This blog is not about any one topic. It is about the many things the interest me and places I've been. It's about Travel, Bikes, Photography, Fly Fishing, Nature, Scenery, Projects, Genealogy, etc (the order of importance changes constantly!). Usually whatever is currently occupying my mind and time. Maybe something for everyone....or not!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The '70 'burb

Finally got a chance to take a few photographs of the completed 1970 Schwinn Suburban.  This is a pretty nice bike...really heavy and built for at least another 40 years!
1970 Ladies Schwinn Suburban "The Burb" 5-speed
Considering this one had a little more rust than my other three, it still cleaned up really nice.  As the others did, it had a complete tear down and overhaul.  So this bike is like new mechanically, but with a little patina!  I'm still amazed at how well the rust can be removed, then polished and waxed to protect it.  The frame and painted parts were also derusted and buffed to bring back some shine, then waxed.  Since I had originally intended on keeping this one for myself, I indulged in new, puncture resistant Continental TourRide tires, and donated the old gum walls (as well as some other parts removed from my projects) to the Sacramento Bike Kitchen as they were still in decent shape.  I just don't like the gumwalls!

New brake pads and a check up with my LBS (he does this for me for free!!!) and she is good to go!
Shiny chainring, crank, bow pedals, pie plate, and derailleur.  Rehabbed freewheel, chain, and chainguard.

Seat completely rehabbed to shine!

Serial number on head tube.  Polished brake caliper and new brake pads. 

Shiny handlebars, stem , brake levers, gear shifter
For more photos of before and after, go to my flickr account.

This one is soon to be on the market.  Hope to find her a good home, where she will be well loved!

1958 Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix

About a month ago, I picked up this old Raleigh club bicycle at the local auction.  So far, it's the only thing we've bought there, tho' the Dude goes almost every week!
'58 Raleigh "Lenton Grand Prix"
It was listed in the auction pages as a 1951 Lenton. When we previewed it the day before the auction, I didn't know much about the club or touring bikes, but saw the Raleigh headbadge and decided I wanted to try to get it as it had what seemed to be a really unusual setup: an internally geared Sturmey Archer 3-spd hub w/ expanding brake, as well as a rear derailleur (4 cog), front derailleur for a double chain wheel with a hand shifter mounted on the seat tube, and expanding (ie: drum) brakes instead of caliper brakes.  I really thought it was newer than the '50's, due to the plastic fenders.  It also had alot of 'crap' mounted onto it, like a rear cafe lock, beat up rear rack, chain lock covered in lime green plastic wrapped around the seat tube, front flashlight mount on the handlebars, a Schwinn bicycle pump jerry-rigged under the top tube (original pump missing), and a gel seat cover over the Brooks seat.  But, I went home and did some online research into what it might be worth so I would be prepared.  Mind you, I don't like to pay much more than about $100 for any old bike anyway.

So, auction day...we wait 'til almost 1:00 before it came up.  The day was pretty slow, and the auctioneer tried to start it out at $100.  No takers, so he kept dropping it.  We waited, and he finally said they would be passing this at $50 if no one bid.  The Dude looked at me, I said 'yeah', so he raised his card.  Someone else bid $55, he promptly bid $60, and no one else bid.  Since I'd planned on going up to $100, I was very happy.  With the fees, it came to $73.00!

Got it home, really looked it over, took off all the 'crap', and then re-checked the internet.  Noting the serial number, hub manufacture date (Dec 1953), and I also found the remnants of an LA bike license with expiration date of 1960.

Serial number.

Sturmey Archer AB hub (3-spd w/ expanding brake) and date of 12-53 (Dec 1953).

Process of elimination through online sources such as Sheldon Brown (who had one set up like the one I bought) and various images, determined the bike was a 1958.  These bikes would have come with caliper brakes and the most common gearing would have been an 8-10 speed with rear derailleur (4-5 cog) and the front double chainwheel with the Cyclo-benelux 'suicide' shifter on the seat tube.  It was also offered as an alternate with a Sturmey Archer 3-speed IGH (no derailleurs).   So to have both set ups is a little unusual.

Cyclo-benelux rear derailleur attached to Sturmey Archer AB 3-spd hub w/ drum brake.
Cyclo-benelux 'suicide' derailleur for double chainwheel
Nice frame lugs on head tube.
I found out that the fenders were celluloid and original to the bike.  It is constructed of Reynolds 531 Tubing and is a Reg Harris model.

These bikes were the premier club bike for the day.  Club bikes were manufactured for the recreational enthusiast, rather than professional racers.  In my research, I found a few posts on bike forums indicating that enthusiasts would sometimes install this type of setup in the youth of the bike to get more gears.  One post, indicated a few gear redundencies, but otherwise very operational.  I personally can't imagine fiddling with all those options, but I guess we've always been fond of our technological add-ons.  I can just imagine a couple of bike jocks standing around comparing their bikes, and the owner of this one, impressing his buddies with his gearing and braking prowess!  Arrr Arrr Arrr!

I haven't started the tear down on this one yet, as I'm still working on my '55 Schwinn Lightweight (only recently found my replacement rim!).  But, I hope to get to it soon!

Friday, March 30, 2012

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!

Today was absolutely gorgeous!  The first day that really felt like spring.  So, we decided to truck our new bikes down to town and take a little ride.  Both new Electras loaded into the back of the Chevy (we have a Thule receiver hitch and rack ordered for my car) drove the whopping 3 miles (1 mile on our dirt road and 2 miles on Fiddletown Road) down to town and parked by the RV park & fairgrounds to unload.  This was my first real chance to ride the Amsterdam Royal 8i, having only test rode it around the parking lot at East Sac Bike

So we wandered around the RV park, through Amador County Fairgrounds,
The Dude on his Electra Vince 3i in front of the Pokerville Saloon @ the fairgrounds.

up to an old building on a hill to take some photos,
The Dude's Electra Vince 3i Cruiser

Electra Amsterdam Royal 8i

I look like a dork!
to the Vintage Market for a sandwich and bottled, old fashioned sodas.
Then it was off to an estate sale up Pacific Street that the Dude had seen advertised in the local paper, where we rode past the old Plymouth mine with old rusting equipment everywhere.  My bell was dinging by itself so everyone thought I was ringing at them.  Had several people in their yards look up, smile and wave at me!  Bought two large Pyrex measuring bowls at the estate sale.  After which, we stopped by the library to return two books.  Rae, the librarian, test rode my bike up and down Main Street, ringing the bell with a big grin on her face!
Then it was back to the truck to load up and head home.  Nice ride around town.  I love this bike.  Wish I lived where we had more bikeable territory, but riding these country roads would be downright dangerous.  Looking forward to cruising into Fort Collins to enjoy the sidewalk cafes!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Not true, but not untrue!

So, I tried one more time on the front wheel of the 'burb.  Still couldn't get it just so.  Took it to Bill @ my LBS.  He puts it on his stand, makes a few adjustments, gives me some pointers, and said that I really didn't do too bad.  That the 40+ yr old wheel will probably never be quite true again, unless I want to replace all of the spokes, which may not help.

He said the slight low spot (or flat spot) will not affect the ride, and I'll probably never notice it.

So, all that stress for nothin'!  I guess it's nice to hear I did the best I could for it!

And to top it off, Bill wouldn't charge me!  He's done that before.  Have to think of something to do for him!

The bikes almost back together, had to do some work on the seat.  Can't wait for the rain to stop so I can take a test ride, and some photos!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Truing a wheel

It's taking quite a long time to finish my '70 Schwinn Suburban!  It will be a great bike when I'm done, but needed more work than I initially thought.  Most of it has been labor, but I've also probably spent  more than the bike is worth, but not too much more.  Oh well, I intended to keep this one anyway.

What has kept me from working on it, or rather, working on it sporadically, is that I needed to true both the wheels.  Most people who work on bikes (according to blogs, websites, and books) don't recommend doing this unless you have some experience.  Making a few minor tweaks is acceptable, but not an entire readjust.  Am I ever deterred by this.....No.  I plunge ahead.  Well not really plunge, but it doesn't stop me!  After all, I've always thought I'd inherited a little bit of my grandfather's engineering abilities, a little being the operative term here!

So I read up about truing in my Schwinn Tech and Spec by Geoff Greene (great book, BTW).  I learn about 'dish' and 'true'.  I find that, yes, both wheels are dished, meaning the rims are not centered over the center of the axle.  They are both also 'wobbly' meaning that as the wheel rotates, the rim wobbles back and forth abit.  I start w/ the rear wheel which has the derailleur, without the tire on it, and mounted loosely in the rear dropouts, with the bike upside down on the garage floor.  I do not have a truing stand or a work stand, so this is the only method available to me.  I manage to correct the dish and true in less than two hours!  Keep in mind, that as I'm truing and removing dish, I'm also constantly checking to make sure that the spokes seem to be the same tension, ie: none are getting loose and sloppy.  So, wish I had a spoke tension guage!  That was mentally taxing! 

A few days later, I begin on the front wheel.  I try the same method, but using the front forks.  I try this for about 45 minutes, seeming to get nowhere.  I find that I don't really have anything to guage the dish or true so it becomes laborious and mentally exhausting.  On the rear wheel, I had two places of reference on the frame of the bike to visually check the distance of the rim from it as it rotated (hope that makes sense).  Enough for one day!

Two days later, I decide to move the front wheel to the back, mounting them in the rear dropouts.  There is just enough axle, with the axle nuts placed inside the rear dropouts, to 'hang' the wheel in them.  And I begin again.  I spend about another 45 minutes, seeming to get nowhere.  Not sure if it's a state of mind thing, or something else.  I have managed to move the rim over, roughly centered it, but I just can't seem to get true.  And as I change it in one place, it just seems to mess it up somewhere else.  I realize rather late, that it seems a couple of spokes aren't really turning in the spoke nipples.

I've checked with the Sac Bike Kitchen Calendar, but no wheel truing class in the near future, :(.  So, the front wheel is again waiting for me to make another try before giving up and taking it to my LBS to have a go at it.  At least I tried!

Otherwise, everything else is back together.  I'm also trying to decide which rack to put on the back.  A twin rear carrier baskets, or a black flat Wald rack.  Hope to post a completed bike this week (fingers crossed)!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Going to the Auction!

We recently had an auction company move into the old Jackson Motors location.  Right before the recession, Jackson Motors built a brand new dealership in Martell.  Guess what?  They closed down, like many other dealerships in the nation, leaving two, large, vacant buildings in our otherwise small county.  The old building was unique and we wondered what could go in there.  Then the auction came to town! 

On Friday's, the Dude goes to 'preview' the stuff that's going to be auctioned on Saturday.  Sometimes it's good stuff, other's it just plain junk that I can't imagine anyone wanting!  The Dude goes sometimes just for the entertainment value!  You'd think that small towns wouldn't have the same Auction Characters that larger cities do (imagine Storage Wars personas!), but we have them just the same!

We went the very first time they opened.  I spent the first two hours just watching people and their 'style'!  The auction gets about 50 people every week.  I've been back another time, Dude has been a dozen. 

We have the cryptic bidder, who doesn't want anyone else to know he/she is bidding.  They have developed very discreet methods of bidding.  One guy has his bidder number on the back of a clipboard that he keeps on his lap.  When he bids, he lifts it up and appears to look at something on the board, then quickly lowers it.  Another person, keeps the bidder number card in his front pocket and slides it up an inch or so when he bids.  Then there are those who come in and hang in the back so others can't see them and don't talk to anyone.  They exude an aura of, "don't talk to me".  I'm not sure what they are hiding, but this is such a small community that I don't think they really invisible!

Then, there is one lady, who when she bids, holds up her bidder card vertically at arms length and keeps it there until she's done.  Everyone at this point knows she will bid until she gets what she wants, and she usually gets the items, so they bid a couple of times, then stop.  I think she's a local antique/thrift store merchant.

Another one has affixed her bidder card to a badminton racket.  I think if you were close to her that thing might be dangerous as she whips it into the air!  She is also a local merchant.

Then, there's the attention hog.  The one's who only nod their head with a poker face, bid quite often on certain things, the auction staff know they are going to bid so they perch themselves close to these buyers awaiting for their bid.  Once they do bid, and another bidder follows up, the attention bidder will not bid again right away, there will be a lengthy pause, with the staff member standing there looking at them.  After a few moments, the bidder will simply nod.  Perhaps, actually lifting a bidder card to bid is just too much physical exertion.  It's almost as if this bidder enjoys the undivided attention of the staff, not to mention the other bidders who are waiting to see if they will counter bid. 

It is an interesting study in human nature.  And certainly makes for some weekend entertainment in small, country county.  Oh, and the deli is just down the street!