Kool Stop Continental Brake Pads
May 11, 2010, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My Raleigh 20 is almost in a perpetual project state. I ride it hard, but there are always things that need to upgraded or replaced. Last week, I finally go frustrated enough about the lack of braking on the bike, to actually do something about it. (I almost went into some bushes, as the brakes were not grabbing the rims.)

After some research (calling Harris Cyclery) I decided to try out the Kool Stop Continental Brake Pads in the Salmon compound. These are supposed to really help decrease stopping distances.

The first step was to take a 10mm socket. put it on a driver and remove the old crusty brake pads.

Next step was to install the new Kool Stops, while aligning them with the rims so that the pads grab only the rim (not the type too). I then pulled the brake levers, everything seemed OK. The package says that a few brake applications may be necessary to set the pad material onto the rims to help the pads grab. After some hard stops on my test track, I would say that the Kool Stops are a worthwhile performance and safety improvement especially for old bikes still running steel wheels. This is a very worthy $20.00 safety and performance upgrade.

I also installed a set of Kool Stops on the Black Express bike, the test ride was night and day! This bike really stops nicely now.


New Shoes for Root Beer Bike
May 10, 2010, 6:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was riding the Root Beer Bike week or so back and as I was rounding the last turn onto my street, I heard the tell tale hissing sound of a massive flat.

Upon further inspection, my front tyre was losing air, and as I checked the situation further, I noticed that there were literally tons of little holes in my Kenda gumwall tyres. The Kendas are cheap but the kind of mileage that I put on the Root Beer Bike, I need to step up the quality ladder.

After some searching, I found a tyre that seems to be the stuff: Schwalbe Delta Cruiser in 26×1 3/8 in whitewall! This tyre has a modern tread pattern and looks to be more sturdy than the 27 inch whitewalls that I put on my Grand Prix a few years back.

I also put some new tubes in while I had the tyres off.

The Schwalbes look great and the handling and stopping prowess of the Root Beer Bike has also been greatly improved. Looking forward to riding the wheels off!

Raleigh 20 Update
April 5, 2010, 12:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We have been having the most amazing Spring Break weather. It has been about 70 for the past 4 days. Needless to say the bikes have been coming out!

I received a nice annual dividend from REI, so I did some shopping. I figured out with both my dividend, I could purchase a new B17 Brooks saddle for a grand total of $4.00! I ordered it right away and I got the package yesterday.

The package included a Brooks spanner for tensioning saddles once they become loose, but they also included a copy of The Brooks Bugle. This saddle came with instructions, so I followed them and put Brooks Proofhide on the underside of the saddle as in the above picture.

I then rubbed some Proofhide into the top side of the saddle.

Here is the saddle that will be replaced.

Here is the 20 with its’ new B17 Brooks saddle, and its components recently polished. The test ride was great. Now I need to break the saddle in.

Spring might be here
March 9, 2010, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

bluff @ FT Sheridan in fog

I got out the Root Beer Bike for a few mile ride on the Fitness Path this morning for a break.

The Fog has been thick and rolling off of Lake Michigan since last night. I have not been riding much as the winter has dumped a ton of snow which is just starting to recede. The temps have started to climb into the 40s, so I have been working on getting myself out on the bike.

I headed south towards Ft. Sheridan and took the pic above. The Lake County Forest Preserve has rehabbed the area and cleaned it up considerably. The fog is covering the Lake totally as you look over the bluff.

The Puch is Ready!
February 22, 2010, 4:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

old puch ready for spring

We bought this Puch mixte from the mid 70s off craigslist 2 years ago. We modified it pretty heavily to make it an extended rider for weekend trips.

The way it sits, it has the following modifications:

repurposed cruiser-style bars

shellacked cork grips

VO brass bell

VO Croissant bag from a few years back mounted on the bars.

Planet Bike black plastic fenders

Brooks B17S Saddle

Suspended Seatpost rear rack from parts bin

New tubes and 27″ Schwalbe white wall tires

I have been using the basement workshop to spruce up the bike a bit. The metal parts had a coating of neglect and in some areas some surface rust. I used Simichrome to rub out the metal and make it shine. The brake levers, stem and cranks probably show the most improvement. Yesterday, I got out some McGuiers Cleaner Wax, and put a light coat of wax on the frame and the chrome bars. Waxing an old bike frame sure can make a world of difference! Angie plans to repurpose an old bag to mount on the back rack. This will be the perfect cruiser for heading to Evanston!

Chain Cleaning-Raleigh Grand Prix
February 8, 2010, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

grand prix driveline

Looking at my Grand Prix project from 2008, that I haven’t ridden for a year or so, it appeared that it could use a good once over. In my spare time, I have been using Simichrome on parts of the bike that appear dull or have surface rust. That has worked out.

Yesterday, I decided to tackle the driveline. This bike is close to 40 years old, and I don’t think that its’ chain, or derailleur have been freshened up for quite some time.  I picked up some Simple Green at the store and grabbed a juice bottle from the recycling container.

First, I put the bike on the VO simple work stand on top of some old newsprint. I then got out my Park all in one tool to remove the chain. I have not removed a bike chain in a while, so I am glad that I had a decent tool to help with the job. I made sure that I looked at how the chain was set through both the front and rear derailleur so that the reinstall would go smoothly.

grand prix rear derailleur

I used the chance to get at the sprockets on the rear derailleur with some Simple Green on a rag so remove the dust, dirt and other gunk that had collected over the years.

After I removed the chain, I put in in the juice bottle that had some diluted Simple Green and hot water. I shook the bottle up for good measure and let it sit for an hour or so. The gunk was definitely turning the cleaning solution a dark gray color. I then drained the bottle and put in a fresh hot water and Simple Green Solution and repeated the process.

simple green doing its' thing

After it looked like the bottle cleaning was complete, I made a hook out of a coat hanger and fished the chain out of the solution. I set the wet chain on some newspaper. I then spent 20 minutes or so with a rag and cleaned between the links. It is not perfect, but quite an improvement.

Then I reinstalled the chain on the bike, carefully re threading the chain as it was originally. I then got some Finish Line Dry lube and moved the pedals and applied the lube to the chain. After that, I spin the pedals a bit to work the lube through. I am pretty happy how it turned out. Now I need to find a saddle for the bike.

The Grand Prix- Getting Ready for Spring
January 11, 2010, 6:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I built up an older Raleigh Grand Prix a couple of years ago. I didn’t ride it much in the past year or so, but I originally built it to be a comfortable country road riding machine. It worked well in some trips that we took to Wisconsin.

As such, I left the standard 10 speed drive train in place, as the thought if having 10 gears should make the bike more versatile in the hinterlands.

To be honest, the Simplex gear has always been the weak point of the bike, but that will stay for now. I have considered moving to 700c wheels and using the prebuilt 3 speed wheels from Velo Orange, but the 27″ wheels with their new Schwalbe white walls look too good to toss. They will stay for now. I should see how the 700c wheels from the Raleigh One Way look on the GP.

raleigh grand prix rear

I also removed an old rear light that came with the used chromo plast fenders that I added to the bike. I had a little green reflector so I added that. Not sure of the provenance of said reflector, but it must be from at least the 60s. I think it looks sharp.

I have been using the Velo Orange work stand and the Simichrome metal polish to clean up the GP. The metal bits on the front- the stem, the chrome on the forks, etc.- all benefited from the metal polishing.

raleigh grand prix front

I need to come up with a treatment for the cork grips as the shellac is wearing off. I am thinking that some Barge Cement might do the trick as it has protected my beloved Birkenstock cork for years. I also need to round up another Brooks as the honey B17 that I got for this has been on my Root Beer Bike for quite a while.