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Cycling stories.

On road, off road, Mamils, Club rides or just share your routes and tips
redsturgeon
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Cycling stories.

#661480

Postby redsturgeon » April 26th, 2024, 1:29 pm

Once a month I volunteer for a local "Repair cafe" where a mixed bunch of local people offer their time for free to fix stuff people bring in that otherwise might just be thrown away. I am the bicycle repairman and when no bikes are brought in, I am often called on to fix other things. I have fixed wheelchairs, typewriters, sewing machines, suitcases, table lamps and various other odd and sods.

It keeps me off the streets, I get to meet some interesting people and the homemade cakes are excellent!

Last week a lovely old couple in their eighties came in with her old Raleigh Misty ( so named because of a pun on the mixte frame). Let's call them David and Sheila. He stood there pleasantly smiling while she told me what was wrong with the bike. Apparently it had not been changing gear properly and the rear wheel had about six broken spokes where the rear derailleur had been dragged into it. I could see that it definitely needed a new derailleur and probably a new back wheel.

She told me that she had bought the bike new in 1970 after she had moved to Winchester since her previous bike, a Hercules with three Sturmey Archer hub gears was not great at getting up the steep hills in the city. She had had that bike since aged 11 in 1940! The Raleigh was the third bike she had ever owned, her first bike was at six years old and lasted her until aged 11.

She had asked a local shop about repairing the Raleigh but they said it would not be economical to fix at as least £200 worth of work was needed to make it roadworthy again. The repair cafe was her final option for saving her trusty old steed. She said David had maintained the bike over the years but recently his mental state had prevented him from continuing with it. I looked across to him and I could now see the dementia that I had not noticed at first.

I told them that it needed at least a new rear wheel and rear derailleur mech. I could see the brakes were in good condition though as apparently that was the last job that David had completed on the bike. All other parts of the bike were also in good mechanical order, a testament to the quality of Raleigh's output from their Nottingham factory over 50 years ago.

Unfortunately this was beyond the scope of what could be done at the repair cafe but I said if they left the bike with me I would see what I could do and I would just charge them for any new parts that were required. I told them I could do it for probably about £50.

I took the bike home, spent an afternoon pulling out broken spokes, replacing them and truing the back wheel, I replaced the rear derailleur with a similar old mech from the 1980s that I had in my parts box. I had to order new tyres and tubes since on closer inspection the old ones were perished and cracked and unsafe. Fortunately repairing the rear wheel allowed me to provide the new tyres and tubes and still deliver a perfectly fixed bike to Sheila within budget.

I delivered it yesterday afternoon, David had gone to bed since they had just come back from a long trip to Edinburgh for the funeral of their brother in law. She showed me the order of service with a picture of him in his 20s standing astride his racing bike, he was a keen competitive cyclist. Outside on the drive was a 1980's Toyota Hiace campervan that had taken them all across Europe on many happy cycling holidays but would no longer be driven by either of them.

She was so delighted to have her bike back in working order and I told her that she should call me if it required anything doing in future. I noticed before I left that I had forgotten to cut the rear mech cable to length so I returned this morning to finish the job. David was up and he was so grateful for the help I had provided for his wife , he was beaming when he opened the door.

I snipped the cable to length, popped on the protective nipple to stop it fraying and bade them farewell. I felt a warm glow from helping them out while also feeling slightly melancholy at the thought of such a delightful couple reaching the end of their full lives together, I hope it doesn't get too unpleasant for them from now.

genou
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661511

Postby genou » April 26th, 2024, 3:28 pm

She's older than she looks - "11 in 1940" makes her 95 in my book.

DeepSporran
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661518

Postby DeepSporran » April 26th, 2024, 3:57 pm

Lovely story. Thank you for sharing.

Gerry557
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661533

Postby Gerry557 » April 26th, 2024, 5:02 pm

I like the story and the fact another bike has been kept on the road.

I have one in the garage that needs virtually everything replacing (again) Its probably cheaper to find a new one

I have ordered another bike this morning on the provision I get rid of some of the junk. I split a frame of a borrowed bike that I did the C2C on. I got a new frame and swapped it so the bike went back to the owner fine. It was too small for me really and was going to get it repaired and sprayed pink for someone else but its just ended up sitting there.

So it might be one new frame in the door and two old ones going out. I think there is a charity that might be able to use them.

moorfield
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661620

Postby moorfield » April 27th, 2024, 10:16 am

Nice story. With offspring that always cycled to school I have had to teach myself how to take bikes apart and put them back together again. My own station bike is starting to resemble "Trigger's Broom" the only original bit of it left since I bought it twenty years ago is the frame seat post and handle bars - every other component has been replaced since, mostly culled from abandoned bikes which I have a habit of bringing home occasionally. It's very satisfying too having all the right tools which I've bought over the years - without doubt my favourite one is the tyre clincher for those p.i.t.a. road bike tyres.

Newroad
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661624

Postby Newroad » April 27th, 2024, 10:28 am

Hi All.

My (only) bike is a Kona Smoke that is over 15 years old. I get a professional to maintain it for me when needed, but it's survived all sorts of things with minimum disruption - it hasn't required much.

Conversely, Mrs Newroad has a number of bikes, but due to her hobbies etc, this is reasonable - road bike, gravel bike etc.

Regards, Newroad

redsturgeon
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661662

Postby redsturgeon » April 27th, 2024, 2:02 pm

Newroad wrote:Hi All.

My (only) bike is a Kona Smoke that is over 15 years old. I get a professional to maintain it for me when needed, but it's survived all sorts of things with minimum disruption - it hasn't required much.

Conversely, Mrs Newroad has a number of bikes, but due to her hobbies etc, this is reasonable - road bike, gravel bike etc.

Regards, Newroad


The number of bikes required is N + 1 (where N equals the existing number of bikes owned)

the0ni0nking
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661666

Postby the0ni0nking » April 27th, 2024, 2:10 pm

redsturgeon wrote:
Newroad wrote:
The number of bikes required is N + 1 (where N equals the existing number of bikes owned)



Haha, ain't that the truth.

I have a road, hybrid and mountain bike. x2. As obviously I need this selection available to me in both my UK home and also in my Spanish home.

My brother is a road bike obsessive and while he doesn't anymore, he used to live in a house with a cellar that was converted to store god knows how many road bikes.

I'm poor at maintaining them - I always pay someone to do that but that probably stems from my experience. Accountants provide services, they don't do physical maintenance. I wouldn't know where to begin tightening the hydraulic brakes or replacing the pedal crank that recently broke and involved me cycling the last 6 miles home with only one pedal thankfully in a clip.

servodude
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661676

Postby servodude » April 27th, 2024, 3:00 pm

the0ni0nking wrote:
redsturgeon wrote:



Haha, ain't that the truth.

I have a road, hybrid and mountain bike. x2. As obviously I need this selection available to me in both my UK home and also in my Spanish home.

My brother is a road bike obsessive and while he doesn't anymore, he used to live in a house with a cellar that was converted to store god knows how many road bikes.

I'm poor at maintaining them - I always pay someone to do that but that probably stems from my experience. Accountants provide services, they don't do physical maintenance. I wouldn't know where to begin tightening the hydraulic brakes or replacing the pedal crank that recently broke and involved me cycling the last 6 miles home with only one pedal thankfully in a clip.


That crank thing happened to me once - a bus tried to crush me against a pedestrian guardrail. I managed to jump over but my left crank and pedal were pulled off.
Last few miles were done with one leg pumping and the bike in the highest gear (left foot resting in the bottle cage).

Really worthwhile understanding what you're doing with bike bits though.. not least so that when things do invariably go wrong you can work out how to cobble together enough to get home
I generally invest in the bits and investigation as and when a new bit of work is needed.
Finally got myself a little torque wrench so that I don't damage the assembly that does the equivalent of a horizontal drop out on the current bike... and a chain wear gauge... turns out you need to keep an eye on that when you haven't got a derailleur taking up the slack!

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Re: Cycling stories.

#661725

Postby MuddyBoots » April 27th, 2024, 11:38 pm

redsturgeon wrote: The number of bikes required is N + 1 (where N equals the existing number of bikes owned)


If motorcycling is on topic, I had a similar thing with the engine size required, life would be better with a bike of existing CCs * 1.5.

And there's another theory that we always feel a bit financially stretched and we'll be comfortable with an income that's 25% higher than what we're on now.

Gerry557
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Re: Cycling stories.

#661757

Postby Gerry557 » April 28th, 2024, 10:05 am

As a mtber, often in the hills out yonda it pays to be able to do some battle damage repairs. I tend to carry some spares. The amount varies how far from help or how many days I'm away.

Additionally if I'm leading a group I might add extra things that might be needed. 6 man emergency shelter etc. There is always someone who doesn't have a spare tube.

I once came across a few riders with an upside down bike in the middle of nowhere. The bike had bent bits which meant that it wasn't going anywhere. My group stopped to offer assistance. Fortunately we found a bit of rusty iron bar that managed to resolve its none rideability.

We offered to follow them for the next 10 miles or so back to some sort of civilization. I got chatting to the chap, like you do. First bikes then routes. As we progressed the conversation he mentioned that he would be moving soon to start a new job. To cut a long story short he was going to be my new boss.

I hope I made a positive first impression 8-)


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