New life for old bones
So I was all set to stop at Wallace's World and fork out for a Chinese Cranbrook, when I passed a little bike shop that was still open on my way home from work.
I step in the door, and there's a real, working Penny Farthing leaned against the wall.
I'm liking this place.
There are bins full of old seats, pedals, cranks. Older fella looks up from his paper and says howdy.
I say, "Got any old American balloon-tire cruiser frames?"
He thinks a moment and says, "Yup, got an old Coast King you can have for $20."
I look at the frame, and wonder what smile crossed the face of what kid circa 1965 or so when this was a Christmas gift and all complete and brand-dang spanking new.
I ask what it would take to put together a bike, and we rummage around the shop picking out a stem, bars, old beater pedals, a new chain, a crank set ("That's an old Schwinn, actually.")
"Do you have any decent wheels with good hubs and strong rims and at least 12-gauge spokes?"
I pick out a set, carefully laced and already trued for $50 the pair.
He gives me discounts on everything. I get the bones for $100 even, and decide to pay $50 to have it all put together properly.
I'm at $150 for a mongrel American cruiser to be assembled out of a patchwork of old parts, built at a time when pre-Nixon China was merely a Communist enigma and ally of the menacing U.S.S.R.
I don't have anything against China, or $84 Cranbrooks from Wallace's World. ****, I'll be putting a Chinese engine on the thing.
But I'm gonna get some satisfaction from this homely old relic that most folks wouldn't understand.
Will post photos when I start my first build ...