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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 117 > BAMBOOZLED

BAMBOOZLED

Can a self-confessed perfectionist who’s terrible at woodwork make a bamboo bike from scratch at home? Well, the answer is ‘sort of…’

Sand a little bit. Stop. Step back, blow away the sawdust, eyeball the mitre. Nah not quite, needs a bit more. Start sanding again.

I can feel the coarse sandpaper starting to make its way through the third layer of skin on my fingers… try to ignore that. Stop sanding to check the mitre again. Do that thing that artists do where they cock their head to a few diTherent angles while looking at something. Squint a bit, then nod. Yeah, reckon that looks alright now. Take the long piece of bamboo over to the jig and check how it’s fitting up against the shiny alloy headtube. Still nice and snug. A beautiful fit. Pretty impressed with that really, given it was the very first mitre I’ve done in my life. Now, check the other end of the downtube where it meets the metal bottom bracket shell. This is the one I’ve been sanding into the tube for the past three quarters of an hour. It kinda fits, but then I look around at the other side. As in, the underside of the bottom bracket where there’s a rather large gap. Hold on, that… that doesn’t look right. No, it is most definitely not right. I start to panic. The whole mitre is off-centre. Like, by a good 30 degrees.

And there’s an enormous gap between bamboo and metal that I can fit my finger into. That is not what the instructions specify.

‘Shit’ I think. Shit-shit-shit. Then I realise – if that mitre isn’t good, I can’t fix it. My neck starts to get hot. This whole tube is… oh shit. Oh f***! F***ITY-F***-F***!

Yep, that tube is toast.

That’s me coming to the realisation that I had just royally cocked up the second mitre on the first tube of the first bamboo frame I’d ever endeavoured to build. The tube was ruined. Unusable. A throwaway. Given all the cutting, mitreing and gluing I had ahead of me, this didn’t bode well.

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About Singletrack

We’ve got our usual dose of adventure for you, with three UK based rides to inspire you to hit the trails. Path of a Prince – Pete Scullion takes us on another historical Coffin Road tour, this time in the wilds of Scotland, in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Trail Hunter – Border Blasting – Tom Fenton heads to the northern fringes of England in search of more of the best trails the UK has to offer, this time skirting the Scottish/English border on a frigid day. Classic Ride – Duddon Valley – Tom Hutton takes us on a tour on the Western side of the Lake District – away from the big tourist crowds, but still big on scenery. Quit Your Job – We look at people who have made the leap from ‘normal’ jobs to working in the bike industry. Could you quit the rat race and turn your hobby into a job? Bamboozled – Wil takes on a build-your-own bamboo bike kit. Will he glue himself to the frame? Will he be attacked by a panda? Will he build himself a bike, or a bike shaped object? Wil tells us the tale through his epoxy-induced high. Bike Test – Unsprung Heroes – Chipps checks out fully rigid bikes from Kona, Pinnacle and Surly and discovers that no suspension doesn’t mean no fun. It just needs a re-evaluation of your outlook. Group Test – Platform Clip Ins – Wil checks out eight pairs of pedals with platforms for support as well as cleats for security. Full reviews of the best four will be published in this issue, along with summaries of the runners up. Room 101 Charlie The Bikemonger sets all judicial process to one side and passes his decrees on what will or will not be banished from the cycling world for ever. Column: Jason Miles Our award winning columnist is settling in to his new life in Scotland – by going on a ski holiday, where he learns that being a beginner again can be refreshing. And finding a whole new avenue of kit to need.
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