Friday, October 28, 2011

My new wheels - meet Nellie

Mea culpa. It's now October. I meant to blog at least twice a week. Oh well. Things have been happening, not the least of which is that the little Raleigh I'd bought months ago has now been restored to roadworthiness.

Meet Nellie.
I sold my mixte Petunia on eBay for $100 more than I paid for her :-)  about six weeks ago. That gave me the bulk of the Raleigh Restoration Fund. I had a Shimano 8 speed Alfine hub put aside for her, which I'd bought last year when I was feeling a bit more financial. So down to the bike shop she went, for new alloy wheels built around the hub gears, cream Delta Cruiser tyres, new cranks and pedals. The guys at the bike shop were rapt when I took her in. Aside from a couple of paint scratches the frame is in good condition and they had a lot of fun building her up. The saddle and basket were my own installation (big bike mechanic me as you can see).

None of my bits save the gears and the nice tyres cost much. I left the selection of the wheels and cranks etc to the guys at the bike shop and while they aren't bargain basement they are far from top of the line. As with any hobby you can get addicted to the good stuff and spend a fortune on bits of kit. 

The guys at the bike shop said they could have sold my basket a dozen times. I'd mounted it before I took Nellie in for her rebuild so they could see it had to be there and to make sure any alterations to the brake cables took it into account. The basket itself I picked up down in Bungendore but I've seen since them on eBay.

The only thing that bugs me is the grips. I had installed my Brooks leather grips on the handlebars and told the guys that they could put wider handlebars on if necessary to fit the Brooks grips with the new Shimano shifter. They didn't. So I have one lovely Brooks grip and a rubber Shimano grip. I'm going to operate on that and see if there is a way I can mount the other Brooks grip. You can 'cut' Brooks grips down to size but the guys at the shop said that even if they did that, the aluminium end on the grip would interfere with the gear shifter. I'm thinking thoughts that involve superglue and the leather rings that make up the grip; if I can create something shorter and stable that doesn't need the inside aluminium end piece, I've got a winner. 

Sadly I haven't taken her on a decent ride yet. I was unwell when I picked her up from the shop, and we've had rainy days or too much work on or other stuff pulling us this way and that at weekends. The short rides I have had tell me that she rides like new. Silent, smooth as ice cream melting on a hot day. She is a stunner, and the frame at 17" fits like a glove. 

There are a couple of things left to do: buy a rear rack and fit it - that was something that should have happened during the rebuild - and find a chain guard to fit. Nellie doesn't have any mountings for a chain guard but you can buy rings that clasp around the frame for mounting this and that (e.g. water bottles). A rear rack is a must so I can load the groceries in a pannier or two. 

You'll hear more about Nellie once I've taken her for a longer ride and got used to her handling and steering and the new 8 speed gear set. Shorter rides tell me the gear set is geared quite low. Great for hills, and there are plenty of those where we live. I haven't had the opportunity to really get going and hit 8th yet though ;-)

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