Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Salsa Casseroll

I don't have any garden shots today, but I haven't had anything about bikes for awhile, and this blog is, after all, also supposed to be about bikes and bicycle commuting (hence the name: "The Bicycle Garden"). So I thought I'd do a little post about my commuter, a Salsa Casseroll built by moi, from scratch.

I bought the frame and fork on closeout on ebay. I got the used Ultegra components there, too.

Here are a few shots of the build-up, and the finished bike as she is now. She is a sweet bike, and just about perfect for commuting around town when I have light loads. (For heavy grocery loads, I use the Xtracycle.)

My commuter runs are confined to trips to school during the school year, largely for time reasons. But during the summer break, I road the commuter everywhere in town. For those of you familiar with the Hub City, yes, that means I rode the bike from Tech Terrace to Barnes and Noble. It can be done. (You should have seen how nonchalant the people at Rudy's BBQ were every time I rode up to the take out window, on my way home, to pick up a sausage sammie. Bueno.)

Here's the build:

Cutting the fork to size. (If I had to do it over, I would leave it longer and use more spacers.)

The fork and headset, seated.

Installing the bottom bracket.

The chain ring and brakes.

More or less finished.

As she stands now, fully kitted out for a commute.

As a side note, perhaps of interest, The Bicycle Garden got its name for a garden concept I once proposed to the campus landscape architect. I thought maybe we could install a garden that celebrated and honored people (and their trusty steeds) who used their bikes to commute to school. The garden never got onto the drawing board, but I thought the name had a nice ring to it, so when I was looking for a title for the blog that would reflect how I felt about both, I resurrected it. The photo for the blog title is a picture of the Xtracycle by the rose arbor, carrying garden tools, as well as some pass-along plants I'd picked up from neighbors earlier in the day.


  1. You are a multi-talented wonder! All that bike riding must keep you in great shape too.

  2. Hi Susan, I thought this post was going to be about a mexican food dish! You are quite the handywoman putting that bike together yourself, kudos!


  3. Love it! I had a Salsa stem on my first mountain bike, which fell prey to theives, alas (they decapitated it, taking the stem, bars and shifters, so weird). The other blogger in the house is a bike commuter, he has a large array of steeds but uses his new-ish Surly for the daily rides to work. He'd be jealous of your workspace, he's stuck in the dark and cold basement!

  4. What IS an Xtracycle? Something that pedals for you for a time? Looks cool--I've always wanted to bond with my bike more, maybe this summer. Campus is only 4 miles away, but the journey is very unkind to cyclists (no sidewalk on bridge over train depot). Lincoln has a very good trail system, but mostly on the rich side of town. Go figure.

  5. Impressive Susan! I always wanted a bike fit just for me...I haven't been able to ride for some time (back stuff) but this is very cool! My son would love it...he commutes to his campus In Providence RI most of the yr by bike! When it's not snowing, I should add!


  6. Greetings all! Thanks for the comments. I'll write more later tonight in response to each--I'm currently out of town attending to some elder care...

  7. Susan, How do you manage so many hobbies and your job and keeping a blog and gardening, etc....? You are a driven woman! And talented, I should say:) I got a new bike (24 speed) last fall, after I was recovering from ACL allograft surgery, and I was riding about 14 miles per day...when my lower back got so bad I haven't been on it since. It's brand new and sitting in the garage. I hope by the spring I'll be able to get on it--but I've been told it's not good for my back:( My body is falling apart! I hope you will have a wonderful holiday! Jan

  8. PS I was expecting ingredients for a nice meal. We love salsa!

  9. Karen--a Surly, huh? Nice bikes. Is it a cross check or LHT? Or something else?

    Benjamin--check out this post to get a good picture of the Xtracycle:

    It is a long-base bicycle that makes it possible to haul heavy loads...

  10. Jan--what kind of bike did you get? Maybe there's a solution to the back pain...

  11. Susan!! thankyou so much for your comment and I am green with envy about your bikes! I have the cheapest Craigs list reject and keep wondering whether to really invest in something better. Then I would have HAVE to do more plein air to justify it!!!you will be able to get a whole load of art gear into your super big bike and its panniers. I had lovley little yellow racing bike in the UK ... Ahh nostalgia.. I will be back.. to read more .

  12. The Surly is a Crosscheck indeed. You sure do know your bikes!

  13. Hi Susan,

    Was doing some research on Salsa Casseroll's and this blog popped up pretty high on the list - and then I realized I recognized that build from ! I remember when you were building it; it's a nice bike, and one that remains on my to do list.

    Hope to see you back on BF at some point --


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