Back to our Regularly Scheduled Season

10 04 2010

Early April in E-town is more often a time of snow and chills than of anything most people would consider springlike. This year, the snow melted early and the sun has already started sucking what little moisture is left from the parched ground. The last decade has been among the driest on record, and years of drought are  beginning to do permanent damage to Edmonton’s urban forest. Knowing this makes it harder to embrace an earlier retirement of the long underwear for the season, as it comes at the expense of the trees that protect me from the summer sun and break the brutal winter wind.

So, a change in weather is welcomed, but not one involving gale force winds.

A dust cloud rises over downtown. This is taken from the same spot as one of the pictures in the previous post where you can see the skyline.

This is the type of wind that sandblasts you and everything around you with dirt and gravel and sticks and garbage. It’s the type of wind that, when it’s at your back, can blow you up a hill, accelerating without pedaling, and when it’s at your side it can blow you off balance. It’s the kind of wind that will leave you motionless, blind, and breathless should you be so unlucky to have to ride straight into it. It’s the type of wind that evaporates precipitation before it hits the ground and sublimates snow before it can melt and be absorbed by the soil. In short, it’s the last thing this thirsty burg needs.

Street art near bicycle bottleneck.

Having an errand to do, I arrived at EBC just as the first clumps of snow began blowing in horizontally. I was light headed from the wind but ecstatic about the prospect of precipitation that could actually stick. That’s when I saw this old girl that had appeared mysteriously in the yard overnight.

A vintage step-through frame with most of its parts but in very rough shape.

Perhaps it was the prospect of enough moisture to quell the dust storm mixed with the first flashes of fever from an impending flu that made me so infatuated I decided to start fixing her up on the spot. The impression I have is “farm bike,” used & abused for many years before being abandoned, overgrown and partially buried, then rescued, repainted but never given more “maintenance” than the occasional shots of WD-40. I was hoping to restore her into a stylin’ ride for EBC to sell to a very lucky someone, and eagerly began cleaning, sanding, and replacing spokes and bearings. However, everything I’ve taken apart so far has revealed major issues with this bike, including bent frame & forks, shot rims & worn down hubs, serious enough that it shouldn’t be resold. Still, I want more practice working on these old cruisers, so I’m going to see how far I can get with this one.

Hub crud - one of many reasons you should keep WD-40 away from your bikes.

The hub was encased in an unholy epoxy of balsam poplar sap (and buds) and WD-40. I had scraped off approximately 90% of it before taking the picture above, and was still left with a sticky gungy mess. When I finally did get things clean, I was greeted with a pitted hub and disintegrating cones.

This is what a cone should not look like.

All the poplar-cement (my new least favourite thing found in a hub) removal took a few hours, and I’ve still got much more to do. Here’s hoping for no sap in the bottom bracket. As the snow had started to collect on the bikes outside and the wind was forming it into icy drifts on the side streets, I ended my impromptu repair session to return home to curl up with the kitties and listen to the wind howl.

EBC yard bikes under a blanket of snow. Don't worry, petites bicyclettes, spring is coming and we'll find new homes for you soon.

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10 responses

10 04 2010
Sox

I’ve heard there has been snow west of us. We haven’t had any for a week now.

11 04 2010
evillerider

The snow’s all gone now and it’s back to cold and dry. Maybe we’ll get some more precipitation later this week.

10 04 2010
girlcanbike

do they ever get Mixte frames over at EBC?? I’d love to have a Mixte in my bike stable:)

Fiona
@girlcanbike.com

11 04 2010
evillerider

All sorts of bikes are donated to EBC, including mixtes and step-throughs. The only thing that EBC yard bikes have in common is that they need work, the non-mountain bikes get scooped up quickly, and right now, we’re selling bikes faster than we can fix them up. Your best bet is to stop in often to find a frame or bike you like, and then spend some time with the mechanics, who can show you how to make it roadworthy. It’s really satisfying turning someone else’s junker bike into a sweet ride, and then you’ll also know how to fix it if you need to. It just takes time and a willingness to learn (and get dirty).

11 04 2010
girlcanbike

Nice! and thanks. I dont mind getting dirty at all and actually I want to take a bike mech workshop there if I’m not working this summer. I’ll have to start coming over after the move is done

Fiona

17 05 2010
Deborah Merriam

From the chainring and the shape of the handlebars, I think that loop-frame is another CCM-built cruiser (possibly a Garry) like Nicki is fixing up. How is the work on her coming?

19 05 2010
evillerider

Good eye! Everything, including the head badge has been painted over but I chipped a little bit of paint off the head badge, googled the three letters I could make out, and was directed to the blog post on Nicki’s Garry! It looks very similar.
I’ve done what mechanical work I could without having adequate replacement parts (this bike will need new rims and hubs if it’s ever going to be ridden anywhere other than the silly summer parade), including bending the chainstays back into shape, but I still have to bend the forks back. I haven’t decided if I’m going to put the effort into repainting her and finding appropriate replacement hand grips, pedals, etc. It’s frustrating when ALL the parts on a bike are shot (or missing – sniff, chainguard). I’ll post newer pictures soon, though!

17 06 2010
Critical Lass! « Breaking Chains and Taking Lanes

[…] on doing the final repairs to the 1950′s loop-frame CCM I had been previously working on (and blogging about). This plan, if executed properly, would allow me enough time to sleep & get dressed up for the […]

3 08 2010
Rebirth of a Vintage Canadian Bicycle « Breaking Chains and Taking Lanes

[…] of a Vintage Canadian Bicycle 3 08 2010 Last spring, I found an an old CCM with a Garry head badge at EBC in extremely rough shape and began fixing it […]

23 03 2013
A Deelite-ful Balance Bike | Loop-Frame Love

[…] “Wow, that bottom bracket looks even worse than Poplar’s!” I doubt that somehow, but it is pretty dessicated, and when I smushed the rusty granular […]

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