I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite bicycle-related videos from the past year. First is Back to Earth from El Zumpango a Bay area film maker. I think this video beautifully captures the liberation, whimsical energy, and fellowship of a group camping ride. The other, What is Bicycle Travel?, is a short promotional video, but very well done. It conjures up some warm thoughts and images on a cold December day.
This past year Ironweed had the opportunity to work with some really great folks. Most recently, we added Wallingford Bicycle Parts to our list of retailers. Many Ironweed customers are probably familiar with Wallingford. Their product line is top notch. So I am proud to have Ironweed as a part of their offerings. I remember discovering Wallingford when I was looking for the proper gear to outfit my Mercian. They had everything I needed including Gilles Berthoud fenders.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention a couple of our Midwest retailers. First is Budget Bicycle Center in Madison. If you're in the Madison area, I suggest you pay them a visit. They have the largest collection of classic and vintage bicycles for sale anywhere in the world! I have spent hours in their used bike shop ogling the impressive collection. It’s like going to a bicycle museum except you can buy the exhibits!
Another retailer and long time supporter is 30th Century Bicycles here in Iowa City. Locally, we referrer to them as 30 Cent. It's a shop of the people, started by a couple of former Iowa City Bike Library volunteers and board members. In some ways, their shop is really an extension of the Bike Library’s mission. They are committed to getting people on bikes and offer a very welcoming environment; particularly for those new to cycling. They've sold quite a few Ironweeds over the past couple of years.
I would also like to thank Bike Friday for including Ironweed bags on their 20th anniversary New World Tourist. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this very special bike and to help in the celebration of their 20th year of making top quality, hand-built folding and travel bicycles in the USA!
I’m looking forward to great things in 2013!
Winter is project time. Earlier this week, we had a blizzard going on here in Iowa City. I took the opportunity to finish working on one of the three winter bike projects I’ve got going on.
I’m in the process of finishing up a Peugeot NSL-40. The “NS” stands for Nouveau Style and the “L” signifies Luxury. It’s a five speed, and this frame style also came as a single speed folder,. The wheels were very rough and, unfortunately, an obsolete size 550A (490 mm ISO/BSD). Thankfully, it was an easy fix by substituting small MTB rims (24” or 507 mm ISO). It also has internal cabling and dynamo wiring with Franco-rific fender-mount lights.
This was a pretty straightforward clean and tune project. However, in addition to the wheels I did swap out a couple of components. For instance, I replaced the cottered crank with a 3-pin alloy Stronglight TS. Next, I changed the tattered Simplex Prestige with another very clean white label Prestige from my French derailleur box. What’s more, I had already done a preemptive Suntour pulley wheel transplant on this derailleur. There were several other very nice Simplexes in the box, but I chose to keep my powder dry a least until I see how this thing performs.
The Simplex Prestige transmission system is much maligned. I will concede the integrity is horrible. But the rear derailleur actually performs well before the pieces start cracking and crumbling. Simplex rear derailleurs had the upper pivot return spring on everything from the Prestige to the SLJ models. This feature gave them superior shifting by wrapping chain and keeping pulley wheels tight and close to the freewheel/cassette. I did, however, replace the fragile Simplex Prestige shifter with a smooth and sturdy Simplex Criterium lever.
After fishing the cable housing through the frame, I grabbed a shift cable and started to install it. Then I remembered these old Simplex shifters take a cable end that is significantly smaller than contemporary shifter cables. I was about to file down the cable end when I remembered I had a stash of cables I purchased from a shop back in the late 80s. They were clearing out stock and I bought all they had – about a dozen or so. I came across them recently while cleaning up. On one end of the cable is the smaller barrel end and the other is the smaller disc shaped end that fits Huret shifters. These are getting harder to find.
As I previously mentioned, the dynamo wiring is run inside the frame and tucked neatly into crimped edges of the fenders. For those familiar with French bicycles, this was pretty common on city style bikes of a certain vintage. It gives bikes a nice finished look. No stay wire hanging about.
Next up… the Moulton!
The world lost a great bicycle designer, innovator and inventor this past weekend. Dr. Alex Moulton died Sunday at the age of 92. Not to make this about me, but I've been on the hunt for an old "F" frame Moulton for the past few months. The Sunday previous to his passing I found one. I am very much looking forward to restoring it. We're even considering a run of bags to fit the Moulton racks.
Rest in peace Dr. Moulton.