Two years ago, while I was living in the Philippines, I purchased a Bambike frame from my friend Bryan Benitez McClelland. After traveling halfway across the planet with me, it has finally been transformed from a piece of art people might lift from my living room floor, inquiring “What’s this?” as they dangled it from its dropouts, to a swift, all-bamboo-all-the-time, riding machine.
My friend Mark Pooley, along with many bench hours and second-hand parts from the Iowa City Bike Library made this bambike come to life. Absolutely everything I know about bikes has come from spending the last 6 months putting this bike together~ I have to hand it to Mark, he didn’t know what he was getting into and stuck with me through some long nights!
First we started with putting together the wheels. That’s right, I went from having changed 2 flat tires in my life to making bicycle wheels—which explains why the first night we met up I brought absolutely everything we had ordered, including the crank arm, and forgot the rims. An amateur move I am still living down!
We kept at it and soon we had amassed all of the parts we needed–and for all of those so inclined, here is the list Mark handed me for starters:
- Sturmey Archer S80 XRF8 8-Speed Hub – 120 mm rear spacing, 36 hole
- Alex Adventurer 700c 36h Black with Silver sidewall – Rim
- Generator front hub – 100mm spacing, 36h
- 72 black spokes
- Tires – 700c x 35
- Headset – 1 1/8″ threadless black
- 68mm bottom bracket – spindle length to be determined
- Black crankset 170mm or 165mm crank arm length 39-46tooth (designated as 46t)
- 27.2 seatpost
- Seatpost clamp 31.8mm
- Chain – 1/8″ single speed chain black
- Avid BB7 brake calipers
- Handlebar – Titec Jeff Jones H Bar
We transformed my garage into a bike shop– an added bonus if you ask me!
But things did start coming together…
Until finally we were ready for some test riding.
And then on to the open road…
RAGBRAI here we come!