Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Projects

Well, that's the second unseasonably nice weekend that's passed without being able to get out on a bike.  It's not unusual to leave the bikes alone after Thanksgiving, of course, so there's no real regret mixed in with that statement, but it'd have been nice to log a few miles outside!

As it was, though, I managed to log a few trainer miles (rollers) today, for my first winter project -- staying somewhat trim and fit!  I did a little more adjusting and dialing-in of the Colnago in the process, and it's just a wee bit more ready for me now than it was two days ago, so that's good.  And I found the right place in the apartment, here, for the trainer -- in my bathroom.  Easy to mop up the floor, narrow enough that I won't kill myself or break anything, and the dog can't sneak up on my from behind and stick his nose or tail in a spinning wheel.  Plus the fan keeps it from getting stuffy.

I also managed to pick up a new winter project.  The family homestead in Connecticut was cleaned out on Saturday, in preparation for the buyer who will be taking it out of Ellsworth hands for the first time since the house was built, 223 years ago.  The house was about the same age as the constitution of the United States, and I understand it sat on a parcel of land not far from the original land grant to the family, dating back to the mid-1600's.  The farm was largely just a place for holidays for me, so this wasn't a personal milestone for me.  But it was certainly one for many of my relatives, and it was certainly a family milestone.

Anyway, while we were cleaning out the garage, I snagged my great aunt's old Puch 10-speed mixte.  My older sister has been casually looking for a bike out in Chicago, and this one would fit her just fine.  It's not a great bike, as far as components and materials go, but it's not half bad.  The tubeset is Tange Champion, and the only real lapse in the frameset is the matching set of stamped steel rear dropouts, complete with derailleur claw and bolt-on rear wheel.  But my sister is a causal cyclist, and this thing is only a few upgrades away from being a perfectly nice bike for her to use with her kids around the neighborhood.  Plus there's some history there.

It needs tires, a chain, new brake pads, tubes, new cables, a full repack of all bearings, and it'd work as intended.  It could stand an aluminum handlebar and seatpost, a better saddle, better grips, better derailleurs, better pedals, a cartridge bottom bracket and an alloy headset.  The Taiwanese clone of a Pletscher CS needs the struts to be shortened, as well, just as I did with the two Pletschers gracing my daughter's bikes.  Maybe a bit of polishing of the rack and kickstand, too.  It would be hard to spend less than $100 to get it rolling, and easy to spend $500 to make it fancy.  But I have lots of parts on-hand that would constitute upgrades, and I'm going to see what I can do with this puppy.  Alison hasn't yet told me whether she wants it, but if she does, I'll tear into it sometime over the winter.

First, though, I need to get Ava's Fuji apart and then back together in a configuration matching her desires.  I have a set of stem shifters to use for the time being, new cables and housings, as well as a drop bar to put on there.  But I need to find an appropriate stem, with very short reach,  or those drop bars will need a set of interruptor/cross levers thrown on as well.  Maybe we'll kick things off during our down time between Christmas and the new year.

Both projects are great examples of the durability of older steel bikes.  Neither is especially fancy or light, but both framesets are perfectly serviceable 20 or maybe even 30 years after they were made.  And they are both poised to help promote cycling within different parts of my family.  I love this kind of stuff!

All for now,


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