Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Raleigh Sports 3 speed finished (except touch-up) & The Schwinn Le Tour Mixte

Hello and Welcome. The replacement tires arrived yesterday for the 1973 Raleigh 3 speed step-through. This time the tires fit perfectly. Thanks again to the folks at Niagara Cycle Works for getting the tire problem resolved so quickly.
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Above: A view of the Raleigh from the front. I am happy with the way it has come together so far. I am having a little trouble matching the green paint. I think I have found a match. At first I thought it was too dark and experimented with a few other shades of metallic green. But after wet sanding I noticed the paint I thought was too dark, was actually was a real good match. I will get a fresher bottle of that color and try again tomorrow. (mine is really old stock)
Above: I found this rack online, (I think at I looked at so many I don`t remember who sent it for sure. It was a tight fit, but it is on there and well secured. I did have to grind a little on the welds to get the front connect bracket to bolt to the rack mount holes. I found a reflector in the reflector box that fit nicely, after cutting off an extra nub on the back.
Above: This is one of the reasons I like to take pictures. Looking at this photo I can see I need to move the rear brake cable to the underside of the down-tube. Also
I need to get rid of some of the excess cable (up front)on both brakes. I put my best chrome frame pump on this bike. I think it was a good choice. I have plenty of time to find another for my 1964 Raleigh Sports restoration.
The brakes polished-up nicely with Turtle-Wax Chrome Polish and Rust Remover. I also used it to shine up the "thimble detail" on the fork and the outer bearing cups on the head-set. I used it on the rest of the chrome as well.
Above: The other half of this project is this Schwinn Le Tour Mixte. I was amazed to see how clean the Bracket Shell and Head-Set are when I took it apart today.
Above: I did wipe-off the bearing cartridge and cup quickly with a paper towel.
But the bracket and plastic cover are just how they came out of the shell. I think
this is the cleanest I have ever seen on a 1980`s bike.
This is a shot of the upper head-set bearing cup. All I did was wipe it off with a paper towel. Notice how clean the inside of the head tube looks not a trace of rust.
Above: Obviously I have cleaned-up the frame. But the inner bracket-shell is untouched. I`m sure this bike was ridden once and put away. Or maybe just put away and never ridden. Too bad they did not store it somewhere dryer.
Till Next Time, RIDE SAFE! and Remember to Always RESCUE,RESTORE & RECYCLE

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter cycling in Michigan

Hello and Welcome,
Today I decided to see if the "Road Warrior" would perform well in winter conditions.
The snow is very icey. The temp was 20 degrees F or -6.6 degrees Celsius. Our road is mostly hard-pack snow and the main road has been plowed and was mostly free of ice. The shoulder is for the most part unpaved and very icy. I don`t normally ride the shoulder unless I`m on a mountain bike and in the mood for some bumps and ruts.
It might not look like it, but I was a little over-dressed for the weather. The wind was calm today. The ride into town is "for the most part" a slight up-hill grade. About half way into town I stopped to cool-down a little. I`m glad I grabbed a water-bottle on my way out the door.
That`s my "Who the %#@& are You Honking At" look. I grew up in Metro Detroit and I think I developed "the look" as a defense mechanism. It also tends to come-out when I am looking at a camera. So I guess you could also call it my "Hurry Up and Take the $%&@#% Picture" look. Some jerk-wad blasted his horn at me on my way into town. Some of the misinformed people around here don`t know that, Bikes Are Traffic! After getting horn-blasted at, I usually follow the look with the "Your Number One" signal. Using the appropriate finger of course (: NOTE: I am not talking about a little "Here I am" toot on the horn. That does not bother me.
I like Michigan much more in the Summer. Although the cold, crisp and pollen free air of winter is hard to beat. Back to the bike. It rode nice in the powder snow last time out this winter. But this icey snow is a little trickier. It felt like it wanted to go sideways. So I stayed in the tire tracks till I got to the main road.
For rain or slush I would need a front mud-guard and a rear fender. I may add both if I decide to keep this bike. And I will be keeping it for a while, since I sold my MotoBecane. Or at least till I finish the Raleigh Technium
If you want to order Kenda gum-walls for a Raleigh Sports (27 X 1-3/8) do not order the K23. You want to order the K40. Although the description of the K23 sounds like it will fit. It will not replace the Raleigh 27 X 1-3/8 with 37 X 590 ISO. As the K23`s ISO is 37 X 597 (too big). And Thanks to the people at Niagara Cycle Works for getting this all sorted out for me today. You know the real mark of a good supplier is how they treat you when something goes wrong. And Niagara cycle takes care of their customers. I don`t remember the name of the "product tech" I spoke to today (sorry about that)but he was very helpful. And agreed that the information printed on the tire is a little confusing. Also thanks to Cheryl in customer service who always returns my calls. So check them out at
Till Next Time, RIDE SAFE and Remember to always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles / Review

Hello and Welcome,
This book is a "must have" for anyone who loves old custom road bikes and learning about the master craftsmen who built them.

Left: This book was a gift from my wife Carolyn. It was a totally unexpected and wonderful surprise. This book features some of the finest handmade bikes that you will ever see anywhere. The photography is fantastic and the writing is very informative and  enjoyable.

Here is a 1985 Alex Singer "Campeur". I have always been a big fan of the GT triple triangle frame. Which has been described as virtually indestructible. I "thought" I had an original idea recently. When I pondered the idea of adding a top tube to a Mixte frame to form a quad triangle frame. Looks like someone has already thought of it. And before you e-mail, Yes I am aware those are not all triangles. I think the front two areas are quadrilateral(s) I know Steve will let me know if I got that wrong. At least I hope so.

Above: The start of a Porteur Race in Paris (1958). Each rider carried 33lbs for 23.75 miles. In about 1968 myself and a few friends took Schwinn Stingrays and removed the banana seats and replaced them with a racing saddles. Then we added front (and sometimes rear) racks. Then we would would mount the fattest knobby tire we could fit on the rims. These made great little newspaper haulers and were also great fun on the "vacant-lot trails" after the papers were delivered. There were no actual bicycle paths or trails in those days. At least not in our little neighborhood. I don`t think they even have news-boys in the old neighborhood anymore. Those were great days(:

Here is another bike from the book that was way ahead of it`s time. I am of course referring to the "Bio-Pace like" crank.

This is one of my favorites from the book. A two speed bike that to change gears you just reversed your pedaling direction. I have a feeling that one of these in working condition would fetch a pretty penny.

A beautiful 1949 Rene Herse. This bike had a rear drum brake for reliable braking on long descents. I love the hammered fenders. A very classy looking ride.

Many of the innovations these custom bike builders developed are still in use today. Example: Check-out that front brake, Amazing!

My wife tells me you can find this book on much cheaper than the 50.00 US or 57.50 Canadian shown on the back cover.

Till next time RIDE SAFE and Remember to always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 The Year in Bikes

Here is a look back at some of the bikes that passed through the shop/garage in 2010
Below:January 2010
This Schwinn Continental was the first of three for 2010.I have no idea how I managed to find three un-restored 1980 Schwinn Continentals. It was not intentional.
Below: February 2010
This little Schwinn Sprint is one of my favorites. I tend to roll the handlebars back for my comfort when "test riding". Now I make it a point not to photograph the bikes with the bars rolled back like this.
Below: March 2010
This Vista "Carrera 7" (mixte) got a lot of positive response.
Below: April 2010
This Trek 560 is some of the best work I have ever done to date. And unfortunately also some of the worst photographs of a bike I have ever taken.
Below: May 2010
I can`t say enough about this 1973 Raleigh Sprite. I eventually topped it off with a vintage 1973 Brown Brooks Touring Saddle. Just a fantastic bike!
Below: June 2010
I gave this Centurion Accordo RS a major overhaul. All new rubber and cables, new bar-tape and pedals and a new saddle. I rebuilt the crank and heat-set. This would have made a great "personal bike". But it has a 50cm frame, too small for me.
Below: July 2010
On this Fuji S10 S I installed Aero levers and used a Noodle to allow the front brake cable to make the 90 degree turn as smoothly as possible to the front cable guide/adjuster. I had to grind the end of the noodle nipple down to get it to fit into the cable-guide/adjuster. The tension of the brake caliper spring holds it in place.
Below: August 2010
This Nishiki Sebring was pretty rough when it came in. I installed Aero levers on this one too. Much easier to make the change with a side-pull front brake caliper.
Below: September 2010
This Raleigh (USA) Record was a good looking bike. All the color choices came together nicely. And the bike functioned beautifully. Looking at it now, I think a set of gum brake-lever hoods would have been a perfect for this bike.
Below: October 2010
This Raleigh Capri almost did not get built. It was in horrid condition. But the frame was solid and the paint was savable and the decals were amazing. So with the help of a couple donor bikes it got built. And with a few improvements (:
Below: November 2010
This is the third 1980 continental for 2010. And the second blue 1980 Continental for 2010.
Below: December 2010
This Schwinn Caliente received more than a few up-grades. Among them are a lighter alloy crank and stem. I also installed a set of two-way brake-levers off a vintage Continental. It now sports a Specialized saddle (new take-off) And new Cenelli cork tape.
Below: My favorite "Bike-Rescue" for 2010
I found this Nishiki Mountain Bike in the curb-side trash on a visit to one of my sisters in Brighton.(Michigan) It had been left out in the weather and was in a sorry state when I found it. The Nishiki first appeared on my blog in March. To read more about any of these bikes go to the Blog Archive. Click on 2010. Then click on the month which appears above each bike pic on this page.

Till next time, RIDE SAFE and remember to always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!
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