Monday, September 21, 2009


I dreaded having to sand-down that frame, I was convinced that removing this paint would be like pulling gum out of hair, and that my tendonitis-ridden hands would be the least of my worries after my arm fell off from excessive sanding. But I was wrong. Happily the sandpaper tore though the tired old paint like a knife through butter (ok it’s not that easy, but it’s not bad).

Admittedly, I didn’t finish sanding down the frame. While taking breaks from the excitement that is sanding (note sarcasm) I started doing something I rather enjoy; taking things apart, cleaning them, and then putting them back together again. While doing this I listened to TED conferences, and thought about how this process of taking things apart putting and putting them back together again was in a sense a microcosm of the entire bicycle restoration. I also though that; while my goal in restoring this bike is not to learn about bikes or how they work (it is so that I can have a really cool bike without breaking my piggy bank) I am learning a lot about how bikes are put together. Which is good if I ever need to fix or design one.

Once I’d disassembled the braking system, I scrubbed it all down, piece by piece, with a little bit of Brasso and some steel wool. I then soaked it all in some coke to make it shine. When I returned a few hours latter, they were shiny, but not as clean as I would have liked. So I proceeded to make my first major mistake in the project. I decided that it would be a good idea to soak the components in a solution of 1 part bleach, four parts boiling hot water to beat that dirt and grime into submission! I poured in the water and a few minutes later a saw rust floating to the surface. “Fantastic!” I thought, it’s going to be like new tomorrow. But by the next morning, the rust had been joined by the chrome plating which used to adorn those components. Yes, the bleach had successfully striped the chrome plating off the metal. Strong stuff.

Plan B: I will scrub off what’s left of the plating and paint the bare metal parts.

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