Monday, September 28, 2015

Early 1970s Motobecane Mirage

I got some good news at the end of this week, I got offered a new contract gig that should set me up for the next 8 months or so, which after months of looking was a relief.  Before I found that out I was looking for deals on bikes in need of some TLC that I could make some money on. I found this MB on Craigslist for about $30 which IMHO is a good starting point for a profitable turn around.

I placed this bike in the early 70s due to the simplex drive train and cottered crank.  I chuckled seeing the front derailleur was SunTour and mounted over a strip of bar tape.  Likely the original simplex plastic front derailleur failed as they are wont to do and since the French tubes are too skinny for a Japanese component the bar tape allows enough thickness to mount it to the MB frame.
not original equipment
The bike is complete, paint is in decent shape and it even has fenders and a rack and a non-working sidewall generator and lights.  I will probably strip all the lighting stuff off but I will save the generator and see if I can make it work, I've always wanted to try one.
sidewall generator
The bike also has some vestigial front speedometer wiring as well and since there is no speedo attached I don't see much point in keeping all that either.
somethings missing

lots of useless plastic
The plan for now is to clean this bike up replace the consumable that need to be replaced and turn it around quickly, but I have a few other projects in the queue to finish up first.

As always Ride.Smile.Repeat.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bike sale score 1980 Raleigh Rapide Ladies (Mixte)

I don't know about you but I have a tough time walking away from a used bike sale and bike works is a cool non profit I love to support, many of the bikes that grace these pages originated there, so of course I had to go.  I failed to get a picture of the selection but there were probably about 100 bikes out for sale, mostly old 10 speeds but some mountain bikes and maybe 30 frame only options.  I immediately gravitated to the 10 speed rack and I looked over a couple Peugeots but surface rust or lack or parts turned me away, I almost picked up a Peugeot just for the non standard but very nice Sun Tour power ratchet bar end shifters it sported but decided to move on.  I had also noticed that many of the bikes had 25-50% off tags on them and they were already fairly reasonably priced -a least by Craigslist standards.
my prize the Raleigh Rapide Mixte
After making a few rounds I zero'd on on a Raleigh Rapide Mixte as my top prospect.  Why among lots of bikes did I pick this one you ask?  Well let my take you through my thought process;

  • Sporting a 50% off tag Check - so this $65 bike was $32.50
  • Paint and decals in very good condition Check- the paint actually sparkled
  • No obvious issues Check - frame and fork appeared straight, it had all its parts, no surface rust
  • Extras? Fenders, Rack and Kickstand Check - nice for a city bike
  • Classic split tube mixte and not a single down-tube? Check

In addition to checking all the boxes above all the things I did not like about the bike are easy to change.  The bell is trashed - pretty sure I have a brass bell in the parts bin.
how do bells get this trashed!?
Saddle is faded and torn no worries I have a new WTB saddle in my parts bin I have been meaning to use on a project.
straight to the garbage with you
The foam grips are all dried out and I have never like that style, problem solved by the faux leather grips they were selling at check out for $1
out with the old
In with the new
The thing that bothered me most about this bike, and perhaps why no one else snatched it up, are the high rise bars.  I am sure they were much more functional than the original drops for the previous owner but to me they just don't look right, maybe its the deer antler quality but I know the bars are going.
that ain't right 
Fortunately I have done two previous mixte road drop bar to city bar conversions and I know exactly the bar I want.  It's cheap, made in the USA and is more in the "north road" style of the Raleigh 3-speed.
Wald 2.5 inch rise bar
I am not sure what it is about me and used bike swaps and semi-obscure Raleigh's.  When I went to the University of Washington's year end clear out two years ago I came away with a Raleigh Reliant for $5.  And todays it's a Raleigh Rapide, I did a little digging and found out it was the entry level 10 speed in their line up in 1980, nothing special but solids parts.
1980 Rapide Mixte Catalog shot
As I looked closer after deciding this bike was the one I noticed the nice mix  of Sun Tour drive train parts.
Power ratchet Stem shifters
Raleigh Branded rear derailleur
And even the fenders and rack were a cut above, the rack was Pletchser and even though the frame is made in Taiwan the fenders come from England.

This project won't be a frame up rehab and it also won't be a pump up the tires and wipe down the frame flip but something in-between.  I have been posting like a crazy man of late, hopefully my next post will actually be some bike work getting done.  

Until next time, Ride.Smile and repeat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Co-Opting a Trailer Park Cyclist long reply as a Post

I miss the regular, or irregular, posts on the Trailer Park Cyclist blog, which is now on long term Sabbatical, so when Tim Joe was nice enough to stop by I decided to promote his comments to a post. His eloquent words my photos.

Ryan, I spent two years moping around this damn trailer park with no job other than fixing trailers for chump change. Were it not for the long nights spent shopping and dreaming on the interwebs I may have lost my mind. That and writing my blog not only helped me stay more-or-less sane but gave me a window into another world, poor but always riding and living a true bike-life. 
photo altered to protect identity

As you know I bought a nashbar 29er for a bangaround bike but have yet to get the damn thing running. There are several new bike paths opening up in our area and I may put the nash rambler (just thought that one up) on the back burner and go back to getting little miss dialed in. I was building her specifically for those paths; in another year or so one should be able to pedal all over florida on dedicated bike trails.
NB 29er SS

The reason I mention the nashbar is that Bikes Direct has a Motobecane with a nexus 8 on the same platform as that bike I put together for Cromwell awhile back.
Motobecane city bike

I know what you are thinking, but you said schwinn so motobecane is just as valid. Aluminum frame (which I kinda like) and rim brakes. Perhaps the low price balances the lack of panache? I don't know. 

I am WAY over rehabing old bikes. Little Miss has enough $$$ in her right now to have put me on a Rivendell. Maybe. Almost. I think my Grail Bike is a Waterford, the sad tale of the Schwinn brand drives me crazy.
Waterford Lug

My first bike was a schwinn, of course, as is Little Miss. The bike shop where I purchased my first stingray back in '62 was called Gilles Schwinn Cyclery. At one time in America the word Schwinn was practically a generic term for bicycle, like Kleenex was for facial tissue. It breaks my heart, it does. So many venerable icons in this country/nation of ours have fallen prey to the Junk Man that we have, I think, lost part of our collective soul as a people.

Speaking of broken hearts, I had a heart attack last Friday and spent Labor Day weekend hooked up to all manner of hoses and electrodes and being x-rayed and EKG'd and I don't know how bad it was but they wouldn't let me get on the treadmill to prove I was OK. 

I'm OK now, sort of; I rode fifteen miles today and lived to tell the tale. But they have me taking medication that makes drinking alcohol a really bad idea so that is why I'm typing like a grown up. I'm sober. Good Lord...where does it all end?

15 miler

yer pal, 


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Throwback commuters

So what do you do when you have been job searching for months and you still have no offer in hand? well you could bang your head against the wall.

Or as I like to do you can detach yourself from reality and plan for the purchase of a cool commuter bike for that job you don't have yet.  Now the facts that A) I need another bike like I need another hole in my head and B) I have no idea if my eventual job will even be bike commutable are just details that I am choosing to ignore right now.

I have developed a love of the English 3 speed and I even had one in my size as a project bike for a time (here) but I sold it on in part because I needed the $$ and in part because I realized in my hilly world with my level of fitness a 3 speed wouldn't really work.  However, thanks to the developments of later day IGH (internally geared hub) technology I can get a 7, 8 or even 11 speed IGH that should allow me to climb my local hills.  And in my recent search for the commuter of my dreams for that job I don't have yet I found a number of possibilities.  So on to the contenders.

Schwinn Brighton

The Schwinn Brighton (here) has the right look and it has an Nexus 8 speed rear hub to go with fenders, rear rack, kickstand small Chain ring (38t) and a classic chain guard.  I would want to put a Brooks saddle on it, a larger rear cog 22t rather than 19t for a lower granny gear,  and probably new pedals - MKS Sneaker pedals perhaps- but its a good starting point and reasonably priced at around $650.  And they have a 58cm model which is nice as most of the vintage Raleigh's I see are in a much smaller frame size than would work for me.  However seeing some of the Schwinn branded stuff on sale at the local Target I am a bit concerned about their quality these days, and vague phrases like "Euro-Style steel frame" make me think pig iron rather than chromoly.  You can also have any color you want so long as its green, which, fortunately, I kind of like.

Linus Roadster 8

Another choice is the Linus Roadster 8 (here) that has much of the same look and features of the Schwinn; fenders, rack, kickstand, 8 speed Nexus IGH etc. although they go with a chainring guard rather than a full chain guard, perfectly workable just not quite the same vintage vibe.  As with any candidate I would want to go with a Brooks saddle and this bike already has a large rear cog (22t) but that is offset by the larger front chainring (48t) so I would probably want to downsize the chainring to 36t to get that nice low gear I need for the local hills.  I have ridden the similar Linus Gaston 5 and really enjoyed it, this bike is built with 4130 steel and comes in a variety of colors and at a higher price point of $830.  Oh and the bell comes standard.

Simcoe Roadster Classic
I stumbled onto the Simcoe in my own backyard, it was in the window of a local bike shop, first I had ever heard of this brand.  The Simcoe Roadster classic (here) is again in that English 3 speed style with fenders, rear rack and in this case a 7 speed Shimano IGH.  I was worried the chain guard might be plastic but the spec says alloy, they didn't give the chainring and rear cog sizes so I am not sure if I would need to make any changes there but of course it would need a Brooks Saddle.  This bike also has color options and it comes in at the most expensive of the lot with a $900 price tag for the 7 speed model.  Although expensive the idea of supporting a local bike shop is appealing.

Classic Raleigh 3 speed

One final option would be to find another classic Raleigh 3 speed in the 23 inch frame size and fit it with a modern 8 speed rear hub, and what the heck while I'm at it I might as well get a dynamo hub front wheel built.  I am not sure if A) sourcing an old bike and getting a new rear wheel built would cost any less than a new bike and B) I worry the rear frame spacing would have to be adjusted to accommodate the rear hub and that's an additional cost to have it "cold set" which has its own complications.  And the nice thing about the new bikes is they are all 700c wheel sizes rather than the one off 26x1 3/8 classic 3 speed size.  There is also the guilt of bastardizing a classic 3 speed, not quite on par with making a classic 10 speed into a fixie but nonetheless.....oh the dilemmas!

Of course until I actually land a job its all academic and just a good excuse to go virtual bike shopping on the interwebs.  Perhaps when I finally land a job an its in (hopefully) downtown I can use that as an excuse to test ride the 3 new bikes above and explore the feasibility of upgrading an old Raleigh 3 speed and do a real world report.

Until next time Ride. Smile and repeat.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Watch this space or no not this space but another space - oh just read below!

So I have it on good authority that the Trailer Park Cyclist may do some "Ghost Posting"  on the currently dormant site

Said posting may include updates on little miss Dangerous aka a Schwinn Letour and also a new acquisition by the TPC that looks a bit like this
You heard it here first folks check in over the next few weeks to see what happens

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A confession and some Miscellaneous stuff

I have been afraid to ride my bike... there I said it.  In mid April I had what I found out later was a very very minor stroke- emphasis on the very minor.  At the time my right hand and part of my right leg were tingly like I had slept on them wrong.  Initially I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to adequately squeeze the brake levers and that maybe I wouldn't be able to ride at all.  Although I identify as a cyclist, I haven't been riding much lately but the thought of not being able to ride at all or ever again was scary.
the bike is ready but is the rider?
After a few weeks I was pretty much back to normal with just a bit of tingling in my right palm, blood pressure meds, a better diet and daily therapy with an Xbox 360 controller for my hand (medicinal purposes only) all helping but still I couldn't seem to get on or work on a bike.  It might have been sloth or the now irrational fear that I wouldn't be able to control a bike, but as it was months passed with nary a ride.

Today I decided to finally visit my neighborhoods expanded farmers market.  It used to occupy part of a public parking lot but this summer it expanded to take up a city block that they close from 9 am to 2 pm on Sunday for the market.  I had been meaning to check it out and also see if I might find some deals on organic produce so I decided I would finally get off my duff and go.  Since the market is only about 5 blocks away it seemed like a good first ride, so I put some air in my tires, slapped on the panniers, blew the dust off my helmet and wheeled the bike out.  And lo and behold I had not forgotten how to ride, it was actually fun to turn over the pedals and generate my own power.  The bonus was pedaling again put a smile on my face.
my haul and a soft bike rack
The local yarn vandals has thoughtfully knitted a bike rack cozy so I didn't even need to think about my paint getting scratched while my bike was locked up.  And I did indeed find an abundance of reasonably priced organic produce including some yummy raspberries.
reflecting on a successful ride 
Back in July, while on a visit to Portland, I was inspired to actually work on a bike when I noticed my friend Karen's bike had very sad, droopy looking bar tape.
blue duct tape! C'mon
I built this bike and could not abide the falling apart bar tape held on by duct tape of all things so I made a special trip to the local bike shop and took care of it.

new and blue and not saggy

I also took care of some rear brake pads that had been bugging my friend.

the old -dusty and worn
So I removed the old ones and swapped them out with some spares she had laying around 
new pads in place

Finally my nephew, who is about to start his Junior year of college, messaged me recently about looking at his front tire.  As it turns out he has a low end - Motiv- mountain bike, perfect for campus use, but not great as far as the parts go.  When I got my hands on the beastie I was able to diagnose that it A) had a front wheel in need of truing and B) the return spring on one front brake arm was shot, those two things conspired for some pretty serious brake rub hence his issue.
give me a brake

I thought I would need to make a trip to the used bike parts store but as luck would have it rummaging in my parts bin I was able to come up with a nice set of Shimano Deore canti's.  After truing the front wheel and a host of other items like; cleaning and lubing the chain, adjusting the front derailleur so all 3 chainrings worked, wiping down the frame , lubing the seat post and stem and putting air in the tires the bike was ready for pick up.

campus bike ready to go
The nice thing about a Motiv is that it is serviceable and if it does get stolen its not a huge loss.

Dude seriously put me back together already!
Now that the Torpado is back in the bike stand I should probably get to work on it as well as continuing to ride my bike.  

Until next time ride, smile and repeat.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Le Mixte Fran├žais Part Deux

Hello friends! after a long hiatus I am finally posting.  I got this PH18L Peugeot Mixte back in March because I had Mixtes on the brain (curse you Mixte Heaven) and it was a great price and I thought I could build it up as a nice ladies city bike.  I then recalled that my daughter had outgrown her bike and the grandparents had promised a bike as a birthday present (January).  Since this was a small size I asked the girl if she liked it, she did, and checked the size, it fit, and then checked to see if the grandparents had done anything about a new bike, they hadn't, and if they were interested in financing the bike and new parts if I supplied the labor, they were.  So with all that settled I ordered some parts and then promptly did nothing.

The bike had serviceable tires one it but they showed their age and had kind of a ugly mustard brown sidewall so I asked the girl what kind of tire she wanted showing her a variety of options, she chose the Schwable Delta cruiser white walls.  Very nice.
The cables were also serviceable but were a fraying mismash of blue housing that matched the bike color (probably original) and basic black so once again I showed the girl a variety of options and she went with the Jagwire gold braided.  She has style that girl and she will be my consultant on all future mixte builds.
The original saddle was also serviceable but tired and it had a tear in it so the girl picked out this basic Selle Royale city cruiser saddle.

As I said this bike sat for months for reasons I don't quite understand myself but it dawned on me that A) summer was slipping away, B) the grandparents were asking how the bike was coming along and C) I didn't have to do a complete tear down (gasp) I just needed to make it rideable for the summer.  So that is my dirty little secret on this bike, I am doing it backwards, I hung all the pretty new parts so it can be ridden now and when the dark, damp winter comes I will do the hidden work on bearings and the like.

Now even though I took a "short cut" to get this bike on the road while the sun is still high in the sky I did put in some work;

  • Seat post removed and greased
  • Stem removed and greased
  • frame wiped down with armor all wipes
  • checked headset for play
  • hubs checked for smoothness, wheels checked for true
  • crank checked for smoothness and pedals for spin
  • new shift and brake cables and housing and adjustments
  • checked chain for wear then cleaned and lubed it, checked freewheel for wear
  • new saddle
  • new tires and tubes
This winter I will rebuild all the main bearings, give it a 3 step wax job and rebuild the pedals and maybe put on a new freewheel and chain but it was great to see the smile on my girls face when she saw the finished product today and got to ride it it around.
it actually works!

In profile

Front view

rear view
I half jokingly told her that she is my rolling billboard and that if any ladies compliment her on the bike she can tell them that her dad can build them one.  Now I just need to ride my own bike and then I can go for a spin with my girl.  Then I can take my own advice and ride, smile and repeat.