Sunday, March 30, 2014

A guest post from Himself; the Trailer Park Cyclist

My friend Tim Joe writes so well I couldn't resist hijacking his comments from my post about the Raleigh Sports and turning them into a guest post.  If you haven't read him then I suggest you  immediately remedy that situation and go to the trailer park cyclist.  If you have here is a little treat I couldn't let languish in the comments section.  The pictures are mine but the prose is pure TPC.

Dang, dude, those "after" shots look like they could be in the original catalog. It is an art, I think. Too bad it doesn't pay better.
An actual Raleigh Catalog shot DL22L at the left
I've been out of work for a week now, after an intense two months of almost daily labor. It looks like there will be another month before things pick back up so I have to either go look for a new job or ride my bike. I'm going to ride my bike, the Le Tour in particular. It has been a long time coming. Work (and trouble) always seems to find me sooner or later whether I want it or not.

The Le Tour in Original form

I'm running the original 27" front wheel with one of the new gumwall tires you sent me awhile back. I have a pretty good 700c wheel I bought two years ago, a Dimension product, but I don't know...I just love that 27" front end and don't want to change. The spokes are almost rusted through, however, and sooner or later it's gonna cost me some teeth if I don't replace them, or the rim. 
Le Tour in current form aka Little Miss Dangerous
But I'm planning on buying a big-ass 29er tire to put on the 700c rim and stick it on the Mongoose, making her into a sixty-niner, pardon the expression. So I gotta come up with a new front wheel for the Schwinn. 
A 69er like this Trek has a 29er front wheel and 26" rear wheel 

Oddly enough, while I was pondering all this and reading your latest post I noticed in your "Popular Posts" sidebar your piece about 27 inch rubber and re-read it. Imagine my surprise when I saw a comment by my friend Chris (three-speed) stating with no uncertainty that Sun CR 18 rims were the only choice for a 27 inch replacement rim. I am putting together my yearly $100 (free shipping) order of parts (Niagara Cycles) and they have the rims but no wheels...I would have to build the wheel, something I have never done but because I am crazy I am sure I can do it.
The Polished Sun CR18 36H beautiful and bullet proof
But the final product will cost...well, a lot. Because of my penchant for overkill, while perusing possible hubs (starting with Tiagra) I noticed the Son hubs and that started me down a whole other path. Now I am looking at lighting systems and phone chargers and hey! I'm unemployed and the truck needs tires and we are talking about a bicycle that I bought for $25 and a half pint of rum.
The Son dynamo hub is the cadillac..err. Mercedes of dynamos 
I have not rode (ridden? biked? pedaled?) more than ten miles at a time in the last...the last...I don't know. Randonneuring sounds like a great thing to me, as long as I am not doing it...but those rando bicycles, on the other hand, seem to me to be the best set up for a just in case scenario. No not zombie apocalypse, I'm not that crazy, yet, (but stick around the fridge is full of beer and I still have a little rum left) what I mean is I like the racks and the lights and so on...
Full on Rando with Racks the VO Campeur note 3rd bottle cage for Rum
Whatever. This started as a tech question but now I realize it is actually a cry for help. How did I get this way? I should be looking at porn, not bicycle parts. I should be out somewhere snorting coke and dancing with skanky women. As I type this, Little Miss Dangerous is leaning against the table next to me. I pause to pat her top tube. 

This can't end well...


Raleigh Sports DL22L 3 speed Ladies bicycle (1974?)

A couple years ago a friend was clearing out his garage in anticipation of a remodel.  Knowing I was a bike nut he offered me a pair of 3 speeds that he and his wife had once ridden while living in Boston.  I was looking for a project I could quickly turn around and sell and thought one of the 3 speeds would fit the bill.  The men's 3 speed (DL22) had a broken shift cable so I went with the Ladies version.  My mistake was thinking aloud the term "quick turn around" the bike gods ears must have perked up at that and thought "oh really....(cue maniacal laughter)".
According to the late, great Sheldon Brown the Sports models;

"were the basic transportation of the urban working class. They feature 590 mm (26 x 1 3/8) wheels with Endrick or Raleigh-pattern rims, full steel fenders (or "mudguards" to the British) "North Road" upright handlebars, and cable-operated brakes. Sports bicycles had rather more nimble frame geometry, typically with 72 degree frame angles. These bicycles were faster and lighter than roadsters. The vast majority of English bicycles that made it to the United States fall into this category."

I should note that 26" x 1 3/8 wheels are not the same as 26 " mountain bike tires, I made that mistake ordering tires once and it taught me the importance of ISO numbers.  An English 3 speed 26" wheel has an ISO of 590, a mountain bike 26" tire has an ISO of 559, the two are NOT interchangeable! 

My normal approach is to take a bike down to the frame, clean up all the parts and reassemble with new "consumables" (rubber, cables, bar wrap etc) and then tune it up.  With the Raleigh Sports I was hoping to take a shorter path due to time and money constraints.  I am not a "flipper" but I was hoping to get this bike road worthy short of my usual complete disassembly, in part because a 3 speed internally geared hub is foreign to me  and compared to working on a old 10 speed drive train it would be like speaking Zulu.  Again my thinking I could do this quickly doomed me from the start.

I knew the tires were going to have to go, first because they said "Raleigh" on them making them original equipment -i.e. 40 years old.
Secondly because, even though they held air, the front tire had a large abscess where the tube bulged and didn't allow the wheel to spin freely.
So I ordered up new tires, tubes and rim strips going with the Kenda K40 gum walls,  I love their 27" tires so I figured the 26 x 1 3/8 were a good bet.  The next stop was checking on the two places I am always concerned about with any old bike; the stem and seat post, if anything is going to be stuck or seized on an old bike these are the likely suspects.
I got both out (whew) but I am not sure they would have gone many more years before seizing up.
With this project I decided to use a trick I had first seen in one of those classic Jorgen Leth cycling race films of the early 1970s, where a mechanic uses a brush to apply grease.  I noticed a mechanic doing this at a local bike shop recently and thought "hey I should try that" - it works pretty well and is definitely cleaner than using my finger to apply grease.  A well spent buck fifty-seven.
It worked especially well with seat post and seat-tube.
And the stem and head tube.

One pervasive theme to this project was rust.  Just about any 40 year old bicycle is going to have some rust issues but I am not sure I would have survived this project without my dremel and brass wire brushes.
The worst of it was the front wheel, which I suspect was stored in a puddle, and the handle bar.  If money were not object I would have just replaced those parts but instead I attacked the rust as best I could and was up front in my craigslist description.  
One misguided short cut I tried was to loosen the headset up enough to get fresh grease on the bearings without actually removing them.  This Raleigh Sports is from the time before caged bearings so of course when I got the headset loosened and started in with the grease all those little bearing wanted to try and escape..  I reconsidered my ill planned approach and went back to removing the fork, carefully corralling the bearings, cleaning up the races and applying lots of fresh grease and then putting it all back together.  The once stiff headset is now relatively smooth.

Another favorite tool on this job was the $10 grease gun I got on Amazon.
Packed full of park bicycle grease this came in handy as both front and rear hubs had grease ports that allowed me to pump in the fresh grease.
before clean up

After a little super fine steel wool massage
I also opened up the bearing cups to get fresh grease on the bearing of both wheels.

While this bike did not get the usual ground up treatment it did get some serious love in addition to the fresh grease and new rubber.

  • New handle bar grips
  • New rear brake cable and housing
  • Brake and shifting adjustment
  • Cleaned and lubed chain
  • Lot of rust removal
  • Cleaned Frame with Armor-All wipes
  • New brake pads front and rear
The old brake pads weren't going to cut it- another original part
Although more draft horse than show horse this 3 speed should provide some-one with reliable, and fully fendered, transport.

And now I have a Peugeot course to put back together.  As always;


Monday, March 17, 2014

Hybrid Encounter; 1995 Diamond Back Approach

As you probably know if you have looked at more than two of my posts I have a thing for bike boom era 10 speeds and I rarely get out of that "wheelhouse".  Last week, however, my buddy Charlie asked me to take a look at his bike.  Charlie knows I am a bike geek and also knows I am looking for employment so I traded some bike tune up time for a few coffee cards to our mutually favorite coffee shop.

Charlie has a 20 year-old Hybrid Diamond Back Approach, near as I can tell its a 1995 model -thanks in Teal.  The bike has been under some cover but stored outside so it was in need of a dose of TLC.  First some clean up.
bath time
I had noticed upon pumping up the tires that the front wheel had the distinctive hiss of a punctured tube.  After washing the bike down I discovered the "all original" tires needed to go.
Factory Original 700x41c Avenir Lakeside tires
Sure, you could ride on them...

But not a good idea
In this part of the world even chromed steel doesn't take long to get rusty when stored outside.

But a little time with the brass wire brush equipped dremel does wonders

Taking care of the bike was pretty straight forward as I was looking to do some weather proofing and basic maintenance not a frame up rehab.  I gave it following TLC:

  • Washed the grime of the bike and then wiped it down with armor all wipes.
  • Attacked rust where I found it and then applied a light coat of 3 in 1 oil on the affected parts, not a perfect fix but it will delay the rust process.
  • Replaced the worn out tires and tubes with a new set of tubes and some used but in good shape Panaracer Pasela tourguard 700x35c tires I had in the parts bin.  
  • Since the front tire had been flat water had gotten into the rim and caused some rust and corrosion on the aluminum so I went to work on that with the dremel and brass wire brush
  • Removed and regreased the seatpost and stem, the two areas I always worry about seizing on old 10 speeds.
  • Cleaned and lubed the chain and rear cassette - yep its a 7 speed cassette hub, probably one of the first years they used a cassette instead of a freewheel hub.
  • Checked the SIS shifting which was fine -not a fan of grip shifters but these worked well.
  • Lightly sanded the brake pads and checked the brakes for proper alignment - had to make some small changes to the rear brake to get it not to rub.  I am also not a fan of cantis but these were pretty easy to dial in.
Since this bike doesn't get much use I was going for serviceable rather than doing a total refurb for a bike that was just going to go back out the porch for storage.  My friend, however, has just lost 40 pounds and started running again so the bike might figure into his activity now.  I made some suggestions about potential upgrades/replacements if he decides to do some riding.  And that process got me thinking....

The Hybrid bike is an odd "neither fish nor fowl" product of the 1990's, not really a road bike and not really a mountain bike but something of a mix, well Hybrid of the two.  Since they are not lugged they weren't really on my bike radar but getting up close and personal with one I realized they could make an awesome commuter and I know alot folks use them as such.  This example is a no-nonsense mix of CroMo, Tange and "High Ten" (aka gas pipe) steel tubing.

Also since they probably spent 30 seconds putting the frame design in a envelope to send to China they can put "designed in the USA" on it.
But I digress, back the commuting idea.  You have a serviceable steel frame, curved front fork and a TON of room for tires which equals a great commuter platform IMHO.  It also has 130mm rear dropout spacing so you could upgrade to 8 or 9 speeds if you were so inclined.  The nice thing about 7 speed stuff is you can get a new SRAM cassette and chain combo for about $25 bucks before tax and shipping.  As you can see below the 700x35c tires I put on the bike barely make a dent in the available room, I think this bike could accommodate 700x50s without fenders and 700x40s (or bigger) with fenders.  

I have plenty of other projects in the queue but "find a mid 90's hybrid to create monster commuter" has just found a way onto the list of future projects.  I hope you enjoyed this diversion from the norm, should have some progress on the Peugeot Course soon.  Until then please and repeat.
All cleaned up and ready to go