An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

This Old Bike

I guess it really didn't take long to find an appropriate bike (read: cheap) to store at my in-laws in Illinois, though in the short span I was searching, it seemed that it might never happen.
Plenty of tire clearance.
Plastic ring has got to go.

The idea was to find an inexpensive, yet serviceable, bike that I could use for hour-or-so rides on the roads of north-central Illinois (read: no major hills of any kind) when making the twice-or-so visits a year out there. I'm a morning person, and it's not unusual that I'm up well before most of the rest of the family. Getting an hour on the bike will go a long ways to keeping my sanity. (NOT meant to be a comment on my wife's family.)

I looked at several single-speeds, had a cart all ready at Nashbar just in case, had a Chicago local willing to help me out with facilitating a Craigslist buy so I didn't have to ship the bike... I perused Craigslist in both the Chicago and Seattle/Tacoma areas for decent bikes at awesome prices. There must be a whole lot of very tall people out in the general population that I just don't see on a daily basis -- I was shocked at the number of bikes with the seat slammed all the way to the top tube... "fits riders 5'4" to 6'6"...  I missed out on a number of really good deals... Called/emailed a few sellers who just didn't respond...

But Monday night I picked up a bike from a local Craigslist ad. A Specialized Sirrus Triple, circa 1991-ish. I talked with the seller for a while, and the story was one I'd heard many times before: bought the bike to do Seattle to Portland way back when, basically stored the bike after and never rode it again.

Suntour Edge components, with single-pivot brakes, Wolber box-section rims, indexed 7-speed back end with a thread-on freewheel (hm... this could convert to a single speed easily) and down-tube-mounted shift levers, one-inch threaded steerer with quill stem, all steel. With a nice coating of dust. But the rear indexing is still dialed in... Makes me feel a little like a Velo-version of Bob Villa.

It's in good shape, but needs a little work. The task list (for now) is:

* Swap the gel monstrosity saddle to something more to the liking of my tush. (check -- already have this)
* Pull the plastic platform pedals and replace with some SPDs. (check again)
* New bar tape. (check times three)
* Swap the tires for something more suited to the potential of running on gravel roads. (half check -- I'll need a second one).
* Clean the drive train. 20 year old lube plus a healthy sprinkling of dust makes awesome grinding compound.
* Repack the hubs. They're running the original grease, which is probably dried to a hard patina now.
* True up the wheels. They're really close, but a little tweaking of the spokes will dial them in nicely.
* File off the fork ends. Lawyer tabs? Uh, the quick release is supposed to be QUICK, eh?
* Maybe swap out the cranks/bottom bracket. This would lose some significant weight, and ditch the very-unnecessary third chainring. (have them, just need to decide if I want to do this)
* Get a box to ship the bike to Illinois and pack it up.

Torture device. Outta here.
Nice shifters, still dialed in.
And no extra charge for the coating of dust.

That's not a whole lot, really, and won't cost me much of anything.

While not a high-end bike, and likely not the perfect geometry for my liking, it'll do nicely for the week-at-a-time trips across the country when I don't want to hang up my cleats and get all stir-crazy. 

Edit to add: Upon beginning the disassembly, as in all projects, there's a thing called "scope creep". Meaning that the project grows as you dive in. Nothing catastrophic, but the threads on the right crank arm stripped when I tried to take it off, I found that the chain was one good hard shift away from exploding, and the plastic under-bottom-bracket cable guide disintegrated as soon as I took the cable tension off. So far, though, that little plastic piece is the only one I don't have in the parts bin.

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