She riiiiides. Sorta.

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So, a while back, some of you may recall that I bought and brought home a rusting heap.


The plan was to get a bike for Kathryn, but my fondness for things ancient and solid overwhelmed my common sense (not difficult). And I was somewhat optimistic about the state of the bike when I bought it from ebay. To be honest, when I got there I thought ‘oh arse’. But unless someone’s description is misleading I’ve always felt that once you’ve bought it, you’ve bought it. So I heaved the rusty heap into the car and drove home.

And then there was the misquote. See, I asked for a quote for a wheel rebuild and was misinformed about how much it would cost, and looking at the bike I realised that actually, it was fairly solid. Lots of surface rust, complete and total destruction of the chromework (impervious to water my ass), but the frame itself was pretty good. And having slathered the poor beast in penetrating oil, the brakes freed up and quickly came back to life. I started to contemplate what would be required to fix it.

….and make it look less shit.

Having decided that I wasn’t going to scrap a bike because it didn’t look nice I set about cleaning it up, and checking what needed doing. Let me just say this once so it’s over and done with and we all understand.


No, really. I don’t think you understand how much of a nightmare they are. Whilst it certainly has kept the chain in good order, impressively so, the experience of getting the wheel off is not one I wish to repeat in a hurry.

Much arguing and fighting later – interestingly though, not because of seized bolts – no bolt refused to come undone – and after cleaning and sanding the paint in a kind of half-assed way, I started slathering on zinc primer:



As you can see, it was a fine, high quality coat of paint. It got better on the second coat, but it’s not ever going to win an award (unless it’s for ‘worst applied coat of paint’).


I also started work on cleaning up the 3-speed hub gear…


Whilst the front wheel went off to be rebuilt and came back looking painfully lovely:


It quite makes me want to give in and redo the wheels on Molly.

Anyhow, that done I went down to Halfords and invested in a couple of delightful rattle-cans. Having perused the colour selection I opted for Halfords own brand ‘Dark Green’, which appeared to be something slightly like British Racing Green, but cheaper looking.

Then I applied the paint with care, dedication and…err, speed, mostly.


I also slathered the seat in hide-feed. This has improved the seat, but also made it disconcertingly tacky. I’m not quite sure what to do about that, but anyhow, we’ve gone from


through this:


To what you’ll see in the final photos…

Then a few days ago, after the tyres arrived, and a spares AW-9 hub from ebay landed on our doorstep I stripped down the hub from the bike. My original intention was to simply swap the innards from the new hub to the old one. Unfortunately, I rapidly discovered that contrary to information I’d been given, modern AW-9s are not merely different internally, the hub itself is also different. However, some examination of the hub revealed that basically, it was just rusted in place.

A bit of brute force, some penetrating oil, and then some normal oil quickly released it and I spent several happy minutes with it partially assembled going “1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st….ooh, it works”. It has given me the confidence to consider stripping the BSA hub down, so you’ve that to look forward to :)

I also spent some time lubricating the shifter mechanism… and getting that all working…


And stripping down at least one side of the bottom bracket, cleaning the bearings, greasing and reassembling. Thankfully the bike showed evidence of having been fairly well maintained until it was abandoned and allowed to rust.

Finally, today, I reassembled it all…


Truth be told, that’s a very flattering shot. The paint could be markedly improved by attacking it with T-cut, because it’s no-where near that shiny. The chrome actually looks faintly silvery and shiny in that, it ain’t. Also, I need to adjust the shifter because there’s currently 2nd, 3rd and “wheeeeeee, the pedals are just spinning”. And finally, I need a new cotter pin. A moment of moronitude – I supported the pedal and crank while I knocked out the cotter pin, I just forgot to leave the nut on to protect the threads, and thus destroyed the threads on the cotter pin. I have thread cutters, but not imperial ones in obscure sizes, so a new cotter pin it will have to be. I’ll ring up yon shop tomorrow and see if they’ve got one, and what the cost is, otherwise they’re on ebay fairly cheaply, so… it’s not too much of a problem.

But. With all those caveats, I rode her up and down the drive at the back of our house a few times, and nothing broke or fell off. The brakes work, the shifter works, it is a functioning bike from what was fundamentally scrap. So I feel quite good about that.

Anyhow, so that’s the triumph of will power over common sense :)


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.