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Tigger and Blue

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Tigger and Blue

Old 03-12-21, 04:34 AM
  #51  
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With my limited space when sharing the garage with the car, I am finding Danusia to be handy to test almost anything - rebuild something, test it on Danusia and store it away. If Danusia gets chipped or knocked around it does not matter as it is in the poorest condition. Other than that the bike exists in limbo.

The front hub bearing of one wheel I was rebuilding clearly was not good, and I had been unsure whether I had adjusted it properly. It turned out that the problem was with the outer cones, so I removed the tire, stripped the hub down, de-spoked the wheels and stashed it away to await new parts. The rim was good, and I considered rebuilding it using Danusia’s front hub, but that one was much better made and used a thicker axle than the rest - so I keep it in my special projects file. I spent another whole 20 zloty on a spare coaster hub, mostly because it was for sale locally, and one can never have enough spare hubs - they take up so little room. I also ordered a pair of Awina tires to see how they work out, at a mere 15 zloty a pop, plus an inner tube, spare valves and a few other things, partly to try out this dealer I found on Allegro, based in Kraków.


I think we can safely say that this is cracked

Some time ago I rebuilt one of my wheels, by following the Sheldon Brown guide, but then I discovered that there are many ways to spoke a wheel and what I needed was to reproduce the spoking pattern used by Romet otherwise it would not match any of the other wheels. Then after lacing it up I discovered that the position of the valve hole varies in relation to the spoke holes - ho hum. If you face a wheel and look at the position of the spoke hole to the right of the valve hole then it will either be closer to you than the wheel centreline or further away. Most of mine are closer, but not all. Even if you match your rims in terms of spoke offset, you still have to avoid having the spokes cross above the valve hole - because with a small rim it is hard to get the pump on it. Some of my tubes have massively long and stiff Schraeder valves, and a footpump head would not fit.

Eventually I gave up on the spoking guides and decided instead to model my work upon the wheels from BigR, as they had the same offset rim and the spokes were handsomely woven. Luckily all the spokes I have stripped from my wheels, front or rear, derailleur or coaster hubs, have all been the same length, although some wheels have 1.8 mm diameter spokes and others have 2.0 mm. I keep them taped together in sets.

Of course, since I had no special spoking equipment, secondhand spokes and no skill, it was a bit of a struggle, and several times I had to redo part of the spoking when I realized that I had the current layer of spokes going in the wrong direction or one layer was going tight while another layer was visibly loose. Eeek! Finally I got all the spokes in the right places, gave them an initial tighten and then put the wheel on the upturned frame of Best. That felt so momentous that I decided it was enough for one day, and the truing could wait.

Then I realized that I had the inner and outer spoke directions reversed. Not an issue for a front wheel as all you have to do is turn it around, I had just never realized there was a difference. Luckily I build my bikes just to ride, not to win competitions.


Wheel truing happens on Danusia as well

Eventually I would like to buy a full set of each spoke type that I use. It helps that I almost only have 24 inch wheels with fairly standard hub types, but that was why I chose to focus on one particular model of machine. Handily I had a bottle of scotch for Christmas, and it came in a cardboard tube that will be perfect as a spoke store - I just need to give it a quick coat of clear lacquer to keep it from getting damp and dirty, and I need some anyway to spray some bike parts.

Did I mention the lights? I now have a basket full of assorted plastic incandescent bulbed lights, for front and rear. Yay! I wanted to change Tigger’s front, but now I have kind of grown fond of it. On the other hand, another idea I had was to find a way of clamping the front lamp onto the dynamo so that fitting/removing the front lighting is only ever 1 bolt away. Zenit’s dynamo was also a pleasant surprise as it was aluminum, the oldest of the lot. I have an old LED torch, which might yet yield up its parts.

Well the latest delivery arrived today, all the way from Kraków to our nearest ‘paczkomat’ (‘patch-ko-mat’), from ‘paczka’ or ‘pack’, meaning ‘parcel locker’. The English version is so drear, like calling a laundromat a ‘laundry washer’... In it were a pair of tires, an innertube, a pack of 10 ‘Dunlop’ type tire valves and a rim tape. The tires were very cheap looking, but much as I expected but met my intention to sell the bikes rather than tires. Of course I am still going to shop around for different brands, models and prices to achieve the best compromise.


I look forward to playing around with these

I have developed my idea for the baskets, and that is to lower them until they just clear the mudguards, front and back. Ideally the rear would involve a pair mounted one on either side plus a single one at the front. That would leave the spring clamp part of the rear rack available for other uses, and the rack from Best is best as it has a more secure mounting strut system. BigR came with a nickel-plated basket fitted to the rear rack, which might be ideal for the front. I know that people who travel long distances by bike often put bags on either side of the front wheel, but the steering on a Jubilat is very quick and traversing bumpy lanes with the weight around the front wheel could be hard work.


I attempted to try out the 22 tooth sprocket on the back of Tigger, but the chain was too short. Long ago it was common practice to bolt the top of the seat stays to the seat stem clamp, which meant you did not need a chain splitter / punch to remove and refit the chain. That probably did nothing for frame stiffness and so most are welded on - except that with electric power replacing our effort many people would like a belt instead of a mucky chain, so we are back to the idea of non-fixed frames.


However, summer is coming, Tigger will be fine on the 18 tooth sprocket for now, and I could transfer the front wheel and just the rear tire onto Zenit. Between those events I could slip the 22 tooth sprocket on Tigger’s rear winter wheel, pop it on Danusia and try it out in the wet/snow/whatever. I need a new set of off-road tires, and since Tigger’s summer tires are beginning to crack on the side walls I might just replace them with off-road tires later in the year.


Wifie then mentioned that if we do have a place in the country then she might like to have a bike as well. Romet Turing 2?
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Old 03-12-21, 07:25 PM
  #52  
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More power to you.

I won't even attempt to build a wheel and/or true it. As far as I'm concerned that is nothing short of black magic.
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Old 03-15-21, 04:02 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by mirfi View Post
More power to you.

I won't even attempt to build a wheel and/or true it. As far as I'm concerned that is nothing short of black magic.
I must admit I wanted to throw the first wheel down the street and watch it be run over multiple times at speed by a bus driven by an angry driver packing an AK-47, but I prevailed. And anyway, a watched-for bus never arrives.

My latest one has a 3 mm side-to-side wander because it is a poor quality rim and the worst bit is at the weld, but once I have ridden it for a while and everything has settled I might try to tweak it on the bike.
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Old 03-15-21, 07:17 AM
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A couple I know were talking about folding bikes. I invited them over to ride my fleet.

I never noticed the spokes on the rear of the Raleigh Twenty were so loose. I texted a neighbor who is a mechanic, she'll be picking the wheel up later today and taking it to her shop.



Iverson, Urbana, Downtube, Raleigh, Exclusiv.
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Old 03-15-21, 07:22 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
I must admit I wanted to throw the first wheel down the street and watch it be run over multiple times at speed by a bus driven by an angry driver packing an AK-47, but I prevailed. And anyway, a watched-for bus never arrives.
Your eloquent expression of frustration reminds me of this;

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Old 03-19-21, 12:49 AM
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Today I realised that it is already 6 months since I started posting here. I originally thought it might last a month, perhaps two, before I exhausted everything that I had to say. Never before have I managed to blog away for so long before drifting away.

Servicing of my wheel collection is largely over, with Blue’s tires back on, BigRs fitted with the Alwinas (after a struggle to get them centred on the wheels after being stored flat and folded into quarters), and all I need do is sort the rear wheel for Zenit and decide what I should do with Danusia and its rusty rims.


Having nothing special to do one evening, I decided to pop Tigger’s summer wheels onto Danusia, and try out the various combinations of steering gear I have lying around. First I removed its really curved forward handlebar stem to replace it with the normal Jubilat stem + Best’s handlebar to check it rode like Tigger, which it did. Then I put Danusia’s steering stem back in - which while giving me a bit of extra knee room did feel strange going into corners. I think this stem might work with Zenit’s deep handlebars when I fit them to BigR.


While Danusia was effectively kitted out as one possibility for the new Summer Tigger, another possibility is that this could be the new Danusia.


Danusia in summer attire, on Tigger's summer wheels.

Anyways, it has been a hectic week for Zenit, as we have completed the purchase on what is actually a smallholding. We have set ourselves the target of being able to spend significant time there by April. There is no internet, rewiring is required, and we have no idea how the heating works - but we now know that wifie’s department is definitely going to be working online to the end of the academic year and it would be a shame to waste all that time in one small apartment. I decided that the best way I can demonstrate ownership is to take one of my bikes there and lock it up in one of our barns, while wifie chose a hammock even though she has nowhere to string it other than beside my bike in a barn. The benefit is that assembling and removing a bike from the garage frees up the space available for the now pressing BigR and Blue projects.


I fitted the 5-speed groupset to the rear wheel because I wanted to know whether it was possible on Zenit (news: the stops need washers under the springs), refitted the brakes, installed the cables, selected a rather rusty set of handlebars (Danusia’s) and a plastic cover-less seat (Danusia’s). With the Badger tires on and the cables and stops adjusted, I took it for a ride around the garages, and other than the awful screeching brakes everything seemed possible. Not perfect, just possible. Next the winter wheel set had to come off Tigger and the summer set fitted in its place, leaving Danusia a bare frame once more. Tigger’s winter front wheel went straight on Zenit, while the rear tire was removed and fitted to replace the Badger on Zenit’s rear. Time was now running a bit short, which is when I discovered that the knobbles were rubbing against one of the seat stays. The wheel could also have been a bit straighter, but it seemed ‘nominally’ centred between the chainstays. It was then that I noticed again the big scrape on the chain stay on the same side where the tire was rubbing. Is the frame bent?


I needed some string, but I had none, and now it was almost time to load the car. Well, whatever, I dropped the wheel out, added another locknut on the non-drive side end of the axle and refitted the wheel. Now it just lightly touched in one place. That’ll do, I thought, as it was not as though I were heading out on a one-way trip. I could fix this later - and I know where there is a Zenit frame for 25 zloty.



Zenit and our 'new' cottage. That is not a gate by the way, it is a gap into the neighbours property.


Anyway, the other week I stripped and assembled a batch of coaster hubs, and I could not help but notice that while they all shared some identical parts, none were quite the same. For example, Blue’s coaster component was held in place by a spring clip, BigR’s and the split one had none, while Danusia’s had a flared tube that stopped me cleaning out the rollers or removing the big bearing next to it. BigR’s lever side dust cap has two semi-circular cut outs and sprocket cone thread locked partway down the thread, while all the others have the cone rammed into the end of a shorter threaded part - with Danusia’s being staked in place as well.


I wish I knew someone who knew whether any of this was significant.


What I have learned is that if you buy a coaster brake unit or bike - before you do anything else get that sprocket bearing apart and grease it properly. Blue had a loose cone but low mileage, the split one had suffered a catastrophic sprocket bearing loss that led to cracking of the hub and some internal damage, the same bearing cage in Danusia was beginning to break up and there was a fragment chipped off the brake cone at the other end. Since changing the sprocket bearing means removing the axle, then also stripping, cleaning, greasing and adjusting the whole hub is hardly much of an extra task.


From now on I am photographing every one.



Danusia's hub in bits.


With Zenit in the country, Danusia stripped and tucked away in the corner formerly occupied by Zenit, behind Tigger, I now had room to extract BigR. I mounted it upside down on my vise, essentially by clamping the rustiest seat stem I could find (Danusia’s) in the vise and then popping the frame on that and thus allowing the frame to rotate freely. I could now get in and clean out the oily/gritty accumulations in the many welded joints. While I was at it I disconnected the fold clamp, but the hinge was very stiff. I remember that one of the three was stiff to fold when I put them in the back of the car - later I had assumed it was Danusia’s with the big weld by the clamp. No, it was BigR, and I think it was because it had never really been folded, as a bit of WD-40 soon solved the problem.


I had no specific plan to remove the fork as part of the rebuild, but then I realized from the upside down position that the upper bearing was visible - such is life with cheap bikes. Not a nice greasy bearing but a starkly dry one. The fork retainer lock nut is usually a nicely chromed nut on these bikes, but for some reason BigR’s was a cheap, nickel-plated, pressed steel thing that I would not be sorry to see go as it is hard to tighten/loosen and even get back on the thread.. I thought about swopping it over with Danusia’s nice nut, as it was an opportunity to exchange Danusia’s front basket mount with BigR’s spacer at the same time.


But wait! Those forks… Although the same colour as BigR’s, they were not the same forks at all, because where were the messy welds? Danusia’s fork was more like off a BMX or early mountain bike - and then I remembered the better quality, thicker axle hub I stripped out of the wheel, and the fact that when I was using the frame to adjust spokes none of the axles seemed to fit properly. I assumed that there was something wrong with the fork - something to do with the frame having been welded.



Danusia's fork on the left, BigR's on the right. Shown like this the difference is clear, but it was hidden by all the rusty bits.


This got me to thinking - since Tigger is going to be kept nice enough to go in the car, Zenit the 3/5-speed field bike, perhaps Danusia could be something more than the city junker. Perhaps it should take the theme of city sport junker, underlined by some nice equipment? Chop the mudguards short? Wide tires?


With that on the back burner I greased and refitted BigR’s forks with its nasty lock nut, cleaned up the BB and fitted the front sprocket and generally started to rebuild it to be a bike once more. I thought that I had overhauled everything, until I dug the front brake out. I remember that I had to pull the lever to get the brakes to work and push the lever to release, and assumed that it was just a cable problem. The calliper was very nice, as pressed steel side calliper brakes go, with a total of four nylon washers between the moving parts, but the mounting bolt was bent. Cheap pressed steel calliper brakes not being in short supply, I stripped the bolt out of my rustiest example (Danusia’s) and rebuilt BigR’s brake around that.


Hopefully next week will see BigR back on its wheels!


And what I have learned is that while Danusia sported the rustiest running gear of the three I bought, plus a big weld, it has also yielded the most pleasant surprises.


#romet #rower #bicycle #wigry #jubilat #shopper #poland #polska
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Old 03-20-21, 07:00 AM
  #57  
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Speaking of greasing the bottom headset bearings. I recently read a Sheldon Brown article about them.

Overhaul

Headsets are pretty durable, and hardly ever need to be serviced if your bicycle has a front fender.If you ride without a front fender in wet conditions, the front tire will spray filthy, gritty water right up into the lower race. (It is the lower race that supports your weight. Most headset failures occur at the lower race.)

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/headsets.html
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Old 03-23-21, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mirfi View Post
If you ride without a front fender in wet conditions, the front tire will spray filthy, gritty water right up into the lower race. (It is the lower race that supports your weight. Most headset failures occur at the lower race.)

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/headsets.html
Luckily on Tigger I have my 'sports' fenders.

On Danusia, since I saw what you were doing, I have been thinking about a very short mudguard that does not extend out the front at all.

I had nothing planned for Zenit at all, but what do you think about a super short one, about 3-4" long, that snuggles up under the fork? More of a bearing shield than anything else.
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Old 03-26-21, 02:57 AM
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BigR is pretty well complete now, it just lacks the pedals so that they don’t scratch the car every time I drive in or out, and any further work can wait until I can keep the car in the carpark again. The kind of detailing work that is needed now is much easier when you have sufficient light and space - and you are not shivering. With BigR tucked nicely down the side of the garage, Blue’s frame was pulled out so that I could start work on that.

I have been giving some thought to lighting issues, now that I have several sets of fronts and rears. While I run Tigger on twin dynamos, and even had Blue on one for a while, neither was ridden on anything but very quiet local roads - because who needs lights that stop when the bike does? Sure, I could rig up some capacitor system, but I would still be left with ratty wiring. Alternatively I could invest in some switches, battery packs and LED bulbs, and transform my cute but outdated lighting sets - keeping the retro look, with modern convenience! The only sticking point is that every guide seems to waffle on about battery voltages and such, which means messing around with resistors - something never simple as you then need the space, tools, materials, time...


As it happens I have an old LED torch, one that I found in a kitchen drawer in our cottage - a very reasonable place to seek one. I would have left it there, except that it had one of those rubber finishes that after a few years become sticky. It has a triple LED, electronic board, switch and battery pack - so can I make them fit in one of my spare front headlamps?


With the torch in pieces and a spare headlamp carefully disassembled through some careful levering of ageing adhesive, and I was ready. Some fun with a file later and the LED light unit fitted reasonably well in the back of the reflector. I could see how to attach it, but kind of run out of steam at that point because the battery pack was too large with its triple AA battery set. Later, while looking for a bracket to mount a rear light on Blue, I found an old cheapy rear light I had played around with for Tigger. By dumping the red lens and the LED set, the triple AAA battery set might be enough to run my meagre lighting needs. Let’s face it, I cycled through the 1970s, so I know what it means to replace batteries on a regular basis.


Converting an incandescent lamp to LED



I had a think about Danusia’s mudguards. They were red, a bit rusty on the ends, but the same chunky design as those on Best. What if I cut the rear mudguard to fit solely between the chain stays and the seat stays, and then cut the front to remove the part forward of the forks? Visually they would be a reflection of each other: rear of the front wheel versus front of the rear wheel. Spray them a satin black, along with the wheel rims/spokes/hubs, and maybe a red stripe down the middle? Whatever I do with them, they and the black ones off Best need rubbing down and a respray.


I have a pair of wheels ready for Danusia, which since I am not sure where Tigger might end up this summer, will do to get Danusia running and locked up at the bike rack. Logically, with the impending demise of Tigger’s cracking road tires, I should replace them with a pair of trail tires as a permanent solution. That would mean Danusia’s rusty wheels could go back on Danusia, once I painted and rebuilt them - oh, and finished rebuilding the hub with the trashed sprocket bearing. The painting process will be much easier with everything in bits, but what colour and finish should I aim for? I am tempted to rub down the frame at some point, maybe file/sand back the weld a bit where it is lumpy, and paint everything satin black. Seat and steering stems as slightly rusty steel, and Best’s straight bars.


Fat tires?


While cruising Google images I came across quite a tidy Zenit 3-speed, a much later machine in the same kind of metallic as BigR and Danusia, from about 1988. Interestingly the rear brake was mounted on the other side of the bracket so that its cable did not have to squeeze between the frame and chain alongside the gear cable. Combined with a 90 degree rear brake noodle and my routing issues could be eased. I could also do with running the cables on the underside of the down tube so that they do not get kicked.


Work has now begun on Blue, and within a couple of not particularly fast work hours I had the cranks, chain, mudguards and chain guard on, the frame cleaned up and the front to rear dynamo wire removed. I decided against refitting the lamp to the rear mudguard but to fit a rear reflector somewhere - I seem to have a number of them lying around for some reason. The wheels are already out and leaning against the workbench, and I have made my choice in the brake department. Here is a funny thing - the original calliper was chromed pressed steel and I sprayed Tigger’s satin black as a rear brake for Blue with plans to paint Blue’s front one in the spring. But I had forgotten about spraying Tigger’s, and spent some time wondering where I got this rather smart black painted one from - I even checked out the original photographs of all my bikes.



BigR and Blue


My idea for Zenit’s luggage capacity is to fit the big plastic basket, formerly on the rear of Blue, at the front, and then mounting two front-style ones on the sides at the rear, between the rack level and the axle line. I have a scrappy front basket from Danusia that is ready for experiments, plus the steel basket from the rear of BigR, which might be a front rack anyway. At the moment they are on the shelf and filled with spare parts. Whatever, the next time I have the car out I must remember to get Blue’s baskets down from the shelf so that I can fit the front one to Blue and decide exactly what I will do with the rear. While not on any bike, Blue’s old rear basket will be useful in transporting stuff to the cottage - so one could say that I have fitted it to the car instead.


We bought a set of lights for Blue, and a brand new bell. I cannot believe how much further traditional bells have fallen in quality since the 1970s. The bell and front lamp will go on either side of the handlebars, but the position on the rear is yet to be determined - it lies on my bench next to the reflector. The decision not to place a light on the rear mudguard is working out well, as the nicely curved line of the mudguard end is more apparent.


When Blue also reached the point where it just needed detailing, I put it out of the way down the side of the garage behind BigR, until I get the clear floor in the garage to finish them both off - there is always a need to flip them upside down for some adjustment or take them out for a ride, so it is worth waiting for a bit.


Then, with everything nicely stored away the weather chose to improve and out came Blue again. I managed to get a couple of rides on it, by which time the bottom bearings had snuggled up a bit and I had to take the left side crank arm off to check and retighten the bearing.


In the meantime Danusia has been pulled back out again - or at least the frame has. I unhooked the spare pair of wheels, the front one last seen on Zenit and so still with a Badger tire fitted and the other tire-less. Other than the pair of badger Zebras and the pair of good Zebras I have also a mixed pair of tires, one marked ‘DURO STEEL’ boldly in white on each side and thus definitely off Danusia, and an unknown one that I suspect was off the rear of Danusia.


While on the subject of tires, one cannot but notice that tire discussions on this forum end up spiralling into discussions around EBDT numbers. The key element is the relevance of EBDT, which if you know what this is for your bike from your manufacturer’s specs or read from the side of your tires then you will know which other tires will fit your bike.


Fine, I should have no problem joining the crowd then.


Except that I have no manufacturer’s specs, and none of my Polish or Czech tires on my numerous bikes have EBDT/ISO numbers on them. They all have the same ‘mm x XX’ in inches and some even ‘nn x YY‘ in metric, as do the pair of new Alwina tires I ordered, and they clearly do not seat well in the rims because they have to be centred during inflation.


After riding Blue around I decided I was not happy with the coaster brake - it would come in gently enough, but then hit hard. It might just need more settling in, or a strip and review. Either way I ended up pulling the rear wheels off Danusia and Blue, putting Blue’s tire on Danusia’s wheel and fitting that to Blue. The coaster brake is very good, but the chrome on the side of the rims less so. I wish I had a way of nickel plating bare steel, or something.


I then took BigR out for a ride, and all was fine and fun with its very high bars, almost like a chopper. The brake did come on while I was pushing it backwards, and then while riding it uphill the coaster part let go with a grinding sound. After that it was perfectly OK, but I know it needed to come apart. So off came the wheel, and the Alwina tire was moved to the wheel off Blue. The tire seated more easily than last time, with just a little struggle to get it fully lined up with the rim. The tire had gone flat after being on BigR for a few weeks, so I did not immediately refit the wheel. Sure enough, the next day it was flat - so I changed the valve.


The next day was the same - flat.


BigR is not going anywhere for a couple of months, so plenty of time to see how the coaster brake settles in, once I fix the flat.


For the past few weeks we have been visiting the cottage on a Saturday, mostly to sort and then clear out all the unwanted clothes, bedding, crockery and furniture. We would have liked to arrive on Saturday and leave on Sunday, but wifie also teaches at the weekends and, mostly, we have had subzero (Celsius) temperatures with no heat or running water. We did have a spare gas cylinder, but that went walkies while we were not there, and we have only been able to get into the main part of the wooden barn as everything else has locks to which we do not have the keys. ‘Oh,’ they said, ‘the keys are in the kitchen drawer.’ Yes, there were a lot of keys in that drawer, but the only one that fitted was to one part of one barn.


Of course, we know that the Stasiuks up the road have a full set, as all the barns were open except the side part of the wooden barn when everyone came up some weeks ago for the great scrap metal hunt. So we went up to see them at the last house on the road, and indeed they had the keys, all the keys except the mysterious new one on the toilet behind the main barn. They have been responsible for the property on a daily basis for a decade, and we said that they should still keep a key to the house, as driving for an hour and then realising you have forgotten the keys would be a nuisance, and it is not as if we would have anything much worth stealing there. They gave us a new lock and key to the big barn as the current one is cheap and nasty, and they store some of the farm implements there.


So finally the barns are ours in fact and not just on paper. And now Zenit can live in the same space as the now-accessible and elderly Romet Turing 2 the elder Stasziuk had given me.

I have not really had time to ride Zenit there, as we either have deep snow or the same snow is melting and leaving everything unrideable except for the road. It seemed to ride OK back at the garages, but with the rear tire, with its open knobbles, catching the seat stay makes for a less than ideal ride unless a gentle but persistent arm massage is in order.


Therefore I selected the rather deep rim that came with the pair I bought online, a set of 2mm spokes and the original Zenit rear hub. This time the wheel build went a lot easier, although I did have to make a few easy corrections along the way. So far all I have done in terms of truing and tensioning is to make sure everything was the same on each side. This time I pulled Best’s frame and put it upside down on the vice, set the loose wheel on it, and checked its offset. This was the same for each side, so I started by tightening the drive side spokes first to pull the rim over, then applied a bit of masking tape to the frame to just touch the rim. I have no idea if this is the ideal offset, but at least the tape would show whether I was maintaining it as I tightened down all the spokes.


To improve my chances further I went and bought two more off-road tires from Decathlon, the same as I have on the front of Zenit. The tread is more trail tire than the motocross type on the rear, so less likely to hit the seat stay when fitted to there. I also bought an inner tube, as I am one short. They only had Schraeder valves in the 24” range, and I can see that my remaining Dunlop/Woods valves are all from a past that is disappearing - none of the many shops I have visited here even sell the footpump tube in anything but Schraeder size. I ummed and ahhed, but when I saw that the valve stem was short I went for it. Why are so many tubes sold with two inch plus length Schraeder valves? So you can inflate your tires from the saddle?


I have now a fully built up and offset rear wheel for Zenit, with an off-road tire, Schraeder tube and 3-speed derailleur hub. And a couple more washers in case I need to offset the axle in either direction. Oh yes, and a new car-type footpump - well, I want to try and pump up the tires on the wagon we have in our wagon shed, so I can move it into the big barn. The wagon shed is built of big timbers, but the cladding has seen better decades and looks rather ramshackle - and no one really needs it. I could try and sell it as a two-car garage though.


While I had Best on the bench I did spend some time cleaning it some more, getting out the grime stuck in the various nooks and crannies.


All-in-all, a very busy week!


#romet #rower #bicycle #wigry #jubilat #shopper #poland #polska
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Old 03-31-21, 01:11 AM
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Poor Danusia, not only did it lose its rear wheel to Blue, but I then removed the front wheel to put it on Best. With the 3-speed wheel back on Zenit, the 5-speed wheel was back in the garage, all ready to go back on Best - even the tire was the original, but this time the spokes were no longer loose and floppy on an aluminium rim.

For a long time I have been planning to test and adjust the gear levers on Best before removing them - and right now seemed the only possible time because the FD would not fit a Jubilat seat tube. I have no idea when else I might have the chance, especially if I manage to sell the frame.

So Danusia was back to a bare frame plus seat and handlebars. Then other events happened.

I put Danusia’s old tire and the new Schraeder-valved tube on BigR’s former rear wheel, and rode it hard around the garages. Indeed the coaster part lost grip several times, with a grindy kind of noise. I still do not know enough about these hubs to quickly diagnose all the possible failures. Luckily the coaster brake with the broken housing was from a similar era as BigR, and so I felt confident in swopping parts. The easiest thing to do was to change the inner part of the brake as it looked worn, but that, unsurprisingly, did not cure the main fault. So off the wheel came again, and this time I exchanged the coaster end. The sprocket cone was trashed on the split one, but otherwise everything looked OK - except I lacked a sprocket bearing and was unwilling to extract the one from BigR’s hub as the dust covers are fiddly to remove cleanly. Instead I popped the surviving rear bearing from the Kid’s bike in, put everything together, adjusted it up, and put the wheel back on Danusia.

Touch wood the problem seems to have gone away, and Danusia is back to being parked at the bike stand outside our block. The brake feels its age, lacking in the smoothly increasing brake effect that Tigger has, for example. That is OK, because this wheel is my spare one, while Danusia’s actual hub is still in pieces, awaiting a sprocket bearing.

I took one of Danusia’s original and rusty rims and set to sanding away all the rust followed by neutralising of what remained before hanging it up to give it an undercoat. Once you start, it is hard to stop, and this was followed by the second rim, and then I was selecting spoke sets and even poking around at the hubs. Tiggers wheels are all black, but for Danusia I will leave the hubs in their original chrome. The spokes will take the most work, especially as I do not have a wire wheel for my drill.

Anyway, so we went the cottage, and indeed I found time to switch the rear wheels over on Zenit, but only then realised that I had forgotten the spanner to release the cable and the screwdriver to just the high and low stops to get the derailleur back to three speed. It still felt like a success, especially as I then visited the barn next door, feeling rather like a doctor on his rounds, to give the Turing 2 an examination. It had a fair covering of dust-encrusted cobwebs, but the front wheel nuts came off easily. Once I had brushed away the cobwebs, I could see that the only real issue was that the rim had some light rust - like I had not seen that before!

The 5-speed and the Turing wheel went in the back of the car, where they were then buried by bags full of tired bedding were going to dump. It had been an excellent day, as the weather was improved and we got a lot done, including firing up the ‘piec’ (a plain tiled heating device that sits in the corner of the ‘salon’ and houses a coal fire, and finding a local plumber to take a look at the most intense pipe layout I have seen in any space that small.

A very good day, one really hard to top, and eventually we arrived back at our apartment block, tired and almost ready for bed. I pulled up in my parking slot, and the headlights fell on the dumpsters and…. two bikes - a white ladies bike and what looked like a child’s folder. Wifie said that they could not have been dumped, but I pointed out the dumpsters and the fact that the front end of the white bike looked like someone had driven over it.

We half carried the white bike and fully carried the folder around to the garage. “Whitey” looked like a Dutch or German bike, with ‘Amsterdam’ written on its downtube. These things are usually not of much interest, as it was not a folder, but then Turing is not either, and Whitey had a nice set of chrome handlebars and what I thought was a Shimano 3-speed coaster brake hub with screw-on cable mounts. The wheels are enormous with 700 tires but 36 spokes… Other than Zenit I have no interest in having gears on my Jubilats, but the Turing is a different story, and since I had already planned on removing the rims to de-rust and paint them, changing the hubs would be an easy extra step.


Whitey, with its trashed forks

That was brilliant, but not as brilliant as what came next.

That was not a child’s folder, it was a Romet Wigry, the 20” wheel version of the Jubilat, it’s smaller but earlier brother. In Poland ‘Wigry’ is often used to mean a folder from the PRL era. I have secretly wanted to try one out for the longest time - and here was one at the dumpster. It lacked a seat (Whitey has one), a saddle stem (cheap), mudguards (I don’t need them, but 45 zloty would secure an original pair), and no left hand crank/pedal combo. The latter are relatively cheap - but here is the amazing bit, the crank from Whitey slipped straight on like it was a matched part with the other crank (well, it ‘slipped’ once I had filed away the light damage to the spindle, undoubtedly caused by a loose retaining pin, hence the absent crank).


Wigry folded and in pieces

Whitey was obviously an old but good bike, yet poorly maintained and a bit butchered in its latter life - the BB was toast, and various bolt heads were rounded or had the threads stripped. The components were generally good quality and designed to last - so hopefully they will continue to do so, wherever they end up.

Whitey’s forks have already gone to dumpster-land, but I will keep the frame for a little while in case I need to figure out how and where things were attached. The wheels I will break down and probably reuse the rear hub on Turing, and then put an advert out for the rims and tires as they are well out of my needs.


I only wanted 24" wheels

I remember writing not so long ago that I wanted to focus on 24” wheels, but at present I have 12”, 20”, 24”, 26” and 700.
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Old 04-09-21, 04:57 AM
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It took me only a couple of hours to strip down Whitey to nothing more than a bare frame, and another hour or so getting the Wigry rideable - where Danusia had to lose its saddle because I needed another seat stem, plus various minor bits either from Whitey or the bits store. I discovered that I was completely out of front wheel nuts, which were form a far smaller thread than I could find on Whitey, and in the end I used some spare front hub lock nuts. I also noticed that the tire tread looked very similar to the Stomil Zebra tires, and indeed they were Stomil Antilopes! Did they have a thing for naming their different tire sizes after African animals? Should I be looking out for Stomil Słoń (elephant) for their wide tires? Stomil Gepard (cheetah) for their racing tires?


Stomil Antilope

At this point I am short of many of the sundry things one needs to fix up stuff - and while Whitey has been able to supply some major components like a seat and handlebars I was now seriously short of front wheel nuts, wheel bearings and the cotter pins used to keep the left hand crank on the bike. The time had come to visit, after a gap of about 18 years, the bicycle shops in the Castle Square, or ‘Plac Zamkowy’ as we like to call it here.

It is all a con, the square I mean. The castle was rescued from decay about 200 hundred years ago to serve as the city prison and the front is more the latter era than anything former. The square itself looks old, but it is a Communist era sham, created from part of the former Jewish quarter, bulldozed by the Nazis. The Communist era authorities did a good job, the city needed such a space to move from its prewar nowhereville state to its postwar ‘we are going to build the trucks to power the State’ attitude. The strange thing is that my bike store ‘tradition’ is someone else’s replacement on a site of mind-numbing loss.

The bicycle shops used to supply parts for former Polish motorcycle brands, like the locally made WSK - and the reason for our last visit was to purchase engine gasket kits for a friend in the UK. Anyway, we entered the first, handed over the cotter pin, watched it being measured with manual calipers and were then informed that they were out of stock, and that we should try the other bike shop. It was very old-worldly, and we went to the second shop. I had brought a front wheel hub with a wheel nut with me, and much various pointing and translating later, with the assistance of another client, I had 4 cotter pins, 4 front wheel nuts, 1 rear axle bearing (a slight misunderstanding there) and 4 front wheel bearings, all for 22 zloty. They even pulled down a rebuild kit for a coaster brake, AKA as a ‘torpedo’, from the Sach days, so that I could point out the bit I wanted, because the word had escaped me and wifie had no clue what I meant either.

I can see myself returning.

Now I watched the assistant as she counted out the front wheel nuts from the same bin, but when I came to fit them I discovered two took a 14 mm spanner and the other two a 15 mm spanner. It is just like the old days, and now I know why I have to approach wheel removal with 13, 14 and 15 mm spanners in my hand.

Next time I will check more carefully.

We then went to Decathlon to pick up two 24” inner tubes, because I liked the one I bought there last week, and they would be the perfect match for Blue. I could have bought them cheaper at the other bike shops, but we were faced with the infinite configurations possible in buying ‘dętki’ and the potential of annoying the other clientele.

Wigry, or Romet Universal Wigry 3, to give it its full name (Universal was originally the brand name for exported bikes in the passionless Communist idealistic way, and how ‘3’ differs from ‘1’ or ‘2’ I have no idea) was soon back on its wheels again with a new cotter pin firmly in place rather than loosely held in place by a nut that had lost most of its thread thanks to the previous ham-fisted owner of Whitey.

The side stand on Wigry is a tad short, having lost its rubber tip, and none of the others in my collection would fit as they all have M8 bolts while Wigry has an M6 sized slot. I think I might just lose it, and save a bit of weight. I would like the bike to be a real, easy and lightweight fit in the back of the car, and so I dettached Whitey’s heavy pedal and Wigry’s almost as heavy original rubber pedal, transferred the pedals from Blue to Wigry, and installed Whitey’s pedals on Blue. A win all around. I am not sure whether Whitey’s can be serviced or not, but I hope so as one is a bit loose.

My Wigry is so fun to ride, it will be the perfect match for a picnic when wifie takes her Nordic walking sticks. The Antilopes are at the end of their lives, so I might put a pair of trail tires on (which would leave the sidestand even further from the ground).

I had both wheels off Blue again, swopped the tubes over with the new ones, and got everything back together. Then I realised that I should have fitted the rear light from Whitey while the rear wheel was off. Mutter, mutter. Still, I managed to get it on, and it is a good one as it is mostly clear plastic with an inset red reflector, so it looks better on chrome than the original did - plus it has a red LED and a switch underneath. That is no wire for lighting, front or back, as there is no dynamo - all to round off the cool look. In a fit of generosity I sent our ‘client’ a picture of Blue and Wigry and asked which she preferred. She had been adamant that it had to be red and have small wheels. The picture sold her: Blue looks good, and 24” is a better choice for when she rides on grass or sandy lanes. She had not seen it in person yet, of course, and the risk was that she might still fall for BigR.

I gave My Wigry a wash while I was doing Blue and took the opportunity to examine the bits more closely. I planned to be taking the rear wheel off to regrease and adjust the rear hub, and maybe replace the sprocket side bearing, but the front should wait until I swop the tires for the trail ones. At the same time I could fix the slack spokes issue. The rack stays for now, but its fate depends on where I can mount a water bottle.

While in the cleaning mode I decided to toothbrush on a bit of WD-40 to the spoke nipples of the Turing wheel and both of Whitey’s, so that I have a better chance of getting them all off in one go. I even pumped up the tire on Turing to test the tube, and it stayed up - the tire is another Stomil Zebra, and is badgered.

It was while I was putting the wheels away that I noticed only the front wheel of Whitey had an aluminium rim as well as a more modern hub. The same crumbling Cheng Shin tires, but a much newer rim, hub and spoke set? It was almost like the bike was run over and then someone bought a secondhand wheel and put the old tire on it. Was that when they noticed that the fork was bent? Another mystery.

So I took my toothbrush and cleaner to the rear hub while I had the wheels on the bench - and then had my second surprise. This was no Shimano hub but a Sach Torpedo 3-speed coaster brake. My hands may have shaken. Only the day before I had explained to my wife why Poles often refer to coaster brake hubs as ‘torpedos’. I am not so happy using the friction lever to operate the gears, and I need to take some measurements because it could be ideal for Turing.

Luckily we had a call from our potential IT supplier for the cottage, wanting us to be on site the next day to check the signal strength. There is an aerial up the road a little way, which if we could pick up a signal from it then we would not have to have satellite internet. Of course it snowed that morning, and I still had to first go into work to exchange my computer to ‘upgrade’ to a laptop - when you use a big screen a classic computer is ideal, unless of course you happen to be planning on working from two or more locations.

Anyway, this was a great opportunity to retrieve the rear wheel from the Turing. Adding the antena involved climbing on a wet steel roof with no safety gear, so I went off to carefully remove the rusted on bolts in the comfort of my coal shed / workshop as a less worrisome choice. This was not always a coal shed, as there is a furnace in the corner, so it was probably used to dry different products, anything from piggy pieces to tobacco leaves. Crunchy coal fragments make a difficult flooring for a workshop, as small nuts or other parts can soon be lost in the glinting blackness. Anyway, we got IT and I got the rear wheel off.

The next day we were back, an hour’s drive each way, wishing that we had water, better heating and, most of all, a bed at both ends of our journey. The plumber was from down the road, and his mate from next door, and everyone was already on familiar terms on what furnishings we had - including the much admired wardrobe in our ‘salon’. I spent some more time in my workshop adjusting Zenet while our water system underwent a half-nelson. Most people were quite surprised when I extracted my bike and rode it up and down the road. Apparently the only other guy who rides a bike is the drunk who runs the local shop, and yet who arrives each day on his ancient but immaculate Ukraina bicycle. I am not sure what impression I am giving.

Later, in the attic, with the aim of dumping the excess quantity of shoes, boots, linen, cemetery lights and other paraphernalia I came across a pair of unused but lightly rusted bicycle pedals, a selection of rusty but basic tools, a lead light and the horse tack that once went with the wagon in our wagon shed.

Even later I spent some time stripping down Turing, or at least as far as the inevitable rusted bolts allowed, primarily removing the stem, handlebars and brakes as a single item. Also in my workshop, aka known as the coal shed, is a farm-made hand cart that is the perfect size to fit the refillable gas cylinders used for our stove, and which sits on 20” front bike wheels and tires. The tires have major cracks, but to my surprise inflated and remained so all day. I looked closely, and the tires were also Antilopes, the same as on My Wigry. When I replace the tires and tubes on My Wigry, the old ones will be kept as spares for my hand cart. But if it has two front wheels, I wonder what happened to the rears?


One gas bottle cart, two Wigry wheels

On Easter Saturday we made up our Easter basket (sausage, boiled eggs, salt, horseradish, bread, box twigs, plastic sheep and knitted chicken egg-warmer) and took it up the road to the kapliczka (roadside shrine) in the centre of our one-road village to participate in the blessing by a priest who swung by all the villages in the parish by car for a little ceremony in each. The local dogs were confused - “all this sausage, and none for me?”, holy water from an insulated container was flung around using a brush, and money collected in a plastic bag. The priest used to work for our city parish, and was the only one our cat ever liked (by ‘liked’ I mean ‘did not run and hide from’).


A priest blesses my new road to ride, while the dog complains to him about the sausage situation

Finally the friend arrived to take away Blue. She has been riding Romet’s with coaster brakes for some 50 years, which meant I was a little apprehensive. It felt like I was taking a final exam as a mechanic. I had spent the last few weeks tweaking the styling to give it a bit of a modern twist, making a little more cruiser than shopper. Anyway, she hopped aboard and disappeared down the road, leaving her hubby to unload their son’s former bike-shaped-object. When bike and rider reappeared she looked very pleased and said the brakes were perfect and that the colour reminded her of her first bike. She was quite surprised when I said that I was very happy to get the half stripped bike-shaped-object (‘BSO’) in exchange and needed no cash top up. I mean, if you cannot build something special for one of your wife’s oldest friends then what is the point of it all?

Anyway, she was not the only visitor, as another of Wifie’s friends dug out her Wigry 3 from her father’s basement, and brought it around so that we could take it to our cottage and so give her a place to ride it in a rural setting. I thought by getting rid of Blue I would be reducing the number of bikes I am looking after, but instead I have more.

It goes without saying that any bike that has been stored in a basement for years has to be in need of a bit of care...

#romet #rower #bicycle #wigry #jubilat #shopper #poland #polska
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Old 04-09-21, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
On Easter Saturday we made up our Easter basket (sausage, boiled eggs, salt, horseradish, bread, box twigs, plastic sheep and knitted chicken egg-warmer) and took it up the road to the kapliczka (roadside shrine) in the centre of our one-road village to participate in the blessing by a priest who swung by all the villages in the parish by car for a little ceremony in each.


A priest blesses my new road to ride, while the dog complains to him about the sausage situation
No Zoom blessing + Paypal donation! One can see why Poland is ravaged now by Covid in spite of those sacraments...
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Old 04-12-21, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
No Zoom blessing + Paypal donation! One can see why Poland is ravaged now by Covid in spite of those sacraments...
Paypal? Many of these people run a thirty year tractor... Anyway, at least he did not get phone message mid-mass informing him that he had tested positive...
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Old 04-16-21, 02:44 AM
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Well, what with the improvements in the weather and the actual rideability of Zenit, I thought it was time to make some kind of trip in its new field of action. Luckily wifie agreed with me, dug out her Nordic walking sticks, and soon we were traversing the difficult train of our farm yard in the hope of making the road before the sun went down. Actually, it was not that bad, as the family still living up the road came around last week and ran their seed drill thing up and down to flatten the worst ruts and introduce some fresh grass seed. Big seeds - I might need to upgrade my grass cutting options.


Ready to ride

The road, or ‘street’ as I like to call it, was warm in the sun, and beckoned us on and slightly upwards through the village. Wifie thought I was being very ‘city’ in calling it a street, because she forgot that where I come from the main road through the village is called ‘The Street’, something probably left over from the time when ‘street’ meant a paved road, and the main road was presumably the most likely to be the one that got paved. I was born on The Street, with a field on the other side, falling away into a valley with a forest on the other side, pretty much the situation we have now.

As an aside, Google Maps, due to the nature of its mapping algorithms, marks the road on which I was born as ‘The St.’

Ho ho, ho ho!


Kapliczka, or roadside shrine, mostly found at road junctions. We were here just last week.

It took some while to find our way to the end of the village, as there was so much to see and wifie still needed to hit her pace after a winter of being carried around by car or bus. Zenit was a breeze, I just needed to keep it in the lowest gear and cycle slowly enough that I did not get out of breath. There was also much to see, and some angry dogs who see anyone on a bicycle as an opportunity. One day there will be some accounting as mismanaged animals and me never get along for long.

Eventually we arrived at the sign marking the end of the village. It made sense there, because everything beyond was field, before fading into forest. Technically there is no equivalent in Polish for the English word ‘village’. A village is typically a settlement, surrounded by fields, but in Polish the settlement and the fields are ‘wieś’. Therefore as you drive through Poland, on one side of the road is a post marking your entry into one ‘village’ and on the other side a post marking your exit from another. You are always somewhere.

On the right the gully that is across the road from us is now a rather shallow valley, full of strip fields, and about 500 metres we can make out that the tractor working a field is the same that reworked our yard. We wave before moving on, and then shortly after we reach a t-junction, so should we go left or right? I lean my bike against a lone tree while we ponder the sandy track crossing the almost non-existent valley to the right, before it vanish in the trees, another track that dog-legs to the left before continuing on and slowly descending towards the forest, or taking the left track up to the shallow peak of the hill on which we live before quickly entering the trees beyond. I feel like I am in some adventure game from about 1980. The trees it is, the closest ones to the left.


Lonesome tree. The arrow is to mark a walking route, and one day I will follow it in both directions.

I quickly ascend the slight slope, and pose, warrior-like, on the summit. No one notices, except wifie - who shakes her sticks in the air in celebration of my total victory, before shortly joining me. We expected wind, maybe a flag snapping away on a small cairn, but the slight and warm wind has dropped, blocked by the nearby trees. I kick a nearby sod, while wifie reads a sign warning of logging in the forest. We listen, but we hear nothing but the birdsong beckoning us on. Even the tractor appears to have gone away.

Another t-junction. To the left the track is wet and muddy, and follows the edge of the forest and presumably pases the end of our field. To the right the track is firmer, following the edge of the forest for only a short distance before bending to the left to descend and enter the forest. We choose right this time, and soon we begin to move between piles of logs on either side of this well-maintained track. We discover our first plants in bloom, but soon they are everywhere, beginning to carpet the forest floor in small dots of early colour.

We sit and rest on some logs and discuss our cat. We do not have a cat: he is white and his name is Rudy (‘Red’). I saw his pawprints in the snow beside the cottage the first time we visited. I said ‘Look, a cat likes around here.’ ‘No, she answered, there is no cat here.’

The cat arrived on our second visit, and lay on the only piece of ground that was not covered with snow, like the missing piece that God could not find because it had slid down the side of his sofa.

We know when he is arriving long before we see him as he miaows loudly. Later he miaows as he leaves. At some point he must stop miaowing because we sometimes see him crossing The Street or hunting in the fields in silence. Other than that we observe a mixture of miaows, purrs and sleep. Sometimes he wants to go indoors, but we do not want our cottage smelling like our wooden barn.
That is the story of a white cat called red who hangs out in our black barn.


Say, where is the logging at?

Bright blue sky and warm air, and we could have spent all day there, but just what was around the next corner? Sitting here would not get us there, and we followed the track as it swung around a 90 degree bend, taking us further away from home. I swung the lever to shift a whole two gears higher and moved quicker down the path than I could achieve with Tigger, until I reached the brow. Surrounded by flowers I could see the straight and sandy track disappear slowly into the distance. Logically it must hit the railway and main road some kilometres away, somewhere in the vicinity of a large lake we knew of but had never set eyes on. To all intents and purposes we were alone on the outskirts of forever.

Through the trees to the left we could see the fields again, with pheasants flying up into the trees as black silhouettes. A blackbird flew past rapidly, screaming out its warning, and only then did we observe the greyish plumage of a hawk further ahead, hunting along the edge of the trees. I have no idea what kind of hawk it is, but we hear them a lot in this part of the region. Later it flew just over my head, but of course slightly behind me so I was not able to get a good look.

I realised that I need some way of carrying things on these trips, but not something that would interfere with my riding. I was considering a rear rack, but today I rode over many sticks that then twisted around to get caught in the frame or wheel that maybe that is not the best choice. Something that mounts on the front, but which is not large and clunky like a basket as I need to see where the front wheel is going. I am trying to mount a bottle holder on the downtube of Tigger at the moment, but the downtube has flat sides and I have not yet found bolts of the right length and head shape to fit. As the downtube is low everything is at risk of being hit by sticks or your foot. Under the rear of the saddle, normally a good location, is problematic because the saddle is very low to allow almost BMX style riding.

The light was fantastic, which meant we got some really good pictures, and being far from the normal ‘tourist’ routes we had the tracks all to ourselves.


It is a long, straight road.

As tempting as it was, to continue all the way to the lake, wifie knew she would not make it. But it was such a pleasant day, and we took a side track. Checking the map later this would have eventually taken us to the village on the other side of the forest, several kilometres away in one of those flat and wide valleys typical for this area. One day I will ride there, and I am sure we will visit by car, but for today we took yet another track that would take us more towards home.

This one was far less used, occasionally wet and muddy, but we felt more like we were in the forest, with many small flowers not quite carpeting the forest floor. At one stage I could see that the leves in the centre of the track had been kicked up, as if an animal had run along it recently. At the next wet spot I could see the hoof prints of a large deer or a moose, both being possible here. People keep telling us about the moose they have seen, and wifie really, really, really wants to see them too.

Finally we came across a major cross track, with steep sides into and out of on the other side, which I rode several times while waiting for wifie to catch up. I recognised it as the continuation of the original track we used to enter the forest. Up we went, with dried hard tractor prints giving wifie good grip but like a washboard for me. We came across one of the guys from further up the village with his dog on a leash in one hand and a can of Perła beer in the other. Ah, forest life!


Winding road, more logs

Eventually we made it out, and back to the top of our hill. It was sunnier now, allowing us to see further across the wide flat valley into which the gully on which our village disgorges, and it was a beautiful sight. I accompanied wifie a little further, then sped away to fill the kettle and make some tea, ready for when wifie arrived home. I clunked up through the gears, and went so fast that the bad dog could only give its preliminary barks, and I was long gone before it had any chance of reaching the road. Around the corner I met another cyclist, riding his racing bike and wearing his matching cycling suit. I nodded and called out ‘Dzień dobry!’ as I went past, but he failed to reply. He vanished around the corner behind me, into the teeth of the recently disappointed dog.

With wifie home, we took tea and some left over panetona from Easter on our plastic chairs in the sun outside behind our cottage, dreaming of our future stoop.

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Old 04-23-21, 06:55 AM
  #65  
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Back in my garage I stripped down the rear wheel of the Turing, which had a few bent spokes and its share of frozen nipples, to make it ready for painting. The rear sprocket was well hooked and the dust cover for the coaster brake was bonded to it with hardened grease. All that was easy compared to the handlebars, with its rust and seized bolts, but luckily I only wanted the bell and the stem. The latter badly needed painting, while Whitey had a very good set of handlebars as replacements - plus neither of its grips were cracked or held on by hammering them over an old sock wrapped around the handlebar end. Farm life!

I had brought the seat stem along as well, as it was very short and only fitted into the frame by an inch or so, far less than the ‘minimum’ mark. I thought I could use it on Danusia or Tigger, but then I discovered that the latter have 27.5mm stems, Whitey 25.6mm, Best/BSO 25.4 and Turing 25.0 (judging by the stem). On the other hand the fork stem and the front sprocket were from the same parts bins as Zenit.

After stripping down the rear Turing wheel I then built it back up again with the Sachs hub - just to see whether it was possible with the same set of spokes. Actually the rear spokes were well used and two broke while I was trying to remove them. Still, that left 34 for the test, more than enough. The spoke mounts on the Sach are positioned a bit further apart than on the Velosteel, but the radius to the spoke holes was greater on the Sachs, and in the end the original spokes were about 3-4 mm too long. With each wheel build I do I learn something - and this time it was to assemble the inner set of spokes on each side, and a couple of the outers to get the positions right, then slacken them all back off so that I can insert all the other spokes without having to bend any of the outers excessively and potentially scratching the paint on the rim.

Then I rubbed down Turing’s rims and gave them a spray of undercoat - so they could then join Danusia’s rims to wait for the topcoat. While I was at it I rubbed down Turing’s very rusty steering stem and the steel frame of the second hacksaw from the cottage. I might need to make a new adjuster rod for the latter, which will be a pleasant challenge, filing down and slitting a bolt to fit.


Reviving Danusia's wheels

Finally I was ready to examine my most recent addition, the gaudily red and yellow painted but otherwise unmarked Bike Shaped Object, or BSO for short. It had all the signs of a chain store machine, including the obligatory cheap derailleur and throttle style gear changers. It lacked a tire and tube at the rear, the V-brake and lever at the front and the pulley wheels on the derailleur. Funnily enough Best has cantilever brakes and a derailleur that should fit, and tires and tubes are consumables. It does have suspension front and rear, which I have never had before.

That is all it would take to get this bike running again. But do I want to? It feels so heavy.

The other opportunity is that the six-speed derailleur gear hub is a Shimano freewheel and Best has ‘18-speed’ written quite plainly on it despite the 5-speed hub it arrived with, suggesting that I could rebuild Best instead. I only bought Best because I did not know about the Zenit 3/5-speed Jubilats. I have since consumed many of its parts on other projects, and it does have the problem of a bent chainwheel-side crank, while BSO happens to have straight cranks on the same type of square drive BB. BSO’s rims are 26” and are in better condition than Turing’s, and the spokes look much fresher. The rear brakes even have a noodle, which I could use for the rear calliper brake on Zenit, plus there is a saddle and always the possibility that the fork might fit Best. Or Whitey.

First, though, I need to swop Best’s derailleur onto BSO, slip a Turing Badger onto the rear wheel and then give the bike a try - partly for the joy of it but also to make sure that everything still works, and does so as a team.

On other things, I had been considering buying a lever-type lock for the frame fold clamp on My Wigry, until I realised that Danusia had one that I am unlikely to need as it never gets taken anywhere. Plus there is the additional problem of it being a great temptation to little hands while parked on the rack outside the block. When I got My Wigry it had the cheapest version of lock - just a plain nut on the bolt and no lever to lock it, so I would need to carry a 17mm spanner whenever I took it somewhere.

Wigries and Jubilats both share the same fold hinge, and to remove the key from Danusia only required some WD40 and a bit of wrestling to get the offset part of the shaft through the hole with the aid of a pin punch. However, it would not go more than part way into Wigry’s clamp. Then I realised that they had opened out the hole a bit on models with the key.

Flash Wigry, the one delivered to my garage last week, does have a lever lock, but when I came to investigate it I noticed it had a much cheaper form of lever and not particularly effective to use, so I am glad that I never bought one. At the same time I discovered that Flash Wigry has a frame number dating it to 1980, it has fenders, lights and generally better equipment - and came in the official travel bag (which the owner said I could throw away…). My Wigry is a 1993 model, and it rides infinitely better because it clearly was not regularly kerbed, even though it needed new wheel bearings. I know this because I stripped and rebuilt all four Wigry wheels + one from the gas bottle cart, prior to taking Flash Wigry to our cottage in a van along with our current bed and a few other pieces of furniture.


Bike in a factory option bag - you can just see part of the nice wooden toggles up near the seat.

It was while I was there that I noticed one of the tires on the gas bottle cart had gone flat within a week, but since I had just replaced both inner tubes with new ones on My Wigry I took the offending wheel to my garage for a full service. One of the wheel nuts had seized, but as I have no source of heat to free it (other than our stove) I had to rebuild the wheel back onto the cart by clamping the locknut to the mount, tighten the cone to the locknut, adjust the cone on the other side, lock the locknut on that one before finally tightening the second wheel nut.

Turing is coming to bits slowly - the rear mudguard bolts will need drilling, the forks felt ok but when I dropped them out I found the lower bearing was like it had spent the last few decades hanging from a tree in the Kalahari. This suggests that the bottom bearings should come out, which they did, and at that point the remains were small enough to easily chuck in the back of the car.

It now seems very small.


Turing beginning to go to pieces. See the cobwebs, see the coal covered floor... and one of the few chain guards I actually like - thick yet pliable plastic - and effective without all-enclosing.

I have continued to consider the uses of my collections of bikes and tires, and while Turing is still in the melting pot stage of planning, My Wigry is heading towards becoming a small city bike able to tackle some unsurfaced lane work, essentially the kinds of rides I took Tigger on with its road tires. Tigger is going back on its knobbly off-road tires (once I can get sufficient garage time) while My Wigry will get city tires - and from that all the other decisions will be made.

I managed to remove one of the bolts mounting the rear mudguard on Turing with the cunning use of a hacksaw, but the upper one meant disassembling the hacksaw to gain access. Essentially I sawed through the washer to get to the bolt so that I did not damage the bracket or the mudguard. The front mount for the plastic chain guard is quite cool, in that there is a two-arm pressed steel bracket clamped in place by the chainwheel side BB inner side cup. I was going to discard the chainguard, but now I am in two minds - it is making me think of colour options for the frame, but the plastic mounts are broken and would need extensive repairs. Still...

Along with a number of bags filled with bearing bits, I placed the Turing frame in the back of the car so that I can get to work on it in the garage. While there I might see what else I might change out in terms of parts from my folders, to achieve a more original machine.

Before deciding to take Turing to the garage, in a fit of hope and glory I took the seat stems from Whitey and Best to see whether either would fit, and at least reduce the number of stems to buy from two to one. Whitey’s felt too tight, but then with the rust removed Best’s tapped straight in. It needs painting, but what doesn’t on this project?

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Old 04-30-21, 06:08 AM
  #66  
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Well, with some of my other projects out of the way, or at least on hold, it came time to do something about BSO. I have been looking forward to riding a bike with rear suspension since I first saw one in about 1982, and while this bike is cheap and heavy, and so of no particular interest, I do want to try it out as a bike and as a test bed for its bits. Does the V-brake work, how do the rotary gear changes feel, and if I dropped the front wheel out and disconnected the rear suspension, would it fold up enough to fit easily in the back of our car?

I removed the rear derailleur from Best and fitted that in place of the one on BSO as it was missing its pinions and, annoyingly, one of the pinion side plates. I put a Zebra tire on the rear, fitted the wheel, pumped up the front and fitted that as well, then added the seat. All this was just enough to turn it over and sit on the thing for the first time - and photograph it. Just rolling it far enough to take the picture indicated the lack of adjustment of the rear suspension and fork stem. It also looks like that the front fork is bent back, and it did steer a bit like a cow when I pushed it.


Pigdog, Turing and Best - my non-folders, suppliers of parts for the folders.

That just left splitting the chain to fit it, reconnecting and setting up the gear change, and sorting out the rear V-brake.

The rear brake cable was stiff, but even after lubing it the brakes were reluctant to release. I tried to remove the brake arms, but the bolts were seized on and so I do not know how much spring tension they each have. So I thought I would pop on a set of cantilever brakes from Best at the front - but one of the mounting points was damaged and I could not fit the mounting screw. In reviewing the condition of the surviving cantilever parts I reckon I might have to use cantilevers on the front of Best and then the V-brake from BSO on the rear. At least I eventually got the rear brake to operate, even if I did have to release it manually each time.

This meant it was rideable, but I cannot say that it was a memorable experience. The slightly bent front forks, the vaguely stiff steering when turned and the sheer weight of the bike meant it would quickly dart to one side and then had to be hauled upright after the exit from the turn. It was comfortable enough over bumps while sitting, but the frame as set up now was too short/low for me to stand. All in all, it was like rolling over the landscape on a too-small motorcycle with the engine switched off.

The throttle-style gear changers were rubbish as it was easy to accidentally rotate the lever on bumpy ground as the bike rotated under you, not helped by the lack of handlebar grips - although the stiff cables did help in not triggering the derailleurs. The front derailleur, which I had not looked at, did nothing in response to any input. The rear did move the derailleur, somewhat, but not consistently. The cranks and sprockets all felt OK, once a gear had been selected and the derailleur stopped half-heartedly trying to pull the chain onto another sprocket - for which I blame the cables.

With enough work I could achieve a half-decent bike, but Best was still better as a bike even with a lot more hard miles under its belt - BSO was just a cheap bike that some kid rode, experimented with and trashed. The test earned BSO a new name - Pigdog the Unbranded, or ‘Pigdog’ for short.

While Danusia remains out of action, awaiting a replacement seat stem and the fold lock to be rebuilt, I thought it would be a shame not to keep Pigdog in the cycle rack outside our block. In the snow, as it turned out. I must admit that Pigdog does look good in the rack. Purposeful, even

Best has been back on the bench, primarily to finally pull off those cranks. It was quite easy, once I managed to get the threads of the puller to engage with the removal threads in the cranks. Once they were off it was just a moment’s work to remove the axle and its almost grime-locked bearings. Currently the back of my bench is knee-deep in BB and fork stem bearing sets, as many of my bikes seem wanting in that department. I need to process them, including the reserve coaster brake hub that has been sitting there waiting since January.

The dumb story: I bought a metre of thread stock to use in stretching frames and inserting bearing cups (BB and forks mainly) in the garage, which I then took to the cottage because I planned to work on Turing there - but since I changed my mind and took Turing to the garage the thread stock came with it. Then I woke up and realised I needed it at both locations, and half a metre would suffice for all applications. So out came the saw to fix the problem permanently, since I had already bought enough big washers for two tools anyway.

In the warsztat (aka ‘coal room’ or ‘workshop’), pronounced ‘varsh-tat’, I had a table to put my toolbox on and fiddle around fixing stuff, but then we needed it in the kitchen (‘kuchnia’) and I was left with the coffee table (‘bike stand’) and a chair. Barns being barns, I went in search of something else and came up with a largish table collapsing under the weight of our spare flooring panels, and a small one lacking a top. As there was a ready supply of particle boards from the other odd units we had removed, I took the topless table and soon had my new workbench mk 1, plus I also found a small cupboard unit which I could mount on the wall or something. Once we start replacing parts of the kitchen I will be awash with units

I also found an old handle for a scythe, and then half an hour later found the old, thin and rusted scythe blade lying on top of a pile of stuff in the yard, right at 5-year-old’s hand height. I am making quite a collection of old farm implements, and found several really cute chick feeders, one of which will clean up as a pen box for wifie’s desk. Eventually, though, I finally got around to setting up my computer and logging into the work’s system. This might come in useful much earlier than we thought, as we have just heard that the maintenance have informed us that they want to renovate the tiles on the balconies. I can hear the crash of tiles now, dropped four floors down into the skip.

With Pigdog together, it was time to start working through my current stock of bearings to clean those cluttering up my workbench. But first I needed to get that locking lever in My Wigry’s fold lock. By hammering in various pieces of metal bar that fit the hole in Danusia but were too big for My Wigry (such as the knurled steel handle of a pin punch) (and this was the first time in the 40 years I have had the set that I have used one by hammering on the ‘pin’ end’). The hinge is thick rolled steel, but not welded, and with the pin hammered in I could hammer a screwdriver into the gap at the end of the rolled steel frame. I then tapped the pin punch out, put copper grease on the locking lever and carefully but firmly hammered the locking lever in.

It worked! I now have a Wigry that locks as firmly and easily as my Jubilats. All I need to do now is fit the My Wigry system to Danusia, for which I need to device some way of stopping the pin from dropping out of the fold when the bike is folded and upside down. My Wigry had a small plastic plug, but once you have fitted a Jubilat type lever it is too loose to stay in.

Next I cleaned and greased up the front fork bearings on My Wigry and assembled the lot, replacing the high front lamp mount with the spacer disk from Turing. Now in all the years that I have been working on bikes, I have read and read and read that you need that washer in case there are not enough threads for the lock nut. What a load of tosh! There must always be enough thread for the locknut because there was already enough threads for the upper bearing cup/adjuster. The secret is that slot in the fork tube and the tab on the washer / upper basket mount / high level lamp mount. The tab engages in the slot so that once the bearing has been adjusted using the upper bearing cup/adjuster, tightening the locknut cannot affect the position of the adjuster. The bearing adjuster is merely knurled on my bikes, so it would be hard to prevent it from turning as I tightened the lock nut without that washer.


My Wigry ready for the road - including its 'new' locking lever for the fold lock.


The only significant tasks left were to replace the front wheel bearings, refit the wheels and finish installing the bottle carrier to the seat stem, and then fold it ready to put it in the back of the car so it can rejoin Flash Wigry in our farmyard location. This gives me more room in the garage, but I will soon need some kind of bike storage solution in my warsztat.

Life down the garages is warming up, with owners coming out of hibernation, winter tires being exchanged for summer ones and even bicycles poking their noses out for that first roll around the yard.

Finally, I drew up on my whiteboard in the garage a list of all the current tasks for each of the bikes I have. I also still need to fix the whiteboard to the garage wall, but I did not add that to the list, in case the board noticed - it fell down from the bench the other day, in protest I believe for being forgotten. Anyway, I cannot finish work on Tigger because one of the tires is on the rear wheel of Best, which I want in place until I can test Best, which is not going to happen until I strip Pigdog. I might even test out Best’s gear levers on Pigdog yet, while continuing to get the different systems on the bike to work or at least to be removable - both of which apply to the rear brake.

I did find the time to install My Wigry’s fold lock mechanism on Danusia, so at least I can store it leaning up against the side of the garage amongst rather too many non-folding bikes.

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Old 05-07-21, 03:32 AM
  #67  
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Among the least exciting things I did down the garage this week was nonetheless important - I reduced the number of bearings on my bench by reinstalling the forks on Best - a saving of two whole bearings. The strange thing was that the BB bearings I took out of Turing look very small in comparison to those from the other bikes.

The plan for Turing revolves around paint, minimalism and short mudguards of the type I planned for Danusia. I have scraped off the ancient clear plastic ‘romet’ and ‘turing’ decals on the tubes, followed by a good wirebrushing by hand and then sanding. All I needed then was a presentable day and a can of undercoat, followed a few days later by a can of satin black.

All this is pretty standard stuff, because it is the next stage which is important. Normally at this point one would let the paint harden, apply some kind of protective topcoat and then, when ready, reassemble all the components. Instead I have no intentions of protecting the paint, but to let it get dirty, greasy and rubbed - with flecks of chrome or rust eventually showing through. Some chrome will be left unpainted, and the trick is to let the paint go a patchy grey-ish colour through a cycle of use, washing and then respraying whole areas when there are too many chips and rust visible. It will be neither showing off the glory of new paint nor clear lacquering over ye olde ruste.

With that in mind the other part of the plan is in choosing the components - the Sachs hub is a prime candidate, and I want to use Whitey’s shiney chrome handlebars but chop down Whitey’s 700 fenders and paint them frame-style black - but at a later date and maybe treated in a different way. In combination with Danusia I am attempting to redefine the look of a bike, where life exists as a continuum rather than an attempt to preserve the present or past sealed in transparent lacquer. The essential nature of the exercise is to conceal the design and engineering behind a worn yet non-original appearance. This is not intended as a way of creating something fake, but rather to care less about maintaining an appearance. Maintenance will be nothing more than wiping down, the equivalent of just oiling the chain or adjusting the brakes - internal tasks rather than external, essential instead of social.

While at a local shop buying other kinds of essentials, an old chap rode up on a Turing - not a Turing 2 like mine but an original Turing. I have not had time to assess the differences, but I can see that the dynamo is mounted on the seat stay rather than on the fork leg like mine.


Turing at rest. I had the same combination of basket on the front and box on the back on Blue

At some point I would like to try out the frame out with Danusia’s 24” wheels, mostly to see how it looks, how the frames compare in terms of dimensions. I should have tried out Turing’s 26” wheels on Danusia, to see whether there is enough clearance, but instead I will have to wait until the wheels come off Pigdog. I did find some time to spray Danusia’s original rims black, and then I left them to harden in the garage before moving the majority of my tools to the warsztat.

Pigdog is locked up outside the block, Tigger, Danusia and BigR in the garage, all waiting for when I can return and process them further. It is very tempting to borrow the front wheel off Danusia and, along with the still built-up former rear wheel from Zenit, put those on Pigdog so that it again sits out by the block, but now an inch lower. Also, once Turing is mobile, I need to finish and sell on BigR.

So there I was, midweek, packing up a whole lot of the tools from the garage, plus most parts for Turing except the wheels since they are still on Pigdog, and heaving them all in the car, along with everything else, and transferred them to the warsztat. It is getting crowded in there as I need more bench space for toolboxes, shelves and fewer bikes - or better storage. I wanted to take the pair of spare shelves from the garage, but there was no room as we also needed to take a large bathroom cabinet.

I think that what I need to do is clear out the junk from the room at one end of the wooden barn and then store some of the bikes there. It is convenient as the access door is on the outside, but inconvenient in that it has a set of tall steps to get up to it. Because this is a farm, there is a lot of crap in there, and this includes in particular old cemetery candle lamps. Every year the family would arrive for All Saints, go and place candles on the family graves in the local cemetery, then later one of the daughters of the last actual resident, who would come and stay here a few times a year, would then collect all the lamps from the cemetery and store them in the attic, under the stairs, in each of the three barns and even piled up outside them. They are not even small ones, but massive modern ones, so I know it must have been the daughter.

So much to do, but there are still many things to learn about our cottage, such as how to light up and run our piec. A piec is a stove, either for heating or for both heating and cooking. We have a heating one in our bedroom, the former ‘salon’, a large rectangular ‘cube’ made of square tiles where the idea is you burn fuel in the lower part to heat the mass of it up, then leave it to seep heat into the air. The other piec is in the kitchen, and has a two-plate hotplate and also runs the central heating radiators. This one is more modern (the tiles for the original one are lying in a barn, and I use some of them to hold nuts and bolts while working on my bikes), and it is easier to run, but you need to get it going quickly in the morning if you don’t want to freeze as you eat breakfast. The hotplates are made up of concentric cast iron rings, which you can remove enough of them to expose the bottom of your pan to the fire below. Excellent for woks and also heating up parts of a bike that have seized. I reckon I could use it for some minor forge work if I come across a small anvil at one of the local markets.


Future forge?

The undercoat went on Turing, followed a couple of days later by the matt black top coat. In between the undercoat and the top coat I did a test to see whether the Sachs would fit, which it would, comfortably, both between the dropouts and the axle in the dropouts. I am now wondering whether I should modify the front forks to fit a larger diameter front axle, to fit either the one from Whitey or Pigdog.

While seeking the inevitable things to repair the heating and other systems in our cottage, I found a local supplier of paint. I am now considering whether to paint the rims a very dark red, blue or green, maybe with a light matt black overspray. All this is a lot of description in a folder forum, a lot more than I would devote to Whitey, Pigdog or Best - they only get a mention in terms of the parts they supply to my folder projects so that the components appear in the story as part of a process rather than by magic. Turing is different, as in terms of the Polish countryside the Turing was the stablemate and alternative to the Jubilat, each equally used by men and women. Understanding one means knowing something about both.
Alongside the Sachs hub I have painted Best’s steering stem, ready for a test fit, as well as the original Turing item. The latter has the classic clamp for the steering stem while the former has a wedge lock, which I like for the much cleaner look.
Every time I think that I am done with the painting, I find something else that needs doing as well.

While driving around our area, in the next valley, we came across an old gent riding a yellow Wigry to his local shop, the first one, other than the three in my ‘stable’ that I have seen on the road in several years.

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Old 05-14-21, 06:16 AM
  #68  
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Well, with enough parts painted matt black, it seemed an opportune moment to begin reassembly. I always find this the second most worrying stage (after trying to make a sale, of course), because out of all those choices I had, the ones I now make will fix the course of things. However, before that, I had one special thing to do. Remember my wood-burning piec? I decided that one way to accelerate the paint aging process would be to put the frame components on the grass and pour cold ash from the fires all over them to gain that dusty grey effect, then rub it in to lightly score the surface. Stage two will be the liberal application of grease to the bearings so that when the excess is wiped away some of it will be absorbed by the paint finish. Stage 3 will be the touching up of different areas as they are damaged during assembly and so forth.


Ash Wednesday for Turing

Wifie asked me what do they call this this type of art finish, and I explained it didn’t have one yet as I had only invented it this week - and I was not yet dead enough for the art establishment to name it for me…

As time goes on, I have fewer and fewer tasks to do involving spanners, partly due to the lack of equipment and parts and partly because of the work on the farm, the latter also limiting the riding, which also has to fit in the gaps between the inclement weather. A trip to the city is required so that I can get the mudguards off Whitey, the wheels off Pigdog and maybe even the front wheel off Whitey. I really should have done more test fitting of parts when they were all together in the garage, but time was against it.

I have enrolled for the Rat Rod Bike’s annual build-off with Turing, because it is good to have an aim that is something different from those which I have tackled so far. I could have done this with Danusia, but I have some ideas for that bike involving cardboard that I have yet to explore. With this in mind I installed the fork, Best’s handlebar stem and seat stem, and Whitey’s seat and handlebars - the latter upsidedown. I swopped out Turing’s fork locking nut with the one from the Kid’s bike, and the result looks good. Good enough that when we had some visitors at the weekend they thought it was a genuinely old bike. Well, older than them, as Turing is no longer a spring chicken.

I did spend some time trying to figure out why Flash Wigry does not ride as well as My Wigry. I made a vast improvement by stripping, cleaning, regreasing and setting the tolerance on the fork bearings. I played around with the adjustment of the rear hub, but while I improved how it worked I cannot say that the coaster brake is satisfactory as it can take between an eighth and a half turn for the brake to kick in, depending on what one does immediately prior to braking. Still, it went back in the warsztat better than when it came out.


Fancy Wigry being overhauled

I took Zenit for a long ride, all the way up our street, to beyond the end of the village, turned down a track that took me into the woods opposite the gully in front of our cottage, and then rode fast through the wood as it descended first gently, then dropped me into quite a steep and narrow gully. On the way I startled a young deer, which darted first across the track in front before wheel around and disappearing in another direction. One part of the track clearly ran down the back of what were formerly the strip fields that began in our village, and on the other side there were the occasional end of fields still in use running down into the valley, away from the village.

Zenit was mainly good, except when the rear brake lever malfunctioned. In the rush to build it I failed to notice that it should have had a cable ending/adjuster mechanism fitted - and so shortly before arriving at the gullies I was down to one front brake. Eek, and they had a slippery surface and significant wheel erosion, about as deep as my pedals.

Still, I managed to descend in a controlled manner, thanks mostly to my tires and years of experience, and eventually exited onto the single road into our village. I chose to push it up the final slope as it was too good a day to finish it all sweaty. One day I may convert it to Pigdog six gear, mostly for the teeth on the biggest gear.

A forest - but where is Zenit?

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Old 05-21-21, 06:13 AM
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We loaded our computers and other things in our car and headed back to the city for two days, with lists of all the things we needed to buy or collect - as well as a task list for me to get on with in the garage. While we should have been buying clothes, I made a side trip into a bike shop and came across a pair of modern Wigry. Other than the wheel size and traditional layout, there is no real link with the original varieties of Wigry like mine, and nothing really to allow them to stand out as the defining machines of an era.

Still, I would not say no to the Shimano Nexus SG-3C41 3 speed coaster brake rear hub or Shimano DHC3000-3N dynamo front hub - or indeed the aluminium rims if I could pick up a pair secondhand at a decent price.


New Wigry 3

I moved Pigdog to the garage and removed its wheels, hunted down the tires, tubes and tapes I would need for Turing, and did a bit of drilling and filing to prepare a new strap for the lock on the front doors of the big barn. We have had some strong winds recently, and one morning we woke up to a half open barn. That meant another trip to the local builder’s merchants, where I of course forgot to buy the square file I would need for the coachbolts I had bought to attach the lock strap thing. And nails. Every farm needs nails. While I was at it I did purchase some bike-related items, such as some green paint for Turing’s wheel rims.
I also had the idea of buying a small shed, then erecting it inside the big barn as a place to store my less used and other people’s bikes to give me more parts storage space in the Warsztat. There is an access door in the other big doors on the cottage side of the barn I could use to get the bikes in and out, but those doors need a bit of work to get them fully functional, the hinges for the access door in them are newish but feeble and - such is the way - I have not found a key to those doors. Sometimes I seem to spend more time working on the workshop and storage necessary to maintain the bikes than I do either working on or riding them. But it is still good fun!

Turing the Rat Rod Bike needs a few conceptual items, maybe like a pair of mismatched front headlights, the lead light from the attic repurposed as a hand-held light, the Russian rear reflector mounted within a metal ceiling light fitting - that kind of thing.

Pigdog remained a pig to work on (and a dog on the short ride to the garage), with its seized rear brake fittings and frayed cable, better at hindering the removal of parts from the frame than the forward motion of the machine. I sprayed some WD40 on it and left it for next time.

As an aside I have three old romet rubber pedals that I am trying to disassemble to see if I can straighten out the rubber sections and end up with a pair of squarish pedals with a full complement of reflectors, the grime washed out and replaced with fresh grease. The latter would be a whole lot easier if the bearings came apart, of course. This time I had left the pin punches at the farm and was unable to straighten the tabs retaining the rubbers and metal end strap.

Danusia was still sitting there, with wheels on but I still have not found a replacement seat stem for it.

Back in the country, and I fixed the front brake lever on Zenit by cutting a slot in a washer to keep the housing nipple from forcing its way inside the plastic lever mounting. I can never have enough washers - they come in so many different ratios of ID to OD, and thicknesses. Whenever I buy some nuts and bolts at a new place I also grab a selection of whatever washers they have because some of them will be different and may find a home somewhere on the complexities that make up a bicycle. I could have simply replaced the lever with another from my collection, but that would not be so much fun.

I also tried out Turing’s and Whitey’s mudguards on Turing, but then wondered whether I should have brought some of my mudguards for 24” wheels to try. Oh well, next time.

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Old 06-11-21, 01:39 AM
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We had a plan to visit the ruins of a renaissance castle on the side of a lake, about a half hour’s drive north of here. First, though, we planned to visit some friends for coffee, in their apartment at a horse stud of some repute but seemingly only just enough to survive. As it turned out, our friends had a complete Romet Flaming, similar to one I posted a photo of here many months ago. It is much like a Wigry, as it folds and uses 20” wheels, but the frame is a kind of U shape rather than the angular forms of the Wigry and Jubilat. Strangely the fold had a welded bolt and a nut, so unlike either the Wigry or Jubilat. They have a chair in their garage that wifie likes, so I might attempt a trade of servicing their Flaming in exchange for the chair.

Strangely, the uncle of the wife, the guy who I think runs the place, wants to give me a bike dating from 1956 that I have not seen - but such is the life when people discover one has an interest.

Anyway, in the end we did not get to the castle because our friends wanted to show us a nature reserve not far from them, featuring both walking and cycling trails. As expected, it was beautiful, and we took the decision to unload My Wigry and wifie’s Nordic walking sticks.


My Wigry logged

As it was still late Spring, the leaves were in the process of forming and therefore letting plenty of light through, allowing flowers to carpet the forest floor, and the trails were used enough that following them was easy. The sandy soil had its advantage, too, as there were few puddles to navigate, and the combination of the two made it an easy ride on my Stomil road tires. The people we met on the way responded to our ‘Dzien dobry’, and there was no litter to be seen.

The ‘new’ frame lock from Danusia was secure as well as being easy to use, while the light weight meant the bike was easy to pick up - whether it was getting it out of the car or lifting it over the occasional branch. Everything was so good that I would quickly leave wifie far behind and then have to wait for her to catch up. She felt a bit guilty about that, but, heh, I was on a bike in the middle of a beautiful forest - how hard could it be to stop and enjoy it all while I waited?


View over My Wigry's handlebars

We were passed by a family on mountain bikes, and I accelerated the poor Wigry to keep up, which it did, and at no time did it feel unstable or refuse to tackle the undulations and twists offered by the track. If it had been wet or I had allowed myself to continue until they climbed back up the slope it would have been a different story - but mostly due to the road tires and single gear. The coaster brake was magnificent, if I may be so bold, as it allowed me to retain a firm grip on the handlebars and hence shift my weight around with abandon, compensating for whatever deficiencies the Wigry had in the tire and frame stiffness departments.

The soil in this part of Poland is sandy, which means it gullies easily, often through a combination of water run-off from the land above and the need to haul wagons up and down the slopes. Our part of the region tends to have areas of lightly hilly upland divided by wide and relatively flat river valleys. A typical farming village is based on a river, with each farm having a strip of meadow from the river up to a track that runs parallel to the river along which can be found the cottages and farmyards. Beyond the farmyard there may be another strip field or, for smaller valleys, a slope and the field on the top of the slope where the serious farming gets done. Our village parallels a very small, steep and narrow valley, so all the buildings are on the top of the slope and the former meadow is on the steep slope down into the gully while the field behind us rises up the gentle slope to the top of the hill where there is an arm of a forest and beyond that the fields descending to the village in the next valley. Whatever the location of the village, if the slope is steep then it is punctuated by the occasional gullied road.


My Wigry beside the gully

So there we were, riding/sticking through the wood on a kind of plateau with just some minor but cute gullying as the track climbed or descended various minor slopes, all well drained and just perfect to ride. Eventually we reached the edge of the slope and our track then ran close to the edge of a gully deep enough that I could not see the bottom until I got off my bike and held on to a tree to peer down into it. I suppose it was 3-4 metres deep at that point and I found myself wondering how secure a tree is growing on the edge of such a sharp drop through the compressed sand of a former minor sea.

If there were no other reasons to return, that gully would be enough.

With no visible route to descend, we followed the steep track beside the gully until both exited the wood and the trees into a sunny field, through which it temptingly continued.

As gully aficionados, we chose to climb back up the slope using the gully. This was easier for wifie as it was often too steep for me to ride, and too narrow to stand alongside the bike to push it. Whatever, it was light enough to push from behind or even to carry it without strain. Eventually we reached the top where we were able to leave it and return to the track back to the car.


Wifie with My Wigry in the gully

I definitely need to retrieve Tigger from our city garage for such trips.

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Old 06-12-21, 12:19 PM
  #71  
Juan el Boricua
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Geepig, just a "thank you" note for your wonderful and magnificent prose; I've been able to imagine and picture the wonderful sights of your land, and how resourcefulness can be an advantage. Not to mention that it has been pretty comforting to know about and tackle what appears to be workhorses of the bike world; not much "bling" but completely serviceable and dependable bikes. Kudos to you, and your wife, for allowing us ( or, at least, me) into your adventures.

Will you make Wigry3 a 3-5 speed bike in the future?
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Old 06-14-21, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan el Boricua View Post
Geepig, just a "thank you" note for your wonderful and magnificent prose; I've been able to imagine and picture the wonderful sights of your land, and how resourcefulness can be an advantage. Not to mention that it has been pretty comforting to know about and tackle what appears to be workhorses of the bike world; not much "bling" but completely serviceable and dependable bikes. Kudos to you, and your wife, for allowing us ( or, at least, me) into your adventures.

Will you make Wigry3 a 3-5 speed bike in the future?
Thanks, Juan, I am really pleased that you have enjoyed our story! I like my bikes to be practical and something which the average person the street can see and not be so overwhelmed by technology that they feel they couldn't talk to me about them.

My Wigry will remain in its simple form, but it is only a matter of time, I am sure, before I find another. This next one will have some changes, but I have yet to decide what they might be... Getting extra gears in would be a challenge, as the smaller a frame is, the more difficult it is to stretch it enough to fit in the inevitable wider hub. However, I am keeping an eye open for a suitable hub, possibly a Sturmey Archer, SRAM or Shimano, that I could lever in. I actually passed up a chance to buy one when I was buying some Jubilats back in January - mostly because I thought I could not fit it in the car as well...
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Old 06-18-21, 04:25 AM
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We are having a verandah, or ‘ganek’ as they call it here, built on the back of the cottage, which is nice, but at the moment the power cable to the barns is down and probably will be for a month or two since we need to replace all the electrics in the cottage, and rehanging the cable from our new ganek is not an option in our eyes. Anyway, it should be buried in a trench. We do have an extension cable, but it does not quite reach my warsztat, so things like putting shelves up will have to wait - as well as mowing the top half of the yard with my 3-wheeled mower, working on the second door in the big barn or installing a new gate to stop the neighbour’s chickens from wandering in. I should invest in some battery powered tools, but we need a non-electric strimmer and mower first. At this rate I might have to break out the scythe out just to get to the warsztat.

Back in the city for two days again, and I got to spend a couple of hours down the garage, allowing me to remove the lights and dynamos from Tigger but not replace the city tires with the off road ones that have been sitting around there for months. However, I did get the rear brakes off Pigdog, and they fitted Best just fine. This means that I can now have a complete set of brakes, if mismatched: U-brake on the rear and cantilever on the front. I also managed to remove the seat and stem, the latter designated for Best as well, while the seat might end up on Turing, Zenit or Danusia. Maybe Best.

I could not remove the handlebar grips off Pigdog without a struggle, even though I only fitted them a couple of months ago, until I got the screwdrivers out to get some penetrating oil under them. Once they were off, the previously soaked fixings on the brake levers and the grip shifters soon let go, followed by the handlebar clamp and stem. I was tempted to drop the fork out, but until I can get the cranks off it makes a useful way of storing the bike upright.

The next task was to strip out one of the grip shifts to start figuring out why the rear barely shifted and the front not at all. Eventually I might fit these to Best, or I might fit one to Turing to run the Sachs rear hub. A lack of lubrication and breaking up of the housing ends seemed to be causing most of the issues, and other than their plastic clicky action they are pretty much like friction shifters.

The crank removal process got harder when I realised that they did not share the same fixing system as I had on Best, but seemed to need something like an M12 bolt wound in. None of the online places I initially checked for crank pullers seemed to offer anything suitable, so an M12 bolt was added to the shopping list. Annoyingly after I bought one I forgot to try it out until we were about to leave for the farm, so I could only check whether it indeed was the right thread.

Onto the fork, and I have begun to wonder whether Pigdog’s fork would fit Best’s frame, after they were straightened of course. Travelling further down that line of thought and one day I might dig up a plain front fork from a large wheeled bike for Pigdog and weave a fat rim on the back with something like a coaster brake. It is a pity that Best is on 24” wheels instead of 26”, otherwise I might have been able to do a straight swop for the forks. In a way the low bulkiness of Pigdog reminds me of two 175cc Hondas from the late 1960s I once owned (although never rode). So maybe 24 inch wheels front and back would be no bad thing.

While there I even considered sawing Whitey’s frame and using that to spacer Whitey’s seat stem to fit Danusia - except the whole hacksaw and the callipers were back in the Warsztat. I can see that I will also have to move much of my parts inventory to the farm rather than having it split between two locations.


We saw this Wigry at the market in our local town - it is a different year from mine, and has mudguards and a chain guard, while the pedals and lights look like replacements - but still working hard. At least she has bought a basket for her bike, while our local DIY store has announced that they will not be replacing their in-store shopping baskets as they are repeatedly stolen so people can fit them to their bikes.

Our big barn is big, which means that it has a lot of potential if one wished to store large things like agricultural implements, including trailers owned by two local farmers. My plan is to install some kind of shed in there that I can use to store bikes without them getting damp or covered in the usual dust of a working barn, and I know that some DIY stores offer cheap metal storage for waste bins, which are long and about the right height for bikes. The other benefit is that bikes consume a lot of space in my warsztat, which I really need for working and as a home for all my tools and parts.

It has all come rather a long way since I knocked together a low table from old furniture to act as a bench in my garage to resurrect Blue, at the end of last summer.

#romet #rower #bicycle #wigry #jubilat #shopper #poland #polska
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Old 06-19-21, 02:18 PM
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Juan el Boricua
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
We are having a verandah, or ‘ganek’ as they call it here, built on the back of the cottage, which is nice, but at the moment the power cable to the barns is down and probably will be for a month or two since we need to replace all the electrics in the cottage, and rehanging the cable from our new ganek is not an option in our eyes. Anyway, it should be buried in a trench. We do have an extension cable, but it does not quite reach my warsztat, so things like putting shelves up will have to wait - as well as mowing the top half of the yard with my 3-wheeled mower, working on the second door in the big barn or installing a new gate to stop the neighbour’s chickens from wandering in. I should invest in some battery powered tools, but we need a non-electric strimmer and mower first. At this rate I might have to break out the scythe out just to get to the warsztat.

Back in the city for two days again, and I got to spend a couple of hours down the garage, allowing me to remove the lights and dynamos from Tigger but not replace the city tires with the off road ones that have been sitting around there for months. However, I did get the rear brakes off Pigdog, and they fitted Best just fine. This means that I can now have a complete set of brakes, if mismatched: U-brake on the rear and cantilever on the front. I also managed to remove the seat and stem, the latter designated for Best as well, while the seat might end up on Turing, Zenit or Danusia. Maybe Best.

I could not remove the handlebar grips off Pigdog without a struggle, even though I only fitted them a couple of months ago, until I got the screwdrivers out to get some penetrating oil under them. Once they were off, the previously soaked fixings on the brake levers and the grip shifters soon let go, followed by the handlebar clamp and stem. I was tempted to drop the fork out, but until I can get the cranks off it makes a useful way of storing the bike upright.

The next task was to strip out one of the grip shifts to start figuring out why the rear barely shifted and the front not at all. Eventually I might fit these to Best, or I might fit one to Turing to run the Sachs rear hub. A lack of lubrication and breaking up of the housing ends seemed to be causing most of the issues, and other than their plastic clicky action they are pretty much like friction shifters.

The crank removal process got harder when I realised that they did not share the same fixing system as I had on Best, but seemed to need something like an M12 bolt wound in. None of the online places I initially checked for crank pullers seemed to offer anything suitable, so an M12 bolt was added to the shopping list. Annoyingly after I bought one I forgot to try it out until we were about to leave for the farm, so I could only check whether it indeed was the right thread.

Onto the fork, and I have begun to wonder whether Pigdog’s fork would fit Best’s frame, after they were straightened of course. Travelling further down that line of thought and one day I might dig up a plain front fork from a large wheeled bike for Pigdog and weave a fat rim on the back with something like a coaster brake. It is a pity that Best is on 24” wheels instead of 26”, otherwise I might have been able to do a straight swop for the forks. In a way the low bulkiness of Pigdog reminds me of two 175cc Hondas from the late 1960s I once owned (although never rode). So maybe 24 inch wheels front and back would be no bad thing.

While there I even considered sawing Whitey’s frame and using that to spacer Whitey’s seat stem to fit Danusia - except the whole hacksaw and the callipers were back in the Warsztat. I can see that I will also have to move much of my parts inventory to the farm rather than having it split between two locations.


We saw this Wigry at the market in our local town - it is a different year from mine, and has mudguards and a chain guard, while the pedals and lights look like replacements - but still working hard. At least she has bought a basket for her bike, while our local DIY store has announced that they will not be replacing their in-store shopping baskets as they are repeatedly stolen so people can fit them to their bikes.

Our big barn is big, which means that it has a lot of potential if one wished to store large things like agricultural implements, including trailers owned by two local farmers. My plan is to install some kind of shed in there that I can use to store bikes without them getting damp or covered in the usual dust of a working barn, and I know that some DIY stores offer cheap metal storage for waste bins, which are long and about the right height for bikes. The other benefit is that bikes consume a lot of space in my warsztat, which I really need for working and as a home for all my tools and parts.

It has all come rather a long way since I knocked together a low table from old furniture to act as a bench in my garage to resurrect Blue, at the end of last summer.

#romet #rower #bicycle #wigry #jubilat #shopper #poland #polska
Hi, Geepig; now that you mentioned it, it has been a while since I've read of or seen it, is it still around?
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Old 06-21-21, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan el Boricua View Post
Hi, Geepig; now that you mentioned it, it has been a while since I've read of or seen it, is it still around?
Yes, very much so - or at least I get regular reports about it from wifie as it is one of her oldest friends who has it and rides it regularly. Being that it is in the city and we now spend most time at the farm I do not expect to see it any time soon

At least she looked fitter and healthier when she visited the other week, which for me is the best outcome!
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