Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Job, New Bike

Mileage: .8 (even if the workplace is less than a half mile away, it still counts as bike commuting to work, right?)

Weather: High 20s, breeze from N.

Saturday was day one at the shop. My previously mentioned jitters were unfounded, though I was very nearly late because the clocks in our house were running a few minutes slow.

The morning project was a pre-season service of a Giant road bike from the early 00's. Service for the bike included repacking front/rear hubs, sealing a headset that had rust issues, replacing tires, and tuning up the index shifting. I got some good experience messing with bearing cones and index shifting, both of which I'll be running into on a regular basis.

Dave said he always wonders what people want when they say "look it (the bike) over." He says that he feels he's giving his customer a disservice by spending time opening up areas that are in good condition, or finding problems hundreds or thousands of miles before they really need to be replaced. I take his point, but I enjoyed the option of taking my time and actively trying to find anything wrong, as opposed to doing a patch job.

Next shift will be this coming weekend, and part of the work may involve a bike that looks a lot like this:

Can you see me now?

That's a shade of green best described as a safety feature.

Hailing from Schwinn's "electro-forged" days in the mid-seventies, the Suburban features a five-speed Schwinn approved rear derailer, fenders, chain guard, and Schwinn's heavy-weight bombproof reputation. This bike is not going on any long tours, not for riding centuries, and most definitely not the bike of choice for anything involving speed. What it can become is a very nice city and errand bike.

The bike pictured is not the actual one I purchased, mine is in worse shape, so the following needs to happen:

1. Tires: current are dry-rotted gumwalls
2. Rim Service: Rear wheel has some serious out-of-true going on. Front is not much better. Hubs most likely need a repack
3. New Chain
4. New Cables: Both cables and sheathing are rusted and need to be replaced.
5. New Seat
6. Fenders are bent.

That's a bit of a list, but Dave said that I could use this bike as a training bike - if you're going to ruin a bike, it may as well be your own. Since I won't be officially working for the shop until March, between now and the end of February I can work on the bike between servicing other bikes . This will give me time to learn the layout and practices of the shop. I'll also have access to Dave's extensive parts bone yard, which will make rebuilding this bike much cheaper.

As it stands, the bike is unridable, but I've got parts, tools and a shop primed to rip the thing apart. I'd attempted to set up the Sekai as both a road and utility bike, but yanking baskets off between errands and training rides got old very fast. I've very happy about the chance to set up two different bikes for two different tasks. Also, having a city bike to match K's mixte will make riding together easier.

Really, the only question is about what configuration of baskets should go on the Schwinn.

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