Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In which yet another follows me home.

My garage is bursting at the seams. Well, not quite but between the garden tools and so forth, it's quite full. So we went to the MS150 Bike Fair on Saturday and I found yet another bicycle for only $25.

I don't know what tubing was used in building this but it has some wonderful details. Long pointed lugs, heart shaped cable stop guides.(Is that what these things are called?)

I'll work on the brakes and replace the tires so it might be awhile. Further bulletins as events warrant.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ready for Travel

A month or so ago, I bought a pair of rigid Raleigh Mountain bikes for $60.00. One of them went to a co-worker as his commuter bike, his only bike, in fact. One of my goals is to get as many other people riding to work as possible and Charlie says he'll use it to ride to work, to church and the coffee shop.

The other bike, I decided to keep, at least for awhile. We're planning a European trip this summer and I wanted a bike that I could ride over there and sell on the way out. With approximately $50 invested in it, I can take it over there, not worry about bike theft. (Very prevalent in Amsterdam, where we're headed first.) Of course, I also love tinkering on bikes.

One of my thoughts, last summer in Chicago, while riding my brother-in-law's old Specialized HardRock, was that this bike was a great city rider, if only it had a set of Albatross Bars. The straight mountain bike bars just weren't comfortable for all day riding. The Raleigh M-60 has comparable geometry, tons of braze-ons for racks and great clearance for fenders and huge tires. We had a set of smooth Panaracer 26 by 1.5" tires we got as door prizes from the KCBC banquet.

Just changing the tires delighted me. The fat smooth tires just made me smile when I put them on the bike. I took it to Acme along with the other one and found a set of used Wald upright bars, which I installed upside down. I had also cut and filed off the shifter pods off the brake levers and replaced them with thumb shifters.

Things got even more interesting when I found an abandoned AMF Nimble 3-speed along the road. It had fenders, a chainguard, and a set of upright handlebars. I've added them to the bike for free fenders and they do coordinate nicely with the champagne gold of the bike frame.

The bike has assumed a new personality. I may hate to leave it in Europe.

Monday, March 13, 2006


After a long week at work, I wanted nothing more than to get back to work on the bike, where I couldn't get the shifters to perform properly. So, I rode off to Acme again for some assistance. I corraled Sarah on her way in and got some much-needed assistance. The derailleur cage was bent. The shifters were assembled backwards. Thanks be to Karma that they had another set just like them as a reference. And then Sarah discovered the rear hub needed a rebuild. So I got to learn about rebuild a hub, taking out all the bearings, degreasing the interior and wiping it down, degreasing the bearings and wiping them all down, putting in a new batch of clean grease and putting it all back together. We reinstalled the rear derailleur and got it all going.

I rode it home to tape the bars and complete the Azuki project and found I couldn't shift into the big ring so I started tinkering with the front derailleur and broke the screw that holds down the cable. So this time, I loaded into the truck and took it back to Acme where Mis Chief found another front derailleur for $5 that works just fine. She showed me how to set it with the high and low limit screws.

Now it has really nice Serfas tires. I cut down the bars and removed the suicide levers. The seat came from a Raleigh Mountain Mike I bought from Craigslist and I'll take to the Low Countries this summer. But that's another project.

Stella, as she is now.

Rather spectacular, I must say. Actually, I'm amazed at how much fun it is to ride this bike. I love carrying stuff in the basket from work.

Here's my filthy homemade burrito wrap from dropping the chain and having to dig out my 15MM wrench a couple times. In the fall, I'm going to install a new bottom bracket with square axles and shorter cranks that will accept clipless pedals and a single chainring, perhaps one a little smaller. Until that time, I have the chainring cobbled together with nuts and bolts and I'll ride along.