Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fender Weather

Looked like this in Silver Spring, Maryland today, with temps in the low 50's:

Got to working on Frankenfinest, well, the concept anyhow. I'm thinking that some maroon with the white and chrome will look nice. So, looks like one of these is coming:

Ultimately, I spent more time rooting around the parts bin than wrenching, but I did get this far:

The handlebar assembly is borrowed from a pile of Opus III parts - Nitto Pearl stem, Nitto Mod 55 bars, Dia Compe New Gran Compe 400 levers (with rotting hoods). I'm just borrowing for now so I can get it running. The wheel (and the rear) are Campagnolo 36h Croce D'Aune hubs laced to Sun 27" CR-18s. This has been a real great set of wheels I made up nearly 10 years ago. I've used them for regular commuting, towpath bombing, utility riding on a variety of bikes, they are still going strong, have never broke a spoke or needing truing. The calipers are NOS Cyclone, but until I commit to the Finest, I'm going to swap them out for some junky old Dia Compe G brakes.

Headset is a (formerly) NOS Suntour Sprint alloy headset, JIS size. The Suntour Sprint stuff was just under Superbe and is a little underappreciated - it was introduced after Suntour had passed their zenith. So it often is a good deal on a vintage buy.

Not shown is a Fujita Belt leather saddle, still rock hard and immutable in shape after all these years on an agricultural looking Sugino SP-KC seatpost that is getting the job done in 26.6 mm.

That is about as far as I got, because Tiff and James Hopkins showed up:

The photo above was taken as they were making off with the 2000 Marin Eldridge Grade they had just purchased from me. Super nice folks and super nice bike. I purchased this for my wife new, turned out she didn't have an offroad gene - a mile on the towpath was enough for her for one season. So it had been languishing in the basement since, in nearly new condition. Nice Columbus tubing, beautiful red fade paint, Shimano Deore, I would have kept it just to look at were we not going to Japan.

On the way out, Tiff, who is a bike mechanic, asked if I had any 27" wheels. Ha, I'm swimming in them. Anyhow, for a nominal upcharge, they also left with a mongrel set that came off my (now sold) Trek 620 lo these many years ago. Wolber Gentlemans with a nice Sansin front and one of the nifty, uber durable Specialized sealed bearing rear hubs from the 80's.

Happy riding Tiff and James, hope you enjoy it.

Around this time, Otaku Jr. started getting the need for speed (note the faraway stare):

He loves his little Jamis, but we needed to head to more distant horizons, so:

He's not going to have a lot more chances at this trailer deal, getting kinda big and is leaving for Japan on Friday.

By the way, I'm a big fan of the Carradice saddle covers. The one I have is going strong after 10 years. They fit very tightly, so you can't even feel it is there and 10 years speaks to the durability.

First stop was for some sundries at a semi bodega just inside the beltway along Georgia Avenue. Otaku jr. took some creative liberties doing camera duty to show my rain kit:

Kind of a dreary day in this area of Silver Spring, this little corner of it is also known as Montgomery Hills.

No other cyclists about, something I'll be keeping in mind on balmy May days when the carbon/lycra boys are whizzing by sneering at my boat shoes and t-shirt.

Montgomery Hills is a tad sketchy, hasn't quite caught the revitalization fever of downtown Silver Spring, which is about .5 mile to the south. But it does have a little Tudor charm:

Montgomery Hills is also home to the world famous Snider's Super Foods. This is a pretty interesting little establishment that has taken on major chains and won. Local people, when selling their homes, will actually mention in the real estate listing the distance they are from this store.

Snider's motto is hard to beat:

We headed over to Silver Cycles:

While not a C&V type place, this is a great outfit with a real dedication to commuting cyclists and keeping people on the road today. Unlike a lot of places, they keep a pretty good stock of the small oddball items. This day, I needed a seatpost clamp fixing nut/bolt. The OEM one on the Fuji Finest was simply a hex affair like you'd find in a hardware store. We'll give that a pass since they didn't know better back then, but these days we need recessed allen heads.

Anyhow, they had the size I needed (22 mm), and as I was leaving, I asked if they sold heads for floor pumps, as mine was dying. A few days ago, I had completely struck out on this with another local shop, who shall remain unnamed although they know who they are. In any event, Silver Cycles said no pump heads in stock, but we did agree that I probably just needed the internal rubber grommet that was wearing out. So lo and behold, bike shop guy brings out a whole TRAY brimming with all manner of pump head grommets and other pump small parts. All new and organized as well, not a jumble of old junk. I wanted to take a picture, but bike shop guy preferred to stay anonymous.

Well, I didn't have the pump head with me because I really didn't expect this, but it was just a short hop home and back, and voila:

New grommet in the upper left. Silver Cycles wins a coveted 5 Otakus for outstanding bike shop on this.

Afterwards, it was home again and the cycling day was over except for the drying out.

We then supped heartily on Mrs. Otaku's highly touted Una-don. Sorry, no pics, I'll leave y'all to wondering what that looks like.


Matteo said...

What do you know about those 'G' brakes? I have a new set with recessed allen bolts. They look flashy. Am I just seeing things, or is the cable held on the opposite side than normal?

robatsu said...

They were pretty good mid-rangey sidepulls in the 80's, adorned tons of bikes. My Fuji America, a higher-end bike, came stock with them.

Yes, the cable fixing is on the opposite side of nearly every other sidepull.

Me, I end up reversing the levers so the cable still look ok. But I wouldn't nexrecommend this, a bit of a safety hazard. If you do go that route, be sure to vividly warn anyone who wants to try out your bike.