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Tigger and Blue

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Tigger and Blue

Old 01-20-21, 01:14 AM
  #26  
Geepig
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
Did you drill the hole in the frame for the lamp wire yourself or was it there before? The lamp looks like a generic supermarket incandescent. Is that right?
All the Romet folders seem to come with the holes in them, with a rubber grommet to keep things tidy and the wire from moving/wearing. All one needs is a straightened out wire coat hanger with the wire taped to it to get it through to the fold - and a warm enough day to make the grommet to 'cooperate'.

The lamp indeed does resemble an incandescent, I had never thought of them like that. These bikes came fitted with many different types of lamps since they first rolled down the production lines in the 1970s, but mine were some of the last and came with these absolute minimalistic units. Although they are cheap units I have kind of grown fond of them...



About 5-10 years older than mine, with the same wiring holes in the frame and less minimalistic front lamp
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Old 01-20-21, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
Although they are cheap units I have kind of grown fond of them...

About 5-10 years older than mine, with the same wiring holes in the frame and less minimalistic front lamp
My memories of this kind of rectangular lamp as in the front bike are of it opening wide once you hit any bump . The housing flexed so match along the long edge, that it opened the latch.
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Old 01-21-21, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
My memories of this kind of rectangular lamp as in the front bike are of it opening wide once you hit any bump . The housing flexed so match along the long edge, that it opened the latch.
Ah yes, the classic 'let the light out of the box' type, which they have resolved here by making the catches so difficult to open that one considers replacing the lamp when the bulb blows...
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Old 01-22-21, 03:16 AM
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We had snow this week, and the temperature was more than a bit nippy at times, down to -20C, and I really needed to up Tigger’s winter off-road performance. I was thinking that it would be handy to get a second steering stem to give me a choice of winter and summer options. As there is nothing on the handlebars but two grips and a bell, and the clamping system for the handlebar is so crude that it makes more sense to loosen the stem clamp and replace the whole unit between summer and winter, and vice versa. The Winter Tigger set could then comprise a pair of wheels with off-road tires, a BMX-style handlebar and stem and a lighting set. Summer Tigger could then be the current road tires on the black-painted wheels and the straight bar off Best on another stem (Best’s stem looks too wide where it goes into the fork tube). The alternative is to seek a second frame, which is less of a space problem for a small folder - I just need another hook on the wall.

As everything comes off Blue or Best it gets a clean and then goes into storage. Once there I can ponder the opportunities that each component has - could the front fork from Best be repurposed into a wheel truing / rebuilding stand? Maybe I could make another set of mudguards for Tigger based on Best’s, as they are made of a thicker, non-chromed steel? Procrastination in action!


Best upside down while I clean some away the 20 years of dirt accumulation

Talking of mudguards - the rear on Best has clips underneath to take the wire from the dynamo to the rear lights, plus the wire is thicker and more suitable for 6 volts than those skinny ones that usually wind their ugly way around the various frame components. While I had the mudguard on the bench I removed the round rear reflector that had replaced the original rear lamp - and close inspection revealed that it was ‘Made in the USSR’ (in Russian Cyrilic text, obviously).

As expected, many of the nuts and bolts were not original, but a previous owner had clearly fallen deeply in love with twisted wire. “Oh, the chainwheel protector has fallen off, let me wire that on!” or “This wiring is loose... “. The chainwheel protector was not going anywhere - but neither was the chain ever going to slip onto the largest chainring. Now all I need is to find a way of fixing the protector back on again, but as this is my first I need to learn how it is done.

Best’s rear wheel has a 5-speed Sunrace freehub, meaning that I need the tool to remove the hub and some good luck to get the hub moving on its threads. It is not vital that I remove it, but I do want to learn about these kind of things and it would make cleaning and bearing greasing much simpler. The freehub feels a little gritty, and I would like to take a closer look at it. At this point the majority of people on bike forums start telling you that you should just buy a new hub - but to me if it is rebuildable then why should I not attempt to rebuild it? Who cares how fiddly and ‘time-wasting’ it might be considered to be.


What I do know is that I dug a lot of crap out from between and behind the gears.

I have now stripped and rebuilt the coaster hub off Blue, and it was much easier than I thought and no more difficult than the farmyard, Russian language video had suggested. People often think that language relates solely to nation or similar, but it relates equally well to who we are. People can bang away at you in your own language about some political view or some technical things that makes no sense to you, or you can watch a foriegn language video made by someone who shares a similar skill set to you - and I find the latter easier to understand. In fact my wife does speak Russian, but she still needed my explanations to understand the whats, the hows and the whys of what he was doing.

I pulled the gubbins out from inside the hub and noticed a thin brown line around the smoothly ground interior of the hub. I thought at first it was rust from the years Blue had sat unused, but it was a thin ring of solidified grease. Similarly some of the components were reluctant to move, but a quick squirt of WD-40 and the grease dissolved. I ended up stripping it down almost fully, cleaning up the grease and applying fresh. Not too much - that would be fatal because it would slow its reaction speed by increasing drag and reducing friction.

Now a big difference between a Velosteel hub and many other types: like other hubs there are two large caged bearings inside the hub and a separate one under the sprocket - about the same size as one for a front wheel hub. However, other hubs allow the adjustment of the sprocket bearing like a normal hub bearing, but here the sprocket bearing cone has to be tightened onto the shaft. I have not undertaken an exhaustive analysis of why it is like this, as I was more concerned with being able to rebuild it, but suffice to say that adjusting the hub is like a front wheel hub - just by turning and locking the big nut on the non-drive side.


Most of a Velosteel hub in bits, my first strip and rebuild - and the rug is there to slow the escape of any dropped ball or roller.
I locked the errant loose sprocket cone nut onto the shaft, put it all back together, fitted the off-road tire and, with a little fiddling, got it all onto Tigger. Interestingly I had to push the rear-mounted dynamo out a bit more as the knobbles on the tire hit it - another something to think about and resolve. I took it for a ride around the garage and the coaster brake hub did exactly what it should. It needed a bit of riding for everything to bed in, and the tire allowed me to climb some wet grassy slopes that were impassable on the previous tire. If I had stripped that hub several months ago Blue would have not been such a pain to ride!
Thinking a bit further - if the knobbly tires render the lights inoperable or unreliable then there is no reason to have the lights fitted during the winter wheel season because it is to cold to ride at night. During the summer season it is unlikely that I would ever be out that early or late, or in such foggy weather, that I would need them, because I don’t really ride on the road. The only times I would use them is in the spring and autumn. So either I use cheap battery lights or I eliminate the awkward cable between the front and back by using a separate dynamo front and back. Best has the same type of dynamo (it needs testing), the front fork has a dynamo mount and I have made a mount for the rear. Simpler to achieve, and no more effort to use than two separate battery lamps - and all without the worry of the wire getting caught in the folder clamp.


I have also bought a vice, a rather cheap one it must be admitted, but I did all my home work on cars when I was an apprentice using a smaller one. I bolted it onto the tire store/table as it would make the work bench too heavy to pull around and limit the available surface area on it. This makes me wonder whether I should modify the electrical system in the garage, as currently there is lighting at the back and front of the garage but only one power socket - at the front. A second power point beside the table would be highly desirable.


We all need some kind of vice.

I added a large chunk of board under the table top to spread the load of the vice, but only the screw heads are visible. I also had to lubricate the threads and tighten some of the screws before I used it. I knew I would need one at some stage, but needing some way to lock that cone nut on the Velosteel hub axle was a final straw.


With my workbench situation sorted out a bit I am considering some more cheap/free storage systems to mount on the walls, and maybe some hooks get frames and wheels hung up out of the way, such as Blue’s during the winter and Best’s before I sell it. I have a whiteboard I use to make notes that could go on the wall too, plus there is space to add a backing to the table on which to hang things. The garage backs onto a shop, and there is a thick layer of polystyrene blocks covering the back wall for insulation - nice, but no good for fixing shelves to it.


I still have many things to be getting on with for the next month or so.

Last edited by Geepig; 02-19-21 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 01-22-21, 02:14 PM
  #30  
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Geepig,

I have to ad this link for others like me who were unawares of the Polish Romet folding bicycles.

https://www.romet.pl/mobile/en/History,5,0.html
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Old 01-26-21, 05:21 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by mirfi View Post
Geepig,

I have to ad this link for others like me who were unawares of the Polish Romet folding bicycles.

https://www.romet.pl/mobile/en/History,5,0.html
Thanks, I didn't know whether to add such a link or not. The funny thing is that they give the history of the old Romet, which died in 2005, while this webpage is for the replacement Romet, which rose from assets sold off in the 1990s. My bikes all date from the 1990-2005 transition period, and no one will write much about what happened during that period.

In the pictures you can see a black plastic tool box under the back of the saddle - they were not standard and I am looking for one.
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Old 01-26-21, 11:46 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
Thanks, I didn't know whether to add such a link or not. The funny thing is that they give the history of the old Romet, which died in 2005, while this webpage is for the replacement Romet, which rose from assets sold off in the 1990s. My bikes all date from the 1990-2005 transition period, and no one will write much about what happened during that period.
At some point I was actually trying to help a friend in Poland to acquire a full-size bike for everyday riding, within a moderate budget. Any major restoration was out of question due to the limited time available on my part and limited skills of the friend. My leaning was towards a steel frame so that it would be a long-term acquisition. The paradox, that emerged, was that it was practically impossible to get a decent steel bike there, neither in shops that had second-hand bikes nor from craiglist type ads. Even new steel bikes were an astounding challenge, with possible astronomically priced orders, relative to local income, without any trial. This seemingly reflected the history of the bike market there. The current market seemed to be flooded with alu, a lot not appealing to me at all.

I solved the problem by buying a used steel Trek in the US and handing it over to someone going there. The total costs ended up being up OK, the goal was met, and the action seemed to involve less time directly dedicated to the issue. I mean it quite literally. The friend later mentioned encountering other such Treks even though the brand was likely not there in the market during the respective period - apparently other people just had an idea similar to mine.
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Old 01-27-21, 07:41 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
At some point I was actually trying to help a friend in Poland to acquire a full-size bike for everyday riding, within a moderate budget. Any major restoration was out of question due to the limited time available on my part and limited skills of the friend. My leaning was towards a steel frame so that it would be a long-term acquisition. The paradox, that emerged, was that it was practically impossible to get a decent steel bike there, neither in shops that had second-hand bikes nor from craiglist type ads. Even new steel bikes were an astounding challenge, with possible astronomically priced orders, relative to local income, without any trial. This seemingly reflected the history of the bike market there.
Yes, when I arrived back in the 1990s getting anything could be difficult, and it was rather depressing seeing a random scatter of thermal wear as the clothing department of the premier store in the city. There were few people riding bikes in the city and the general opinion was it was too dangerous. Then around 2000-2005 bikes began to take off, with bicycle shops popping up everywhere, with Arkus and Kross beginning to pump out growing numbers of modern bikes. I have a Kross frame from about 2000 and, despite vigorous use, it is still in fine condition.

The trick to finding a bike, or anything interesting, here was to go against the grain, avoid listening to the people who said it could not be done, and just do it. That is how Arkus and Kross got started. On my scale I got a Romet Turing last weekend for doing nothing more than being interested, wifie and I were the first civilians to be shown around both the trolley bus and the normal bus depots because no one thought to ask before, and much much more.
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Old 01-29-21, 04:20 AM
  #34  
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I spent a happy evening cleaning the remaining gear and crank parts on Best, while it was clamped upside down on my workbench. I am not sure whether the rear derailleur is bent or not, as it kind of bends in towards the wheel, but I will have to wait until I have finished rebuilding the wheel to be sure. At the other end of the chain, I know now why the front derailleur had insufficient swing - one of the limit screws had been wound fully in. Such a simple thing to notice, but it has been forty years since my last derailleur, and then only rear ones, so this is my first front derailleur and a crud-covered one at that.

I also compared the seat tube diameters and found that Blue’s is noticeably larger than Best’s, meaning that the front derailleur is not going to be a clean fit. This is not a terrible problem as I could modify the bracket, make a new bracket or just run with a single chainwheel. But which size? I could go to one of those sites with gear/wheel speed calculators or just try out all three chainwheels, one by one. I will probably go with the latter, as it is the more fun option. My aim is to be able to ride the bike from the saddle, up hill and down, with and without a heavy shopping load. Speed is less of an issue than comfort and control. Standing up and pedalling on an old folder design with heavy loads mounted far from both the ground and the central twisting point of the frame is not recommended.


The rear derailleur has a new and rather overlong cable, but the housing is multi-piece and Blue has no frame cable mounts anyway. The front derailleur has a frayed cable and I feel no urge to consider a replacement at the moment until I make my chainwheel decision. It is frayed where it turns under the bottom bracket, but seems to work well enough for me to test the system. In theory, if I only use the rear derailleur, I could pass both the cable and the wire for the rear light down through the main frame tube in a single, shrink-wrapped package.


I am also tempted to transfer Best’s mudguards to Blue, if they can be made to fit, so that I can take advantage of the ‘hidden’ wiring route underneath the mudguard. They are a bit beaten up, and not as smart as the chromed ones currently on Blue, but they are stiffer. I have to face the question whether I really want Blue to look smart or whether its general smart look has suckered me into believing it should? Am I allowing society to con me, or is smart something I really want? Well, none of my really fun vehicles have ever been conventionally smart. Tigger is mostly tidy now, but not smart, and will age with use.


Getting back to the sprockets, I might look for an 20 tooth rear sprocket for Tigger for use on the winter wheel, as it is more difficult to get a good run up for a slope while the ground is wet and I am less likely to hit the same kind of speeds I would with road tires on tarmac. I know the current one is 18 tooth and I have seen 20 tooth on Allegro. If I looked hard I might find more, but it has a specific mounting of three equal spaced dimples on the inner bore.


While I was working on Best I could not help but notice the saddle - a much narrower, possibly lighter and certainly less good condition item than the one currently on Tigger. Of the four sets of seat clamps I seem to have lying around, will any allow me to do the swop? Wifie thinks it is far too narrow to be comfortable, even though she sees that I spend little time sitting on Tigger’s current fat and wide town seat. I tend only to use the seat when riding at very low speeds over short distances or as something to lean my leg on in the absence of a cross bar while doing tricky maneuvers. Convincing people is often a matter of dealing with the long trail of trash that is ‘what society knows and shares’, rather than their ability to understand without the junk in their mind.


It will have to wait, as both Best and Blue sit upside down on the floor for the most part, on their seats.


The snow and the sub-zero temperatures have lingered for a week, and for perhaps this reason I spent more time on the local auction and sales sites, watching the adverts on Allegro, OLX and Facebook, mostly to get a feel for prices and in case anything interesting came along. I kind of hoped that after the New Year actual sales would drop and people begin to sell their old stuff to cover their outgoings. And this is what happened.


On Facebook I saw an advert for ‘3 Widry’, which is funny because ‘Widry’ is the second largest lake in Poland while ‘Wigry’ was the standard 20” wheel folder from Romet, and gets applied generically to all Romet folders, especially given Romet’s Communist era habit of not always applying a name to a product. What the guy was advertising was three Jubilats, for 333 zloties, and only some 30 km away in the small town of Lubartów.


To make things slightly more complicated we had to pick the seller up in the large industrialised village of Niemce on the way. ‘Niemce’ means ‘German’ in Polish, and got its name because Germanic prisoners were settled here after Poland defeated the Teutonic Knights at the battle of Grunwald, back when Lublin was a major city for Poland. The guy was about our age, and it turned out he was visiting his father in Niemce and we were saving him the bus trip back to Lubartów where he was living with his girlfriend in a rented wooden cottage in what one would politely term the slums. That meant we needed him to guide us to where he was living. From his perspective he was now a city dweller, and his girlfriend was refusing to move out of the ‘city’ to live in trashy rural Niemce.


He was a bit surprised that we turned up in a Toyota Yaris to collect three bikes. He and his family even more so as he watched me quickly, with the aid of a 13mm spanner, hammer, pliers and a can of WD-40, fold all three and fit them in the back of the car. All for 300 zloty.



Three little Jubilats, all safe from the big bad scrap metal dealer

He did offer me another child’s bike on 24” wheels with a three-speed Shimano and nice aluminium rims, but there was no more room in the car and there comes a point to say no to stop one’s garage becoming like a junkyard.


The first Jubilat, ‘Big R’, had ‘Romet’ in large letters on the downtube, looked good, and with a little work should be worth 250 zloty come the Spring - plus it had the desirable steering and seat stem locking levers. The second, marked ‘Danusia’ with a ‘bikeland.pl’ website address, had rusty wheels but the steering stem was what I wanted for Tigger to push the handlebars a little further forward. The third was a Zenit-branded one, and had a 3-speed derailleur, friction lever and quill type steering post, as well as the rather nice high-rise bars also seen on other models of step-thru Romets since the 1970s, such as the rather tasty Romet Flaming - see post#5. The Zenit has ‘Kowalewo’ badges, the old Romet SA ‘R4’ factory site, which used to build the city bikes, including the Jubilat, and the bike has ancient style aluminium dynamo and pressed and chromed steel brake levers - clearly it is the oldest of my five.


I have seen a ‘Danusia’ marked Jubilat before, but I cannot remember where. They have a www.bikeland.pl website address printed on the frame next to the name, but they are a reseller in business since the late 1990s rather than a manufacturer - but was it from the same factory as the Zenit, or Arkus-built, like Tigger and Blue? Big R shares the same metallic paint colour as Danusia and the same straight welded seam on the top seat stay as Danusia and Zenit - while Blue and Tigger each have a curved seam. When talking about the disintegration of Romet SA and its many factories, nothing seems clear.


It was only a few weeks ago that I came across my first Zenit, on the Bełzyce trip, and after a Polish bicycle forum hunt I learned that they date from the 1990s and many have Favorit 5-speed derailleurs. When I first saw the picture in the advert I assumed that it had been retro-fitted with the derailleur gears from something else, but looking back at the Bełzyce picture I can see that they are almost identical. It might already have a good BB and suitable chainwheel - which I can see is not the usual Romet pattern. I could in fact rebuild it as a Blue replacement, leaving Blue’s frame in dry storage until I can find things like an FD that fits the seat tube and do a decent paint job on the wheels, etc. I want Blue’s shopper functionality and derailleur gears available for the Spring, but Blue itself can wait for better parts. I also need to decide whether I want the reserve rear wheel to be a derailleur or coaster brake.


Therefore, before I sell Danusia I need to make a decision on which wheels to fit - a) remove, sand down and paint its current rusty rims, b) fit the wheels and gears from Zenit, c) fit Best’s aluminium rear rim and cleaned up steel front wheel (currently Tigger’s front winter wheel), or d) buy a pair of cheap, non rusty front wheels and weave one of the rims onto Danuta’s rear wheel?


I need some time to think and examine.


#romet #rower #bicycle #wigry #jubilat #shopper #poland #polska

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Old 01-30-21, 12:15 PM
  #35  
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You are certainly busy this winter season! Enjoyed the read and bike model lesson.
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Old 01-30-21, 08:58 PM
  #36  
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Nice story. Thank you, I feel as though I've been on the same type of adventure. Every 'used' bicycle has a story.

As far as gearing in concerned, you may want to refer to the "Sheldon Brown Gear Calculator". Whether you deal with 'Gear Inches" or "Gear Ratios" is up to you.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

Just plug in the numbers and get your numbers. I prefer gear inches and my ideal gearing is 60 gear inches. Anything too low I am spinning out, anything higher is too hard to go up hills.

And most vintage European folders I've found have had 60 gear inches. Whereas most modern Asian folders are about 45 gear inches.

Mirfi.

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Old 02-01-21, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
You are certainly busy this winter season! Enjoyed the read and bike model lesson.
I am glad that you have enjoyed it! Now that I am working from home I have somewhere to go for an hour or so right after work, for a change of pace, and it is leading onto many new things.
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Old 02-01-21, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mirfi View Post
Nice story. Thank you, I feel as though I've been on the same type of adventure. Every 'used' bicycle has a story.

As far as gearing in concerned, you may want to refer to the "Sheldon Brown Gear Calculator". Whether you deal with 'Gear Inches" or "Gear Ratios" is up to you.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

Just plug in the numbers and get your numbers. I prefer gear inches and my ideal gearing is 60 gear inches. Anything too low I am spinning out, anything higher is too hard to go up hills.

And most vintage European folders I've found have had 60 gear inches. Whereas most modern Asian folders are about 45 gear inches.

Mirfi.
Indeed, they do - one has a story of a previous owner with the muscles of a gorilla and another involving mysterious scrapes on the rear frame...

When I had two bikes with identical gearing it did not seem important, but you are right - I need to start using something like gear inches as my choices have expanded so much.
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Old 02-01-21, 09:08 AM
  #39  
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Geepig,

The 'euro' folders are usually good.

What is disappointing is the new cheap folders with rear cassettes and their comically low and tight gear inches. Cassette range of 12-25 and the crank is 44. End up with a gear inch range of 32-68.

Which is fine if you only want to go 5 mph with your friends who are jogging. But not for riding with your big wheeled friends.

I've documented my gearing upgrades on the Downtube and Bikesdirect Mini Velo upgrade thread.

Half the fun of these bikes is working on them. As hobbies go, it's not all that expensive. Plus you get to ride them.

Mirfi
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Old 02-02-21, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mirfi View Post
Geepig,

The 'euro' folders are usually good.

What is disappointing is the new cheap folders with rear cassettes and their comically low and tight gear inches. Cassette range of 12-25 and the crank is 44. End up with a gear inch range of 32-68.

Which is fine if you only want to go 5 mph with your friends who are jogging. But not for riding with your big wheeled friends.

I've documented my gearing upgrades on the Downtube and Bikesdirect Mini Velo upgrade thread.

Half the fun of these bikes is working on them. As hobbies go, it's not all that expensive. Plus you get to ride them.

Mirfi
Sometimes I think the difference is that in the past they were generally made to be ridden, while today they tend to be a fashion statement with a check list of features - great for Instagramming but in need of upgrades for more serious use.

I live some way from my garage, and for three seasons of the year I have one of my bikes locked and ready to go outside our block - so I get to ride there and back as well.
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Old 02-05-21, 04:51 AM
  #41  
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Because there are always complications within complications, I might already have a recipient for one of the Jubilats. One of wifie’s oldest friends has a summer house near a lake in the region and has always been a keen cyclist. I would like to encourage her as she has already had a heart operation, and over the past years has spent too much time indoors due to Covid. She already has two bikes, both apparently having been ruined in some undefined way by one of her sons, even though he once trained as a mechanic. All she says she needs is a reliable, small-wheeled [tick] red [tick] folding [tick] bike, so I might do a straight swop with the ‘ruined’ ones. Whatever they are.

Her summer house was built about 1970 by her father, in concrete, styled like something moderne from the 1930s, and very much Communist chic at the time. One floor, two rooms and awkward-to-enter kitchen and shower rooms, plus a spider-ridden basement under the front veranda, entered via some steep steps, not my favourite kind of bicycle storage. The ‘house’ needed demolishing and replacing a decade or two ago, as all their neighbours did, to replace them with comfortable, dry and convenient wooden houses. But all that can be forgiven because it is really close to a beautiful lake in a very rural area, mostly sandy, flat, and ideal for riding.


We like to visit.



From left to right: Tigger, Danusia, Big R and Zenit - with Blue’s frame in front.

All that seems a long way away, as I have to make room for all five that I have now, plus the car, in the garage. It also means I have another 6 tires and inner tubes to inspect, 2 sets of genuine aluminium Romet mudguards to restore and one nicely painted steel set (all better than the paper thin steel/chrome ones originally on Blue/Tigger). I noticed what looked like a worn 20T rear sprocket on Danusia, which would be perfect for a test on Tigger, to save buying one that I might not like.



I began operations by stripping off all the baskets/racks, spraying some lube in the cables and over the brake pivots, then pumping the tires up. Big R rides much like Blue did before I stripped it down, although the front brake had to be pulled on and then pushed off, while the coaster brake was present rather than active. Danusia, with the big rear sprocket, was off up the garages like a rocket, but I quickly hit max speed, even in the sitting position. The coaster hub was hanging on when pushed in reverse and kind of participated - but it got around the garages much quicker than Tigger. Zenit was fiddly to get in gear, mostly because it was 40 years since my last friction levers, but once there it felt tight - which just left the high-rise bars feeling a trifle odd - and distant from the gear lever, a bit like a Raleigh Chopper from the 1970s. The rear calliper brake began to warm up nicely, an unusual feature on a Jubilat, while the front mostly just squealed whether you applied it or not. Oh, and Danusia has a different handlebar stem, more bent forward, so it dives easily into the corners but has to be lifted back out.


Three similar bikes and three dissimilar personalities. It must be a family!


Overall I am pleased, mostly because I now have plenty of new things to fiddle with after work: Big R, Danusia and Zenit. Wifie says that makes eight bikes, but I say seven because Kid is now just a frame destined to be hung on the wall as decoration, and even Best’s life is limited to a test ride for its gears - although if I sold the frame someone could build a bike from it. Blue is currently at frame level, but remains a bike as it will be rebuilt.


We popped into our local bench of Decathlon for a few bits and pieces. I would prefer to use a local bike shop, but while there are many here they mostly focus on bikes, clothing and sometimes servicing. Anything else means a day spent dragging around the many, and then maybe finding what you want against a background of many strange and unwanted comments: why would you want that, they are not available, they used to be available, you need a better/newer bike…


Bla bla bla, as they say in Polish.


I took the tire-less but tired front wheel from Best, and popped the wheel bearings out - start in the centre and work outwards sounding like a good plan. The wheel bearing on one side had broken up, probably smashed by one jump too hard. I hunted around in my collection of used bearings from Kid and used a bearing from its front wheel to assemble enough balls to create two traditional, cageless bearing sets. I could have bought new balls, but the cones show noticeable damage. If I were going to ride to France I would buy a new wheel, but it is going on Tigger, very much a ‘lokalny’ machine. With some grease and actual adjustment the wheel felt good when I rotated it - a pity about the kinked and loose spokes and weaving rim. A weaving and rather rust-pocked rim, but still smarter than those on Danusia’s.


One of the tools I purchased recently was a spoke wrench, and after a week of regular spraying with WD-40 I felt ready to tackle the spokes. I sat the wheel in Blue’s upturned forks and stuck a couple of pieces of masking tape to the forks to track “any” side-to-side and up-and-down movement by the rim. Masking tape is good because the rim can happily rub into it at will. And it is cheap, I use the stuff for all kinds of things, including marking which part of the spoke spanner fits these nipples. I also added a bit to one of the spokes so I would know when I had done a complete revolution. With the masking tape fest over, I went round and round to tighten all the spokes until they felt equally tight, then started looking for which spokes I needed to adjust further to pull the rim into shape.


It was all good fun, and I even managed to straighten out those spokes with kinks in them. Since it is my bike and it never goes far, I think I can deal with any spoke losses that might happen. I also bought a cheap Btwin off-road tire, which I ‘slipped’ on along with the Shrader-valved innertube that came off the wheel. It was the work of moments to remove Tigger’s summer front wheel, and get this one on in its place. A quick ride around the garages and everything felt OK.


What with all these new parts, I now needed more space to store them all. A neighbour chucked out two shelves that I took away and fitted high on one wall, and then I mounted three large hooks beneath them, with the plan of hanging Tigger’s summer/winter wheels from them and a few other oddments. Now it turns out that I have so many wheels that I cannot come close to hanging them up, and the frames I hide down one side of the garage.



Tire racks, wheel racks, frame racks - whichever I need them to be.

While I was at it I made a shelf for my radio and disinfectant spray (so wifie can find it when she visits), along with some coat hooks for when it becomes warm enough to remove some outerwear. I will still need to look out for some more materials, because I could do with somewhere to store all the rest of the things I am not working on.


Tigger’s tires worked well in the snow that fell incessantly the other night, as did my snow shovel - it worked well and fell. No one else ever clears the snow out from the garages, but I see it as something I can do for our garage community, such as it is.



Tigger in the snow, fun before shovelling...

Then it was home for supper.

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Old 02-12-21, 03:37 AM
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With the front wheel from Best now in fine fettle and enjoying in its new life on the front of Tigger, it was time to sort out the rear wheel as an eventual reserve for Zenit. While the front wheel on Best had been a ratty steel replacement, this seemed to have the original aluminium rim, in a design that Kross continued to use for many years. The rim had a few dings, but it looked sound overall. They say that rim brakes work much better on aluminium than chromed steel, and I believe them - and hopefully quieter than the cacophony that is a feature of Zenit at the moment. The tire was cracked with age, the spokes loose and some bent, the gear hub was wobbly and the bearings gritty. I spent one evening session just scrubbing and digging away at the grime between the gears, before extracting the axle and the rather blackened ball bearings. I could see that the gear hub would have to come off and maybe even the freewheel rebuilt.

I had already purchased a tool to remove the gear hub, so with the tire reinflated, the tool fitted and held in place by a slightly slack axle, I clamped it in the vice and then, with only a couple of heaves, the wheel was turning. I like to clean as I go, but the gear hub was going to require extra effort. I have seen those serrated plastic tools designed to help clean between the sprockets, so I cut one of my own from the base of a plastic box that formerly housed a set of masonry bits. I had purchased the bits some fifteen years before, back in the time when it was still difficult to find any tools here, so was forced to accept a set of drills clearly designed for another kind of drill chuck. They kind of worked, but now they sit in the bottom of a tool box in case I need a long punch. My serrated cleaner looks rough, but is sufficiently effective.



Sprocket cleaning tool

After cleaning, involving WD-40 as the prime grime penetrant, I sat the gear hub fat-face up and pooled some thin lubricant to soak into the freewheel mechanism. Since the freewheel mechanism still works and I have no experience in how much it should ‘wobble’, I will refit the unit ‘as is’. Best’s previous owner, he of the fondness for home-made rivets and other agriculturally engineered projects, had fitted a rubberised band to roll around the hub, held together by yet another ingeniously nail-derived rivet. I cut it off, because they seem to do more harm than good. If the hub gets dirty I should clean it, not allow a device to pick up the oily grit and then apply it as a coarse abrasive on the hub. I then noticed that many of my new bikes had similar things, ‘had’ being the operative word.


Eventually I got around to the spoke nipples. I had squirted them a couple of times with WD-40, but my hopes were lower than for the front wheel as the spokes were in even a worse state. I removed the tire, inner tube and rim tape and tapped away at each of the nipples to make sure that none had bonded to the rim. On my first go only about a third of the spokes were free, but by tapping them with a hammer and then toothbrushing them with oil I increased this to about half, or eighteen. I decided to leave them to soak for a week


I realized it was time to wave goodbye to the cracked tire, as I make it a general rule that one should not be able to see the inner tube from outside the tire… However, the inner tube itself seems to be perfectly serviceable, even if it has two successful patches, one right next to the valve. I will keep it as my spare.


With such a huge number of tires lying around, I could not help but notice that while most of them had modern wavy patterns, there were four that had a traditional tread pattern. They were all branded ‘Zebra’ from the Stomil factory in Olsztyn, Poland, which was finally bought out by Michelin some fifteen years ago. They no longer make bicycle tires under the ‘stomil’ brand (‘sto’ = ‘100’, ‘mil’ = ‘miles’), while the Stomil factory in Poznan is now a different company and makes commercial and agricultural tires. Hmm, I thought, they would look good on a restored bike, and then promptly stashed the better two safely away. I refer to them as my Zebras, while the other two as Badgers (‘bald as a badger’). I saw an advert the other day for a Jubilat front wheel with an almost unworn Zebra, for only 50 zloty…


These are not the only Polish tires I have, as Blue and Tigger came on Dębica tires, originally a branch of Stomil but then sold in about 1939. They are still in business, but ceased making tires and tubes for bicycles in 2006, so mine are pretty much from their final days. When I retire Tiggers’ they will go into storage as well, while Blue’s will likely stay on for a while as they are still like new. I am not sure why Dębica withdrew from the bicycle market, just at the moment it was set to explode, but some days Poland seems packed with woe-sayers: the end of bicycling is nigh because everyone will buy a car.



When did bicycle tread patterns become so abstract?

Looking ahead to the time when Best’s rear wheel gets rebuilt, I should first temporarily refit it to a temporarily made-rideable Best to make sure all the gear levers and stuff work properly before I reuse them elsewhere. I made a start by cleaning the chain and gears, which was a whole lot more involved than with a single gear bike, so I took the rear axle from Kid to make a dummy axle to keep the derailleur in its normal working position and hence the chain tensioned. Out with an old toothbrush and chain cleaner (WD-40) and I soon had everything scrubbed up as nicely as possible, with just a few nooks that will have to wait until everything is disassembled. I really should get something better for cleaning chains, with all these bikes filling up my garage.
The chain is narrower than on Zenit, although the gear separation on the rear hub looks similar, and bends to the side impressively. In this complex world of gear options I am not sure what chain I should replace it with.


Before Zenit came along I was going to expand the rear frame of Blue to fit Best’s derailleur and crank set up. OK, so I know that the chainwheel side crank on Best needs straightening, which will be a bit of a task, but still a straight-forward one. As standard, Jubilats use a two-piece cotter-pin crank and a rather short and fat caged bottom bearing, pressed in, all from a different era in cycling. The chances of finding suitable cotter pin cranks today that take sprockets that match more modern rear gear hubs diminishes with time, so the plan was to purchase a cartridge bottom bracket with a square-ended axle that would take Best’s and other cranks. The cartridge uses press fit bushes, which while not as good as threaded bushes they are not worse than the current push fit bearings. I thought that this would then free up the bearings, cranks sprocket and chain as a reserve for Tigger.


So the other week I removed the BB in preparation.


On a related note, Zenit has a three piece crank on cotter pins, and presumably on the same kind of seal-less push-fit bearings as the other Jubilats. I am not tempted to find out, as removing 25 year old cotter pins is a task better left for a future day. It does run the chain for a derailleur, even if it is a 3-speed one, and it has the 130mm spacing. The chainwheel is also not the same pattern used as on all the other Jubilats, but seems to to be common for Zenits.


So I could have left Blue’s BB in place.



Kowalewo, the very, very small town where my Zenit was created. ’Kowal’ means ‘blacksmith’, which is appropriate for the location of a bicycle factory.

In breaking down Zenit, Danusia and Big R I now have 6 frames to store away, along with 5 boxes and baskets full of different things - saddles and pedals in one, brakes in another. I took photo’s first to record where everything came from, but I have no intention of returning the parts to their source frames. Instead I have created a parts store, from which renewed bikes will appear. On the downside is that Big R’s BB felt a bit stiff, so now both Blue and Big R have their BBs out.

The biggest news, which I have hidden down here, is that we are considering buying a summer cottage somewhere, and living there for about half the year. This kind of makes sense for my bike situation: Tigger would continue to be my back-of-the-car travel bike, Zenit would be ideal for life in the country with its three/five gears and Danusia as my city hack. Tigger is nice enough to be taken on weekend breaks, but if we are just nipping down to the cottage for the weekend it might not make sense to load it. Now we just need to find our kind of location.

#romet #rower #bicycle #wigry #jubilat #shopper #poland #polska

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Old 02-13-21, 09:39 AM
  #43  
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That would be a great situation to have, a summer cottage! I know some of my relatives in Finland have their cottages as well.
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Old 02-15-21, 04:25 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
That would be a great situation to have, a summer cottage! I know some of my relatives in Finland have their cottages as well.
The funny thing is I had been saying at work that our systems need more flexibility, so that people can work from home when there is a problem, and I could not see why so many university classes, which wifie teaches, had to be done in a classroom, especially mature students taking weekend classes who were driving 150 km to get to the university and then back for one day of classes, in the winter. Covid come along, panic set in as no one had plans, and now I have worked from home for almost a year, and wifie too - plus last week she was teaching a class in Chicago and today another in Moscow, all from her desk here. If we can do it from an apartment in the city we should be able to do it from a cottage in the country
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Old 02-19-21, 01:29 AM
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The weather has been down to -15 Centigrade over the last few days, but it kind of warms up at the back of the garage with the car to block the majority of the draughts. To make things even cosier I found a modern standing lamp by the dumpsters the other day. It is made of aluminium tubes, each about a foot long, threaded together. If I need the light to be taller I can add a segment or two. I just need to find a longer cable for it.

With about a week passing since leaving Best’s spokes to soak, I had hoped for some success. One freed off but would not tighten down any more. Does this mean that the threads just need cleaning, or has all the casual jumping stretched the spokes beyond adjustment? I just do not know, I just want to get them off without damage, even if they are only going to be used as emergency replacements. Still, the number of recalcitrant spoke nipples had dropped to eight, each of which I marked with masking tape so that every day I could keep track of the remaining offenders.


After reading the forum on the subject of frozen nipples, I began to add some fizzy coke to each end of the nipples, and within a few more days I was down to three left. One was really bent and loose and I could see it as being the last to give up, but a couple of days later it too freed up and turned. I removed them all, cleaned up everything, hung the rim on a hook out of the way, taped the spokes as a set and put them and the hub away for safekeeping.


I came across across an advert for a mismatched pair of Jubilat wheels, for only 50 zloty. A bargain, even with a bit added for delivery. They arrived within a few days and I was pleased with them - the hub bearing on the the front was toast and the coaster brake had, as advertised, a split hub. But the rims and the spokes are good, the front hub could be rebuilt if push comes to shove and now I have a relatively intact set of Velosteel internals. Given that while Danusia’s rims are rusty the spokes and hubs are good then I could do a straight swop, even though I have never rewoven a wheel before - but that is the kind of thing I want to learn.


Another dumpster find from some time ago was some crockery, including a small bowl I could use for cleaning small items, to let them soak - although perhaps a finger bowl would be nice too, for ball bearings. More forum reading indicated the best option for a Suntour freehub was stripping and rebuilding the bearings, and second best a kerosene wash and the application of some grease or grease and oil mix. The weather has been too cold for any of that, so I bought a small bottle of hypoid gear oil, part filled my bowl with it and sank the 5-speed groupset in it - a perfect and slippery fit.


This week I found a circular stainless steel kitchen sink, which should be an easy fit for my next garage furniture project. I wonder how much our neighbours know how they are aiding me in fitting out my garage?




The Hypoid Oil Experience


Best’s pedals were the first I have worked on since I was about 15, and both were a bit beat up. One had much smaller balls in the bearings, with only 12 coming out of one end while the other had a full complement of 22. I soon found the cause for the ball loss - the core of the pedal had split, so I dumped it and kept only the shaft and the remaining parts of the bearings. I had hoped to fit them on Tigger, but BigR has a set that might do and allow me to fit Tigger’s traditional rubber pedals on that.


Each time I packed Tigger in the car, the front light seemed to get pushed around, especially if we put anything else in there, like lunch. I was also not entirely happy with having a wire run from the back to the front as there was always the chance of catching it in the folder clamp. To solve this I bought a clamp like the one I use to mount the rear reflector, and used it to mount the light low on the steering stem. I then added Best’s dynamo on the front fork dynamo bracket, but for some reason it kept skipping when moving forward but not when going backwards. I assumed that this must be due to its 20 years worth of wear and exposure. I replaced it with the one from Blue so that now I have a dynamo front and rear. While this might sound strange, they are still lighter than the sets of lights I used to use in the 1970s, which also had to be ‘switched on’ front and rear. Once the Spring comes it will take just a few minutes to remove both lighting sets to return to that clean look.


At the same time I rebuilt the front mudguard, and this time mounted it the other way round to keep it further away from the knobbles on the tire. The mudguard on the back has developed a slight rattle, almost like the knobbles on the rear tire are sometimes making light contact. I also swopped the wide comfort seat for the narrower one that came on Best, the advantages being slightly smaller package dimensions when folded and more freedom to move the bike around beneath you while crossing difficult terrain. Sometime soon I will also fit the long-desired steering clamp that came with BigR.


I now have a single long shelf on either long wall of the garage and two spare shelf boards ready for fitting - do my neighbours have nothing better to do than update their shelving options? My wheel hooks are sadly inadequate for all the wheels I now have, and it was with little regret that I despoked Danusia’s pair, the rear off Best and the pair I bought the other week as they take less room like this and I have already used one set to build a type of wheel that I lacked. If I left the wheels whole then the number of potential uses for them would be much less than as parts - 4 wheels means 4 applications, but 4 sets of parts gives the potential to rebuild the original 4 plus other combinations. It severes the link between source and destination, between past and future. Tires, tubes, rims, tapes, spoke sets and hubs. Danusia’s front hub was a surprise - it had a thicker axle and a much superior design than is usual for a Romet wheel of the era.


The front stems for Best and Kid share the same design of slanted quill lock, and are about 1mm narrower than Zenit’s, and while Zenit’s front end looks like the other Jubilats it is not as it has a different fork with a classic tapered plug quill instead of a clamp. And it is a different diameter anyway. It is not uncommon to see bare Jubilat frames for sale without a fork, which is a risky buy without a tape measure, especially as the Zenit has a 130mm wide rear end instead of the usual 112 of the standard one. Having ‘Zenit’ written on the bike means little as I have seen a fork-less frame with ‘Romet’ on the downtube and ‘Zenit’ just a bit lower. All my Jubilats are Jubilat 2, distinguishable by the tube used between the hinge and BB, while the original 1970s Jubilats had a rectangular section strip instead and, luckily, no derailleur frame version.


Essentially, buying a Jubilat frame is far more complex than I imagined.


Danusia is currently the only one, other than Tigger, that is not fully stripped, partly so I can use it as a bit of a runaround, partly to get a feel of components that I plan to fit to Tigger and partly to test out the rebuilt wheels. One thing I failed to notice earlier was that Danusia has been welded, where the downtube meets the hinge, on the underside. The front forks are a bit wide as well, which makes it unlikely that it will ever be anything more of a runaround.




Tigger and Danusia. See the brown painted bit on Danusia’s frame to cover the welding?

Last weekend we spent a day at the cottage we have decided to buy, located in a village about an hour’s drive due east from our apartment, and we have a deposit down already. It was a hectic weekend, as two other sets of people went to look at it, liked it, but were unable to raise a mortgage for it - such is the fallout from Covid in the banking sector. Anyway, they both came from other parts of Poland while wifie’s family came from not more than a few dozen kilometers away.


This means that getting Zenit built has become a bit more urgent than work on anything else - if only to stake our ownership of the barns, as it were, since we lack a horse. Only the other day I put the baldest tires on Zenit’s wheels so I could eventually test out the gears and things from Best, but now I need Tigger’s winter boots on Zenit instead. Best’s gear switches can wait as well.
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Old 02-26-21, 05:10 AM
  #46  
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Where do I start? The old plan was to build BigR and Zenit to sell, and then let the friend have Danusia, but all this has gone out of the window. BigR will still be sold, gaining the high rise handlebars from Zenit and maybe the steering stem from Danusia while losing the steering and handlebar clamps to Tigger and Blue. Danusia has a big weld, so it is staying with me, Zenit is going down the country road, and that leaves the friend getting Blue. Best can wait, as can its switched gear changers and triple sprocket crank.

There is just so much cleaning to do, even for stuff going into storage, as you can often spot potential problems like cracks that might mean extra work later. I removed the crank assembly from BigR some weeks ago because I could feel significant slackness in the BB. Rather than a seal there is a pressed aluminium dust cover, which is only so-so effective. The bearings are sitting in my special dish waiting to be washed and could all be replaced cheaply enough - the only difficulty is that the outer cone on the sprocket side is friction welded in place. If anything happens to the crank, cone, sprocket or shaft then the whole unit has to be replaced. It clearly pays to keep the bearings cleaned and greased regularly.

Luckily Blue has a nice set of chrome mudguards on the shelf, as well as a front basket ready to slot on. All I need is a set of LED lights and maybe a bell - all of which is a lot less preparation than required for BigR as I have been working on Blue since last summer and BigR has been on the road / in a shed since 1997. Everything needs overhauling for BigR, but since Zenit and Danusia are essentially minimal parts consumers, and I still have parts left over from Tigger, there is plenty to pick and choose from.


3-speed Falcon freewheel. At last, I have taken a better picture of Zenit’s three speed hub, and you can see that they just bought hubs with fewer than the maximum number of sprockets possible. Things like this makes you realise just how whiney many of us in the West can be, talking incessantly about how much more their bike needs...

In other news, I had a very low speed crash on Tigger in the snow, when the front wheel slid out in a turn and we all rolled onto my side. I had BigR’s grippy pedals fitted, which would have been perfect if I were wearing my normal riding shoes, but I had deep cleat boots on - and I was hence unable to slide my foot off the pedal to correct for the slide. So there I was, lying in the snow, realizing I needed other pedals for boots, like Danusia’s or Tigger’s old ones, or a better technique. Danusia’s look perfect, are light, but they are not rebuildable and are noticeably worn. Next time out I first lifted my foot from the pedal when I felt the front wheel begin to go.

Zenit will get a bit of a clean and lube, and various minor fixes such as the tires and tubes, and will then be transported to its new home. I still need to fit out Zenit with baskets to do local shopping, but that is way down the line at the moment. It is also getting 5 speeds, but I might later change this to 3-speed once I build a new wheel because with friction lever systems I tend to choose a gear and go. Then there are my ideas for low mounted baskets to make shopping safer with a ton of spuds and cabbage on board. While I will be keeping the stem mounted friction gear lever for now, and the desirability of 3 speeds, Best’s switches are always there for a future that does include 5 speeds and potentially more than one gear up front.

As always, Tigger benefits, this time with a lever clamp for the steering so we can leave that 13mm spanner at home, new bar grips and the pedals I have already mentioned. What is more, if the rust on Danusia’s wheels is just surface then I plan to sand them down and paint them properly during the warmer months. They will then be used to replace my current winter wheels, one of which is going on Zenit.


One of my new levers that came on BigR. They are quite expensive even secondhand, and it is cheaper to harvest them off a bike you buy to renovate. This one is on Blue, the other is on Tigger.

On our second visit to the cottage the other day, some members of the seller’s family were also there - mostly to decide what of the (lots of) scrap farm iron in the barns that they could sell or discard. They had assumed that we would want everything cleared from the property, and were pleased to discover that we actually wanted the furniture and bedding in the house, saving them from the sad sorting of a dearly departed’s belongings. We are looking for continuity, and since I come from a rural background I want locals to wander on and off our property (I could easily toss a stone from the front gate and hit either cottage on each side). There is a bit of a field out back, and it was clear to me that the locally-living cousin who still had farm equipment in our big barn had turned the land over for the spring - so I suggested that he could continue to farm the field and store his stuff in our barn, as there is nothing quite so sad as a barn that is no longer a barn, like a bicycle without wheels, only much, much larger.

Another ace in our pocket is that, in this land on the border between Polish and Ukrainian cultures, is that wifie’s name is ‘Grzesiuk’ and the sellers are ‘Stasiuk’, classic cross-border names, and the leader of the district council is also a Grzesiuk. We are talking calling card names here - and a common question wifie gets is ‘Are you related to the Grzesiuks in Chełm?’

I found a Romet Turing 2, technically referred to as a ladies’ bike but which are just as often ridden by men in the countryside. It was in the big barn, very rusted but a good project, even if it is on 26 inch wheels and lacks foldability. I even found the owner, the father of the cousin, and he agreed I could have it. I know I said that I wanted to stick with 24 inch wheels, but the pairing of a Jubillat/Wigry shopper with a Turing is so common in the rural landscape that a pair even appear in my first post.

Later I realized that the Turing might make a better bike for wifie than a Jubilat, especially useful given my decision last week not to rebuild Danusia to bike status. It will certainly need a pair of 26 inch rims, but much of the rest is compatible with the Jubilat.

Another friend, influenced by my enthusiasm for Romets, has announced that she has one, probably a Wigry (on 20” wheels), doing nothing in her father’s basement, and since we have so much barn space she would like to store it there so that she can use it when she comes to visit. The more the merrier I thought, and I know that I will get to both service and ride it.

26” wheels, 20” wheels - so much for my 24”-only wheel plan!


#romet #rower #bicycle #wigry #jubilat #shopper #poland #polska
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Old 03-05-21, 05:13 AM
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The weather has not been quite so vicious recently, and we had a nice and slightly warm Saturday, with some sun after a little light morning rain. What with all the efforts we have been making recently as we try to fix all the arrangements so our new cottage can be liveable, such as arranging the transfer of responsibility for power and water, finding out who else exactly has the keys to the barns, sorting out and disposing of the former owner’s effects and how we can arrange a strong Internet connection - all while wifie prepared for the start of her next semester online, we felt we needed a small break. A quick decision, some coffee in a flask, and we were off for a return visit to the dark and tremulous forest of Stary Gaj. We had about three hours of good light available, and parked in our usual spot. As it was now deep in the winter season there was almost no one parking there to visit their allotment, to poke at the snow softened soil or pluck at the fresh weedy growth, giving us full freedom in where to park.

This was the first real test of my winter tire and wheel set, as in actually riding for a couple of hours almost non-stop, and they performed well and met all my expectations. Wifie fancied taking some of the less well surfaced tracks, which while they were more challenging than anything we had tackled before, I never felt I was losing grip at any stage, even when descending slopes at an angle.

The key factors for an off-road tire seems to be a tread that cuts through the snow, dust or mud well enough to find traction with gaps large enough that they do not fill with debris, yet still feels secure on wet tarmac. Cutting and clearing. Width should be relatively narrow, unless you are managing to put down enough power to overheat the rubber or the material you are attempting to traverse leaves you sinking far enough that you can no longer move forwards effectively. As long as the friction is not low (wet grass, wet slopes, snow/ice) then even a road tire is good enough. Finally some stiffness in the sidewalls is handy, especially if the tread is relatively flat. Usually the greatest limiting factors are the rider’s experience and ability. The latter combined can turn a terrifying, frustrating or merely annoying experience into a pleasurable one.

The forest of Stary Gaj. Anyone seen my wife?

As the winters tires are larger than the summer ones I could have done with a rear sprocket featuring a couple more teeth. If I were riding a Wigry, which has 20” wheels and a 16 tooth rear sprocket, then I could have switched up to the easily available 18 tooth sprocket found on the 24” wheeled Jubilat. The mount found on the Velosteel coaster brake hub has the same three-dimple fixing as Shimano hubs, but the sprocket is flat like a single speed hub rather than having Shimano’s offset. Danusia’s is a Shimano hub gear, but I would not cry if I fitted it as Tigger never goes that fast to do any significant damage to the chain or sprocket - and the steep slopes, especially those with sticky surfaces, needed a bit of a run up. I am intrigued what size sprocket the Romet Turing has, on its 26” wheels.

The trees were beautiful, the light even more so, and the wet and sticky places infrequent enough not to slow wifie down too much. She did get a bit more muddy than I did, but then I was able to pass over it all from my lofty position on the pedals. The first gully we had to cross was quite narrow, with a rutted track at the bottom that will be a pleasure to ride the length of come the Spring. I crossed it at speed, which was great fun, and luckily wifie could not see me once I had crested the edge, meaning she did not have to worry. She used to worry a lot about me riding a bike, but now that she has seen me on one she says the bike just looks like it is part of me. I never really think about it, which is I suppose a good a sign as any that one is having fun unconciously.

The second gully was much broader, and after we had crossed it I suggested we descend into it again, and follow it downhill. All such gullies end up heading south to south east, towards the river, so once you find one you can always follow it until you exit the forest on the Stary Gaj lane side.



Winter wheels and tires, plus dual dynamos.

Now one of the great things about a coaster brake is that you always keep a firm grip on the handlebars. Redescending the gully was done at speed, with a quick reverse of the pedals to lock up the rear wheel and allow it to slide around until almost perpendicular to the path the front wheel was travelling. So much fun, so few things to catch in the undergrowth. Such descents are confidence building, and so well worth practicing. Just remember to select a slope with enough stopping space at the bottom, avoid using the front brake, keep the pedal on the upslope side high enough not to contact the ground, and keep the front wheel facing down the slope. Don’t worry if the rear wheel swings round to the side - if it gets ahead just remember that your front brake is now your rear one

I could tell when we were getting close to the edge of the forest, as from the satellite images you can see a string of rectangular cuts they have made parallel to the edge. Once you see the tall golden-white grass through the trees, the next cross track you meet is the place to turn in order to return to the start.

An interesting thing we found were a set of former open bunkers, about the size I would guess of a regimental HQ. There are military earthworks everywhere here if you look, especially near rivers, and this one was located between the diverging railway lines and overlooking the river. When we visit the Vistula River, we can take the ferry across and see the remains of zig-zag trenches high up on banks on the other side. Someone we know came across the remains of a soldier still sitting upright in his buried trench, while building a small estate of houses. They quickly covered it up again and did not inform anyone official, as it would have delayed the project.

We left the forest and followed the winding lane back to the car. I managed to fold the bike and get it in the car single-handedly, which was lucky as wifie had done over 12,000 steps and needed a sit down. And coffee.
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Old 03-07-21, 07:42 AM
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Love hearing your stories.. Funny about previous owners thinking you wanted everything out of the property. My nephew was cleaning out my late brothers house to sell. In the garage and shed was shovels, snow shovels, lawn/garden tools, hedge clippers, saws, hammers, wrenches, bicycles. All were going in the dumpster. And that's where I got the German folder. (And a bunch of shovels/wrenches).
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Old 03-10-21, 05:58 AM
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Thanks, I kind of got worn down by forum threads throwing things like tire codes around, or endlessly talking 'upgrades', 'tuning' and 'dialling in'...

Sounds like he had a treasure trove in there, would have been a shame to have filled a dumpster. I was pleased when I discovered that they had left the scythe - it is still razor sharp and reminds me of my grandfather, who was a foreman on a farm. I think they missed it because when hung up the blade was out of sight. I plan to use it...
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Old 03-10-21, 08:24 PM
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Cool, a scythe.
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