Monday, June 28, 2010

Delta Cruisers and Carradice

I got a text message from my wife this afternoon.  "You have packages!" For some odd reason, UPS claimed there was  "natural disaster" somewhere around Spokane, WA that delayed the arrival a couple days.  But I knew exactly what she was talking about.  The Delta Cruisers had arrived.

I hopped on the Twenty that I rode in to work on this morning and "raced," or at least went as fast as a Twenty can carry you, home.

The rest of the next couple hours was spent pulling the original rubber off the Tourist and putting on these gorgeous cream-colored beauties.

The front was no problem at all.  Once the brake pads were removed and the axle lined up with the keyhole slot in the fork, the wheel dropped right out.  The original tire was a bit difficult to get off.  The tube was the original one too and had two very old patches on it.  I was a little nervous the Delta Cruisers wouldn't fit as they seemed a bit large.  In fact, the first time I put air in it up to 35psi, I noticed some of the bead sticking out.  I let a little air out and pushed it in, re-pumped to 40psi (these are rated max 45psi) and it held fine.

The rear... well, let's just say it wasn't so easy.  Here were the steps:

  • Undo shift cable
  • Remove brake shoes
  • Undo brake guides and slide them back so wheel clears them
  • Remove axle nuts (indicator nut on the right, standard nut on the left) and  washers.  Don't mix them up!
  • Remove wheel alignment nuts on the back of drop outs
  • Slide wheel forward and remove chain from cog
  • Slide wheel back out of drops
  • Watch for the unique wheel alignment/chain tensioner
I HOPE that I never get a flat on this thing while I'm on a long ride.  It would be very unpleasant to have to undo all this in the wild.

I also took the opportunity, while I had her all ripped apart to adjust the chain (it was a bit loose previously) and then re-set the rear brakes.  This was the most time consuming part.  Adjusting rod brakes appears to be an art that will take me some time to master.

Anyway, I got it all done! and look at this lovely girl!!

Another surprise was my Carradice Barley saddle bag that arrived from England.  I got a great deal on this bag, even shipped from across the pond.  What quality!  Now I know why everyone talks about this bag. 

One thing I've learned from mounting other saddle bags with leather loops to Brooks saddles is that the metal very quickly chews up the leather on the loop strap.  While I'm sure you could get replacements, I "line" the loop on the saddle with a short 1.5 inch section of old road inner tube.  I save all my old inner tubes.  They come in handy for so many things.  From buffers to keep a chain from hitting the chain stay to makeshift bungee cords to tie something to a rack, they are very handy to have.

Here you can see the short section of tube with the leather strap running through it.  The easiest way to do this is to push the tube through first and position it, then slide the strap up through the inner part of the tube.  It can be a bit tricky, but it really saves straps from the wear of metal on leather.

I'm riding her in tomorrow, no doubt about it.  I'll post my impressions of the ride.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Greasy fingernails

I tried my hardest to get my hands back to a presentable fashion for work...  I personally think its a sign of a GREAT weekend when you come in on Monday morning with a little grease under the nails.  A summary of my antics:

Stripped a Vintage Peugeot
I picked up a late 70s/early 80s Peugeot from my parents last weekend.  It was the bright yellow version that you see everywhere and in horrible shape.  I had them buy it sight unseen for $20 a month or so ago.  I was ready to just ship it off to the thrift store when my middle son, who is 13, decided he wanted to start riding a "racing bike" as opposed to his Schwinn mountain bike.  I stripped it down to a bare frame, sanded and re-painted it silver.  Painted out the lug seams in red.  I have a set of decals coming - not the original ones, but they say Peugeot on them.  The rear Simplex derailleur is low end, but it works.  I still need to find a set of brake levers with cable stops in them.  I'm about 60% of the way done with this bike. 

Raleigh Twenty Detailing
I can't believe that I'd never detailed out the rims and spokes on the brown Raleigh Twenty.  Spent some time with the Wenol polishing up the rims.  A little steel wool and grease on the spokes and they look good as new. I also re-connected the wire in the head tube that keeps the stem/handlebar from coming all the way out.  I liked having the extra inch or so of height but I was having some visions of the thing coming off in my hands when I hit a bump at higher speeds... not pleasant.  I already have a couple crowns on my front teeth from a bicycle incident when I was in high school.

Sterling Mountain Bike Overhaul
A friend and neighbor brought over a couple mountain bikes that he had leftover when a couple med students moved out of an apartment he owns.  Just wanted to get "my take" on what to do with them.  The Sterling has Shimano Exage components and a decent frame, the other bike was crap with no-name pot metal components.  My vote was to keep the Sterling and fix it up for his granddaughter (it is kind of a pink/purple color).  It needs new tires.  The other one should go to the thrift shop.  Would I do the fixing on the Sterling?  For a bottle of nice wine? Heck Yeah!!  So I guess that makes me a "professional bicycle mechanic" now...  Who'd a guessed it.

Admired the Raleigh Tourist
The whole weekend, she just sat there looking drop-dead gorgeous... I removed the fenders prepping for her new set of Schwalbe Delta Cruisers (that are three days behind schedule from UPS - thank you very little).  Nice looking bike, for sure...


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Raleigh Tourist - Day 1 impressions

I rode the Tourist in to work yesterday for the first time.  It was rumored to be the nicest day of the rest of the week and I was dying to get it on the road.

The morning was cool and I decided rather than dress in my typical road cycling gear (wool/chamois cycling shorts, Smartwool T-shirt and a wool long-sleeved cycling "jumper"), I'd go street clothes.  I'm lucky that I can get away with jeans and a button down shirt with black Ecco shoes at work.  I threw on a black North Face jacket over that and took off.

My ride route to work is basically flat for the first 3 miles, then a long downhill to Lake Washington.  From there, I cross the I-90 bridge to Bellevue, WA with a small, but significant hill into Factoria, where my office is located. Overall it's 6.5 miles one-way.  Coming home is the exact reverse, and the "long slow downhill" becomes a REALLY long VERY slow uphill...

First thing I noticed is just how comfortable a broken in Brooks B-66 can be.  How to say it nicely... it just melts into your backside like you are part of the bike. In a nice way.  Oh, come on, you know what I mean!!  It is squeaky though.  I need to lube up the springs and other metal points to try and eliminate the squeak.

The Tourist steers like a boat - long, smooth and graceful.  The long wheelbase holds its line very well.  It is not meant for agile turning.  There are a couple sections of trail where you need to make a pretty tight turn and I needed to really think this through before carving a line.  I just made the corner as wide as I could.  The handlebars just barely missed my knees...

There were a significant number of rattles, I think primarily coming from the fenders.  I spotted these leather washers on Velo-Orange the other day and wondered if they might take out some of the rattles.  I'm going to be taking her apart this weekend to install my new Schawlbe Delta Cruisers and tubes from Calhoun Cycle in Minneapolis.  I might try and find some leather washers locally, possibly at Dutch Bike.

The other big mistake I made was pumping the tires up.  They are original Raleigh Roadster tires rated for a max of 50 PSI and I took them up to this pressure, as I usually do with my road bikes.  But I think these tires are meant to ride a little softer.  The ride felt a little stiffer and bumpier than before when the pressure was lower.  I need to let a little air out.  What do you all ride at in terms of pressure on these?  I've had bad experiences with "snakebite" flats on my road bikes.  The I-90 trail has a couple expansion joints in the bridge that really play hell with tires and tubes if the pressure is too low.

The way home was a challenge.  The day warmed up to mid-70s and I had to ride the long slow hill in street clothes.  I got my coat off and into my messenger bag, but too late.  I'd already started to sweat.  Cotton blue jeans are horrible to ride in when you have a bit of sweat going on - sticky. The Tourist is no lightweight and I could really feel the extra weight on this hill.  I just dropped it into 1st and plodded along, eventually making it to the top.  I think I'm going to need to find some more appropriate cycle attire for summer riding that is work friendly and yet not too hot for the rides home. Any suggestions?


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raleigh Tourist

OK, here is the surprise...

I've been falling more and more into the habit of reading LovelyBike, 2Whls3Spds, and, of course, Sheldon's sites amongst many others.  After finding and re-habbing the Twenties, I realized that they would not be bikes that I would ride for any kind of distance or back roads touring.  They are beach bikes and tootling around bikes.  I needed a roadster!  My wife had her Raleigh Sport from 1980, I needed a mate to it.

The Raleigh Tourist that was on eBay all last week is now in my garage!!!

After the bidding ended, I was the high bidder but didn't clear the reserve price set by the seller.  I immediately contacted them, informed him/her that I was the high bidder, lived about an hour away and could stop by and take a look.  Dick (the seller) had a reserve set at $550 for the bike.  We negotiated a lower price (still much more than I usually pay for a bike, but this one was truly worth it, IMHO), right around $400.  This was all on Tuesday.  I had to wait all week to drive down to Gig Harbor.  THAT was the hardest part!!

I got up at 5:30AM this morning, filled the tank on our minivan, mounted a bike rack and took off.  It was a drizzly, wet morning, but there was very light traffic heading south on I-5.  It had been forever since I drove across the Tacoma Narrows bridge.  The mental images I have of it are only the classic movie of Galloping Gertie breaking apart in the wind.  You can't help but think of this as you drive across it now.  It is a spectacular crossing and I'd love to try it on a bike someday.

After getting a little lost, I finally made it to Dick's house.  He was an elderly gentleman in his upper 70's (I'm guessing).  We chatted for a bit.  He was a bike collector, and at one time he had over 40 bicycles, many of them from prior to the turn of the century!  Penny Farthings and the like!!  This was his last bike.  A 1980 Raleigh Tourist... in STUNNING condition.

As I walked up to the bike, I could tell it been well taken care of, possibly not even ridden.  Every decal was intact, no paint scratches on the frame - none.  The only detectable flaw I could find was a small dent in the front fender - looks like a BB struck it, but the paint is still intact in the impression.  The Brooks saddle is a leather B-66, with the modern steel rivets.  The saddle is in great condition, the black color is slightly worn through in a few spots.  Nothing a fresh coat of Proofhide won't nourish.

It has the original Raleigh bell.  Bright and clean it rings, not a speck of rust.  The central medallion has a frosted metal look that is striking against the chrome of the bell.  Looks like a vintage coin...
The thumb shifter validates the dating on this roadster.  It's a 1980 (see hub below). I'm not sure when Raleigh stopped shipping Tourist's to the US, but this must've been near the end.  Dick was the original owner.  He purchased her in Seattle, near Green Lake.


One interesting thing is the front wheel.  I believe it is a replacement.  It does NOT have the Raleigh-red hub nuts.  It also has a dyno-hub!  Not hooked up to any wiring or lighting, but there it is.  I wonder if at some point there was work being done and the wheels were accidentally interchanged with a Superbe.  Dick told me he had an extra wheel in the attic.  It may be the stock wheel.  He was going to check on it and, if it is, I will pick it up sometime in the future. The Westwood rims are in stellar condition, no dents and arrow true.  The tyres are original Raleigh Roadsters 40-635 28 x 1.5 with plenty of tread left.  I so admire Velouria and the "co-inhabitant's" bikes with the Schwalbe cream colored tyres on LovelyBike, I wanted to convert these.  I probably still will just to preserve these stock tyres in their original condition.

The hub clearly says "80" indicating the age.  It's her 30th birthday.  I think the month is "1"  More to come as I clean her up.

Here is the last picture for now... the chain guard is in great shape. The overall color scheme is the black with red and gold pin striping and decal sets.  Even has original aluminum air pump.

So... that's it for now.  Some questions I have... did this originally have a Pletscher rack on it?  Could the dyno-hub be stock?  The rod brakes appear to work fine, but the front need adjusting and possibly new pads.  Are rod brake pads "special" or can you use any set of brake pads with a central bolt fitting, something like a Koolstop Continental?

Thanks for getting me hooked everyone!


Up early...

It's 6AM and I'm on my way down to Gig Harbor. There is a bike rack on the car. I have an hour drive each way ahead of me...


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thoughts about speed and shame

I had a nice leisurely ride home from work today. The Twenty (I'm thinking of calling it Otto) goes at a pace of it's own. No matter, I just settled in and enjoyed the ride. I never noticed the gorgeous ferns on the side of the road before as I commuted back on my road bikes. There were a number of things that became more noticeable - road hazards, animals and insects, the sounds of the trees and wind.  I was passed by the spandex crowd a few times but it didn't bother me at all. I came to the realization that speed blinds you to the passing details... the wind in your ears deafens you to the sound of the world. 

Then came the hill near our house. It's a good 9% or better grade. There are some things English 3-speeds ( and my legs) were just not meant to do. 9% grade hills are one of them. No shame to get off and walk.I have to admit in my younger days I would have seen it as a sign of weakness to get off and walk.  Now, it just doesn't matter.  I enjoyed the even slower pace for a while, stopping to examine the ever growing verge by the side of the road.  No shame at all...


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Twenty, cafe style

This is how the Brown Twenty likes to roll on a semi-overcast morn outside of Seattle... Cafe Style!

I rode in to work today on the brown guy (I really need some names for the bikes). Street clothes! Stopped by the library on the way in to drop off some books - it's amazing how well designed a Pletscher rack is. It snugged the books down just fine, even over bumps. I am going to need to look for some new pedals though. The antique ones I picked up from eBay and shipped from England are very creaky. Wondering about bearing replacement? Is it even worth it?


PS- Some really exciting news to post this Saturday!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Factoria Blvd SE,Bellevue,United States

Friday, June 11, 2010

Playing Around

Blogger has a new Template designer... fun!  I was always a guy who liked to change around the furniture in my room every few months.  Now I have a blog to do that with.