For this, I am going to Mechanics’ Heck

June 29, 2007

where everything is broken, and the only tool is duct tape.

I rescued a venerable Raleigh from the trash, and it was actually not too busted. The “pie plate” cover was missing from the chain guard, but I think I can make a replacement out of some acrylic we have lying around, together with some small but powerful magnets. I think that would be cool, to have the Raleigh chain ring protected, yet visible.

But otherwise, what it mostly lacked was tires and a little cleaning. I extravagantly ordered the best 26×1-3/8 Schwalbe tires (tack-proof, with generator strip and reflective sidewalls), rebuilt the front hub, heavily oiled and adjusted the rear hub, replaced a couple of spokes, and trued the wheels (they didn’t need much). The mattress saddle looks horrible, and I need to silicone the springs to retard their rusting, but otherwise it is in pretty good shape. Oh yes — I replaced the pedals with a pair that I had lying around, and the handgrips are shot. Not much work, to be back on the road with a cool bike.

But — Raleighs of this vintage have Special Brake Cables. They come as one replaceable unit, with a mountain-bike-looking barrel permanently attached at the handle end of the cable, and a road-bike-looking bottle permanently attached at the brake end. No wrench necessary to change it, either — pop the two ends loose from the fittings, unclip from the frame, back the adjuster all the way out, and pull through. These are hard to find (or so I thought, but just now I found out that Sheldon Brown carries them).

And mine broke. I tried reusing some fender clamps to make an “end”, but they were ugly and didn’t hold. Turns out I had some spare spoke nipples that would thread on the cable. I tried crimping one in place, but it didn’t hold. I tried three crimped, that didn’t hold either. Soooo, I decided to try a little solder. I wasn’t sure if it would flow to the cable (aren’t they made of stainless nowadays?) but I was pretty sure it would flow to the spoke, which looked like some sensible metal inside. And it did!

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