So I've been busy the last week or two, starting work on a new commuter. I was able to find a bike to begin with for free after scouring twincitiesfreemarket.com and craigslist.org for months. It started life as an ugly green Gitane. No markings to indicate which make it was. Once I got it home I tore it down to the frame and started to figure out why it was free. It had a broken rear axle. This also explains why it rode kind of weird. Another thing I noticed is that it's got two different size wheels. The front is a 26" wheel, but the rear is a 27". This explains why the brakes were nowhere near the rim on the front. It also had all the original components from when it was built, probably in the 70's. I'm thinking even the brake pads are original. Not that that's a good thing.
After everything was stripped off of the bike, I started working on the frame. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures until I got to this point so I'll never have a before and after series. By the time I thought of the camera I'd stripped most of the paint, except in those hard to reach places. I'm not doing a professional job by any means. It will have a new coat of paint, but it's still going to be a winter beater.
I'm slowly working on a plan to get this thing road-worthy. Right now, I've got the frame stripped and primed. Paint will have to wait until I get back from the in-laws' place or maybe even until next weekend. I've been slowly getting the parts I need from everybody's best friend, eBay. I got a new Titec saddle for $12.85 and a single speed 16 tooth sprocket for $8.85. Quality on a budget. I'm still trying to decide what to do for a crankset and bottom bracket. The front small sprocket is only a 38 tooth, which is a little small for a single. The big sprocket is a 53, which is bigger than my puny legs can push. I'm thinking I'll try for another eBay deal for a crankset and a sprocket.
This summer I got a free Cannondale from my neighbor. He saw me biking in from work one day and we got to BS-ing. He said the bike had been in his garage since he moved in and he'd never used it. It's way too small for me, but the frame seems to fit the wife nicely. It's a weird bike. It's an aluminum road frame with super skinny 700x23 tires on it. But at the same time it's got a straight bar with mountain bike bar ends on it. Split personality? I dunno. I may take the straight bar off that bike and put it on this thing and then replace the bars on the Cannon with some drops this spring if the Mrs. wants to ride it. As I'm riding my Raleigh in the little bit of snow we have I'm finding that I like sitting upright. Then, I gotta find a steal on some rims and tires and I'll be ready to ride. I'll take the rear rack off of the Schwinn to get me through. There's some cute gold shorty fenders on eBay right now that I think would look pretty boss on this bike, but I think I need to lay off the eBay for a bit to avoid incurring the wrath of the spouse. Oh well. So, we'll see how long it takes me to get this thing on the road. It may not be ready to be a winter commuter until next winter at this pace. More to come.