Friday, March 13, 2009

The Joy of Giving

I am enjoying restoring an old Bridgestone mountain bike type bike to functionality. I found it almost impossible to get the bottom bracket off. The bottom bracket was deteriorated inside and so I decided to go to a more modern cartridge bottom bracket which will fit the English treads of the frame. I measured the shaft and width of the bottom bracket threaded area and ordered the proper size bb. I also couldn't get the 5 speed freewheel off the rusted rim and decided to convert the old bike to a 7 speed which I have an old free hub that I can put on a new rim with a proper 7 speed hub. So basically, I ordered cheap rims and skewers, bottom bracket, cheap 7 speed shifters, and a specially modified back derailer which will fit the frame as it does not have a modern day drop out. I am not completely redoing the frame, but I am eliminating the rust spots and adding some hand painting over the sanded rust spots. The original cranks took a while to clean up, and I don't think they should cause a problem with the back gears, but if they do, I can easily replace the crank with an inexpensive hyperglide type mountain bike crank.
My friend will once again have the bike she so loved in her younger years. I will also purchase a good park tool kit as I realize that I enjoy working on old bikes and my assorted tools just aren't enough to do proper bike work. Regardless, the activity is very enjoyable on these cold cloudy days when I'm not out riding or working at the factory.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Rode a hard 31 miles today in 20 to 30 mile per hour winds with one hard climb. My body felt shocked at the first hard effort, but I just allowed myself to work through the difficult sections and soon, I felt like a switch had been turned on, and my energy and stanima returned. I could feel the power and connection with my bike cranks as I made each revolution propelling me forward. Once I passed the area where the wind was blowing full force into me, my ride began to be transformed into grace and speed. With a powerful side wind, I rode with traffic doing close to 40 miles an hour leaving Prairie Grove down into the valley. The ride back was fast with the wind aiding my way as I headed triumphantly homeward with the satisfaction of having made the effort to overcome the challenge of the wind and the steep and daunting traffic blind hill. I like to envision my route in my mind before I leave. I was afraid I would regret my choice once I hit the big hill out of town, but once I had reached the top, and the climb began to ease off, I knew I had gone past the point of giving up and then my body began to respond to my bike, Nemo's call for speed. What a great day. The words of a song rang in my ear, "and there's new grass in the field," as I watched the horses in the fields seeking out the new blades of spring grass popping out everywhere.