Josh Putnam's Cycling Pages

I have enjoyed cycling and working on bikes since I was in grade school. I hope you find this information as interesting and useful as I have.

My Cycling Gallery

A collection of my cycling pictures, in no particular order. Photography is one of my other passionate interests, and it's hard to beat a bicycle for touring a landscape at a pace that lets you really see it. Updated sporadically. Hope you like them. Also see my discussion of good cameras for bicycle touring if you're interested.

Do It Yourself

I enjoy working on bicycles almost as much as I enjoy riding them. Below you'll find a variety of do-it-yourself ideas, from simple things like improving your conspicuity at night to building your own bicycle frame. Bicycles are very simple machines, don't be intimidated by them.

      • Building Bicycle Frames

    • An introduction to brazing your own bicycle frames.

      For many years I wanted a custom touring frame with a combination of geometry and features that I had never seen offered by anyone. Finally I did something about it: I made it myself. If you are mechanically inclined, patient, and have bicycle dreams of your own, here's a quick introduction to designing and building a lugged, brazed, steel bicycle frame. Includes links to suppliers, a bibliography of framebuilding references, and links to more framebuilding sites.

      Click here to see my current bike. It's just an example of what you can do on your own if you want to.

    • A photo tour of the late Match Bicycle Company frame factory in Woodinville, Washington. This was a public tour arranged by Rivendell Bicycle Works. Match is gone, but the tour shows most of the steps in brazing a steel frame in a modern shop.

    • Miscellaneous frame buidling images, from cheap plywood jigs to professional equipment.

    • The Bicycle Framebuilding Mailing List, the leading internet forum for amateur and professional bicycle frame builders, with over 1000 members world-wide. You don't have to be a builder to join, if you've ever thought of building your own frame, or just want to know what goes into the design and construction of that custom frame you want to buy, check it out. Hosted by, home to many fine cycling email lists and their archives. 
    • What is trail, and what does it have to do with bike handling? How do fork rake, head tube angle, and wheel size matter? You can calculate the trail of an existing bike, or determine the specs to give the desired trail on a new frame.

    Sew your own jerseys, make improved tail lights, adjustable length stems, dashboards, camera mounts, etc.

    The best tools I have found for a variety of bicycle repairs and maintenance, in no particular order.

    Some of my favorite practical and technical books related to cycling.

    Some ideas to make working on your bikes easier.

Cycling Safety & Advocacy

  • Detection of Bicycles at Traffic Signals. Many cyclists ride through intersections whose signals do not detect bicycles. It's not safe, it's not fair, and it's not necessary. Traffic signal sensors can be made bicycle friendly.
  • Dark Bollards, Dangerous Bollards A common design element of bicycle trails can pose a serious risk to cyclists if implemented poorly. Keeping motorists off the trail shouldn't put cyclists at risk.
  • Excessive Bicycle Headlight Glare is a growing issue with the power and lowering cost of modern LED headlights, combined with poor optics in many of the most powerful models.
  • Bicycling and the Law from VeloPress, a book everyone who rides on public roads should read.

Bicycle Commuting

I've been bicycle commuting off and on for more than twenty years. Here are a few suggestions to help you commute safely, efficiently, and comfortably, even in wet Seattle winters.

A couple of other ideas for commuter safety:

  • Aids to Conspicuity: simple additions to your bike that make it easier for motorists to see you, even if they aren't looking for you.
  • Bluetooth Headset: if you cycle with a cell phone, an inexpensive wireless headset will let you keep your phone securely stowed inside your commuting bag, safe and dry. I use a Motorola S9 headset for commuting. It fits me well with a helmet on and so far doesn't seem to have trouble with commuting in Seattle rain. (Why carry a phone while cycling? I mostly use mine to coordinate with family, who is home when and where do we need to get the kids, but it's also handy for calling in hazards to the road department or accidents to the police.)

Touring Information

Some of My Favorite Rides

  • Ireland Tour, 1994 I spent about a month there but haven't written it all up. This covers the best parts, with links to pictures, too.
  • The North Cascades Highway: From the shores of Puget Sound through five passes and rolling plains to the Idaho border, one of the most scenic roads in Washington State.

Useful things to add to your bike

  • Aids to conspicutiy for night riding, beyond a minimal headlight and rear reflector can make you more visible and earn better treatment from competent motorists.
  • Touring accessories aren't as important as a good bike, but good equipment can help make your tour a pleasant one despite bad weather, poor roads, or other problems.

Other Touring Information

Bicycling in Washington State

Consumer Information

  • Good Mail Order Companies are no substitute for a competent bike shop, but they can help you find things local shops don't stock. Not just bike parts catalogs, but also some good catalogs for other cycling-related stuff. This is not a comprehensive list of everyone who sells stuff, only places I've actually ordered from with good results.
  • Bicycle Insurance FAQ, common questions and answers about insurance coverage for bicycles and bicyclists in the U.S.
  • If you're worried about theft, you can register your bike with the National Bike Registry, in hopes that police will recover your bike and try locating its rightful owner.

1963(?) 57cm Peugeot PX-10, unrestored.

Detailed photos of a classic I never found time to fix up. It was in rideable condition as-is, though it could have used new tubes and a thorough overhaul -- for all I can tell, it still had the factory grease in the headset and bottom bracket. After years of owning it without restoring it, I finally sold it to someone who thought he'd be able to find the time.

Other Cycling Pages

These are all pages I have personally found interesting. It's by no means a comprehensive list of bike resources on the net, just a list of pages I like and use.  And it's probably loaded with outdated links.

This page written by Josh Putnam. Please feel free to email questions, comments, corrections, suggestions, etc.

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