Bicycles, Boats, And Go Carts

That’s what Ive been up to. My youngest son decided to take MY bicycle for a ride, and proceeded to smack the derailleur (the thingy that moves the chain on the rear gears) right against a table leg, destroying the derailleur. I just happen to have an old carcass of a bike out back and the derailleur was still functional, so I have been in the process of switching them out.

No easy feat. There are no master links on multi speed bike chains so you have to bust a link to remove the chain + derailleur. No problem. I can do that. But I don’t have a master link to put the chain back together. Amazon to the rescue! I got the new master link a couple days ago. But…in the process of fixing this bike I noticed some busted spokes on the rear wheel. Every one of them is on the gear cluster (or cassette if you prefer) side, which means you have to pull the gear cluster to replace the spokes. Which as it turns out means you need special tools to do. Welcome to my life. No act large or small ever goes smoothly, there is always trips to town, internet searches, Amazon purchases, cuts and bruises, sweat and blood. Nothing is ever easy. The tools are on their way.

Then, as I was pulling the axle on the rear wheel, I notice the damn axle is bent. So I have to fix that too. Jeese Louise.

While I was ordering a master link for the bicycle I remembered the old go cart out in the shop. The go cart just needed a master link to make it go, so while I was ordering master links I got one for the go cart chain. But again nothing is ever easy. I put the link in the chain and soon realized I was out of room for adjusting the chain. It was too loose. So I took the chain off and busted a link out of it and tried again, too damn tight! So now I’m scratching my noggin trying to figure out where to go from here and I realized I could shim the motor so it sits higher on the frame, thus tightening the chain. Well I have a lot of 1/8 inch steel around here just because you never know when you might need some steel, and have to start up the welder to make something you need. But I figured 1/8 ” thickness would mean I’d need to make 2-3 plates and weld them together, which I could do, but didn’t want to, so I called my neighbor. I knew there was a chance he would have heavier stock and he did! We found some 3/8″ thick ย x 5″ wide flat steel in his scrap pile that was perfect. He used his band saw to cut me a piece 7″ long. I took that piece home, after thanking my friend and neighbor, and used an old (like new though) 5 hp Honda engine I have lying around, as a template for drilling the holes in my new shim. The shim worked perfectly! But remember nothing is ever easy ๐Ÿ™‚ The bolts were now too short to bolt the engine back on! Okay they are 5/16 bolts, and I have a drawer full of bolts, washers, wire, doo dads, brackets, and whatnot, I got lucky and found 4 bolts of the right size, but they are too long. No biggie I measured how long I’d need em and cut them to length I needed. Whew! It all bolted up.

Now it’s time to crank this old piece of shit. This go cart has a 5hp Briggs and Stratton engine, I HATE Briggs and Stratton engines. They are literally the definition of “nothing is ever easy” This motor has sat for a fewย years and I knew it would be a bitch to crank. I looked in the gas tank first, a little old gas in there, being the kind of guy I am I just rolled the cart over on its side and let the nasty gas drain out. Then I put some fresh gas in. I pulled the plug, grounded it on the engine, and had my son pull the start rope to verify spark, spark verified. Then I took off the air filter and dumped a small amount of gas in the intake. Then began the pulling. I must have yanked that starter rope 50 times, all the while proclaiming “I hate Briggs engines!” or “I’m gonna put the Honda on it!” Finally after an eternity of swearing, sweating, and a lot of catching my breath, the engine hit for a second. Then it cranked and died. Then it cranked up! I took the cart for a quick spin to verify everything was working, then parked it and took a break. The ride of the cart was rougher than I remembered, quite a jolting ride, so today while I was in town I found a nice dense foam seat cover to put in the drivers seat. I got that done and added some foam pipe insulation to the roll bars. I had the pipe insulation left over from where I had to redo our well about a year ago… Anyway it was all worth it, as I watched my son having a great time tooling around on the cart as I was cutting grass. Seeing his hair askew and a smile on his face gave me a great sense of satisfaction. Some things are worth the trouble.

Boats, yep I still have a boat in the shop. I’m still compounding (using a dual action sander, with a foam pad, and a compounding solution which is like a thick soup of grit) when I get the time and/or it isn’t 105 degrees in the shade. We have had cooler weather in spurts, like a couple days here and there, then it gets back to humid and 90 degrees+. So I get out there when I can and get a little done here and there. This is a job of 10,000 things to do. I’ll do them one at a time until I get her ready to go.

In the meantime I will continue to visit my blog friends when I can, and I’ll drop in and post at least once in a while. I’m busy, but I still think about y’all. ย ๐Ÿ™‚



7 thoughts on “Bicycles, Boats, And Go Carts

  1. Man, you are really hands on.


    • Most of my working years were self employed. As a self employed employeee it never made financial sense to have someone else do things I was capable of doing myself. So hands on is the way I know ๐Ÿ™‚

      Granted there are jobs beyond my skill/knowledge level. I’ll either figure them out, or finally break down and have the work done.

      We just had an issue with the heat pump, it had lost enough freon over the years that it wasn’t working properly and it was freezing up. I called in a tech for that job. (heat pump does heat and air)


      • I can do a few fixes on my bike but I would like to do more when I have time. First is to learn how to do it


        • Bikes are a great place to start. I became a mechanic (of sorts) not long after I had my first bicycle for a while. That’s where it all began for me really.

          Chains get loose. Tires need tubes. Things need adjusting. Next thing you know I was fabricating fork extensions to turn my 20 inch bike into a chopper ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. You must be “of a certain age.” Thoroughly modern folks do not possess the skills or tools to do such jobs and hence either take such items to repair shops (fewer and fewer of them are available) or throw them away.

    The joys of making something right are not to be clouded by the rules that govern such repairs, such as “any plumbing repair, no matter how trivial (e.g. replacing a hose bib washer) requires at least three trips to the plumbing supply/hardware store.

    The same goes for repairing bikes. I have reached “a certain age” at which I have given away the vast bulk of my tools (especially automotive) and given over to others much of what I used to do myself, but I still enjoy the feeling of a joy done well, even though they are fewer and father between.


    • I still do these things myself, as I just commented to Mak, mostly because of my self employment for so many years. It’s cheaper to do things myself, and more often quicker to do them myself. Quicker means back to working sooner and cheaper, well we all know what that means.

      My back as it is, which is a source of constant pain, slows me down, but I’m too damn stubborn to quit ๐Ÿ™‚ That day is around the bend I’m sure. I need to get as much done as I can before then. ๐Ÿ™‚


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