I finally understand what a derailleur is! Hurrah!
I’ve just finished building my little bike and I’m absolutely proud as punch! I did, of course, have lots of guidance from Nev, who it turns out is a marvel when it comes to building bikes, not to mention his ability to tighten bolts just a few more turns than my feeble Mr Burns strength will ever allow and his magical cable snipping skills. For some reason, in all the many boxes of tools that take up space in our cellar and living room (yes, there is a six-drawer chest tool box in our living room), he does not seem to possess a pair a of snippers that can actually snip metal without having to squeeze so tight that it almost induces a hernia. At least I know what to get him for his Birthday.
Anyway, I have learnt so much I don’t even know where to start! Having stripped my bike down to just a frame, put in a new bottom bracket, new pedals, forks, handlebars, brakes, gears, racks and my old wheels back on with new fancy pants tires, I now feel super confident doing repairs on my bike and have bonded with it in a way only a creator can. The only thing I didn’t do myself was the spokes ; my local bike shop rebuilt my old wheels with nice new spokes for me – that was one task I thought was best left to the experts.
I have to say, considering that I started with zero knowledge of bike building, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, although I’m not sure I have the patience for fine tuning gears. Gears are now my sworn enemy, but we got there in the end.
So, here is my bike, ready to rock, and you can see a full list of all the parts I used here.
I would fully recommend bike building to all cyclists, particularly if you’re about to go on a long journey – it’s great to really understand how everything fits together and will be invaluable on the road for keeping an eye on your bike’s condition and carrying out minor repairs. My advice is to be fearless- take things apart to see how they work and just have a go at putting them back together again. It’s the best way to learn! Apart from maybe putting your bike out of action for a few days, what’s the worst that can happen?