Sunday, January 18, 2015

Winter Weather

Two Tuesdays ago, our first accumulating snow and my first opportunity with the XO-3/Snow tire equipped.  Great ride!

I'm not going to call myself a winter warrior... I rode 4 days out of the last two weeks as we've had very low temps, persistent ice and occasional precipitation. The most attractive precipitation was two tuesday's ago snowstorm which was more than expected but still quite manageable. I had a really good time riding in after meeting Wes for coffee in oldtown.  I was surprised by how much impact the 1-2" of snow had on my speed, it really took alot more effort!

Happy Mothers Day - Birthday - Christmas!

The project that lingered is finally complete!  I'm so happy with the results of my Mom's Lake-Cruiser refurb but I have to admit it took way longer than it should have.  My Mom retired last year and has moved down to a lake in NC.  It is super flat, warm enough to ride nearly all year long and has a nice lakefront road going around 2/3 of the lake (ride reports from Lake Waccamaw here and here).  So it stood to reason that she needed a bike, in fact she has been riding an exercise bike religiously for over a year now and was itching to get outside.

My first idea was to get an old Raleigh 3 speed and tune it up for her, she was insistent on a step thru bike due to recent hip surgery and those old Raleigh's have a nice low slung frame.  I found a complete bike for a great price in the spring and had started servicing the bottom bracket, headset, doing a complete tear down when I realized that the steerer tube was slightly bent.  As I serviced the headset I kept trying to figure out why the steerer continued to be rough.  Anyway I was getting frustrated with all the eccentricities of the 35 year old parts and sizes.  At the time I was over at my local Velocity Co-Op and decided on the spot to donate the raleigh minus several parts (more on that later) and purchased an abused looking Schwinn World step through frame/fork that happened to be in the shop that day.  I was attracted to it's theoretically more modern dimensions (headset got me again!), it's solid, rust free frame and of course it's lugged construction.  On to the build highlights;

1980's Schwinn World stepthru frame
26 3/8" Wheelset, Dyno Front, 2 spd Rear, Schwable tires
Steel fenders and Brooks Saddle from Raleigh 3 spd
Wald Baskets front and rear
Dyno Head and Tail lights
Nitto/Brooks/Rivendell cockpit
Velo Orange Crankset and Front Rack

It isn't tough to nail down the largest transformation, as much as I'd like to (and will) point out the neat parts I put on this frame the powdercoating from Groody Bro's in Hint-O-Mint was marvelous.  As soon as I got the frame, fork and fenders (rescued from the Raleigh) back with that great subtle greenish color I knew it would be special.

The bottom line is that I delivered the bike just after Christmas to NC and my Mom is already enjoying it.  There may be some minor tweaks as she gets used to it but I think it will serve her well in exercise, erranding and just plain recreation for many years!

My Mom with her Hint-O-Mint Schwinn at the Lake!
Humble beginnings, the frame/fork came together, the wheelset pictured is off of the original Raleigh 3 speed I had previously bought.  I was already committed to a 26 3/8" wheelset before I ended up with the Schwinn as I'd purchased new alloy rims and Schwable tires.  With that decision made I figured to just go with it and keep the nice steel fenders from the Raleigh as well.
No in progress pictures, it was a long and frustrating project at times.  Cargo capacity was a definite driver in this build, seeing the way my wife uses her townie-style bike I knew Mom needed room for a largish purse as well as shopping bags. I had my eyes out for a Wald double rear basket for a while and lucked into one on Craigslist from a girl with a fantastic british accent just before Christmas!

Groody Bro's preserved the headbadge and reapplied it masterfully.  Also note how well the powdercoat still shows the lug detail!  The Headset on this bike still gave me fits b/c the bottom cup wasn't a standard size... by process of elimination and having a deep parts bin I found one that worked.  I had a nice VO Grand Cru planned for this build but just couldn't make it work on the bottom cup.

I'm completely smittin with front baskets and this bike becomes the 'forever home' to my VO Constructuer Front rack which used to be on my Trek 650B conversion.  It's nice and strong and supports the Medium Wald basket well.  For handlebars I went with the Nitto Dove from Riv, I used a suprlus city brake lever off an old Peugeot build, a Brass Crane bell from Riv.
I have to thank fellow Riv-lister Tom for the sweet Brooks grips he included in my purchase of his Bombadil late last year.  They really class up the cockpit and my Mom LOVES them!
One of the advantages to making this gift build account for multiple occasions was that the budget kept growing... the main benefit of that was fully wired dynamo lighting.  I went with a Sanyo Sport hub from Peter White Cycles and couldn't be happier with it.  I also included a B&M Lyt front and Spanninga rear.  I wanted my Mom to be able to not limit her riding to daylight only, especially if she is out visiting with friends and neighbors.  The always on simplicity of dyno lighting and the great quality lights available right now made it an easy decision.

I love the fender mounted Spaninga light, it is super bright!  You get a good view here of one of the customizations I had to make to the steel Raleigh fenders.  The tab below the aluminum strut is the original steel strut but I couldn't bend them to match the desired fender line of the tire w/ the bikes rear frame geometry.  So a bit of hacksawing, drilling and digging up a strut from a VO Zeppelin fender and I had a much more adjustable back end.
The VO Polyvalent crank did a great job for me most of last year on the Trek 650B and its clean looks and integrated chain guard made it a perfect fit for Mom's bike.  I left the 46T ring on and removed the 23T granny. I love the look of 1x front end drive trains.  The pedals are MKS Grip Kings.  You also see the taillight wire routing under the downtube, I wish i could have hidden it more but it's out of the way and will be easy to service if necessary.  Given that the bike has no other cables going down the down tube I think it's still a pretty clean look.
The other end of the drive train is held up by  SRAM Automatix 2 spd hub, no shifter, no cables, no problems!  It works as advertised, aside from being a heavy beast I think it's a nice 2 speed solution. I'm not sure that for her purposes a 1 speed wouldn't have worked just as well but the SRAM does include a coaster brake which complemented my desires for having the least number of cables (and therefore adjustments) possible. Riding with a coaster brake takes some getting used to but it does do the job.

More local flair, a cork from my favorite Rappahanock Winery!  Detail oriented observers may note the lack of a lock ring... That's on tap for fixing at my next visit! :)

A Weinmann brake, with a bit of drill work provides the front brake solution with some upgraded Kool Stop Salmon pads.  This is another legacy from a previous project having originally graced my wife's Motobecane Mirage Mixte.

I think that is about it... the brooks saddle is off the Raleigh as well and my Mom was not sure she loved it but decided to stick with it till my next visit in April oh and you'll see the Riv mud flap in this shot as well. The tires are Schable Delta Cruisers in 26 3/8.  Nice tires that should last a long time.