Monday, October 22, 2007

The International Fleet Expands

My hands are all dirty under the nails right now, and there's a couple of scratches on my knucks. What does this mean? I've been working on bikes!! I bought two bikes today, one for a friend who lives in a small town and couldn't find one but wanted to, and another for myself. This necessitated a trip on the bus out to the Decathlon, who has a couple of sales every year in which they sell used bikes for really cheap. I then got to ghost-ride both of them home, though I had to walk up my big hill 'cuz it was too steep and the gears just weren't low enough to ride up it.

First, Gabby's bike. Just a Decathlon brand women's-specific mountain frame. Nothing special, but it rolls and it was only 60 euros, a helluva deal. I already fixed most everything wrong with it, but the rear axle is bent, and I don't have the proper tools to finish that up. Maybe the auto-shop in the school where the kids have shop class will have everything, and I won't have to buy cone wrenches, but I'm not holding my breath. I suppose I could beat it up with a mallot and hope it don't break, but she's a friend of mine and I would rather not kill her.

Now mine. It's a Gitane, I think the model is a "Defi" but I'm not really clear on this. I'm not, though, very interested in the frame. There's a ton of rust on the bottom bracket, especially the lugs, and the stem is frozen in place. Some damn Frenchman must have forgotten to grease it.

I am excited, however, about everything else. 105 derailleurs, Campagnolo brakes, a Sugino crank and a Mavic sealed-bearing hub/front wheel (ceramic!). All of these things interest me because I only paid 100 euros for the complete bike, and most if not all of the parts can be swapped over to my Motobecane when I finally get it back. I needed new wheels and a seat, and probably a rear derailleur anyway, so all in all I got a bargain. Even if the crank won't work, everything else should be fine and save me a few bucks in the long run.

So, in other words, I am happy. Happy to be taking apart hubs and lubing cables and analyzing all of the problems associated with bikes that have seen a few miles. I don't have all the tools I wanted (I debated whether or not to bring my crank puller, and thought, "Oh, when will I ever be needing to pull cranks over there."...yeah, I'm gonna have to buy/borrow one now) but it's exhilarating to be working on bikes again. I forgot how much I loved doing it since it hasn't been part of my daily life since the tour. I spent all afternoon checking out every little part and fixing everything, and now it's the evening and I don't know where the time went. Ah, well, I only teach 8 hours this week anyways...

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