Bianchi, the last task

Handlebar tape. I’ve been putting this task off, mainly because I wanted to be sure the brake levers were in the right place, and I was working on the stem – but that’s done now. I didn’t want to waste $15 worth of handlebar tape either.

I looked at some youtube videos and read about the process on the Park Tools site and decided that my lack of experience would be equally lacking tomorrow or the next day. Time to get this finished.

Got scissors, some yellow electrical tape, and the handlebar tape. From start to finish it took less than 10 minutes to do both sides. I started at the bottom and wrapped up towards the stem. It’s not perfect around the brake levers, but that’s OK. Sooner or later it will need to be replaced and hopefully I will do a better job then. Until then, it’s tight, pretty evenly wound, looks decent, and adds some padding that was sorely (quite literally) needed.

I guess the Bianchi is complete now. Today’s weather looks good, so I’m planning a lunch ride.

Bianchi – the first real ride

The handlebars were too low and I couldn’t raise them any further. So, I ordered a taller quill stem from Harris Cyclery. But it was too tall so I cut off 3cm and it is close enough for now. To remove any more stem will require a different bolt as I’m out of threads on this one.

It rides much better (as tested on the indoor trainer) and I ran through all positions on the front and rear derailleurs. Brakes are good, all bearings are good, time for a road test. The temps are in the mid-60s, and it’s dry. Time to go.

Well, it was only 10 miles, but that was all it took. The bike rides great, makes all the expected mechanical noises – whirrs, clicks, shifting noises, etc. but no bad noises. The only obvious change necessary at this point is a mirror of some kind – more a survival aid than anything else.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I’ll go a different direction for another 10 miles or so.

Work on the Bianchi

The bike arrived and unfortunately there were a couple of shipping scratches. I’ll get those handled after the mechanical going-over is complete. The bike was in very good condition and the only obvious issue is that the tires/tubes won’t hold pressure for long. Well, they are 30 years old so I really shouldn’t be surprised.

Taking things apart to check the bearings and adjustments isn’t too difficult, but I wanted to use the correct tools for the job. I purchased tools to remove the freewheel, to remove and adjust the bottom bracket, to remove and adjust the wheel bearings, and the headset.

I had a good quality grease available, cleaning supplies too. The job went smoothly with the proper tools and soon it was just about ready to ride. I knew the tubes weren’t holding pressure for long so I picked up replacement tubes. When I took the tires off to replace the tubes, the tires were cracked and falling apart. I’m not sure why I thought a 30 year old tube needed to be replaced but a 30 year old tire would be fine. See, I do get smarter as I get older – but it’s a slow process. 🙂

Anyway, I replaced the tires with Panaracer RibMo 700Cx25s and they ride very well. I haven’t had them on wet pavement yet, but they have good traction and ride quality. I’m running them at 90psi front and 100psi rear. For looks, gumwall tires are better(at least on a bike of this vintage), but these are fine and I have no plans to replace them anytime soon.

I do like the ride of a nice lugged steel frame…

A new bike in the stable

Not a motor-powered one, a human-powered one. A very nice early 1980’s Bianchi Limited. Even though it is more than 30 years old, it is in nearly mint condition. I’ve wanted a nice steel framed bicycle and because smaller frames fit me best but are harder to come by, when this one showed up I didn’t hesitate.

This winter it will see a complete going-over and will be ready for next spring. To tell the truth, it may just see a few miles yet this year – weather depending.

Take a look at these photos – very nice for a 30 year old bicycle.

More two-wheeled adventures…

This time, without gasoline. That’s right, bicycling.

Last year, my wife and I bought new bicycles. Good, not great, Trek bikes from a very good shop in Oswego, Illinois. When I was in high school in upstate New York, it seemed like I spent entire summers on the bike with a friend named Steve George. Up and down the hills of upstate New York; long ago I lost count of the miles and hours we spent riding. The bicycling bug never actually left, just was dormant for a while.

We started going on rides around the house, and also on the Fox Valley and Gilman bike trails. It’s been a lot of fun and good exercise too. I have a old Fuji Dynamic 12 I bought many years ago that is in need of restoration, maybe that will become a winter project. Precisely which winter remains a mystery.

Anyway, I decided this year to ride more and it’s been great. We’re fortunate to live in the country so we can go on several nice rides right out of our driveway.

More to come…

Two wheels without IC…

That’s right, no internal-combustion engine.  Those of you that know me are familiar with my enjoyment of internal-combustion power for two-wheeled vehicles.  Well, I’ve resurrected a very enjoyable hobby from my past, riding bicycles.  I rode a LOT as a teenager living in upstate New York, but no so much lately.  It turns out that my bride enjoys riding and we can do that together which makes it even better.  The exercise is beneficial, of course, but that’s not the only benefit.  We get to use some nice bicycle trails in the area and we can spend some quiet time together away from the computer, television, and telephone.

Unplugging is becoming more attractive as time goes on.  Stay tuned as we visit bicycle shops looking for bikes – the ones we’re using now are almost 20 years old (in my case) and the other isn’t even hers (it’s her daughter’s bike).

It’s time to fix that.