wrenching tales

It was really just one silly problem after another today. First off I headed south from my hut to try and snag some cheapo brake cables from REI. That didn’t work out because the only thing they had were pre-bagged sets of 2 for $19. Nineteen dollars? Wow, cables have gone waaaaaay up in price since when I worked at a shop. Jeez. I thought I could do better price-wise, so I bought some bar tape and decided to head over to to Mamas Bike and Board in Buford. When I got there they had a sign on the door that said they were going to be CLOSED ON MONDAYS from now on. Two swings two misses. No biggie…it was nice out so a drive northward would be fine, so I headed out to Addictive Cycle. I should have went there to begin with. The drive from my hut to their shop is much more pleasant than dealing with Buford. Addictive had what I needed, which came out to 19$ (irony), but I also picked up a used bmx stem to try and use on Ye Ol Talera, since I want something with a lower rise. Finally parts in hand, I headed back to start wrenching.

The brake job on the Talera went smooth as glass, and the brakes now work better than they ever have. I used a cable bridge off the ol Peugeot and rigged it up old school style. The BMX stem didn’t work at all. Maybe if I take it back over there they will let me swap it out for some cable crimps…I could always use a handful of those.

Next up I put a tube in the front wheel of the Peugeot. After that I started examining the brake levers that came off it to see how I was going to rig one up on upside down and sawed off drops, now that they have been “fixie-fied”. The problem was the “safety lever”, which is the extension of the lever that you can pull when you are riding using the flat portion of the bars…a common accessory on lower end bikes.


The thing was riveted to the end of the brake lever shaft which meant if it was coming off, it was getting sawed off. I haven’t seen any of these that were permanently fixed like this before. Usually they are held on by a large threaded straight slot screw, and if you remove the safety lever you can just install a shorter shaft IF you can find any. We used to have a drawer full at the old shop. So then, with no other option, it got sawed.

Of course I didn’t want to leave the sharp edges on there, so I pr…
POP…holy crap what was that? Oh, it was that tube I put in the front wheel of the Peugeot earlier! Man that scared the crap out of me. I had taped a small slit in the sidewall from the inside with two layers of duct tape hoping that it would last just long enough for me to get a feel for what this bike is going to be like. I don’t want to buy new tires since the wheel set I am ordering comes with tires. Well, THAT plan didn’t work out. I should have just known to wait once I found the slit in the sidewall…the tires are the original ones that came on te bike when it was new in the early eighties! I’ve used that little duct tape trick before as a temporary fix, but these things were just too dry rotted and weak.

Anyway, back to the brake lever. The edges needed to come of that sawed piece so I broke out the bench grinder and the files and ended up with a presentable result, which has no sharp edges and no excess metal filings to ruin my days out on the road. Bloody hands = not good.

After getting this thing sorted out, I jammed over to Dicks Sporting Goods, to nab a chapo tire. Once I got home after buying just a single tire, I noticed that the rear tire on the Peugeot was developing a nasty little split on the sidewall as well, so I promptly let the air out and cursed up a storm since I was had just been at Dicks mulling over whether I should just get a pair of tires or a single. UGH…it just isn’t going my way at this point. While I was on my way to Dicks, I also realized that I don’t have a cable stop for the brake lever I had just set up…normally they would come with pre-packaged cheapo BMX cables, which is what I set out to buy when this whole thing started. I should have remembered that when I was at the shop once I saw that they did housing by the foot and didn’t have the cheapos. My bad.

So I put on the new tire, which looks like crap, and most likely I’ll take it back tomorrow. I’d rather just wait at this point. I had been setting up the Peugeot so that I could tool around on it before ordering the wheel set to make SURE that it was where I wanted to throw money at the moment. I actually NEED a proper set of forks for my mountain bike, but I could opt to push that purchase back til spring to satisfy my fixie fever. Watching Grahams Fuji come together has made me really want to finish the Pooj, but I think today I found out that I’d have to spend more money just to get it temporarily running than I like, so I might as well just go ahead and get the real parts to finish it proper. Man it is going to look funny with a center pull brake on the front…but I’ll get points for keeping it old school. Eventually it s going to have NO brakes anyway…

I may have to get a job to support my bike lust, because even though the Pooj is gonna be cool, I think I am gonna want a more modern fixed gear bike as well. Surely a single speed mountain bike won’t be far behind.

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