Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 9th, 2009 at 1:56 pm
Every now and again I come across a bike on the streets of Portland that I feel is worth sharing.
Back in December 2007 we featured Gram Shipley and his scraper bike. Last night, outside the Bike Commute Challenge party at City Hall, I did a double take on a customized old-school mountain bike with an odd brake configuration. A few minutes later, its owner walked up and I realized it was Mr. Shipley yet again.
Gram calls this green beauty his “4-by-4” because it has four brakes and four chainrings. It’s a steel, 1985 Mirada (made by Schwinn). The brake levers are made for riders with only one arm an dcan pull two cables each. Gram decided to have a redundant braking system. Each wheel has a cantilever and a drum brake, which means when you pull the levers you have the stopping power of four brakes all at once.
The gearing is another fun feature of this bike. It’s got a 9-speed XTR cassette with four chainrings up front mounted to a set of 180mm Cooks Bros. cranks.
Gram — who volunteers at the Community Cycling Center and keeps his eye out for used parts — says he built it as an urban assault vehicle that can also tow a cargo trailer (which, of course he plans on customizing as well). Gram’s plan for the trailer is to have a telescoping hitch that pulls a brake cable as it compresses.
With its massive Fat Frank tires, the 40 lb. bike is ready for anything. Gram rode it in RAGBRAI this year, but he’s got bigger aspirations for the future: “This thing was built to survive the apocolypse — or the economic collapse, or whatever you want to call it.”
See a bit more of the 4-by-4 in the slideshow below: