Thursday, March 28, 2013

DIY ARAI Brake Drum Tool

Just a quick post - a DIY Arai Drum Brake Tool. It is basically a giant pin wrench.  This only works on original, unmodified Arai Drums with the fins.

Your materials are 2 - 3" long 3/8" carriage bolt, nut and washer,  and about a 4 foot long length of 2" x 4" lumber.  Your tools are a  3/8" or 3/4" drill bit and electric drill, and a wrench for the carriage bolts.

On the wide side of the 2x4, drill your first hole (3/8" for bolt axle, 3/4" for QR axle) 5 inches from one  end completely though the 2x4.  This is the axle "pilot" hole, which keeps the tool stable while removing the drum.

Then drill two 3/8"  holes for the "pins", 2 3/4" (center to center) from the axle hole, completely though the 2x4.

Insert the carriage bolts, and make sure the are tight.  You don't want them to wobble in use.  This other reason I use a 2x4 rather than any light lumber.

With the wheel removed from the bike, and all the hardware removed from the drum side (remember the washer order for your bike), slide the carriage bolt pins into the holes in the fin.  Make sure you are not hooking any spokes; you may need to add a washer to the "head"side of the carriage bolt to keep the pins out of the spokes.

I don't have time for an in-use picture; with the wheel against your body and the brake out, you pull the tool from left to right.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our NWTR (North West Tandem Rally) History

The 2013 Northwest Tandem Rally, originally scheduled for the Fourth of July Weekend, 2013, in Bellingham, WA, has been canceled.  The full details are on the NWTR website at

The local organizing committee was apparently overwhelmed and unable to get things off the ground in time, and a group of prior rally committee members made the call.  The NWTR is run much same way year to has the MTR,  relying on volunteer host committees to bid for and host the rallies, and dependent, to some extent, to prior rallies to provide seed money to keep things running.
Tyler, Linda and I at the NWTR `94

I have some connections with the NWTR, having attended 4 of them (1992-Albany, OR, 1993-Mount Vernon, WA, 1994-Portland, OR, and 1995-Victoria, BC).  I was the NWTR Treasurer in `93, since Mt. Vernon is only about 30 miles south of Bellingham, our home at the time, and I was organizing a small tandem group there.  And has a favor to the 1995 organizer, I emceed their banquet.

For 1993, along with being the NWTR treasurer, I had the interesting experience of having the husband and wife rally chairs reveal and start their marriage separation the weekend of the rally.  I ended up taking over a bunch of stuff at the last minute, including the usual rally crises.   This was made all the more interesting since Linda and I were tandeming with our 9-month-old son Tyler in his Burley trailer.

On the first day, we rolled into one rally food stop that had not been restocked with food as scheduled, but did have a private Expresso truck on site  - after all, this was the Northwest.  There were about 30 teams with us, all looking for some of the promised rally provided snacks at the last sag out, so I walked up the truck, rally checkbook in hand, and asked "How Much for Everything?"  After a little negotiating, I purchased all of their remaining muffins, biscotti and snacks, and we managed to get a little something to the remaining teams.

This was after we learned that our paid-in-advance sag stop at a school in Bellingham (a NWTR jinx?) had never opened, the responsible janitor having decided to call in sick (or well - again, this is the Northwest) - since it was an unusually beautiful day in the Bellingham.  This left every team on the long route looking for water and public restrooms, after having already ridden through Bellingham to the sag.

Finally, that same evening, I was drafted as emcee of the rally banquet when neither chair would stay for the banquet,  I had to do this with our son Tyler, on my back in his kiddie-pack, where he had fallen asleep.  Tyler was still rather colicky at that age, and we never, never woke him up.

The rally ended up well, all things considered, but the committee never got together to celebrate.  I never heard from either of the rally chairs again.  I passed on our seed money to Portland, and then donated the remaining funds to a group in Seattle that worked with visually impaired stokers.

Sorry to hear that Bellingham won't be a host.  With Chuckanut Drive, a scenic route along the San Juan Islands, and just a 10 mile jaunt from the Canadian border through Lynden, WA, home of some very memorable bakeries,  Bellingham is truly a beautiful area to set a rally.  Better luck next time.