A Bike Reborn

Ever since our bikes were stolen in DC, we’ve talked about getting new ones. I recently bought a used one with the understanding that I’ll justify sinking hundreds into a nice bike once I’ve worn this old one out. I wanted to buy my wife a new bike so we could ride together, but she wouldn’t consider it. She was adamant that we fix up her childhood ten speed. This might have made sense if her old bike was of high quality, but it’s always been a blue light special. What’s worse, it’s been languishing in a garage filled with salty air for several years now. My wife wasn’t swayed by any of my protestations, and her parents brought this piece of junk to our house on their last visit:


I worked as a mechanic at a bike shop one summer in college, so I’m not entirely useless when it comes to this kind of work. Still, I made it clear to my wife that if she wanted to give new life to her bike, she’d be doing most of the work herself. She enthusiastically agreed and we rolled up our sleeves.

Here’s the bike after most of the components have been removed:


It’s difficult to properly work on a bike without a stand, but after a few nicks and scratches, we finally stripped it down to the frame. All of the steel parts had a little rust, so they needed to be sanded with steel wool. The frame was actually in pretty good condition. My wife removed all the factory stickers, washed it thoroughly, and sanded the metal smooth. Next she hung it in the garage with some straightened hangers and coated it all with a gray primer.

Here she is painting the frame and fork with a metallic blue paint:


After she applied a clearcoat, we reassembled the bike. I replaced her front derailleur with a better one I had on hand, and we dropped it off at the bike shop to buy a new seat, have new shifters installed, run new cables and housing, true the wheels and get new tires. When we got it home, my wife applied new handlebar tape herself and it was finished:


I have to admit, she did a pretty good job bringing new life to her old bike. When it was all said and done, we spent around $200 fixing it up. That’s less than what I would have paid for a new one, so I guess my wife’s plan worked out well.

A Bike Reborn
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