Archive for September 3rd, 2012

Updating An Old Bike

Rollfast bike with Aztek brake pads

Rollfast bike with Aztek brake pads

Our Larval Engineer acquired a free bicycle to get around at school: a Rollfast “girl’s bike” dating back to 1972 with 105 miles on the odometer. She completely dismantled it, cleaned everything, reassembled it in reverse order, and added a rear rack & panniers. Having touched every part of the bike, she’s now in a much better position to fix whatever may go wrong in the future.

It was an inexpensive bike to start with and we left everything as-is, with the exception of the brake pads. You’re supposed to bend the brake arms to align the pads with the rims, a technique which I didn’t like even back in the day. So we swapped the OEM pads with worn-but-serviceable Aztek pads sporting spherical washers:

They’re way grippier than the old pads, even on those chromed-steel rims. I had a bike with steel rims and old pads; given the slightest hint of water, it didn’t stop for squat. With any luck, the Azteks will at least slow this one down.

Although she wanted to take the Tour Easy, the bike must live outside under the apartment stairs all year and, frankly, that’d kill the recumbent in short order. Forgive me for being a domineering parent; when she has a good place to store a spendy bike, it’s hers for the taking.

We haven’t figured out how to mount the GPS/APRS tracker + radio and antenna. The evidence suggests she prefers to travel incognito from now on…

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