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Reflections on car-light and simple living

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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

Reflections on car-light and simple living

Old 04-22-10, 12:47 PM
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Newspaperguy
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Reflections on car-light and simple living

Right now, my preferred bike is unrideable since the frame broke. The bike's under warranty and I'm getting a replacement frame but in the meantime, I've been relegated to getting around on my winter bike.

The winter bike is an oldschool mountain bike, from around 1988. It's showing its age. Before I got the bike, it had been left out in the elements for several years and so some of the parts had rusted out. The shifters did not work and the rear derailleur had seized up. The chain kept slipping. The brakes were sticking. The seat post is now stuck firmly in place (although it's at the height I need.)

Yesterday, I stripped off the derailleurs, serviced the brakes and tried unsuccessfully to loosen the seat post, in order to replace the saddle. I now have a cool single speed bike. Even though I live in the mountains, it's set up so I can easily use it for basic transportation in town. I may even try it on a longer run this weekend. I'm having fun riding it.

So now I've got low-cost, no-frills transportation. It runs decently now. The chain doesn't slip. It's nothing fancy. You wouldn't see it on a club ride. But it's adequate.

And today I'm thinking about simplicity. As spartan as that bike is, it's still much, much better than the bikes one commonly sees in third-world countries.
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Old 04-23-10, 02:24 AM
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Nothing wrong with that I ride a vintage road bike with bent front fork on. It rides as straight as I need it too so that's all I need.
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Old 04-23-10, 11:53 AM
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I love old MTBs, although I keep the gears on. I only use my road bike for long rides on country roads. Everything in town is covered by a MTB.

A couple days ago I helped my sister buy a used MTB that she planned to use on the logging roads near her home. ($150 for a decent Trek w/ new ders and brakes.) She tried it on the city streets by my dad's house and liked it so much that now she's thinking about just leaving it in town.
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Old 04-23-10, 12:02 PM
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My utility bike is an old Hard Rock of similar vintage. Fortunately for me, I think it spent it's first 15 years of life upside down like a bat in someones garage. It was in pretty good shape by the time it got to me.

But I've used it a bit in the years I've had it, and last fall I took it in for a complete tuneup, and came out of the store $300.00 poorer. But was a freebie to begin with and it had given me yeoman duty for 5 years, so it was worth the money.

Looks like it will be going downtown to celebrate Earth Day and show off its shopping panniers tomorrow if the event doesn't get rained out.
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Old 04-23-10, 01:27 PM
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What's surprised me the most is how much life this bike still has, especially considering a few years abandoned in the elements.

I'm also quite pleased with how well it's performing as a single speed. I'm using the middle ring on the front and the third smallest of six on the rear. I wouldn't mind making some minor changes to the gearing, but I don't need to do more.
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Old 04-23-10, 01:38 PM
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I thought I'd never say this but... this thread is useless without pics.
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Old 04-23-10, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by newenglandbike View Post
I thought I'd never say this but... this thread is useless without pics.
+1

Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
What's surprised me the most is how much life this bike still has, especially considering a few years abandoned in the elements.
If you don't mind spending a little to upgrade an old bike, you are usually pleasantly surprised. I like hard tail MTB's from the 1980s. Actually, the frames also make nice touring bikes if you find one that fits nicely. The frames are near indestructible unless really abused.
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Old 04-23-10, 06:50 PM
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I'm too old and tired to have a one speed. However my main commuter bikes are pretty basic iron - a 1984 Trek 520 tour bike I bought for $250 in 2005, and a '90s rigid Canadian-made Peugeot mountain bike I bought for $200 or so around 2007, fitted with road tires. I have replaced parts as needed (including sadly, the vintage helicomatic hub and suntour rear shifter on the Trek) but the only actual enhancements were fenders and lights.

Mind you I also splurged more than I had expected to on a Bike Friday, in 2008, and haven't gotten as much use out of it (yet) as I had intended.
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Old 04-23-10, 07:26 PM
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Has anyone got any thoughts about how to free a stuck seatpost? I've been using copious amounts of Liquid Wrench, but so far to no avail.

The post seems to be stuck because of a bit of surface rust. It's the original post for the bike.
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Old 04-23-10, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
Has anyone got any thoughts about how to free a stuck seatpost? I've been using copious amounts of Liquid Wrench, but so far to no avail.

The post seems to be stuck because of a bit of surface rust. It's the original post for the bike.
Is it aluminum? Do you have access to some ammonia?

Read Sheldon Brown's suggestions: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/stuck-seatposts.html
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Old 04-23-10, 08:39 PM
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I can't find the addy now, but I once stumbled across a blog of someone who found an old bike in a barn. He removed everything except the bare frame, then had it stripped to the bare metal. He raised the serial number and found that it had been made in 1908. He then used the frame as the basis to build up a "new" bike---100+ years old. That's an extreme example, but it goes to show that a good bike can keep on going and going.
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Old 04-23-10, 09:39 PM
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Here's the bike. It's an 18-speed Asama, built around 1988 to 1990. It has the Shimano Exage component group and a cro-moloy frame and fork, common for the time. The seat post appears to be cro-moly as well.

Last edited by Newspaperguy; 04-23-10 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 04-23-10, 09:50 PM
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Here's the latest on the seatpost. This evening, I once again gave it a liberal dose of Liquid Wrench, let it soak in and then twisted with all my might. I heard a loud squeak and I felt the seat twist. Victory at last, I thought. Now I can get the seatpost out and clean it. Alas, such fortune was not meant to be. The seat had twisted but the post remained firm. I loosened the seat, removed the brackets and cleaned them as well as portion of the post I could see. Then I mounted another seat on the bike, this one far more comfortable. For now, that is sufficient, but when it's time to do a complete job on the bike, I'll probably end up having to cut out the post and replace it.

Right now, my basement stinks of Liquid Wrench.
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Old 04-24-10, 11:32 AM
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My old faithful bike is about to be reincarnated....again.

I need a bike to leave in town at my parent's house for the times I come home via Amtrak. I can walk to the house (or grab a cab) but once there it is 3-4 miles to the grocery stores and a few other places I want to go. So the old Raleigh is getting a set of folding rear Wald baskets, a medium sized front basket and a set of generator lights. I bought this bike used back in 1982 and it is still hanging around after 28 years.

Aaron

Edit: I will add an updated picture when I get the baskets mounted.

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Old 04-24-10, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
Here's the latest on the seatpost. This evening, I once again gave it a liberal dose of Liquid Wrench, let it soak in and then twisted with all my might. I heard a loud squeak and I felt the seat twist. Victory at last, I thought. Now I can get the seatpost out and clean it. Alas, such fortune was not meant to be. The seat had twisted but the post remained firm. I loosened the seat, removed the brackets and cleaned them as well as portion of the post I could see. Then I mounted another seat on the bike, this one far more comfortable. For now, that is sufficient, but when it's time to do a complete job on the bike, I'll probably end up having to cut out the post and replace it.

Right now, my basement stinks of Liquid Wrench.
If you have the seat off the bike, could you trying hitting the post with a 5 pound or so hammer? Put the bike on the floor of your basement with the tires up against a wall. Use a piece of 2 by 4 between the seatpost and the hammer.

Also... are you able to remove the seatpost binder?
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Old 04-24-10, 04:09 PM
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Gerv, the bolt comes out easily. I'll try the hammer trick later.
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