Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!



Another break from Yellowstone. Kate and her friend Angela and I went canoing down at Lake Como last Sunday. The trip was fun, if smoky and surreal and inhumanly windy by the time we drove back. On the way out of the access road to the lake, we noticed a pile of free stuff at the bottom of somebody's driveway. Three people, PFD's and paddles in the car already: was there really room for a junky free bike? There was, after some wrangling and a few looks from Kate. I give her a lot of credit for putting up with both my bike habit and my tinkering habit. So, it stood on its wobbly little kickstand until tonight, when a free hour and a half gave me a chance to do the initial disassembly:

The first thing to do was get rid of the hunk of chain that had been wrapped around the seatpost and locked (though mercifully not through the frame)

I managed to get the lock off by wrestling the seatpost out of the frame. It had been installed without any grease:

Next, I took a look at the stem and handlebars. I decided for now that I would remove the whole business together. The headlight, brakes, shifter, and cables will all be somewhat separate projects:

Next came the chain guard:

And the rear wheel.

The oil inside this three-speed hub was probably pretty gummed up, so I dripped in a little tri-flow. Pocketa-pocketa went the freewheel, and your repairman imagined a Mitty-esque fantasy world where he kept the entire bike fleet of the Swiss army rolling.... No, not really, but the freewheel settled into a pretty steady tick after a few spins. It sounds pretty solid. Next came the rear fender, now the front fork, with fender and wheel attached at first. They all came apart pretty well. The rust pattern on this fork suggests that the bike was leaned over against some material (possibly hay in a barn) that got wet from time to time.

A note on the wheels. They seem pretty decent. This bike wasn't ridden much. I hope to be able to true the wheels up a bit, but the threads on the spokes are probably corroded the worst of any part of the bike. Also, I didn't take the tires off tonight, but they are in good shape, suggesting storage out of the sun. Who knows- the tubes may still be OK in there. Also, the tires are 26X1 3/8. You would think that that means the rims might take any old MTB tire, and you, like me, would be wrong. The bead diameter is slightly different. Such tires are a little harder to come by, but can sometimes be found at K-Mart or several of the other various Marts.

Lastly, the pedals come off the Ashtabula cranks (named for the town in Ohio where they were produced) and the cranks come out of the bottom bracket:

And there it all is. The headset cups and outer bearing races in the bottom bracket are still attached, but the frame is ready for stripping and paint. I'll do that, along with paint removal on the fenders, chain guard, and fork next time. The nice thing is I'll have lots of time to wait while the stripper works that I can spend getting the handlebar stuff apart. Ideally, I'm hoping to repaint this bike and reassemble it into working order as a decent three-speed. I'd really like to refurbish the classic looking headlight to take a Luxeon LED or a halogen and rechargeable battery pack. I've set myself some rules for this build as well. Mostly, no new components. Everything I took off the bike will probably go back on, save the cheesy reflectors (as long as I fit it with decent lights. Elbow grease, Phil Grease, stripper, and paint are all acceptable inputs, as are mods to the headlight, because it is just so dang cool looking. I've also sworn myself not to paint any metallic/chrome parts metallic colors. A little rust here and there will just have to be lived with. A liberal coating of oil and good care will keep it from spreading.