Sturmey Joy

Shopper Sturmey Archer 3 Speed

Work continues on the recycled shopper. I finished work today at 23:00 and I’ve just spent forty five minutes taking the bike apart. I had to drill out two of the bolts holding the mudguards on, but thankfully not the cotter pins as I did on my Alpine 10. The seat post was surprisingly not rusted in and came out fairly easily, bright, unmarked chrome emerging from the downtube. I was hoping to get away with not taking the forks off, but it’s readily apparent that the bearings are crumbling away – a horrible grating feeling attends each twist of the headset. I shall have to borrow a headset spanner off someone. The handlebars came off with reasonable ease, as did the grips (with a bit of pulling). Finally I unpinged the remaining spokes of the rear wheel and released the Sturmey Archer three speed hub.

Ah the Sturmey Archer- a masterpiece. Beneath the caked on grime, the metal was bright and shiny, unmarked by rust. The gearing seems unaffected by the neglect the bike has suffered, so hopefully, with a little servicing, the hub will be good for a long while yet. Here for your entertainment is an exploded diagram of a 3 speed Sturmey that I have scanned in from the legendary Soames Bicycle Maintenance Manual.

3 speed sturmey archer hub - exploded view - Picture from Soames Bicylcle Maintenance Manual.

Rudge Pootle

Gate Incident
Above, gate incident, I don’t know what the incident was, but there most certainly was an incident of some sort.

With the weather widget on my laptop telling me that the current report from the Frome weather-centre says it’s belting down with rain, I set off in the dry on an evening pootle round the lanes. No goals, no speed just forty minutes or so of riding round country roads. So I ambled through Rudge and onto Brokerswood where I saw this magnificent tin-tabernacle by the side of the road where the Great Wiltshire Cycleway turns towards Dilton.
tin tabernacle
The air was close, humid and laced with the scent of summer roadside vegetation, astringent cow-parsley mixed with sweet, creeping buttercup and ox-eye daisies. I saw more bikes than cars, four roadbikes and two mountainbikers all going in the opposite direction, everyone enjoying themselves and ready with a cheery hello and even a salute. I sort of knew where I was by following the pylon line as it crossed the road, imagining where it intersected with the mainroad by the railway bridge at the bottom of the boring gradient that leads up to the Beckington roundabout. Cranking it up a little I headed down unsignposted lanes towards where I guessed Dilton Marsh to be.

the cranksthe view from the cockpit again

Past an old farmer feeding a huge pig with scraps thrown from a yellow bucket. Through Dilton Marsh, beating a Mazda past the speed bumps and roadworks and out of the village, on towards the main road. High above me a buzzard was dropping down from riding the thermals, its dive following the path of the road. Standing on the pedals I kept pace on the straight until the bird wheeled right and started climbing again. A memory surfaced, racing a hare in the moonlight on Highway Common on my old Alpine 10; my massive Ever-ready bike light throwing out a feeble beam as I sprinted down the deserted straight track barely two feet to the left of the fleet-footed animal. No computer then, but we must have been pushing 20mph (about the maximum I could manage on the Alpine 10 on the flat). That must have been fifteen years ago.

Right onto the mainroad, the junction off the A36 into the Dilton Marsh road strewn with tiny shards of glass from the innumerable smashes that have happened here (I’ve seen two happen myself), always a worry with thin tyres. Then onto that god-awful boring gradient and home. Eleven miles, very happy indeed.

New/Old Crankset

The postman brought me a package of sheer joy today. A few days ago I ‘won’ a crankset on ebay (it was easy, I was the only bidder). I’m going to use it on my rebuilt Alpine 10 (see the Bicycles of the Highway Cycling Group page for details of this bike). Although it’s new to me, it’s actually a 1949 Raleigh set, and that’s what really excited me, the ‘spider’ as it’s now known (the material between the outer cog and the hole for the shaft, nowadays that is ususally made of two separate materials bolted together, the spokes that join the cog to the centre now resemble a spider’s legs, hence the name) is cut from a single piece of material and instead of spokes, it’s cut into the shape of three herons’ heads, the heron being the symbol of Raleigh bikes, as seen on the headbadge of Raleigh bicycles, even today.
Raleigh crankset
As I’m converting the bike to six-speed I figured I needed a slightly smaller drive on the front, this one is about halfway between the two current rings on the Alpine 10, so it will give me a higher cadence in cruising, but will make the lower gears a little easier on the hills. To be honest I anticipate a lot of getting off to push on the big hills, but it is going to be a heavy bike with all the racks and stuff I’ve got planned for it. ‘Grinding the big gear’ to get up to 30mph is out of the question, I have to admit that at its best it only ever hit around 26mph on the flat anyway. I’m a long way off putting the cranks on, but it’s good to get everything ready, and at the princely sum of two of your British Pounds for the crankset, I just couldn’t resist buying now.

Right! No matter what the weather, I’m going for a big ride tomorrow morning.

Published in: on May 26, 2007 at 9:44 pm  Comments (2)