Monday, July 27, 2015

Finding a Perfect Moment on a Bicycle

Yesterday was the final day for the 2015 Tour de France, the remaining riders crossed the finish line  in Paris and enjoyed well deserved champagne and respect from cyclists and cycling fans throughout the world.  I too finished my tour de france yesterday, no not the professional race but a satisfying day on my bike that left me with a wide smile.

I have been enjoying those satisfying days on the bike for more than 40 years, and riding in July always allows my mind to wander to the greatest race as I glide across the road with only my spinning gears and wind in my face.  It has been that way since I had my 5th birthday party and removing my training wheels was the present that I remember vividly.  Freedom and flow wrapped in a fantastic machine, just waiting to be unleashed. Many birthdays passed and bikes came and went, but it wasn't until I was about 13, that a real change happened.

My classmate, Carrie Andrew and her mom Sharon who had cousins/ suffering through Cystic Fibrosis, held a charity cycling event, The CF Bike-A-Thon.  It was held on the Parker High School dirt cinder track and we would raise $$ for CF research and treatment on a per lap basis.  This was my first tour de france, I had read magazines and newspapers and books.  This time would be riding, not reading.  I had pretty good bike building skills by then, and assembled garage sale purchases and thrown away road frame into a pretty ratty, but quite functional bike.  I canvased my neighborhood for sponsors, if you weren't home when I went by the first time, I would be back knocking and looking for pledges, until I had asked everyone I ran into for help.

Then came ride day. I was determined and excited and ready to turn in my pledge form and ride.  I was thrilled at the quick start and the laps quickly added up on the 1/4 mile track. 10, 20, 40, 60.  I had "it".  My tour de france moment, racing around lap after lap with the wind in my face. The kids on BMX bikes slowly tired, took breaks, and fell into the infield.  I couldn't get enough, everything seemed right in the world. After an hour the track was emptying out and the riders laying in the grass increased. I was determined.  They kept track of my lap count and I was nearing 100.  It seemed like perfection, a full satisfying effort and the longest ride I had ever completed, 100 laps - 25 miles.  I hadn't completed the most laps, there was an adult cyclist with a real touring bike that did more, but it didn't dampen what I felt.

There was the fullness of effort, and satisfaction of lending a hand to those in need.  I was hooked.  I paraded around my pledge sheet to my sponsors with pride, they were often quite shocked about the the tenacity of a 13 year old, but the lap tally sheet was the proof and they gladly paid.  That was a PERFECT MOMENT, and likely why I remember it clearly even after other memories have faded. A special thanks to Carrie, Charity and Sharon who organized my first tour de france on that dusty dirt track.

Now at 45 years old, I am still find joy in cycling and have done a large variety of events over the years.  But very few bring me back to that warm and dusty day on the track, except one.  That is the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Fat Tire Ride.  It is largely an old stagecoach route of about 65 miles on dirt paths and dirt roads.  It isn't the most difficult ride I have done, but it isn't a walk in the park either, it takes most of the day and finishes close to Tusayan in tall pines where cold beer flows freely.  This ride yields PERFECT MOMENTS every time I do it.  It is the people who ride, the people who volunteer, the sponsors that foot the expenses, and benefiting organization that is the thoughtful steward of the funds raised. The fatigue fades as the body recovers, but the goodness stays and lingers and is shared to many who need it.

You can read about the ride history here.  But it was started by accident by well meaning cyclists, who became event organizers by default when they saw all the good they could do with the help of the local organization, Marine League Charities.

This year the event has grown to 200 cyclists with a goal to raise $60,000.  Marine League Charities fund many northern Arizona efforts to support Veteran Families with injured Veterans, Toys for Tots for kids in Havasupai.  They are the compassionate Americans that reach out and deliver Hope to those in their community and I am proud to support them.  I know this is a long post, but I wanted to include why this matters to me, and include a request to Share and Support my efforts.

I am riding on August 1st, and trying to collect any cash/check donations by Friday.  You can also contribute online here, and add a message "I'm supporting Eric Brandt".  Even sharing my story on social media platforms is a helpful as more virtual "door knocking" the better.  We live in a very compassionate and giving country, I embrace all the kindness that Americans show to each other in many forms of charitable acts. Thanks for your support in prayers, spreading the word, and your giving.


Thursday, October 03, 2013


This is my attempt to reach out further to cyclists that I sell to.  This is a random code I created that you can Google and get my email address quickly and easily.  I am happy to talk on the phone with potential buyers, just send me your number.  Normally, I respond so quickly I catch people off guard.
Eric Brandt

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Belt Drive MTBs are they ready for PRIME TIME?

Recently I purchased a new mountain bike for 2 reasons.  One, the frame design was old school and evoked a feeling of nostalgia, that I don't often feel. Two, the frame had split stays which would allow the bike to be easily converted to Belt Drive.

The bike is a 2011 Trek- Gary Fisher Sawyer and had some of the worst paint I have seen on a MTB.  The paint was a non-descript sad grey and although the bike had seen no dirt, just shop wear, and hanging the bike on bike racks had taken a toll.

Step one was to add a real durable finish and 1 Off Powdercoating came to the rescue.  Dale did his typical excellent job, even though with all the curved tubes and strange shapes.  I selected Grabber Orange, which is closer to Yellow than Orange.  The color reminded me of my first bike which also had curved top tubes and it also reminded me of a original 1970s Honda ATV that used the same color.

Unfortunately, selection of the belt drive components wasn't as smooth.  As an experience mechanic I expected very few issues. 1 belt and 2 sprockets.  DONE!

Well there are several iterations of Gates Carbon Drive components available.  They are not compatible with each other. The naming conventions does allow for clear distinctions when parts shopping, so I don't think DIY applications were a high priority for Gates.

In my quest for components the first thing I noticed is how pricey they are.  Plan on spending at least double, what you would for a chain drive equivalent.  The online calculators are very useful once you have the chainstay length of the frame you will be using.

One thing that is important but hard to uncover is that most of the current applications are really for a specific marketing segment.  Based on the Carbon Drive home page that segment is urban hipsters who wear white and are deathly afraid of chain oil.  I am not sure what they use for lubricating their hubs, bottom brackets, and headsets, but I am guessing it is a synthetic version of their own smugness.  So if you ride in the city, work in a loft and have a monochromatic lifestyle a belt drive bike is for you!

You will discover in reading the Tech bulletin that if you are riding a Mountain bike or Fixed Gear you will need nearly double the belt tension for proper performance. Okay, no problem, probably a bit more resistance too, but wearing white pants is probably worth it.  Wait.  Doubling the tension is when you are going from city cruiser with internal hub to the Mountain or Fixed Gear application and are a Lightweight Speedster.  If you can figure out what a lightweight speedster is, then good for you.  I think that means God gave you thighs that don't generate enough watts to impress anyone... ever.  So for normal riders that HAMMER, SPRINT, CLIMB, GENERATE 1000 WATTS, and KICK ASS and ride MTB or FIXED GEARS triple the belt tension.  nearly TRIPLE, really. From 35kg to 85kg.

Now your frame flex is coming into play and Gates has a program for OEMs to analyze their rear ends.  I am not making that up.  It also matters how much belt wrap you have.  My selected gear was 39x22 yielding a ratio 1.75, which I though would be perfect for my 29ER SS.  I was warned that more belt wrap is required for this application. That means jumping up to 46x26 and a 118 tooth belt instead of 113. Don't worry though because there is an app for that.

Sounds to me like I am back to chain drive for the epic ride this weekend, because I have a lot of belt drive components to sell and then re-buy.  So it will be a while before you see me trying to BELT ONE OUT, but I think I might have also avoided an on-trail disaster, on a ride that means so much to me.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hal, this one is for you!

My 2013 Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon Fat Tire Bike ride will be dedicated to the memory of Hal Jensen. Hal was the retired Marine that always was selflessly looking out for others.

Hal passed last year on October 6th but his passion, enthusiasm and never give up attitude will be carried by those of us who met him. Undoubtedly, his impact has been and will continue to be felt by those he has helped. Hal you were a great example of a life well lived. Oorah!

A special thanks goes out to all my supporters, $452 we raised on first day, with current total at $552. Keeping the wheels turning!
My ride from 2010.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ezra is an amazing person and a kick ass bike builder

I just watched this video today, but his photos and his bikes left me in awe.
True Beauty.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Vintage Bike to benefit Marine League Charities

Specialized Stumpjumper Year 2 1983 1984 Vintage 30 years of MTB History 17"
100% of sale is going to the Marine League Charities, current asking price is $800

This is a farm Fresh Pick that I did a rolling restoration on. The bike is also available for ebay sale and I expect to exceed my $500 goal but prefer to sell it off ebay.

Non original components include Tires, Freewheel, Chain, Bottom Bracket, Rear Derailleur, Thumb shifters, Grips. New components include Grips, Seat, Freewheel and Chain. The bike is in riding condition as it sits today. Here are the historical specs from MOMBAT on this bike.

Original Components are in ALL CAPS. Year, Model, Frame, Fork, Headset, Rear Derailleur, Front Derailleur, Hubs, Rims, Tires, Brakes, Brake Levers, Crank, Pedals, Shifter, Bars, Freewheel, Stem, Color 1983, Stumpjumper, TANGE CRO-MO, DB CRO-MO, Channel Seal, Suntour Mountech, SUNTOUR MOUNTECH, SPECIALIZED SEALED, ARAYA 7X, Stumpjumper, Mafac canti, TOMMASELLI, SUGINO AT TRIPLE 26/36/46, Suntour XC I, Suntour thumb, Ritchey bull moose, Suntour 5 13/30, na, BLUE 1984, Stumpjumper OS, Cro-Moly, Cro-Mo, Suntour LeTech, Suntour LeTech, Specialized sealed, Saturae anno, Tri-Cross, SHIMANO DEORE XT, Tommaselli Sugino, TAT 26/36/46, SUNTOUR XC II, Suntour thumb, SPECIALIZED MOD IV, Suntour NW 13/30, SLINGSHOT ALLOY

This is going to make a nice addition to someone's collection. This 17" version has very little rust as a Arizona bike, It has been washed and reconditioned. I did notice the top of seat tube is splayed out somewhat at tips, but 26.6 SR post seems to be in just fine. The right side of the paint has some sun fading and pictures are best way to grade this magnificent ride.

Since this bike was last listed I returned the bike back to a more mid eighties functioning. Grip shift and 7 spd drivetrain were removed. Shimano non indexing thumb-shifters, a new high polish 5spd chain and freewheel were added with Oury style grips. The Gel saddle was replaced with new saddle, but I am open to swaps.

Normally I respond within 5 minutes to BEST OFFERS, please understand that with this item due to the high demand I am likely to let some offers simmer while others are coming in. The bike is also on my blog with more photos. I am always willing to chat with potential buyers and questions and clarifications are always appreciated with vintage bicycles.

Given a bit more time I would polish out the cranks, clean the pedal spindles, clean some overspray off the seatpost, swap in an original bottom bracket. But these are great items for the NEW OWNER to consider as the bike is great as it sits.

 100% of the auction proceeds are going to the Marine League Charities, an Arizona 501.C(3) Not-For-Profit Charitable Corporation EID 86-0944607. As a matter of fact if you would like to pay via check, you can get credit for the Tax Donation. They are a great local Arizona charity that I have supported for years. 100% goes to a very worthy cause.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yes I am that guy on eBay

Hey Eric are you the same Brazen_Cycle_Works on eBay?

I do get this question a lot, and yes I buy and sell on eBay under that user name.  I used to sell much more on ebay, but the fees between Paypal and eBay have gone out of control.  It is difficult to pass on really great deals when ebay takes such a generous cut for themselves.  I have turned to Craigslist > Phoenix> East Valley to sell which has been nice, but I rarely list items for sale on my blog.

If you see an item I am selling I can make you a very competitive offer, so feel free to email me directly, with your phone number and how I can help.  Spammers and scammers don't do this so I will know you are serious. I would be happy to give you a prompt call.

Item number: 280882623955