Shop Talk - Vets' bikes Boom! Shop Talk - Brake Repairs
2CB Shop Talk
April 23, 2021

Got another call yesterday for two bikes for two more homeless vets. I have two prospects in the garage; one looks to be perfectly good except somebody bent the right pedal crank so it hits the chainstay and won't get past it. I need to figure out how to straighten or find replacement. The other one seemed good after I replaced the tires but when I test rode last week it would not hold in low gear. I messed with it and determined the shifter was defective - probably just worn - so it clicked into gears but then drifted back. So I ordered new two-trigger shifters. They had arrived but I'd not yet gotten back to working on bikes, with spring cleanup of an acre of prairies and woodland to deal with and a new chipper to play with.

So yesterday evening I put on the shifter; The derailleur was stiff, so it was hard to shift despite new shifter and cable but dosing it with Blaster (tm) and just working it a lot loosened it and about 8 last night I got it to shift smoothly into all 7x3 gears. This morning I figured to test ride again, put on baskets, and deliver to the MWSHV.

Yeah, right! Brakes were nonfunctional. They were a variant I'd not seen before of an obsolete design. I messed around figuring out exactly how they were supposed to work and why they didn't and after several false starts at fixing them I just took them off and installed parts stripped from newer models I had scrapped. So along about 6 pm today I took that puppy on a test ride. Sweet!

Tomorrow I'll pressure wash it, add basket and luggage rack, and deliver. It has parts from 5 different bicycles on it now. Three are long gone to the boneyard; one just got designated for that fate today, and one I just "borrowed" a brake cable from, which I'll replace when its turn in the shop arrives. I'll add a photo after I add the accessories tomorrow. The new boneyard designee may be donating a pedal crank tomorrow!

If that goes well I may deliver both together. But as my wife would remind me, nothing ever goes that well.

Friday. As forecast, nothing ever goes as planned. The frame is an odd design at the seat post; I could not figure a way to accommodate a rear basket or rack. I did some garage cleanup/organization to see if I would stumble on something suitable for a makeshift bracket., but no luck. Did make some space in garage though, and found some things I'd been missing. I put on a front basket; messed around with shifter and brake lever positioning with bar ends and basket. It was really cluttered, hardly find a place for your hands. I kept test riding and adjusting until I was happy with it; I hope the vet who gets it is also. I added a kickstand and pressure washed it. Here it is:.....
yellow mountain bike with front basket
Then on to the bent pedal crank. I decided to give straightening one more try before further cannibalizing something else. I have accumulated quite a few custom tools for working on bikes. Chain tools, cable tools, tire tools, crank puller, custom wrenches to get into tight spots; I am particularly pleased with the precision pedal crank straightener I deployed today. Worked like a charm. Pedal is back on; tomorrow I'll tune it up and add a basket. Here's that crank straightening tool:
Granite curbstone, 5 pound sledgehammer head, 2.5 pound sledgehammer

Delivered them both last Wed., Apr. 28. Here they are in my driveway after pressure washing, final test rides, affixing SecondChasnceBikes labels.
2 mountain bikes; yellow one with basket, white onewith rear luggage rack

I loaded them up after taking these photos and delivered to the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Vets. I don't get to meet the recipients, which is fine to protect their privacy. I do enjoy showing people their bike, making sure they understand shifting, making any adjustments they need. It enhances the event for them and me and I think it shows respect. I'm like the car salesman handing over the keys to someone's new car. But, as I wrote above, the agencies are in charge and opt to do it themselves. That's not gonna dissuade me from giving more when they ask. -finis