You’re looking at junk.
That’s what I thought, too.
I thought it was a green and white bike. Then I peeled off the decals. Nope, it’s a white bike. I kept looking at it and realized the only thing wrong with the frame was everything attached to it.
So everything came off: the stamped steel chainrings, the uselessly heavy suspension fork, the plastic pedals, the inflexible tires—the works.
What had been a Mongoose Deception, maybe the best-named bicycle-shaped object in history, was ready to become my coffee-getting vehicle as soon as I sanded the paint, oversprayed a coat of white, banded the frame here and there with painter’s tape, sprayed the whole thing blue, peeled off the tape, and appended coffee cup drawings, tech information, and a Thoreau quote about being determined to know beans in the spaces revealed.
(He wasn’t thinking of coffee beans when he was writing, but don’t we all twist history to form the higgly-piggly rack-and-pinion mechanism we steer our lives by? Is this a contradiction of yesterday’s post? Is it possible it isn’t? Do we not include multitudes, different ways of approaching whatever we add to our lives along the way?)
I digress. Let’s dig into the parts bin.
Hydraulic brakes? I ought to find out what all the fuss is about. Don’t want to mess with recharging lights—how ’bout I build the front wheel around a generator hub? And here’s a three-decade-old Dura-Ace crankset, just hanging out in a parts box.
You go, you beautifully eternal square-taper crank standard. Go, go, go.
What about the rest of the drivetrain? Let’s keep it simple. A Surly single-speed hub will do.
But that raises the question of how to tension the chain, given the vertical rear dropouts that normally surrender tensioning to the rear derailleur.
The answer is, partly, using a creaky old magic-gear calculator and, entirely, going through a stack of chainrings and loose cassette cogs until I finally bolt on the combination that puts the chain under enough tension when the rear hub slips into place.
The bike, overall, works quite well: carrying me to the coffee shop on all of this month’s recorded one-mile days. The chain has since developed a bit of slack, but not enough to worry about. Once I’ve moved 1,000 books from the second floor to the basement and back—the library is getting a wood floor—I plan to use the coffee bike to commute between Dunlap and Peoria.
It’s nice, having a bike you can draw on. Liberating, in fact, since I’m the sort that never scribbles in the margins, regardless of the fact that sometimes marginalia is almost the point of a book.
April 25, 1 mile.