.2% abv.

I'm not sure what else to say, but this was horrific. The only redeeming quality was the high alcohol content, as I was able to get a slight buzz despite only being able to drink half the glass. Yep, that's right, I had to pour about half of it down the drain.

I like some Barley wines. But not this one. This was sour, flatish, and generally just bad. the bottle touts it being a "malty monster", but I got no malts, Just lots of bad sourness.


18 July, 2010

Abita Wheat


no abv given

A nice light wheat beer. Nothing particularly special about it, and in fact it was a bit boring. Not that un-fruited wheat beers are super exciting, but this one just seemed overly bland. It was very refreshing though, on a scorcher of a 108-degree day we had this past week.


Abita Restoration Pale Ale


no abv given

Another great offering from Abita, this time a delightfully hoppy pale ale. From the first crack of the bottle, there is a crisp aroma of fresh hops over a bed of sweet malts. Very well balanced though, but with enough strong hops on the front end to give it that pale ale kick, with enough malt body to smooth out on the back end. There is very little bitterness, but the hops manage to pop up and let you know they are still there.


11 July, 2010

Wells Banana Bread Beer


5.2% abv

Believe it or not, I liked this beer. But I do like bananas, so I wasn't surprised. It has a nice sharp banana aroma, with a nicely carbonated light body. It is quite well balanced though, with a nice smooth character with equal parts hops and malts. The light banana notes turn slightly sour on the aftertaste, but it is unique enough and not so overpowering to make it worth finishing.

If you like bananas, I think you'll enjoy this.


10 July, 2010


I've been growing out the chin fuzz for a few weeks, since Susan doesn't like it when I trim it short. Well, it got long and scruffy, so she finally said it was time to shave. So I did it in stages.

Why hello grey hairs!

I feel like a 20oz Pabst Blue ribbon suddenly

Oh hell yeah baby! Who's ready for a ride?!!?!

Anyone have a mustache comb I can borrow?


Abita Amber


4.5% abv

I'm usually not a huge fan of Ambers. I don't turn them down when offered, but most of the time the mixture of nuttiness and bitterness aren't my favorite. But when an Amber takes on more malty tones, like this offering from Abita, I find myself gulping it down.

It still has a great medium body a bit of nuttiness, but overall flavors are dominated by smooth matls from start to finish. So maybe this isn't a classic Amber, but I like it.


Abita Jockamo IPA


6.5% abv

Susan picked up a 12-pack sampler of Abita from World Market. This sample pack differs from others, because it has two of six different offerings. So lots of great options to choose from, and I've only had one or two of them before.

This IPA is very good. It has a fantastic balance of hoppyness and malts. Neither of which overpowers the other, but they do have their own distinct moments. The hops hit up front with great aroma and a fresh bite in the mouth. Then the malts take over with a smooth body and a bitter free finish.

A very nice offering from Abita, yet again.


Stone Brewing Smoked Porter


5.9% abv

An exceptionally smooth porter, with great smokey undertones, just as the name suggests. It poured out very carbonated with huge head, and I was taking my time too. Wonderfully rich aromas of coffee, chocolate, and smokiness. Lots of great malt body with a syrupy like mouth feel. It finishes off exceptionally smooth.

A great Porter.


08 July, 2010

Mouth to Mouth on a Canon A1000IS Digital Camera

What happens when you forget to take the digital camera out of your cargo pant's pocket after a day at a job site? They get tossed in the laundry with the rest of the dirty clothes naturally! We discovered this last night. Of course Susan's Canon A1000IS was dead last night after pulling them out of a complete wash/spin/rinse cycle. Dead dead, as in wouldn't even turn on.

I brought it to work with me today, and have had it sitting out in the heat and sun for a few hours. It sputtered to life around 10am. It actually turned on, but the LCD screen was all black and funky. It acted like it took a photo, but this is what it looked like:

After a couple more hours in the sun, the LCD screen came back to life, although it is a bit cloudy. But, it takes pictures again:

Maybe by the end of the day, it will be back to normal?


04 July, 2010

Beer with Doug and Cathy

Our neighbor Doug invited us over for a few samples of home brew this morning, so of course we obliged. He was finishing up brewing a fresh batch, so we hung out and talked beer while he cleaned up.

Me enjoying an IPA:

Susan even chugged down some IPA, but she liked the Scotch Ale better.

We both liked the Pear wine, which Doug brewed for his daughter's wedding a few weeks ago. So we helped him finish off a bottle.

So basically, we chugged down about three half glasses of various beers and wine before noon. July 4th is excellent!


03 July, 2010

Shmaltz Brewing Coney Island Lager


no abv given

I think this could be my favorite Lager of all time. Probably because Lagers are generally light and pretty bland. And partially because I was overwhelmed (in a good way) by how awesomely malty and delicious this Coney Island offering is.

As can be seen in the photos above, it pours quite a bit darker than a typical lager, with a nice carbonated body that coats the glass. Aroma is fantastic, with very full malt scents that remind me of that great smell you get at a brew house.

Let me just say, that I wouldn't consider this "well balanced," but that was fine by me. The bottle touts 8 malts and 6 different hops, but I don't get much of the hops. It is all sweet and full bodied malts. Even the aftertaste is exceptionally smooth and malty.

A great offering yet again from Shmaltz!