The sorry state of the Apollo Highway

Five years worth of cycling 8 miles a day to and from work along Worthing seafront, my commuting bike of choice at the time was an Apollo Highway. While a cheap bike from Halfords, it got me not only to work through summer and winter (and some serious snow when it used to snow on the south coast!), but also London to Brighton through the night.   I stopped using it when I changed jobs and the commute was doubled, I needed something a bit lighter and bit more higher spec, along came the Marin Fairfax.   That was about a year and a half ago.  Back then, I got home from work and parked the Highway up like I always did and then never touched it again.

I thought at some point I would clean it up and do something with it, and that day came about this weekend, mainly because I thought it would be good not having to try to fit around it each time in the shed.   While a cheap and a so called “toy” bike, having done such a good job over the years and many miles in every possible weather, it would feel sad to trash it or give it away on Freecycle.  The idea, for now, would be to strip it down and then rebuild it as a new bike.  Make it certainly clear, there is no deadline on this, I like to measure such things in years as so not to disappoint myself.   Stripping it down would solve the first problem of it taking up space, cleaning it up and re-building would be interesting – even if the value of the bike was probably not worth it.

Taking things to pieces is always fun and I am thinking easier to handle than taking cars to pieces (the tools are smaller).  A mixture of allan keys and screwdrivers stripped off the main bits with little trouble.  I labelled things up and started a pile in the shed.  Some bits I have left for now, like just how do you remove the gear cable from a switch shift, I am sure I’ll find out when I look at the book.  I did get to a stopping point when it came to the chain.  Before I split the chain by removing a connecting pin, I remembered that when I fitted the chain the other year it came with a connecting link allowing you to break the chain and put it back together at will.  You really need a specially shaped pair of pliers of which I don’t have and normally muck about for 10-20 minutes until I get somewhere.  I didn’t fancy it this time, especially as the chain was now quite stiff from lack of use.   A quick look on Amazon for some cheap far-east bike tools and I soon had the pliers ordered, with the hope they would arrive by next weekend when I could carry on.   In the meantime I would be able to leave the bike half dismantled in the shed.

Bearing in mind that it was late afternoon when I ordered the tool, I was a bit surprised when on the next day (Sunday) the morning started with a delivery from Amazon.  It felt like I had only pressed the “buy” button a couple of hours ago and now I had in my hand the new set of pliers.    I went outside to put them to use and in less than 5 seconds the chain was split and off the bike.  I wondered why I had not spent £2.20 on this tool before and saved myself so much time, I didn’t even have to put much pressure on it.

Next on the list, remove the creaking bottom bracket.   It didn’t feel in the best condition by the time I stopped using the bike and a quick waggle of the pedals showed me it was allowing me to do things that a bottom bracket should really let me do.   Time to read a book and order some more cheap tools off of Amazon in order to progress further.  I am sure if I order them now they they will arrive last week…


Happy times...
Happy times…


Hard rides from work...
Hard rides from work…


5am in Brighton, having biked overnight from London
5am in Brighton, having biked overnight from London


Not so happy now
Not so happy now


Nearly all stripped down
Nearly all stripped down


Piling up, stored away and ready for cleaning up - sometime
Piling up, stored away and ready for cleaning up – sometime


Cheap, cheerful, and delivered within seconds it seemed
Cheap, cheerful, and delivered within seconds it seemed


I have to confess, the photos make it look not too bad, but in reality it looks like a long lost forgottom dumped bike.   The pedals are broken and there are a lot of horrid noises as you peddle….


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