In John’s Workshop

Tools in John\'s Workshop

As it was sheeting down with rain all day, and I was working right up to the bell, John and I decided to postpone the Wednesday Ride and possibly make it a Thursday Ride instead. That did not stop us getting all bikey though, by eight forty-five in the evening I was in John’s workshop with some of the parts of the shopper bike. The frame and forks with stem and headset attched, and the rim, hub and spokes for the back wheel. John looked down at the Sturmey Archer hub I had just handed him and happily explained that it was assembled in August of 1984. He showed me the 84 8 stamp on the metal and said it was made in England, they stopped stamping the dates when the manufacturing was moved overseas.

John’s first job was stripping down, cleaning and rebuilding secondhand bikes that had been brought in for part exchange at a bike shop. He learned about classic hubs like the Sturmey – many modern bike mechanics in a shop would rather you bought a new hub that have to open up a Sturmey, but not John, he has an appreciation of good engineering. John got the stem off with a combination of brute force, a metalworker’s vice, GT85 and a big hammer covered in a rag. Then he made me laugh, he kept saying, “well I’m not going to take off the bottom bracket tonight”, then proceeded to do so, then “I won’t take off the cups on the headset” just before doing just that. We surmised about doing up old bikes and reselling them and I brought Coco’s Variety Store to his attention. This fantastic shop, owned by the legendary Mr. Jalopy is a model of recycled cycling, with bikes rebuilt from scrap with parts from other reclaimed bikes.

With the last bits of the bike in pieces, much chat and a cup of tea later, we decided to call it a night. Phase two of the shopper rebuild is now in operation – parts cleaning and repaint. John has the back wheel to build and I now have a lot of greasy bearings and oily bits of metal to clean up. then comes the repaint, and finally the all important reassembly.

The only problem is, I now have to go to London for a client meeting with ingrained oil on my hands tomorow.

Recycle Cycle

Shopper at the recycling centre

I was at an un-named recycling centre (nee ‘tip’ or ‘dump’ as they used to be known) last week, when I spotted a rusted shopper – a Halfords own brand knock off of the folding Raleigh R20. I knelt down to snap a few photos on the ol’ camera phone, next thing I know a florescent jacketed workman is helping me to load it into the back of the car. The location will remain nameless as apparently one is not supposed to take stuff away from the recycling centre once it’s there. This to me seems like utter nonsense – In order I think the mantra goes something like ‘reduce, repair, reuse, recycle’ – with recycling at the end of the line. I’m sure there are very good reasons why operatives are not allowed to let people have things from the centre, but surely people taking stuff away is going to firstly make their job easier, and secondly it will put less pressure on landfill etc. Anyway – good on the team of bleeeep recycling centre for giving the bike to me.

It folded up nicely to fit into the car. On arrival at home I got it out of the boot and gave it a good look.

  • Wheels – 3 speed SA rear hub – still functioning smoothly – badly buckled – both rims steel and shot through with rust – verdict – rebuild wheels (actually get someone else to rebuild wheels would be more accurate).
  • Brakes – nothing a bit of WD40 won’t cure – no terminal rusting – blocks fine.
  • Cables – shot – verdict – will need replacing – white housing.
  • Tyres – front is original whitewall – shot into oblivion – tube stuck to it. Rear has been replaced at somepoint, but is heavily cracked – surprisingly the tubes are holding air fine – verdict – new tyres – (sourced through ebay)
  • Frame – minor rust on bottom of rear triangle where paint has scratched – verdict – treat rust – respray blue and white.
  • Seatpost and saddle – Saddle needs a cover and some cleaning, seatpost could do with being replaced or at least sanded off and painted.
  • Handlebars/levers/grips – handlebars will need sanding off and painting – levers are fine as are white plastic grips.
  • Bottom Bracket/chainring/chain/cranks/pedals – all good apart from the chain. Verdict – cleaned up well except for the chain which is to be chucked.
  • Stand/bell/lamp – all dead and removed.
  • Mudguards – very rusty – verdict – take off sand down and repaint – if they hold together that is.

The Shopper\'s chainwheel

This could be a fun project. I’ll try and do it as cheaply and quickly as possible. I think there is potential to make this into a very characterful and fun bike, saving it from being scrapped and hopefully give it a new lease of life. I’ll post regular updates and let you know how it’s going.

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 10:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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