Winnie (our coblogger Nicki’s 1951 CCM-built Garry) is finally getting some much-needed bike love!
On Friday night I took Winnie with me to Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ basic bicycle maintenance course (highly recommended, Coreen and Keith are amazing teachers). I think I may actually take the course a second time with a different bike, as I’m sure that if I had a bike with shifters and hand-brakes and derailleurs with me I would learn more – there were some sections where not much applied to the bike I was working on, and the flat tire change on Winnie ran longer than those on other bikes, so I did a lot of listening-while-doing-something-else and hoping I’d learn by osmosis.
First Winnie got a thorough wipe-down and inspection, then I concentrated on fixing her flat rear tire – with a lot of help and step-by-step commentary from Keith. I learned how I would theoretically fix a flat without removing the tire (if the tube had an easily identified puncture to be patched), then we took the wheel off and replaced the slowly-leaking tube (which I’ll patch sometime to use as a spare) and the brittle, hardened rim tape that had torn right over a spoke-end, and reassembled the wheel and reinstalled it (twice, because I forgot to put the chain back on the rear hub the first time). Keith showed me how to make sure the chain is the correct tension using the chaintugs on the horizontal rear-facing dropouts – I think I should be able to do it myself next time. I also learned how to use a contemporary (i.e., non-vintage) floor pump with a pressure gauge (now on the Must Buy list, since my frame pump turns out to be primarily decorative with its’ shot leather seal.). And I learned about chain lubricants (apparently the eco-lube I have is both unsuitable for Edmonton’s winters and the perfect clay-dust attractor), cleaned Winnie’s chain, and got it partially relubed.
I learned many other things too, about brakes and bearings and how old bikes like oil – so many I can’t remember them all right now.
I also found an amazing old glass reflector for Winnie’s rear fender in the parts room, and installed it and Winnie’s original bell (for the record: vicegrips are the right tool for the job when the job is bending a metal thumb-trigger of a bell back into place).
This reflector will eventually be installed a little higher on the fender (so it’s laying on a flatter section) with bigger screws and washers and a dab of epoxy to keep it in place. I wonder how old it is? Did the first plastic reflectors come on the market in the 1950s or 1960s?
Still on the Winnie love list: finish lubricating the chain; replace the exceedingly uncomfortable seat; install baskets front and back for utility; wire up her dynamos and get them working; screw on her headbadge; and most importantly, open up her coaster hub to figure out why it isn’t working, see if any needed parts can be scavenged in the parts room, and get it working again. Riding an essentially brakeless bike the couple of blocks to Nicki’s new apartment was not a good feeling!