Saturday, November 14, 2015


I love riding bikes.  Always have.  I ride several times a week for leisure and exercise.  As a family, we enjoy going on bike rides frequently as well.  Judah is still not riding a bike independently though. We have tried many different configurations and set ups to bring him along with us.  Trikes, Stryders, trailers, tandem-trailers, etc. The problem is that he just refuses to pedal.  He's a thin little guy at just under 60 lbs, so it's not that big of a deal to tote him around, but he's getting older and needs to help out a bit.  My wife mentioned getting a tandem bike. You know, those long two-seater bikes that are almost circus like.  Well to make a long story short, I built one recently. I started with an old frame that I bought locally. To my knowledge, it is a 1960's era Monark Daisy tandem. After doing some research I decided this particular frame was my favorite because of its curvy style, rounded lines, and rear handle bars that are not connected to the front seat post.  Most tandem frames have straight, harsh lines and lack style.  Most tandems also have the rear handle bars connect to the front seat post, and I wouldn't know, but that just looks and sounds uncomfortable.

This is what it looked like when I bought it.

The first thing I did was tear it all the way down to just the frame.

From a distance this could be confused as original patina, but it's definitely not. There was several layers of spray paint all over this thing.

I bought all new parts for it, so the only original pieces of this bike are the frame, the rear crank, and all three sprockets (chain rings).

I decided on a mostly white/black color scheme with some red accents.  I also wanted as little chrome as possible, so I cleaned up and painted the original parts I chose to reuse (seen here are the sprockets, seat clamps, and the rear crank).

I stripped it down and sanded as much as I could by hand.

It looks like the original color was some shade of turquoise.

My efforts weren't enough to clean it up properly, so I had it sandblasted.  The only outsourced labor.  They cleaned it up nicely, right down to bare metal.

With a freshly blasted frame, I was anxious to get cracking on the paint.  Here it is in white primer.

Here it is in gloss white enamel (pre buff and polish).  It doesn't look much different than the white primer in the pictures, but it is.

Piecing it together.

Laid out.

The (mostly) finished product.

It looks good from behind.

This is a nice before and after pic.

I also added a skateboard wheel for the tensioner.  Seemed fitting.  Works great!

The maiden voyage.

The maiden voyage was a blast! His feet don't reach the pedals though, so he still gets to kick back and let me do all the work! This picture was literally our first pedal, so he's got his feet up in the air. He eventually learned to set them on the frame and relax though. He'll grow into it, and hopefully this will encourage him to start pedaling.  

He was so stoked! He kept kissing my back and saying "thank you daddy!" To know that he "gets it" and he's thankful makes it all worth it.   

Loaded up.
I finished the bike just in time for twin day at school/work.  It's not hard for us to look like twins anyway, but it was perfect timing to have a tandem. I didn't plan it.  No better excuse to bring it to school and ride around. You should have seen the reaction and hordes of kids following us like a parade. Best feeling for my little dude! He was beaming! I also gave lots of rides throughout the day. So this thing has definitely passed the test! No hang-ups, no problems... all fun!

I still have a few things to do to finish it up.  Aesthetically, it definitely needs some pin-striping.  I'm also exploring my options on a chain guard.  I just ordered a double kick-stand.  

It functions and rides great, has three speeds, and my little dude is happy, so we're good for now.  


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