Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It's Just a Phase

I completed another phase of my renegade bench project today. I bolted two wood planks onto the original cast cement structures, using the original nuts and bolts no less. I had taken some measurements on a previous ride so that I would be carrying fewer tools during the installation. I used a 16" Crescent Wrench to tighten things up. I was sure that my dad had a socket set with a big enough socket, but to my amazement he did not. The nuts are fairly well recessed into the sleepers.

I had spotted a nice old timber in Slater during the final Fat Bike Series ride, so my final task today was to retrieve it from the pile of discarded railroad refuse that it was buried in and haul it, by bike/shoulder, back to the bench.  A distance of about a mile and a half. I couldn't wait to drop that thing off! Very heavy, and awkward to balance 70 pounds while riding. Here is a photo that brings the scale of the bench into perspective.

The next phase should involve cutting the timber down to make a pair of sleepers to go across the cement castings, then drilling them out and attaching them with lag bolts. Once that's done all I need to do is cut some decking boards and screw them in. I may just do this as a final push, in one trip. Sounds like a good excuse to load up the Burley and ride all the way down. There's actually some nice winding gravel between Boone and this spot. Below is a cement culvert that I have probably ridden over more than 30 times without knowing it was even there! Another case of the bleakness of winter revealing the otherwise overgrown and hidden. ( like the beaver pond that I found on the Heart of Iowa Trail last year) It is about 9 feet tall at the crown of the arch, and about 50 or 60 feet long. Hard for me to imagine the sheer willpower it must have taken back in 1912 just to form the footings, let alone mix and pour all of those cubic yards of cement!

1 comment:

Matt Moggridge said...

Love reading about that bench you're building, reminds me of the lack of a bench at our trusty old Tatsfield Bus Stop, which the council have just repaired. In the UK, doing what you're doing with that bench would be prohibited and, if built, would be taken down by the council. Hope all is well out there in Boone, Iowa. Happy riding.