of my latest bike project, refurbishing what I think is a 40-yr-old
Czech bicycle. Those commies never filed the edges on anything,
but they built stuff to last with plenty of extra metal everywhere.
relatively recently, most men in the Balkans went to work every
day on one of these babies. They were manufactured by the millions
in communist Eastern Europe, often in factories that produced tanks
or something in WWII. You still see them in the poorer places like
former Yugoslavia. Greeks won't touch them anymore because they
have graduated to SUVs.
one was fished from my bro-in-law's sheet-metal shop. First step
was to take it to the do-it-yo-Balkan-self carwash where I blasted
it with high-pressure water. Then disassembly and lots of scrubbing
with acetone, industrial sandpaper and a wire-wheel to scrape the
history off everything. I mean everything too -- I'm still sanding
the spokes to clean 'em up.
the old bits were reused -- nuts were filed to metric dimensions,
the rear stirrup brake was chopped and moved to the front, etc.
Only the fenders were tossed. Some new bits, of course -- tires
and tubes, grips, pedals, chain, cotter pins, bell. The surreal-mccoy
saddle was preserved and laced up to regain shape.
primer and color and the bike, she is ready. The plastic contraption
on the frame is for a child-seat. I only take this bike around the
city, on the flats, because with that old stirrup brake and crunchy
ball-bearings, this thing is not easily controlled. But the riding
position is pure comfort. Better to take the frame and rebuild it
with quality new parts. Also I could have gone to Athens and bought
the same bike, new from a Chinese or Indian factory, for about $200.
Eastman saddle, made in India (from cows?), Brooks-quality, laced
to regain shape
2. Renak coaster-brake hub from Czechoslovakia? Germany? with extra-beefy
3. Made-in-Greece rear rack-zilla stamped "Ellas"
4. Phillips front hub
5. Hubs and bottom-bracket shell all have lube ports!