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Posts Tagged ‘department store bicycles’

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.

ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

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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.

ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

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ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

Click for larger image.

ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

Click for larger image

ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

Click for larger image

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~

montgomery ward, open road, classic road bike, vintage road bike

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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…

Murray, nassau, cruiser bike

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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!

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That is right. Cycling is a dreamworld. The sportive cyclists, the racers, the club riders, or even the tight-jean hipsters skidding all over for the hell of it are in a fantasy world. Even I am in a fantasy world. Being able to spend ten hours or more of your week on a bicycle worth more than many people’s cars is a world apart from everything else.

There is a broad difference between what we would consider a typical cyclist and the typical bike owner. From an outside realization, most people see bicycles as toys or things meant to rust out in the back yard. You can thank that all bicycles have been sold in the toy section of department and big-box stores for as long as I can remember. Bicycles have been relegated as something to look down upon. (This could spark a whole week worth of posts)

I decided to take a ride around town and see if I could find any examples of any serious or utilitarian bikes or cyclists; here is what I found.

Buckhannon is a college town. There would of course be bicycles. The ones here were all low budget department store bicycles left out in the elements all semester which make me wonder why they were brought to campus in the first place. There were no outstanding specimens or anything I could say anything special about in concerns of the usefulness of the bike. (more…)

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