Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reader Project: Mark's J.C. Higgins

I got a nice email from "Mark" the other day, who's working on an old J.C. Higgins 3-speed. He originally asked about removing rust from spokes/rims. My response went a little something like this:

I've found that a very fine grade steel wool ("0000") and lots of patience is good for removing rust on spokes and wheels and other non-painted metal surfaces without scratching or damaging the metal. For lightly rusted surfaces with just a few spots, it should work fairly quickly by itself, but for the heavier rust, you might try a few drops of oil applied to the spot you're working on (whatever you use to lube your chain is fine, as long as it's not WD-40) . Make sure you wear gloves when working with the steel wool, however, as thousands of tiny metal splinters don't feel so nice under your fingernails. I believe Menotomy Vintage Bicycles also sells a rust removal kit with a special formula solvent, but I haven't used it so I can't personally vouch for its effectiveness.

Mark wrote back to say that the steel wool worked just fine, and sent me some photos of his J.C. Higgins:

Thanks Mark! I hope you'll keep us updated on what you're doing (and where you're going) on your bike. I'd love to hear from anyone who's working on a project, either with questions/solutions/tips or just with photos of their machines. Help make the Old Bike Blog something more than just me randomly posting bicycle-related miscellany. And for goodness sake, don't worry if your bike isn't some rare, top-notch old velocipede--any ol' bike is good enough for us!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Weekend Blowout

No, neither a party nor a clearance sale, but the kind that goes thup-thup-thup-pow! and leaves you stranded on the other side of town. I took the Peugeot on a little jaunt over to the Spruce Street suspension bridge, hoping to snap some pictures. I took the Upas Street trail, and had a nice ride/hike over there, but not long after I arrived on the west side of Balboa Park, this happened:

I guess the culprit was probably over-inflation, aggravated by the air in the tube warming and expanding as I rode. This is incentive to buy either a non-crappy bike pump with a decent pressure gauge or one of those handy pen-sized pressure checkers. Fortunately, I wasn't going very fast, so it only took me about ten feet to stop, and the tire and rim were undamaged. It was mostly just a pain in the ass, as I had to hoof it back home to North Park with an injured bike and didn't get to take the pictures I wanted.

I did snap a few before the blowout, including a neat one of a dead on/off-ramp on Richmond Street over the 163. I wanted to jump the barricade and get some better pics, but there was a cop right there, so next time. Get used to scenes like this, what with gas prices rising, infrastructure crumbling, and the end of the world fast approaching. Seriously.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Give a Hoot! Contribute!

Hey, are you working on an old bike project? Fixin' up that old Schwinn, J.C. Higgins, Raleigh, or whatever? We'd love to hear about it and see some pictures of your work. I'd like to have the Old Bike Blog be something more than just a place for me to post random stuff about old bikes, so send in pictures of your projects, write a post about your old bike, or just show off your latest garage sale or thrift shop bargain. Send all communiques, missives, and threats to bahdet[at]gmail[dot]com.

Image from the very cool Aussie Bicycle Recycling Network.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Coco's Variety Store (Los Angeles)


Just came across this on BoingBoing. From Coco's website/blog:

"Coco's is engaged in the refurbishment, repair and sale of used bicycles. From the scrap iron dealer's mud puddle, we buy bikes that nobody else wants. We buy junkers, clunkers, road bikes, mountain bikes, banana seat specials, fixies, department store cheapies, step through ten speeds, heavy bikes, skip tooth relics, 80's splatter paint disasters, suspension bikes, BMX tricksters, track bikes, cruisers, bruisers and midnight losers.

We believe the bicycle with the greatest positive impact on the environment is a fading champion that has already served a meaningful life and is resuscitated for a second chance at glory."
...
"Coco's Variety sells flyswatters, glass 5 gallon water bottles, headache remedies, oil cloth by the yard, used bicycles, California souvenir tablecloths, Kit Kat Klocks, gum ball machines, Mexican Cokes in glass bottles, squirt guns, tote bags adorned with hula girls, Lodge cast iron frying pans, old American made tools, baskets for your bicycle, wood matches, reverse osmosis purified drinking water by the gallon and fancy Jadeite cake plates for fancy cakes on fancy occasions.
We sell everything but parakeets."

Also, check out the "Bicycles Fished from the LA River" post--these guys sound like they're after our own hearts here at the O.B.B.