Last Wednesday, someone donated three older bicycles to me. They were grungy, and felt like they had a major film layer of coal or sap or some kind of odd mix of the two; as if they were in someone’s basement for forty years. Well, to my surprise, they were in pretty decent shape. The tires were not dry-rotted and held air. I thought, “Hey, this will be a good project to work on!” as I looked them over. The main problems were to update the brake cables, housing, bar tape, and clean up the components.
I used a lot of steel wool and Simple Green to remove the gunk from the frames, and even more steel wool to polish the rims, and any other chromed parts that started to have rust blemishes. Hard work (2+ hrs, each), but the shine was totally worth it.
I ended up repacking all of the bearings on the hubs and headset, and luckily didn’t have to pull the bottom brackets… I don’t even think I have the tools needed to pull a one piece crank from the frame… *Pfew*
The gearing on two of the road bikes were massive. like a 44/53 tooth chainring. We are in West Virginia, not Florida… On a cruising-style road bike, there is no reason for such huge gear combination. The cables in these two bikes were also rusted, and I didn’t want to spend close to $20 replacing cables, let alone housing. I had an idea… Why not just make the bikes a single speed bicycle by toying with the limit screw on the rear derailleur?
Brilliant! Since these bikes are meant for town cruising, a 44/18 gear ratio is fantastic. I’m sure whoever I sell these bikes to are not going to go try out all of the local hills, so having them not have to worry about shifting or derailleur adjustment will just make their life easier too. The bikes also looked a lot nicer with two less bunches of housing on them. Very Chic~
The cruiser bicycle had a seized seatpost. I hate when this happens. It also kept the seat in place with one of those old, outdated clamp-on seat clamps that also clamp to the tube at the same time… Ugh… Why? Eventually I got it to move around, and get it to a very generalized height. Good enough. I hate seized seatposts… Ugh… I even hate saying seized seatposts…
So luckily enough, in between running errands, hanging out with friends, and going on a small ride, I was able to clean up and restore three bicycles over the weekend. I have about three or so hours worth of labor on each one, but I am not trying to become rich by selling old bikes; I just want people to afford and enjoy some pedal powered activities…
If you know anyone who wants a classic bike, let them know I have a couple for sale!