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Life has been getting busy. Again. Mostly this is because I work in a theatre and we’re having the annual Christmas silly session but also because I’m supposed to be writing a report/dissertation for my final year. However, we are making some progress, and interesting things have been arriving at the Ingermany household.

The first is this package from Romania, which is apparently the only place in Europe where you can get old school braze-ons for traditional gear levers. This is the result of far too much thinking and a lot of online questioning after discovering the normal solution for fixing gear levers to the bottom bar -a collar clamp- wouldn’t be possible because the bar is about 1mm too thick.

You don’t have to braze bits on the bike. You can drill a hole through the frame and bolt the gear levers onto that, but I’m a bit jumpy about messing about with the integrity of the frame.

Having finally found how to fix levers onto the bike, we ordered a set of levers from Elder Son’s employer, who themselves ordered them from the Shimano EU distributor, who it turns out are five minutes down the road.

To my rather great surprise these fit the braze ons perfectly.

Now I have to work out how to get the frame and Braze-ons down to work for our resident metalworker to fit them together.

RND_10With Elder Son becoming more confident that he won’t break something vital while fixing stuff, we pulled the Ugly Bike out of the cellar to begin turning it into a beautiful randonneur/adax bicycle.

We’d decided to pull off everything we could with the tools we had in the drawer, up to and including a big hammer if the mood took us. For anything else we had an agreement of Elder Son’s employer and trainer that we could use some of the more specialised tools. Of course we could have waited until we had everything on hand but this bike really was just too ugly to be left any longer.

RND_09

Elder Son began at the back end with chain and dérailleurs while I got to grips, ha, ha, with with the handlebars. The grips themselves proved immune to persuasion, WD40 and bad language, and I ended up taking a knife to them before dealing with the combined brake and gear units. Normally this would be an opportunity to whine about the evils of capitalism as evidenced by the practice of combining gear and brake levers, and forcing users to replace the lot every time one element failed, but on this occasion we were changing to V-Brakes and drops and the gear shifters were worn out anyway, so I just dumped them in the bin without comment.

RND_12

We discovered that our tools aren’t the right ones to remove the crank and bottom bracket, but we changed the handlebars anyway, even though we’ll need a different stem, This was as much a statement of intent and a morale booster as anything.

Any suggestions we then coasted up and down the drive making ‘woosh woosh’ noises are pure fiction…

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