If you’re on a budget like us, having the knowledge to be able to source parts from Ebay and other places to create your own bike is essential as it is probably the cheapest way to build a bike suitable for long distances. So I’m now on a knowledge acquiring mission. So far, I have learned how to change an inner tube, how to change and set up brakes and how to change the handlebars and forks on my bike.
Here is my bike as it was a few weeks ago (proudly built by Nev – it says so on the frame in marker pen!).
At first, I was just using it for short journeys to get to the supermarket and the gym, but now I’m using it to get to work and back every day. The office is only 4 miles away but as we seem to live in one of the hilliest towns in the world, Nev encouraged me to change the forks to some without shock absorbers as they are much lighter and the lack of movement from the suspension obviously makes road cycling, and particularly uphill cycling, a lot easier.
Nev had some old rigid forks knocking about in the cellar (our cellar is quite literally brim with dirty old bike and car parts lovingly collected by Nev over the years) so I changed the forks, which also meant changing the front wheel as the fittings on the new (old) forks were different. Luckily there was an old wheel in the cellar too so I swapped the tire over and used that. This also meant changing the brakes as the original wheel used hydraulic brakes, and the new one needed cantilever brakes (also sourced from Nev’s abundant stock of dirty supplies). I swapped the wide handle bars too for some narrower ones. I felt like I was riding a Harley-Davidson-esque hog and taking up way too much space at the side of the road. My new, more petite, handlebars were an ebay buy – Club Roost and a bargain at 99p!
So here is my bike as it currently stands:
There are tonnes of other changes I need to make over the coming months to get my bike ready for the trip, including: new grips/bar ends, new wheels and road tires, pannier racks, probably a new seat and definitely some new spokey dokeys 🙂 I’m not planning on respraying my bike, even though it’s covered in marker pen and the forks don’t match the frame. I still haven’t outgrown the grunge scene and having a scrappy looking bike suits me just fine. As we won’t have money or space for souvenirs I think I’ll buy one sticker from each country we visit for my bike until it resembles a well traveled vintage suitcase.
I also think my little bike deserves a name – but I’m waiting for him to tell me what it is…