The Long bike is back on the road again and rolling better than ever!
I thought I'd do a super quick post to say that I've finally got her back on the road.
I wasn't sure if I'd keep using the same bike frame since I haven't been able to find a suitable bottom bracket, but I decided to persist with the old Raleigh frame. It's been reliable and the other frame I've got, which has a decent bottom bracket, has got rust poking through the paint and it's bubbling all over the place.
Last week I stripped the long bike down to basics to see what could be done. Most of the parts were totally worn. Although I'd only recently refurbished the drive train I tried to avoid replacing too many parts and the result was a pretty inferior ride! Besides the exploding chain, which I've used again except this time I've joined it with an appropriate link, I've realized that the bottom bracket had worn out prematurely, there was quite a bit of lateral movement which was wasting energy and causing extra wear on all the other bits. The 'Biopace' chain ring set had worn out sooner than should because I used it for too long with a worn chain and a wonky bottom bracket so I decided to ditch that too!
I knew the bracket I'd recently installed was not so great but I didn't realize how bad it had become. When I went to turn the axle by hand it would barely move! I'd seen a decent one at the tip shop a couple of days before so went back to get it but discovered some other womble had already taken it! Eventually I found one that seemed OK so I pulled it out hoping it would be worth the trouble. Having installed the bearings and packed the lot with some pretty old marine grease I found it much better than the last set but it still has more give in it than I'm happy with. I reckon a decent bottom bracket must be the rarest bike part to find at the tip and too expensive to buy new! I'll keep tightening this one and hope I can find something to replace it with soon.
Finally, with a few days to play I managed to clean out my bike cupboard/shed and re-discover all the bike parts I'd been hoarding for the past 10 years. Amongst the mess was a decent set of handle bars with gear shifters, brake levers and some nice hand grips so I decided to rip out the old bars, replace the cables and install a whole new handlebar unit... Yeee Haa!
I ended up keeping my simple 6 speed shifter since I'd managed to find a couple of decent rear wheels with 6 speed cogs which meant I didn't need to replace my chain or anything else... besides less gears less worries I reckon! After attaching a brand new, from the shops, gear cable and reconnecting the chain, bottom bracket etc... I took the bike for a bit of a test ride and was in a state of bliss as it shifted gears effortlessly! (Of course this time I made sure the chain was attached properly and the derailleur was tuned perfectly!)
It seemed to take no time at all to attach the other cables and have everything tuned nicely and ready to roll. I was so glad to get the panniers back on and to actually start riding again. For a final touch I cut the pink hand grips off the kids bars and put on a $5 set of blue foam ones. The blue matches other bits of colour on the bike... Not that I've ever cared about the way it looks but now that I'm so happy with it I'm starting to think about adding some more blue. ;) Its the colour of our school team Gudbilling ( the snake) so the kids are keen to turn the bike into a mascot!
All this fiddling with decrepit bikes might seem like a waste of time to some people but who cares what they think! I know there's plenty of people who could easily have told me about all my mistakes before I made them but, how would I really know? (well there's some mistakes I'm happy to learn about from others). I have been on the edge of tossing this old bike out so many times, but once again I have played around with it for a while and learned a bunch of new stuff about how it all goes together. Maybe next time I'll chuck it out but right now I'm in love with my old heap of junk bike again!
On Wednesday I took the bike for a ride and discovered to my disgust that I've already become unfit and out of shape. Sweat pouring off me. It seems more effort to peddle now than it did when the bike broke down, even though the rear wheel and bottom bracket are smoother than ever and the old bearings had virtually seized! Too bad so sad. At least I'm back in the saddle.