Taking things to pieces is always fun. Back when it felt like a good idea, on a quiet weekend with not much else going on, I decided to dismantle the old Highway bike. I managed to get everything off apart from the bottom bracket, and after the local bike shop had a go and failed to remove it too, I decided that maybe I didn’t need to replace it after all. Actually, because it rocks slightly side-by-side, and because the pedals are broken and also stuck, it really does need replacing. For this, something like an angle grinder is needed I feel. The shop would had continued but rightly suggested it was not worth it for the low cost frame. For now, it will stay like it is. This was at the beginning of the year, see The sorry state of the Apollo Highway.
Today I decided it was a good time to do something with the pile of bike bits and the sorry looking frame what had sat in the shed for a number of months. It started with cleaning the frame and polishing it, cursing at all the scratches it had collected over the years, this followed with the wheels. A spray of water, a spray of soap, a rub down, and a spray of lots of water to rinse off. The puddles on the floor were very black. Everything started to look a lot nicer though. The same for the mudguards, which hung on the washing line to dry. Everything else metal and greasy looking was put in a bowl of degreaser and given a good clean, rinsed off, and joined hung up on the washing line.
I was reminded that the bearings on the rear wheel seemed to be re-greasing going by the amount of crunching noises it made as it turned. Once the freewheel was removed, I loosened off the rear axle and carefully removed it waiting for any ball bearings to jump out at me. This never happened as they were all safe within their cage. They didn’t look in bad shape but the little amount of grease around them was quite dirty. I was surprised by the lack of grease, and I added quite a bit after I had cleaned everything up and was putting it all back together again. Once everything was back in place, the wheel turned nicely with no resistance. I did wonder why I had not done that years ago when I was using this bike everyday for work!
Putting bits back together is sometimes as good as taking them apart. In fact I think there is an extra level of satisfaction when doing so, when metal slots into greased metal, when bolts turn nicely…. The brake arms, the mud guards, the wheels, all went back on.
I was thinking of replacing the handlebars completely because they were in a sorry state cosmetically. I was not convinced I would be able to get the hand grips off (the rubber had gone a bit moldy) and the gear shifters I had tried but the tiny tiny allen key fitting was not going to loosen. After a quick look on Ebay and Amazon and seeing the price (not massive, but more than a price of a cup of coffee) I thought I would take a second look. I was quite glad I did, as the grips came off with no trouble at all, which meant I was able to split the twist gear shifter which allowed me to remove the old gear cables. The bar itself I rubbed with some nylon wool and oil, which bought it all back to life and looking good again.
With the handlebars put back on, the wheels on, the saddle replaced with a nicer looking one and refitted, the derailleur mech and front mech re-oiled and fitted…. everything is ready for re-cabling.
The sun had gone from the garden at that point, so that’s for another day.