Browsed by
Tag: Vintage Bicycles

The Twins: 1983 Norco folders

The Twins: 1983 Norco folders

Allow us to introduce the Twins:

They’re folding bikes! Here they are in the back of Angel’s mom-mobile after she bought them back in mid-November.

The red one is Angel’s, the blue one is mine, and they are practically identical. They have a Raleigh Twenty style folding mechanism (ie, a big hinge in the middle of the frame – and that’s all), 20-inch white wall tires, and to our enormous surprise, Sturmey Archer 3-speed shifters and hubs. They were cheap like borscht, and look like they’ll be reliable little bikes once we tune them up and add milk crates to the rear racks.

After some digging, this is what little information we have been able to find:

Norco are a Canadian marque based in British Columbia, who started selling bikes (mostly copies or rebadged bikes from other makers) in 1964. They’re best known for 1970-80s BMX-style imports and the suspension-fork mountain bikes they manufactured starting in 1993 with names like the Sasquatch and the Wolverine. Unfortunately there is very little information on their history or their older bikes online.

– A wonderful History of the Folding Bike helped us identify the frame style as a U-frame, produced in quantity by a number of European makers starting in the 1970s.
– This is the only other photo we have been able to find floating around out there of a Norco folding bicycle. It turns out it’s the subject of this bike forum discussion, which confirmed that it’s called a U-frame.
Another discussion of U-frame folders on the same forum yields this nugget from user LittlePixel:

It’s one of a slew of similar ‘U’ frame [as they are wont to be described] designs that enveloped Europe in the late seventies/early eighties that were cheaper to make than their earlier more sturdy cousins by Puch, Raleigh, Dawes. I don’t know the name as a lot of these kind of frames were pretty generic and perhaps not even a Peugeot design at all. They can be fun bikes (my sister had a non-pug one named a ‘Marathon’ as her first real bike aged about 10) but most people in these forums would not consider them beyond occasional or light use as the position of the fold and single downtube without extra strengthening can make for a slighty flexy ride.

(Emphasis mine.) Meh, we can live with that.
– A discussion of U-frame folders on Bikehugger tells us that the Phillips Folda was a U-frame. Since Phillips was a TI-owned marque, that could explain why our bikes have Sturmey Archer parts. This recent discussion at The Raleigh Twenty confirms that TI sold U-frame folding bicycles starting in 1984 – and their History page indicates they started calling it the Compact in 1987. And photos in Flikr’s Foldr vintage-folding-bike pool show Raleigh-badged, Raleigh-badged and Hercules-badged U-frames with similar curved rear stays and rack as our Norcos – along with Italian-made Cinzia, Graziella, TicTac and Bianchi Aquiletta (which has a 3-speed SA hub). More about Cinzia’s folding bicycle can be found here.

– Back to that bike forum, someone asked a question about a Norco 3-speed folder that’s marked Made In Italy.

What we know from careful examination of the bicycles:

The stainless-steel fenders are stamped INOX.
The brake calipers and levers are stamped WEINMANN.
The shape of the brazed-on rack and rear stays is fairly unique.
Interesting Y-shape in the chainwheel. Cottered cranks. Stainless steel chainguard.
Aluminum kickstand on blue bike is marked Made In Italy; red bike is missing its kickstand.
Italian-made AMBROSIO rims with SUPERGA SPORT 20 x 1.75 nylon whitewall tires.
The saddle is stamped on the painted underside of its metal pan:


The headtube is stamped SIGUR BREVETTATO.
Brevettato is a word associated with adjustable handlebars.
The top of the ring is stamped OMEGA, and the lever is marked SIGUR BREV.
The lever on the folding mechanism (seen here from the front when not folded)
is also marked SIGUR BREV.
Folded. Those are the three-speed and brake cables.
ITM stamp in triangle on top of handlebars. (ITM Italia are still a component manufacturer.)
NORCO decals on headtube (above) and U-tube (below).
Made In Italy decal and sales decal from The Sports Stop, Edson, Alberta on the seat tube.
COMPACT decal on rear stay.
Front hub marked IMB.
Rear Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hubs stamped 83 2 (red, shown) and 83 3 (blue, not shown).
Plastic 3-speed Sturmey-Archer shifter
Union pedals.
Both bikes are missing the axle nut on this side of the rear wheel for some reason,
but otherwise need very little work.
Can anyone tell us more about these bikes? Does anyone know which Italian manufacturers Norco was working with?

Update: It appears that (Illinois company) KTC’s Hyda Bike was made by the same Italian manufacturer, and sometimes has the Cinzia’s star-shaped chainwheel and sometimes the Y chainwheel seen above. Here are links to one on eBay, two with the Y chainwheel on IBikeDB, and one with the star chainwheel on a blog.

Trudy Got An Upgrade

Trudy Got An Upgrade

Remember the 1972 Phillips step-through that I had dubbed Mary Poppins’ Little Sister?

She’s finally gotten some much-needed love. I got her back from RedBike today.

Those are Cheng Shin 26 x 1-3/8 nylon tires that I scored on eBay from a guy who was offloading parts he hadn’t used from a fixie conversion, a period double kickstand, the Canadian Tire Everyday saddle that had been on Mary Poppins (as a more-comfortable stopgap until I can get a Brooks), and a Nantucket Bike Basket Co. wicker basket and giant chrome ding-dong bell from RedBike.

In the not-too-distant future she’ll also get a BoBike Junior child seat installed on her, and Dom will ride in the back while Audrey rides her own bike to school.

We’d been thinking of her as Ms. Phillips, but with the white tires and all that shiny chrome, I decided that she needs a 1960s stewardess’ name. So she’s now Ms. Trudy Phillips (after the author of a famous kiss-and-tell book).

Now that it’s safe to do so, I took her for a quick spin around the block. She’s a Raleigh-built three-speed. The lowest gear is ridiculously low and will only get used on the steepest of hills; second gear (big jump) feels like the third gear on the five-speed I had as a teenager; and third gear feels like the fourth gear on my old five-speed. This steel-frame bike will never go as fast as that five-speed… well, maybe if I’m headed down a steep hill. Also: hand brakes! I realized tonight that I have missed having hand brakes.

Can’t wait to do a longer ride on her!

Whoops! (Introducing… Salmon Ella, a Sears Free Spirit mixte)

Whoops! (Introducing… Salmon Ella, a Sears Free Spirit mixte)

Salmon Ella! (Ella for short)
Oopsie. I bought a mixte.
It appears that I have a bicycle fetish, in addition to my shoe fetish.
(At least she was only $30.)
The photos really don’t do her paint colour justice.
Where it has been scraped you can see the red undercoat under the pearlized salmon-pink topcoat.
Headbadge decal.
Decal on bottom tube.
Assembled In Canada decal. I wonder what the numbers mean?
The frame serial number is stamped into the rear fork.
The drop bars are stamped SAKAE CUSTOM JAPAN and ROAD CHAMPION.
Sakae Ringyo (or SR) are a Japanese parts-maker according to Sheldon Brown,
and their parts may allow me to find a date for this bike based on this article from Vintage Trek.I added a huge, loud ding-dong bell (seen in the drop bar picture above)
while I was at EBC with my SIL replacing the brake pads:

Right now the bars are wrapped with cotton tape, which looks incredible
but I am not finding very comfortable, so I will need to test out alternatives then rewrap.
The rubber hoods over the hand brakes are still pretty supple despite the cracks visible here.
The bottom bracket, chainwheel and pedal parts are stamped SAKAE as well,
with CUSTOM-A stamped on the cranks (which are cotterless).
Shimano Altus derailleur
Rear cogs and rear derailleur also stamped Shimano.
CHANG-STAR U brakes.
Aluminum rear mudguard (the front one is missing).
Aren’t the rims pretty? The tires are marked
28-630 ( 27 x 1 1/8 )
Vinyl spring mattress saddle.

So, my first trip on Ella was awkward but fun. Having (barely) ridden my SIL’s very gorgeous Italion Fiori fancy & expensive road bike (another Kijiji find, we’re just lucky :P), I was prepared for the angle and difference in feel of the bike when compared with Daisy or other “normal” bikes…what I was NOT prepared for though was the difference with the frame vs hers. My frame feels slightly more forgiving than a rigid road bike, and I’m going to guess that’s probably not all in my head? After reading a few posts on Lovely Bicycle! about drop bars, racing bikes, etc, I’m totally enamoured with the different workout I get. On Saturday (a picnic party in a park!) I did roughly 5km (2 laps of Hawrelak park road which I’ve discovered is 2.4 km plus biking around and going over the bridge to the zoo) and definitely felt a new muscle “ache”. I say ache because it wasn’t really ache so much as a noticeable change in which muscles were used. It’s GREAT!!

Downside to Ella’s mixte frame (I’m reaching for these):

  •  Her angles are definitely different from what I’m used to, so when I tried to step through…lets say it was weird. It’s not impossible to doing a rolling dismount, it just will take practice.
  • Because of the double bars the width of the “top” bars is more than I was expecting, especially when having to hop off quickly because some idiot car cuts you off…you know? So I have a large (1″ by 6″) bruise on my inner thigh. It’ll heal, and it’s good for bragging rights 😛
  • The tires are high pressure which means they absorb nothing. Which is fine so long as you lift up when going down the bumpiest/potholiest roads EVER. Lesson learned!

All in all I’m IN LOVE. Seriously, the difference in muscles used and the awesome speed completely justify the total of $40 invested thus far.

Things I need to think about:

  • new wrap on the bars, have you any suggestions? I had a sore palm after my first “big” ride but I think that was more new positions. I do know I need to lower my seat a bit and fix the angle properly so I’m not using my arms and hands as much.
  • new seat. This is an “eventually” since her seat is actually pretty decent. In a perfect world I think I’d be getting a Brooks…but that might be a save up and take my time to get.
  • front fender. I might just do away with it for the time being, I’d like something matching IF I were to put a fender on, so maybe I’ll be looking to buy some pretty ones online…Ohhhh the possibilities!

I really think that’s it, unless I’m missing something drastically needing replacement? Yikes?

Mary Poppins’ Little Sister

Mary Poppins’ Little Sister

This one is Angel’s as-yet-unnamed bicycle, but it’s in my garage right now so I can fix the flat front tire and use it for pulling Audrey on the trailer-bike and return Violet. As soon as Bert is fully fixed it will become Angel’s ride. It’s another Kijiji find:

Ta-da! It is a 1972 Raleigh-built Phillips 3-speed, bought from the original owner, with all original parts. It looks an awful lot like Mary Poppins, except not a loop-frame and 26-inch wheels. I gave it a quick wipe-down with Simple Green and a little spray wax today, lubed the chain, and took some photos.

Ok, not all original parts. But this is easy to replace.
Decals on seat tube.
Top tube decal.
Bottom tube decal.
Decal and Fairylites reflector on rear fender.

Chainguard, Raleigh-offlabel-from-Phillips-pattern chainwheel, cottered cranks, chromed solid pedals. 
The chainwheel and everything else was ridiculously clean. 
I think this was ridden only only Sundays by the baba I bought it from.
Notice the interesting change to the fork design. Pretty! Yes, all the pinstriping is this pristine.

Raleigh stamp on gooseneck.

Sturmey-Archer 3-speed trigger shifter and rubber grips. With bonus cute doggy action.

The Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed rear hub is stamped 72 1 – so the bike was built in 1972.

The Raleigh stamp is the only mark on the front hub. 
What? I got tired of cleaning, okay?

Sturmey-Archer wheel rims.

The Raleigh Record tires are most likely original. They’re pretty dry. 
That’s one end of the cloth (cloth!) rim tape you can see poking out, 
from when I was investigating the flat front tire. 
The rest of the writing on the tire says:
55 LBS/IN^2 – 3.8 ATM
37-590 (26 x 1 3/8)

Pretty chrome fender nose.
I am a bit concerned about this small tear in the rear tire, but it has held air overnight.
Sturdy aluminum kickstand marked REG Italy.
Notice the plastic gasket between the top plate of the kickstand and the frame – smart!

All in all, a great bike in amazing shape. It seems to shift smoothly and the bottom bracket doesn’t feel gritty. A few little dings here and there but really in fantastic shape and largely rust-free. She does have some scratches that suggest she once had a rear rack (probably a Pletscher-style rattrap rack). Oddly, no serial number stamped in the frame that I could find. Needs a bell and the front flat fixed then she’ll be ready to ride! 
1940s? Rollfast, or, Apparently We Take The Hard Cases

1940s? Rollfast, or, Apparently We Take The Hard Cases

I bought another bike to gradually restore a couple of weeks ago. Laura pointed the vaguely-worded Kijiji listing out to me, and dubbed it Broke-Down Bike. Angel came with me to pick it up:

As found.

What you see is a Rollfast step-through frame with balloon tires on grey-painted 36-hole 24-inch rims, one-piece (dogleg) cranks and a skiptooth chainwheel, wide (Texas steer horn?) handlebars, and a coaster brake that’s missing a nut and the reaction arm. Not only is there a broken front spoke, the whole front rim is a bit egg shaped, and the (original) tire is pretty hard. The tire on the back has already been replaced at some point.

We already know from sitting on it that it is too short for both of us (sadfaces!), so this will be a learning project that we’ll then sell to a vertically-challenged friend. (If you are interested, feel free to say so in the comments so you can have a say in the restoration choices we make!)

The family I bought it from had stored it for at least eight years in this condition, hanging in their garage, after buying it from its original owner with the intent of fixing it themselves. They sold it because they don’t want to move it to their new home.

Here’s what I have learned online about Rollfast bicycles:

– There isn’t anywhere online to look up the serial number and use that for dating – but the guys in the forums recommend Classic Bicycle News’ Rollfast book for the answer to all such questions. In any case, we can’t find a serial number stamped on the seat tube or bottom bracket – can anyone suggest where else we should look?

– Based on the (gorgeous) raised ball-bearing brass? headbadge design (which is apparently painted on the back as well), this is likely a 1930s-1940s bicycle. It reads:

                                                     D.P. HARRIS MFG. CO.

                                                               NEW YORK

                                                     MADE IN USA 

below the raised central motif (which is what pre-war ones say, according to current eBay headbadge listings). These run USD$30-40 +S/H on eBay all by themselves. (The guys who buy old bikes at yard sales and part them out must do pretty well, eh?)

– The balloon tires date it to 1934 or later according to this history. The (non-original) rear tire is marked 24 x 2.125, INFLATE 35 POUNDS, MADE IN TAIWAN, NYLON CORD and has a little Norco sticker. The original tire on the front (rock hard, cracked, and definitely needing replacement) has no markings I could find, apart from its treads:

– The shape of the rear dropout, exiting to the front, dates it to post-war according to this forum post.

We think the clamp seen in the above photo belongs to the missing reaction arm from the coaster brake, but we aren’t sure. It is marked H.C. 5/83 (not original?).

– The hubs are a New Departure Model D coaster brake (missing its arm and perhaps some other parts) and a New Departure Model W front hub – and as you can see, the chrome was in great condition under all the crud encrusting them. According to this forum discussion, New Departure went out of business in 1953, so that gives us a circa-1954 cutoff for the youngest this bike could be. The Model D appears in a 1936 catalogue (I love how they distinguish between “regular bicycles” and “sidewalk bicycles”!) and was commonly used by the mid-1940s. Sheldon Brown explains how it works here.

I have a replacement NOS arm, internal bearings and spring (the part that usually breaks first) coming in the mail – hopefully that’s all the coaster brake will need to make it work again. I also ordered NOS caged bearings for when we repack the bottom bracket.

– The 22-tooth (in this case) star-shaped skiptooth chainwheel appears on Rollfast bikes dated to 1936, 1941, and the early 1950s or mid-1950s. Other skiptooth chainwheel patterns were also used throughout this period – maybe they were used to distinguish models from each other?

Here’s why they’re called skiptooth chains:

– The pedal blocks have an interesting zigzag pattern. Are they Torrington pedals? If so, the blocks are quite different from the ones for sale on eBay. The dust covers for the ends of both pedals seem to be missing, if they ever existed.

– The fluting I see on the gooseneck (where the handlebars attach) are also seen on Ian’s 1936 Rollfast (the same one Thom links to in the list in my previous point). Ian’s labelled parts pics may come very much in handy.

– This stepthrough frame architecture was later used for the 1950s-60s Space Racer model.

– If this bike had been originally pimped out with a tank horn, front shock-absorber springer fork, and all the rest, it might have looked like this – or without a tank like this – but stripped-down models were often sold, particularly during the war. The front fork and head tube don’t show any signs that a springer fork was originally attached, but then, the part at the bottom was not welded on, and the upper attachment ring could theoretically have been replaced.

– It looks like two shapes of chainguard were commonly used during this period: the fluted wing and this huge thing I now dub the chainshield. The only braze-on in the area may have helped secure a chainguard, but it looks like it was also used for a kickstand:

from above

from below – yowch

– The vinyl-on-plastic-pan spring-supported saddle is probably not original, since most of the period bikes seem to have Mesinger saddles with ginormous oddly-shaped springs underneath. We may eventually use the springs from this saddle to repair Fio’s saddle and replace this one. Can anyone tell me if the old Mesingers were at all comfortable?

– The green paint is not as rusty as it looks in the photos – it’s just surface rust, and we kind of like the patina, and the Jaguar-style hunter green colour, so I think we’ll take the preservation approach and clean it (lemon juice and aluminum FTW!) then clear-coat it. There is no sign of any original pinstripes or decals, and it’s possible (from how some of the paintless, rustless or surface-rusted areas look) that the last owner had scoured the whole thing with steel wool in preparation for a DIY paint-job that never happened.
For instance, the downtube looks like it originally had a decal like this one and someone removed it.

– These paint chips near a weld-point are worrisome. I hope the frame doesn’t turn out to be subtly warped.

So taken together, we think this is a bike originally built between 1945 and 1954… can anyone help us narrow it down further?

Since Rollfast parts from any era are relatively hard to come by, I think we’ll be using the replace-with-a-reproduction approach to anything that needs replacing, and make it obvious what is original and what is repro – for instance, by getting chrome (or wood) balloon-width fenders and putting the repro decals and vintage glass reflectors you can get on eBay on them. The beat-up hand grips are Made In Taiwan, and likely not original, so we’ll replace them – maybe with Rivendell’s Portuguese cork grips (yum).

I am naming her Rhonda Rollfast, since the historical data on American baby name popularity indicates that Rhonda first became popular in the early 1940s. Has a nice ring to it, yes?

Holy Shimano

Holy Shimano

Just a quick gripe…

The stupid back hub is ruining Bert’s chances of being ridden before next summer. The fellow who was working on him before he sold to me installed a Shimano 3-speed as the rear hub (instead of the Sturmey-Archer it would have come with), but had not hooked it up to a shifter. The shifter that came on the bike is, of course, the correct SA shifter, which will not talk to a Shimano hub even if you MacGyver it as described previously. (Thank you to whoever pointed out in the comments that the gearing ratios are different so I did not waste more time on that attempt.). I spent an evening scouring EBC’s parts room and brought home the only one that could work, except that its’ shape makes it impossible to install on anything except dropped bars, and it will not connect to the correct 3-speed cable that I have. So now I am waiting on the shipment of the only correct shifter to be found on eBay.

At this rate my husband will never ride it, and I will never pull the kids on a trailer-bike using it.

Grumble mutter curse.

Full On Double Kickstands, part 1

Full On Double Kickstands, part 1

Previously on Loop-Frame Love: Mary Poppins had her original too-short Pletscher single kickstand switched for a double one that was also too short for her.

After being unsatisfied with what I found locally, I resorted to eBay, and got myself this adjustable-length double kickstand from a vendor in the States:

The stamp in the metal says YING CHENG TAIWAN. The legs screw out and are secured with a threaded nut.

Mary Poppins with her new kickstand.

Hubby chastised me for using my adjustable wrench and went and got the socket wrench set to do the last couple of turns. Wait, we have socket wrenches?

Bert got the other double-kickstand. I’ll feel way better about using Bert for kid-hauling now.

Mary also got a new old saddle, a comfy off-white Brooks vinyl model with springs underneath, that the eBay vendor said came off a Raleigh Twenty with a 1980 hub. It has saddlebag loops, so when I’m going crateless I can use my off-white saddlebag.

Practically perfect in every way.

Audrey snapped this photo earlier in the day when we were out for a ride.
The outfit: black linen-blend bermudas, black ballet flats, and a knit top so thin it verges on being sheer. 
(Note to self: thin blousy knits feel great on hot days but are unflattering on camera. Sigh.)

Coming up: in Part 2, Daisy gets a much-needed double kickstand too!

Winnie at EBC

Winnie at EBC

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.

Keith’s adjective of choice for this rim tape: “ossified”.

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?

Done for the night.

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!

Gino & Wrenches….Wrenches & Gino

Gino & Wrenches….Wrenches & Gino

The night of the bike exploration, Daisy gave me a fright. I thought I’d gotten a flat….pumped her up using Mary Poppins’ frame pump and it seemed to do no good. I wasn’t sure if it was where we were trying (by the duck pond)  so when we got back to the house I sat outside and tried again….and it seemed good….for a block. So I tried…AGAIN…and it seemed good….until we got to the school. You see where this is going? Yeah…our ride of 6km took longer than necessary….yet Daisy’s tire never went FLAT…just…flat. Does that make sense? Sure it does.

So… I’d never changed or repaired a flat, but my sister-in-law has, many many many times. Over last weekend, I took Daisy over, we took off her tire (thank god it was the front!), and she taught me how to check for a leak (in case you were wondering, there were NONE) and then how to “patch” (in theory), and finally we put everything back together.

Relevance, you may ask?

Gino. (Remember Gino?) Yeah… his front tire needed work waaaay back in January… and then 40 other bikes (slight exaggeration) came through our lives while he languished in storage and Deb found a replacement for his missing front fender. He languishes no longer!

Deborah brought him over the other night, along with a patch kit and a replacement tube of the right size for just-in-case, and her knowledge gleaned from YouTube videos (thanks MEC!) and faint childhood memories of her Dad fixing flats on her sister’s ten-speed. Between us, with our combined learnings, we had enough clues to fix Gino’s flat ourselves (much to the shock and delight of an elderly gentleman who was walking by and offered his help)!

The hardest part of the process was loosening the bolts. One of them had been tightened with super-mechanic-powers and getting it started meant me leaning on the wrench with all my weight while Deb held the bike still with all her weight.

At the same time as we took the front (flat) tire off, we also installed the very very very shiny new fender. (Deb thinks it’s made by Wald if anyone is looking for something similar.) The rest of Gino will need the lemon-and-aluminum treatment to get him even remotely as handsome as that fender. Maybe we need to take him for a ride in the mud and get the new fender a little grimy and scratchy first.

The old tube. See where the old patch is, right beside the valve? It’s starting to let go, and when you squeezed the tube another hole was visible right beside the patch. We had already suspected that a tear beside the valve might be the problem, since the valve was coming out of the hole in the rim at a 45 degree angle (instead of perpendicular to it). So rather than patching, we discarded the tube entirely and used the new one instead.

In a perfect world we would’ve replaced the tape in the rim too…but it wasn’t in HORRIBLE condition at all, I’m sure it’ll do just fine until Gino needs more loving!

Hand pumping with an old frame pump is quite a workout.

Hand pumping with an old frame pump that needs the seal (aka “leather”) replaced inside it is even more of a workout. When we realized it was taking an awfully long time to fill the tube, I also realized that Deborah’s pump sounds different from my father-in-law’s almost-identical-looking frame pump, as in, not as much air was coming out. Switching pumps did the trick. (I guess there will be a future post on how to fix an old frame pump?).

After  finishing, we gave it a test ride for other issues. The bottom bracket feels pretty smooth. With the twenty-inch wheels, we never really get to straighten our knees when we’re riding. That would be a problem for everyday rides, but this will be perfect for feet-on-the-ground balance-bike-style slow slow riding with my little ones on their bikes (they’re five and two, so, not riding very fast yet).

(25 July Update: this is me doing a quick demonstration of how I could use Gino with my feet on the ground. Obviously I’d wear shoes and a helmet in real life. And also, not have a swollen and painful knee.  Hmm, Gino’s front fender could use adjusting.)

We figure with a good cleaning and some black hockey tape or electrical tape as a temporary fix for the tears in the banana seat, plus a bell (they’re required by law here in Edmonton), Gino is ready to ride! And we did it ourselves! Total cost: 1 hour of our time, less than $5 for the replacement tube at Canadian Tire, less than $20 for the fender on eBay, and the $40 we paid for Gino on Kijiji.

Oh, wrenches! I also got these great socket wrenches at the wonderland that is Princess Auto.

Notice that they’re both Metric & SAE? (Apparently SAE in sizing LITERALLY translates into Non-Metric sizing) I see these coming in VERY handy for fixing bikes who might have those odd little parts….not so much the Raleighs, but oh, we have a lovely spanner that Deb got for Mary Poppins, so we “should” be set….ha.

Exploration & Errands all in one! (LGRAB Summer Games post 6)

Exploration & Errands all in one! (LGRAB Summer Games post 6)

Today I’m blogging about exploring a new part of town, as part of the New Territory section of the LGRAB Summer Games.

So last night I ventured over to Deborah’s for a bike ride with her and Audrey.

Audrey on the used bike she got for her birthday.
First we did the short route through Deb’s subdivision that we’re planning to use for a picnic expedition with the kids, around Tomlinson Park and into the park beside the stormwater pond off Thibault Way, and back home to drop off Audrey with her dad. Then we went to see the new school (Monsignor William Irwin Elementary) that Audrey will attend when it opens this fall. It has lots of sweet bike rack space, and reserved parking stalls for carpools and electric vehicles!
Then we headed out of Terwillegar Towne via Towne Centre Boulevard to 23rd Avenue, where we took the multiuse path to the corner of Rabbit Hill Road where the strip malls and grocery stores are clustered. There are actually some pretty interesting shops and restaurants in those strips, so we’ll probably make them a destination again sometime.
Me and Daisy posing as the sun set by the recently-opened Leger transit hub on 23rd Avenue, 
with the new recreation centre that’s under construction in the background. 

The girls, with their faux-flower decorated crates, parked outside the grocery store. 
There was no bike parking outside the cafe where we stopped for strawberry lemonade smoothies (tsk tsk).
By the time we had grabbed our groceries, it was twilight, and we don’t have headlamps (yet!), so we walked our bikes across the intersection at the lights and rode back to Deb’s taking the same route through the big neighborhood park that she already described.

We saw a family of bunnies!
Here is our actual route: a loop of about 6.2 km (3.8 miles) according to GoogleMaps.