Jan 9, 2011

Winter Projects are Backing Up

With the holidays finally over, I find I have a plethora of winter bike projects that are stacking up that I need to get after.

I finished one project yesterday. I built a set of wheels through the excellent class offered by Hiawatha in late December. These are disc-specific 700c wheels that I will be using on my Rawland Sogn all-arounder. The Tektro discs came in and I easily installed those on the wheels yesterday afternoon, so some tube and rubber and those are ready for the road.

Bike hunting is always a pleasure, but personally, I need a new bike about as much as Warren Buffet needs spending money, so I am branching out into the role of "personal shopper" for a friend that's in the market for a rideable 3-speed. On the agenda for this afternoon is a trip to MMRB to sort through their pile of 3-speeds in order to acquire a likely 21-inch restoration project. I'll be helping with this project, but she'll be doing much of the work. I love this kind of arrangements because as much as I enjoy puttering around with bikes, the teaching aspect and shared discovery of these projects is always a lot of fun. That's how I worked the Trek project from last year and both I and the Trek recipient would call that a major success.

Speaking of the Trek, that bike is coming back to me as well for some additional work. My co-worker loves the bike, but is finding the stock 1980's road gearing to be a little ambitious for her style of riding. We are thinking of adding a triple crank to this if we can do that reasonably and maybe putting a larger freewheel on it as well. I picked up a very reasonably priced used Tiagra triple last week but didn't realize that this used the Hollowtech bottom bracket, which will significantly complicate this project, so also on the shopping list for today's trip to MMRB is a square taper triple suitable for a 1980's road bike. She'll need a long cage derailleur as well to handle the chain, but I have one of those in the parts bin that should serve admirably. I'll either pass the Tiagra along to someone in need or keep it for some as-yet-unknown project in the future.

My most sacrilegious project at the moment involves converting a Phillips 3-speed to single speed service for my spouse. After hearing me spout off about how much I am liking single-speed life for general around-town riding, she is ready to give it a go. She's of the opinion that people should be comfortable on their bikes, however, so that makes it more challenging to find a bike she likes. One that she does like is this Phillips. That said, she is less enamored with the genteel, 3-speed Gentleman Cyclist bike culture and is more content to roll around the neighborhood and lakes on her own. The concept for this project is to build her a rear wheel with a flip-flop single speed hub using the Sun CR18 rim to give her a taste of single speeding on a bike she is familiar with. There's more to be figured out with this one, but the downside risk is low; if she hates this set up, I'll end up with an extra single hub and a rim for a 3-speed, so that's no loss to me, and hopefully she'll like the bike.

Finally, through MBL I was able to secure a set of Bike Revolution stickers to test out. The guys at Penn Cycle have justifiably earned quite a reputation for helping to recover stolen bikes. Bike Revolution got wind of their success in finding stolen bikes and their owners, and reached out to them to stock their product, which is a set of bar-code stickers backed up by an on-line bike registry. Bike Revolution has teamed with Kryptonite, the heavy weight in bike security to move into the U.S. market. I agreed to test these things out and post back on MBL and the blog to give feedback. Sticker sets cost $15. I'll be curious to see how easy these are to use and what the registration process is like. Hopefully I won't have any direct experience with bike recovery, but if my bike does get stolen, I'll be glad I have these on there because it certainly can't hurt.

That's quite a pile of projects in the queue for this winter, but fortunately I've got some good help in my basement workshop.


  1. I talked with your friend about the derailleur last night. Also, you can run 700c wheels on old three speed frames, as long as the tires are ~32 or less. The other problem is the axle size on the dropouts, but it's nothing a Dremel tool can't fix.


  2. Thanks, Steef! I might end up picking that d-railer up for her since she lives in NE. We'll be in touch, but thanks for helping her out with this, she (and I) really appreciate it!