Great blog- I'm happy to see people glorifying repurposed bikes and parts. Like Angus said, there are many bicycles already in existence which, with a little attention and modification, are better suited to many riders' and potential riders' needs and budgets than the majority of new bikes for sale in bike shops and department stores. The problem is simply that people are unwilling or unable to make the necessary adjustments, despite the beautiful simplicity of the bicycle and the many resources available.
I've only bought one new bike- the rest of mine are salvaged and cobbled together to my liking.
My Schwinn World Sport has more miles on it than any bike I've owned. The 4130 frame is in great shape; I sanded off all the surface rust when I acquired the frame and sprayed it with a two-part hardening clear coat paint. I fitted the frame with Mavic Cosmos wheels and jumbled together old Shimano 105, 600, and ultegra parts to make up the drivetrain. All parts on the bike, aside from the brake calipers, cassette, and 6700 bar-ends, were bought used at the Iowa City Bike Library. Here's the result:
|All photos credit Peter Szabo|
I've commuted on this bike since 2009, ridden it on many miles of rural Iowa gravel roads, and taken it on its share of centuries.
My Trek 520 has been my new bike of choice for long rides, gravel, trail, and the occasional commute. It doesn't feel as fast as the World Sport does, but on calm days I manage an average speed of around 18 mph on ~50 mile rides. Here it is in Des Moines:
This bike has been wonderful so far, and there is much I look forward to adding to it.
A year ago as I was preparing to move out of my apartment, I looked at my spare parts and thought that “there must be at least a full bike’s worth of parts there.”
I bought the clean white housing and the rear brake cable, but nearly everything else was just waiting to be put to use. I rode it a handful of times this past summer, but not enough to warrant keeping it around. I will probably sell it in the spring.
Last week, I found a Univega frame at Working Bikes. You can guess why I've decided to sell the Raleigh. I built the Univega up as a beater cyclocross bike, but it is still awaiting a wheelset. It's pictured with the wheels from the 520. I haven't decided if I will race this season, but if I do, all I'll need is a set of appropriate tires:
The build was fun for a few reasons. The trickiest part was putting together cantilever brakes that would reach from the 26” wheel positioned posts to the rims of the 700c wheels. Here’s how it turned out:
They were both finds in a spare parts drawer, and the springs needed to be replaced in order to suit the position of the arms. The other wonky thing about this bike is the chain guide. I wanted to make this bike a 1x9 because I didn’t want to buy a front derailleur, so this is how I’ve kept the chain on its ring so far:
It's parts from a reflector bracket, and so far the chain has not slipped from the front ring. I'll still be cautious while riding, but I've been pretty rigorous with it so far.
I'll wrap this up with the bike I'm working on currently. This project has been on the back burner for me for several months, partly because I haven't made up my mind exactly how I want it to end up. I've got a Trek Antelope frame that I'm converting into a three speed. I overhauled a nice Sturmey Archer in August:
Among a few other things, I can’t decide what color I want to paint the frame (or whether to paint it at all). I’ve considered olive green with tan Big Bens and slate blue with gray cruiser tires, but right now the bike mostly still looks like that. Feel free to offer advice!
These two are from the Schwinn in the field and the train:
The time I transported my ladder with my b.o.b. trailer and a skateboard:
The four mile trip went... without a hitch... :/