Riiiiiight. Long awaited update!
First thing’s first... the paint I used turned terrible. Advertised as metal paint, and on test dried fine. But then on the frame it was awful so must have been my prep and application. It came on too thick, never set or dried properly and peeled like gluey white painty shit. The finish of the frame is awful. At least the rust is more or less gone, but it still looks absolute shit. I decided that after three days of torture trying to prep and sort out the bad paint, wait for it to dry etc, I’d just leave it to be utter teen stain and get on with reassembly and have it ready for bringing to London today.
The headset bearings were either missing or disappeared as soon as I opened the headset, so half of one set were replaced. The others weren’t rusted, just dirty and dry, so i lubed up the races. There are maybe 20 or 30 tiny tiny bb’s each set rather than a more modern headset with a half dozen caged. They were something tiny like 1/16”.
Replacing the jockey wheel, again it was a non-standard spacer-thing inside (to fit over the bolt) which was also cracked into three pieces, but I had to reuse it with the new jockey wheel off a spare rear mech as no spares in the box. Replaced the spring, tho.
Cotter pins are hell, and I certainly wasted my time by removing all four cranks rather than just one side and removing the axle in-situ. All the same the front bb was dry as a dry thing, the rear was just a bit gammy. Wasted an hour putting them back because I’m an idiot and forgot which side was the drive side cup. Also, different length axle ends messed with my head. Mashed one or two of the cotter threads as I don’t have a press, but got there in the end both removal and reassembly.
Wheels need truing a little and front still needs a hub service but that can wait. Rear hub was soaked with oil and gears shift relatively well. Well, as well as can be since the actual nubbin thing is missing from the 3 speed shifter. I made something to fit for the moment but it’s not great.
Initially and with some success, I attached shims and tried bmx bars on the front, but only til the 100mm rise shopper bars arrived from bankrupt bike parts. Super long adjustable stem from Quattro too, so not very in-keeping with the 70’s thing but way more useful for tuning in the sketchy handling. Matches the black ITM ahead stem, with sprayed-silver scrapyard mtb risers. Need a proper shim in that stem but it is solid enough for now.
Riding solo it worked fine once I got the chain tension. Initially the timing chain had no slack on the top so it was jumping teeth at the back. Sussed that and shitty brakes work enough to slow and stop. Definitely need a good set of touring long drop brakes.
Next, I totally ballsed up days of trying to make a maaaaaassive padded custom bike bag. Rushing is not the way. Nor is massive 3ft panels of solid foam-backed ripstop. Struggled through and one of the attempts just about fits the bike with seats and stem removed (wheels left on, sod removing them).
5 hours of travel later, bus across Swindon, on a coach to Victoria, through the Circle and Jubilee lines and then yet another bus across to the darkest depths of beyond Greenwich/Woolwich/etc. 15 minutes reassembly, quick dinner and bam!
We tested it out for half an hour around the dead quiet suburban streets, and I was well jealous of a couple cool kids on their bmx’s doing manuals... and they seemed a bit jealous of us on the tandem!
From now on it will be known as twitchy-bike, because if you drop the ball for even a split second, you don’t wanna...
Gonna give it a proper whirl tomorrow on the Thames path, or at least as far as we can get. It is crazy tiring as captain. Maybe it’s easier on a normal size where you use less muscle to dampen the twitch.