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The Makeover!

Joel had a vision regarding my old Trek, and I’m no woman to stand in the way of visions especially when the end result is going to be a better bike for my nefarious purposes.  The old Trek still had many original parts on it until this winter,  Both derailleurs, front and rear brake calipers (but not pads, of course) crank-arms, headset, and possibly the chainrings.  All of the above caused him no small quantity of consternation.  He had parts in his basement bins that would be significant upgrades.  While he was about upgrading those various components, he mounted up a set of full-coverage fenders and a package rack so that I would have a deluxe foul-weather commuter.  Behold!

Bags folded or ready for cargo. You would not believe how much one can carry in bags like this. I can get a typical week’s groceries home handily.

Same idea, from the rear.

I’m rollin’ 1X7 style nowadays. I never used the granny gear and rarely used the big gear, so they’re gone, gone, gone in favor of a bash guard which does an admirable job of keeping my pants-leg out of the chain. They can still get pretty filthy, however, so I usually tuck them into my socks and boots for protection and larger dork appeal.

The ol’ bike is a little filthy, but I just cleaned up and lubed the chain, and considering what the forecast is looking like for this week, that’s as good as it’s going to need to get. The weather’s supposed to be warm on Saturday, so I may hose this bike and a couple of others off out in the yard then. Everything is sporting an even layer of grunge thanks to the state of the streets. When it’s not actively slushy, there’s still a residue of slightly greasy grit out there that sticks to a bike like pins to a magnet.

 The old beast in basically original trim! (5 years ago)

This one time, I really cleaned up the old Trek super-thoroughly. Joel laughed when he saw these pictures, stating, “Never have I seen an Altus crank photographed so lovingly.” The humor, for those of you who aren’t gigantic bike nerds, stems from the fact that this is basically the lowest-quality crank that Shimano has ever produced and most nobody would ever put this much work into cleaning, then photographing such a thing.

I was proud of how damn shiny I got that chain, thank you!

And the jockey-wheels too, for that matter. *gleam*

I’ve ridden eight kinds of the hell out of this old bike. It’s been overhauled to greater or lesser degrees about six times – this most recent makeover being the most extensive. It’s got a new shifter, new headset, new derailleur, crank arms, chainring, bash guard, brake calipers, brake levers, brake pads, and I re-packed the hubs while Joel was swapping out components. The only original parts of the bike are the frame, fork, and stem. The handlebars were replaced last year due to the originals having been bent in one of many, many crashes in this bike’s storied past. I’m not actually sure which crash it was that bent them, oddly enough. Just one day a friend pointed out that the right side looked higher than the left, and lo, further inspection revealed that the left side had not only been bent downward, but was also shoved forward a bit. Years of failing shifters, slipping seat posts, and wheels that wouldn’t stay in true brought about incremental changes and improvements.

I think the bike has finally reached its ultimate incarnation. It is perfect as a grocery-getter and foul weather commuter. I have a much more suitable offroad bike now in my 29er, and a little sportier around-towner for fair weather in the yellow Bianchi. This is definitely a top bike for winter and questionable weather in general. I expect to keep on keepin’ on with the old beast.

3 Responses to “The Makeover!”

  1. Saxfire says:

    Those bags are really cool – what kind are they? I’d like to try and find some like that.

    That was one shiny crank! 😉 Upgrade looks good.

  2. meetzorp says:

    They’re Novara Around-Town shopping bags from REI. Mine are kind of old – Joel got them goodness knows how long ago, and I’ve had them on indefinite loan since last fall. They’re pretty tough, and man you can load them down like crazy. They look kind of small, but have surprising capacity.

  3. Saxfire says:

    Thanks! I just ordered some. I am easy riding distance to the grocery store – plus when I go camping in my RV, my bike always goes along as my primary transportation. These look like a great way to haul stuff.

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