October 2005

Here’s the trick…

Get candy that you really like, that way when nobody shows up you can at least get a good start on your winter fat layer by eating all the leftovers!

I’ve spent the last few evenings ripping apart bicycles in my living room. Here’s some of the information I’ve come across and tasks I’ve completed over the last week or so…

Motobecane Nomade:

I’m making a guess that this bike is from 1976 – 1978. I could be wrong about this as there is no known way to track the date down by serial number. Unfortunately the company is no more so there really isn’t a good source of historical data. The best bet is to track down info from the components and guess. Oh well.

I stopped by Vitesse in Normal the other day and was delighted to get new bearings and a new bottom crown race for the headset. The headset is the bearing assembly that connects the front fork to the frame, and permits the fork to turn for steering and balancing. The old crown was shot and there was quite a bit of play in the fork. It’s perfect now.

Also disassembled, cleaned and repacked the bottom bracket and rear hub.

This bike is coming along nicely. Here are the major tasks which still need to be finished:

1. I would still like to tear off the rear cogs and grease up the flywheel. To do that I have to buy a special tool for about thirteen bucks so I’m going to put that project on hold for right now.

2. Worked on truing the front wheel and got it pretty close, but the spokes on the rear wheel are trashed. I can’t really change out spokes until I can take the flywheel off, so getting the back wheel in order is going to have to wait as well.

3. Brakes. New pads all the way around. The front wheel is true enough to justify putting new pads on, but if I put them on the back they would just get trashed. So new pads on the back will have to wait until the above projects are completed.

I have taken the bike out and spent some time on it. It really feels totally different than my much newer aluminum Mercier which I’ve been riding all summer. This would be a fun bike to do some real touring on.

1984 Raleigh Gran Tour

Just started tearing into this bike tonight. I’ve got to get some pictures up of this thing. It’s pink with a little white. And we’re talking straight up 80’s pink here!

This machine was built in England at Raleigh’s Carlton factory. I believe it’s one of the last true Raleighs to be made before the buy out and before they started making really cheap crap. The frame is Reynolds 531 steel. I’m really starting to like this beast.

Besides doing a full restoration on this, I would really like to change out the handlebars. Right now it’s sporting some totally crappy cruiser style bars. If I’m going to ride a pink 10 speed, it’s at least going to have drops! This will also mean replacing the brake levers as the current setup is for a more or less straight bar.

As for the drivetrain it looks like Shimano on the front and Suntour on the back. Weinmann brakes all around and I’m not sure exactly what the flywheel and cogs are yet.

Lots of work to do on this one so I’ll post more after I spend more time with the wrench.

Peace out!

You get your scrotum pinched in you bike shorts and ride for 25 miles without really noticing. Nothing in this world could be as crappy as having a raw patch on your coin purse, especially when it starts to heal…

So I’m out riding the other day and I notice this huge stack of old bikes beside a shed. I did a little asking around and found out that a friend of mine owns the property. He told me to go ahead and help myself to whatever I wanted.

Now most people wouldn’t have much interest in what the pile had to offer. To make anything in there work would at least take someone with some wrenching skills. Well, I don’t have much, but I have enough! Good thing too because right on top of the pile is a sweet little Motobecane Nomade. This is a french 10 speed from the 70’s folks. Not the most valuable find in the world, but to someone with a desire to own at least one vintage french made bike it was like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

So I toss the bike in the trunk along with a couple of extra wheels that had halfway decent tires on them. I Bring it all home, put it in the garage and go back to work for awhile. Every now and then I go out and just look at it. French steel from the 70’s… it almost makes me forget about how much I miss my first 10 speed, an 85 Schwinn. That poor thing got the hand me down treatment and vanished off into some junkyard somewhere. Truly sad.

Well, after a productive day of work today, I decided it was time to get a little dirty and see what I actually had here. I ripped the good tires off the two extra wheels and put them on the Nomade. Front brakes… nope. Back brakes… well, sort of. Certainly good enough to test ride the bike with. Out on the road I discovered that all 10 speeds work great! The ride of steel is much different than that of my aluminum Mercier. It definitly rides smoother. I can’t believe it. I finally have my 70’s French made steel 10 speed bike. And I didn’t pay a dime for it! Granted it still needs some investment to be tour ready. New cables all the way around would be in order. New brake pads are a must and the handlebar tape needs to be replaced. But other than that, it’s pretty sound. Over the winter I’ll take the whole thing apart and check bearings and the like. Maybe put on a new chain. But come next spring, I’ve got a second road bike! Totally sweet!

So I guess the moral of the story is that one man’s junk is truly another man’s treasure. And you can bet I’ll never ride past a bike that’s been tossed to the trash without stopping to see what’s there. You never know, it could be a real score!

September stats took a hit with the end of month strep throat. Wanted to get my 900 but it just didn’t happen. Picked them up this month though. My last goal for the year is 1,000 miles before it’s too cold to ride.

Here are stats as of October 4th:

YTD Dist: 900.33 mi
MN Dist: 180.65 mi
YTD Time: 63:51:49
MN Time: 11:45:55
YTD # Rides: 57
MN # Rides: 10

YTD Dist: 15.80 mi
MN Dist: 18.06 mi
YTD Speed: 14.10 mi/hr
MN Speed: 15.35 mi/hr
YTD Time: 01:07:13
MN Time: 01:10:35

Height: 5′ 9”
Weight: 163 lbs.

And the best part is, I’m no longer overweight!