Thursday, July 5, 2012

Apparently I've lost the log in to this website that allows me to moderate comments. Sorry. If you make a comment I'll post it as my own.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Yarra Boulevard

This afternoon Linc introduced me to cycling Yarra Boulevard. It's a quiet, scenic, twisty stretch of road that follows the Yarra River past such sights as:

  • The Bats; and

(bats by Elizabeth Donoghue)

  • The Kew Asylum

When you stop and consider it both are actually quite odd to see 10minutes from the middle of such a large city.
Edit: Isabelle wisely pointed out that Kew used to be quite a way out of the city. However, the fact that it is still there and not a reception centre or luxury housing estate is surprising. The bats are even better as they only moved there a few years ago. Melbourne is a flourishing hive of bats and nutters.

The crescent performed as expected for a bike that has been assembled by an absolute amateur. I managed to start the ride confident I would have access to all 10 gears. Three minutes later I was confident that I had learned my lesson and wouldn't drop the chain again. Two minutes after that I was confident that I could ride with an unsecured seat stabbing me in the thigh. During the next downhill I noticed that my left crank was loose. As I'm 90% certain I don't have the correct tool for that bolt I was left wondering just how long it had been loose. Oh, after that I pulled the front derailleur cable from its screw. In summary I was left with 4 or so gears, a fear of pedalling vigorously, a bruised thigh and a wonderfully feathered gear cable.

However, the bike actually felt terrific. When the cranks were connected it was smooth, I felt safe on the descents (the brakes have improved since last year's post) and, as Linc pointed out, the simple fact that I remembered the circumstances in which I bought it made me enjoy pedalling.

Friday, February 27, 2009

First Ride!

Last Sunday the bike was taken out for its first ride on the ride since it made it to Australia.

A mate and I rode Beach Rd from St. Kilda to Blackrock in the marvellous sun. I struggled on the way there as there was a slight incline and the bike is without shifters so I was in the smallest rear gear for the entire length, the way back was amazing though.

The bike handled really well! There was some slight squeeling of the brakes but the new Kool Stop pads work much better than the old dry Mafacs, I truly felt as if the bike would stop when requested. The bottom bracket and hubs seemed to all be fine and run smooth. I guess when you consider the fact that in Melbourne one is always battling a strong wind; the bearings can be sticky without one noticing.

Alas, I didn't take any pictures but I will endevour to take some on the next ride. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dating the Frame

I'm going to have to change the blog description.

So it turns out that I was very slack and just guessed that I was dealing with a 1970s frame. After visiting cykelhobby it turns out that the frame is really from the 60s! The linked page describes that frames with a serial number starting with a 3 are from the 1960s and a serial number starting with 4 is a 1970s. I have no idea exactly when and would love some help but if the brakes are original then it is most likely mid-late 60s.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tires Good, brakes bad

I've finished the gluing process and the tires seem fairly well stuck to the rims. I will see how they are tomorrow night but I would be confident riding on them at the moment, I just can't imagine the tires rolling off the rims as the force required to move them with my thumbs is more than I can foresee occurring on a road.

The brakes, however, do not inspire confidence. Only the front brake is connected at the moment and on application the entire bike shudders. I will replace the pads when I can find a good replacement here (Such as the Kool Stop Salmon pads recommended by Sheldon Brown) in Melbourne but I am not convinced that will solve all the problems. The stray bits of tire glue would probably not be helping the braking either.

I've followed Sheldon's advice here and am trying the Shimano RX2000 levers that were already on the bike. Whilst I would like to get some Mafac levers for appearance's sake, if I am going to ride this thing down Mt. Dandenong then I want the best brakes I can get my hands on.

The wheels most certainly need to be trued and I guess the bike shop would need to take the tires off for that. That is a shame.

Anyway, I will head out on the bike for a cruise after work sometime this week when I've installed the rear brake and report back on how it felt.

Edit: I have ordered some Kool Stop Mafac/Campy replacement pads and will report on their usefulness shortly.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tubular gluing has commenced.

Following Dave Moulton's procedure I have begun gluing my tires.

Major problems I will know about and document by the weekend, minor problems with my technique, however, I will probably only find out about when road starts to eat at my face and sides.

Off to buy some brake cables tomorrow to see if the Shimano levers currently aboard can at least get me out on the road.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things happen!

Christmas and New Year is a good time to be my old bike.

The rear derailleur purchased from ebay arrived and is in fine condition. The jockey wheels will need replacing sooner or later but the chain spins fine on them at the moment.

Yesterday I purchased a Wipperman Connex 800 chain and its link size of 1/2" x 3/32" seems to fit well. The total chain length is almost spot on too so I've mounted it without removing any links, it will stay this way until this causes an issue.

The headset required a 7mm allen key which is apparently an odd size. Bunnings don't stock these so head straight to Repco if you don't want to waste 30mins wandering the aisles opening every socket and hex head set you come across.

So anyway, with a chain and rear derailleur I'm actually able to ride the bike around. And it is amazing! Quiet and rigid, not too big for me and an entirely different riding position to what I'm used to (a mountain bike). Also it is extremely dangerous as I don't have a brake and have been using my feet on the road to stop it. I guess it is kind of like an even more dangerous fixed gear bike.

Here she is with a front brake I was testing.

To Do
-Nuovo Record front derailleur
-Nuovo Record shifters
-Mafac brake levers
-Brake and gear cable
-White bar tape

-Glue tubular tires on (apparently a long long process)
-bolt everything else on
-RIDE IT. Get it really dirty and covered in sweat.